As of today, Canada does not have an official national religion.
However, the dominant faith here is Christianity. The French and the British explored and colonized Canada from the late 1600s. The main religion followed by both of these was Christianity, while most of the British were Protestant, the French were mainly Catholic.
Almost 70 per cent of Canadians even today are carrying this religious heritage forward with either identifying as Catholic or Protestant.
About 39 per cent are Roman Catholic, while 29 per cent identify as Protestants. These are subdivided into Anglicans, Baptists, Calvinists, Lutherans, and more.
Canada, being a warm and welcoming nation, has seen an influx of immigrants from all parts of the world. These people bring along with them a number of different religions and faiths.
One can see quite a few minority religions in Canada. The predominant amongst these is Islam. Almost every Canadian metropolitan city has a flourishing Muslim population. This comprises Muslim immigrants from around the globe. These people make up around three percent of the Canadian population and are mostly Sunnis, while one can find Shias and Ahmadiyyas too.
The next in line are Hindus. Around two per cent of Canadians practice Hinduism. How this came about is due to three key influxes over time. A major group immigrated almost a century back to British Columbia. The second group was from Sri Lanka which immigrated from 1940 to the 1980s. These people settled mainly in the greater Toronto area. The third group comprises converts – Canadians to Hindus. These conversions are mainly due to the Hare Krishna movement that’s been around since the last half century or so.
Less than one per cent of Canada’s population follows three other religions – Sikhism, Buddhism and Judaism.
The Sikhs form the largest South Asian population of Canada. In the early 1900s, more than five thousand Sikhs immigrated to this country. Even in the face of racial discrimination and restrictive immigration policies, they thrived and are still growing in number.
The second name in the list is Buddhism. This came about in Canada in the 19th century due to Chinese and Japanese settlers. Japanese Buddhism prevailed in the earlier years and post 1950s, which saw many immigrants from other nations like Sri Lanka; other Buddhist traditions started gaining prominence too.
Judaism is the last on the list but Jewish Canadians form the fourth largest Jewish community in the entire world. Jewish immigrants came to Canada in the 18th century and their numbers increased till 1945, towards the end of World War II as they tried to escape increasing persecution and the Holocaust.
Over time, Canada has seen a large number of immigrants who do not identify with any religion. These are mainly the Chinese.
There is also a generational shift in values and beliefs. The aging population that felt closer to religious affiliations is declining.
As of present times, around 24 percent of Canadians do not ascribe to any religion. They are either agnostic or atheist.
Canadian society firmly believes in religious freedom. All Canadian citizens are free to observe any religion they wish to in Canada. Their practices should be well within the purview of the law, however.
Do know that religion is not discussed explicitly in public in Canada. While people talk about it, they are uncomfortable with the preaching and promoting of a certain faith.
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