Grade 4/5 Immigration Push and Pull

Pull Factors to Canada
Today, Canada is considered a multicultural country but this is because of a complicated and complex history. The migration of peoples to Canada is because of many reasons that are made up of “Push” and “pull” factors. In the past, emigration to Canada was in many cases a dangerous journey and immigrants often faced discrimination and prejudice when they arrived. Today, each group that has come to Canada has persisted and have contributed in their own way to the immigration mind-set that we have today. Canada allows approximately 250,000 immigrants a year into the country.  

What “PULLS” People to Canada?
Safety: Canada regularly ranks among the top 10 safest nations in the world. Some immigrants lack safety and security in their home country.
Religious or Political Freedom: Canada is an inclusive country that is supportive of many belief systems and religions. Canada is also a democracy and has a stable Government system.
Family: Because Canada welcomes so many immigrants every year many people come to Canada to join family members who have previously immigrated here. 
Technology: Technology is Canada’s fastest growing industry which attracts people for work opportunities.
Job Opportunities: Canada has a strong economy and offers jobs in many different fields. 78% of Canadians work in a service related job but other jobs such as goods-producing, manufacturing and oil and gas contribute to the economy.
Better Education: Canada has a strong K-12 Education system and has access to many top Universities. 
Healthcare: Canada has Universal Healthcare which provides residents with reasonable access to medical care without paying out of pocket for hospital visits or access to doctors.


The Southeast Asian refugee crisis resulted from several conflicts in that part of the world. Starting with WWII in 1945 and ending with the Vietnam war in the 1960s and 70s, two new countries were created, North and South Vietnam. The tense political situation, poor living conditions and human rights violations in these countries triggered a vast wave of emigration.  With the encouragement of the government authorities, they began to leave Vietnam by boat. Many South Vietnamese, seeing no future for their children in the new Vietnam, decided to join the migration. Because of the perilous conditions under which most refugees fled, they came to be referred to collectively as “boat people.” This term was first used in 1975 and was popularized in the media in 1979. Over 1 million people departed Vietnam aboard unseaworthy makeshift vessels, hoping to reach international waters and be rescued there. But first they had to face huge risks — drowning, hunger, dehydration, attacks by pirates and even murder. Some of the refugees who survived all these perils were then stuck for months in crowded refugee camps in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, while others remained confined to their vessels because no country would allow them to land.

Chinese Canadians are one of the largest ethnic groups in the country. In the 2016 census, 1.8 million people reported being of Chinese origin. Despite their importance to the Canadian economy, including the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), many European Canadians were historically hostile to Chinese immigration. A prohibitive head tax restricted Chinese immigration to Canada from 1885 to 1923. From 1923 to 1947, the Chinese were excluded altogether from immigrating to Canada.

Since 1900, Chinese Canadians have settled primarily in urban areas, particularly in Vancouver and Toronto. They have contributed to every aspect of Canadian society, from literature to sports, politics to civil rights, film to music, business to philanthropy, and education to religion.

During the 19th century, war and rebellion in China forced many peasants and workers to seek their livelihoods elsewhere. Rural poverty and political upheavals stemming from the First Opium War (1839–1842) and the Hakka led T'ai P'ing Rebellion (1850–1864) caused widespread Chinese emigration. Historically, the majority of migrants came from the four districts or counties (Tai Shan, Xin Hui, Kai Ping, En Ping) in the Pearl River delta of Guangdong province, between Guangzhou and Hong Kong. In these areas, a tradition existed of seeking opportunities overseas, sending money back to support relatives in China, and eventually returning, if possible. 

Refugee: A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs or natural disaster.

The Syrian refugees are a population who have been forced to flee Syria due to violence and war. The majority of Syrian refugees live in neighboring countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. More than 6 million people in Syria have been driven from their homes but remain displaced inside the country, living in terrible conditions. During Syria's hard winters, they risk freezing to death.

