Tag Archives: Immigrants in Comox Valley

EXCLUSIVE: Hong Kong asylum applicants suddenly shun Canada. What’s happening?

Editor’s note: There are very few Chinese ‘immigrants’ in North Vancouver Island. Most new Canadians appear to be attracted to more urban areas of British Columbia, and our area is primarily populated by descendants of earlier ‘settlers.’ Most of the foreign born residents in our area reached Canada sometime prior to 1980. The 2021 census reports some Chinese immigrants in Comox (100), Courtenay (80), Powell River (55) and Campbell River (50). There were no Chinese immigrants reported on Cortes Island or in Area C

The vast majority of people who ‘look Chinese’ in our area, are actually Canadians. The numbers of people who stated their ethnic origin is Chinese are: in the Comox Valley (795), Courtenay (460), Campbell River (310), Powell River (200) and Area C (20). While no of Chinese ancestry was reported on Cortes Island, there could be 1 or 2 as Statistics Canada rounds numbers off to the closest multiple of 5.

One of the hindrances to immigration for Hong Kong mentioned below, is that it is a Cantonese speaking area and when Canadians speak a Chinese language it is usually Mandarin. This is not true of our area. Only 5 of the 20 people of Chinese origin in Area C speak a Chinese language: Cantonese. There are more Cantonese speakers than Mandarin in Comox (180 vs 110) and Campbell River (80 vs 65). There are almost equal numbers of people speaking these languages in Courtenay (110 vs 115). Powell River is the only place where Mandarin was used by the vast majority of people still speaking a Chinese language (60 vs 30).

Two other hindrances to immigration: difficulty finding high-quality work and lack of affordable housing.

By William Koblensky Varela, New Canadian Media, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Hongkongers have largely stopped applying for Canadian work and study permits under a policy for those fleeing the Beijing-imposed national security law, previously unpublished data from Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shows.

Thousands of people from Hong Kong fled to Canada after China cracked down on dissent and free speech in the former British colony by imposing the national security law in 2020. Since then, many pro-democracy activists have been silenced, civil society groups have been shut down and outspoken media outlets have been closed.

However, a tough job market for new immigrants, housing challenges, competition from the UK and Taiwan, as well as a downturn in the Hong Kong economy could all be behind the sudden slowdown in asylum applications to Canada, according to expert opinion.

Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Hong Kong asylum applicants suddenly shun Canada. What’s happening?

Immigration in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Discovery Islands

On the surface, one might ask how relevant an article about immigration is to people living in the Discovery Islands. The vast majority of us either came from more urban parts of British Columbia, and/or are the descendants of an earlier wave of immigrants. Many non-Indigenous Cortesians trace their roots back to the era when most immigrants were ‘British,’ European or from the United States. There are undoubtedly many reasons why this predominantly ‘white’ population is now found in more rural areas. Some of us are the descendants of the first settlers in this area, others sought a more rural lifestyle and many moved here because of real estate values. 

According to Statistics Canada, a new wave of immigration has become the principal driver of our nation’s population growth. 

Continue reading Immigration in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Discovery Islands