Who are Arab-Canadians?
- Arab Canadians were born in or originate from an Arabic-speaking country in North Africa, the Arabian Gulf and the Near East.
- Arab Canadians are very diverse- Each region has its unique history, along with different religions, customs and dialects of Arabic.
- Various cultures intersect through art, music, food and cultural practices, forming what we know as Arab culture.
- Arab-Canadians majority are originally from Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt and Syria.
- The immigration status of Arabs in Canada is as follows: 27.7% are citizens, 67.4% are immigrants (among which 55% are economic immigrants and 25% are refugees), and 4.9% are non-immigrants (i.e. under a work or study permit)
- Arab Canadians majority reside in Quebec and Ontario, predominantly in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa-Gatineau.
- 61% of Arabs in Canada have a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree prodominially business, engineering and health care programs.
- Arab Canadians are among the highest unemployed visible minorities (13.5%), and 70% have an average income below $50,000.
What is the challenge?
With a population nearing 1,000,000, Arab Canadians are among Canada’s fastest-growing visible minority populations. This number is projected to increase as Canada targets to welcome record numbers of immigrants by 2023. The Arab population in Canada has increased by 34% between the years 2011-2016. The majority of Arab immigration is relatively recent, with 73% classified as first-generation Canadians.
Canadian immigration selection policies emphasize education, skills and work experience, meaning that recent immigrants have a high education level. Although the educational qualifications of Arab Canadians are higher than the general population, economic indicators show that they are facing challenges when it comes to employment and income. The unemployment rate among Arab Canadians is 13.5%, which is the highest among all racial/ethnic groups in Canada. The average income of the general population in Canada is 40% higher than the average income of Arab Canadians ($47,487 and $33,542, respectively). Research shows that these challenges persist for children of immigrants.
With technology and globalization are affecting the prosperity of young people in Canada, Arab Canadian youth face additional barriers that may hinder their success. Children of refugees may have to deal with transgenerational trauma, Arab Canadian LGBTQ2+ youth may feel ostracized from their community and yet not entirely accepted in the LGBTQ2+ community. Women face additional barriers. Arab Canadian youth with disabilities or mental health illnesses might seek sere culturally appropriate services. Given that the Arab Canadian population is younger, with 30% under the age of 15 compared to 17% for the total population, understanding the barriers they face and responding to their needs is imperative to them finding personal, social and economic success.
How are we solving the problem? Why are we solving the problem?
Research and statistics on Arab Canadians are limited. Through the Forum of Arab Canada Empowerment (FACE), we aim to facilitate discussions around the economic, social, psychological and political challenges that Arab-Canadians face. This will serve as a building block to understand why they are happening and will allow us to determine what action steps are necessary to overcome them and how to implement them. In the future, it will enable us to assess progress. FACE will allow us to evaluate introspectively where we are at as a community than the general population. It will also allow us to understand what external factors hinder us (such as discrimination and arabophobia). Immigrants are essential to Canada because they drive population growth and labour force growth. As the Arab Canadian population increases, focusing on their successful integration into Canadian society is imperative and will ensure they reach their full potential. This will ensure that Arab Canadians continue to become valuable citizens in Canada’s multicultural society.
About The Youth Company
The Youth Company is a social enterprise that creates social value for Arab-Canadians. We empower and develop Arab youth effectively and sustainably by allowing them to actively participate and take the initiative in creating educational, career-oriented and communitarian programs and events that build long-lasting positive social impact.
This annual conference is geared towards addressing Arab-Canadians and Arab-Canadian youth experience within the Canadian system. It aims to create a dialogue between leaders, topic experts, academics and youth to understand the subject in greater depth and encourage collaboration to find solutions and recommendations. FACE is based on conversations between successful Arab-Canadians, allies and youth.
To promote research and mobilize knowledge for Arab Canadian empowerment.
- Space for reflection: providing the platform needed for reflection and building knowledge. Learning from past, current, and upcoming challenges to improve personal, social and professional success among Arab Canadians.
- A network of leaders: bringing together Arab leaders from all around the country to join forces in lifting the Arab-Canadian community.
- A community with impact: collaborating and fostering effect in the and by the community through collaborations in solving some of the problems that contribute to the high level of unemployment in the Arab-Canadian community
- Fostering collaboration: Encourage participants to collaborate (work jointly to create projects, programs, innovative solutions), cooperate (act jointly towards the same outcome), and coordinate (bring different elements together in harmony) while sharing their valuable experiences.