Syrian children - whether inside Syria or elsewhere - do not see bright and happy futures inside Syria. On average, 86% of Syrian refugee children surveyed in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the Netherlands said they would not want to return to Syria. Conditions in Syria are not ready for refugees to return. Besides War in many areas, there is no access to quality education, jobs or stable income - all basic necessities. Any return to Syria has to be voluntary and safe. This cannot happen before the conflict is over and without peace and guarantees for people returning.

Mexicans did not begin arriving in Canada in significant numbers until the mid-1970s when the Canadian government expanded their Temporary Foreign    Workers Program to specifically recruit Mexicans to fill the unskilled labor shortage in its agriculture industry. As Mexicans started arriving to work seasonally for typically six months at a time, migration continued because knowledge spread about how to enter Canada and adjust to life there. 

People who left Mexico for Canada were usually from a lower-class background.  It was not uncommon to see men leave in hopes of finding work and often see the women stay in Mexico to take care of their children, then husbands who found work would send money to their families. This money is called remesas in Mexican Spanish, and has become the second highest source of income that Mexico receives from other countries. 

Today, extreme poverty and a violent corrupt government are central factors driving migration.  Yet every migrant’s story is unique. Some simply seek the chance to earn enough money to ensure a better future for themselves or their children. Others flee persecution at the hands of gangs, organized crime or corrupt state officials.

South Asians are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Two-thirds of people in India live in poverty: 68.8% of the Indian population lives on less than $2 a day. Over 30% even have less than $1.25 per day available - they are considered extremely poor. This makes the Indian subcontinent one of the poorest countries in the world; women and children suffer most. More than 800 million people in India are considered poor. Most of them live in the countryside and keep afloat with odd jobs. India is one of the world’s top countries when it comes to malnutrition. More than 200 million people don’t have sufficient access to food, including 61 million children. According to UNICEF, about 25% of children in India have no access to education. The number of children excluded from school is higher among girls than boys. In India 1.4 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. 

Top factors for people to leave India are human rights issues, increasing religious tensions, violence, extensive poverty, widespread corruption, poor sanitation, hunger, and even dangerous levels of air pollution.

In 1754, the population of New France (Canada) was 55,000. The colonists had come from regions in France over more than a century, and mainly lived in the cities and seigneuries of the St. Lawrence River Valley. At the end of the Seven Years’ War, France, Great Britain and Spain ratified the Treaty of Paris (1763). The rare French people who chose to immigrate to Canada were craftspeople, clerks, teachers, artists and members of liberal professions. Some of the first push factors were related to religious beliefs. The divide between the Roman Catholic majority and the Protestant minority influenced members of the minority group to move to the Americas. Other push factors included the 1800s potato blight and multiple famines in France that occurred in the 1650s, 1680s, late 1690s and the early 1700s. The French Indian War, which spanned across part of the period in which France was also fighting disease and poverty, contributed to additional migrations to America. Forced migration, such as the Company of the West slave trade, was also a push factor, as was the French Revolution.

Today, overcrowding in the big cities is a major issue, and everything that comes with them, for example traffic jams. The low employment rates in France are also not satisfying, there are very few job opportunities.  The cost of living in France is also very high, which drives many people out of the country because it is simply too expensive.       

Filipino immigration to Canada began in small numbers in the year 1930. By the 50s and 60s, only 800 or so had settled in Canada. Most resided in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Since the 1990s, immigration from the Philippines has increased steadily due to crowded living conditions in the Philippines, and economic and political problems. Today more than 200 000 Filipino immigrants live in Toronto and the neighboring areas. 

Many Filipino immigrants find work in one of two popular fields: nursing and caregiving. Of course there are many other fields that Filipinos work in. They often come to Canada with good English language skills. Many Filipinos have worked hard to bring their immediate families to Canada. Often, an individual will first come to Canada as a temporary worker, leaving spouses and children behind. Once they are permanent residents, they are then able to reunite with their families in Canada. The Philippines continues to rank as one of the largest emigrating nations to Canada.


Last modified: Monday, 10 May 2021, 1:36 PM