Religion in Canada


According to thesciencetutor, Canada has an average population density of 4 residents per km2, but the population is very unevenly distributed. More than half live in a relatively small area on the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence River, in the southern parts of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Otherwise, the settlement is located mainly to an east-west belt along the border with the United States. The northern parts of the country are largely uninhabited.

A distinctive feature of Canada is the historical division of the population into two major linguistic and cultural circles, which has led to political problems. More than 80 percent of the country’s population lives in cities. The proportion has changed little in recent decades. The largest cities were 2017 Toronto (2.7 million residents), Montreal (1.7 million) and Calgary (1.2 million). The capital of Ottawa had 989 600 residents in the same year.

For information on life expectancy and other demographic statistics, see Abbreviationfinder.

Canada is an immigrant country with large population groups originating in widely different countries. Since the 1980s, the country also recognizes this diversity through an official multicultural ideology. In addition to French and English speaking groups, which are traditionally the largest and which have dominated the country’s modern history, there are, for example, considerable Filipino, Greek, Italian, Irish, Chinese, Polish, Scottish, German and Ukrainian groups. From the 2011 census, where the counts themselves indicated ethnicity, it appears that a further large number of ethnic groups are represented in the country. The great diversity is manifested in a number of areas of society, not least in the larger cities where entire neighborhoods are dominated by an ethnic group.

The diversity is also accentuated by the great wealth of ethnic groups and distinct cultures that exist among the country’s indigenous people. They are now officially categorized with the collective designation First Nations/Premières Nations, Inuit (formerly called Eskimos) and so-called. métis (who are descendants of children of French colonizers and fur hunters with native women). These groups now have their own political bodies, namely the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis National Council. Altogether, according to the 2011 census, these indigenous populations amounted to 1.4 million (4.3 percent of the population). First Nations comprises nearly 615 culturally distinctive groups totaling 852,000, the Inuit amounting to 59,400, while the Métis population numbers 451,800.

People in Canada

While the indigenous peoples of the country’s sparsely populated northern parts (Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory) have largely been able to preserve their traditional way of life, this has only been possible in the southern parts – and only partially – within the numerous government-established reserves, whose total area amounts to approximately 26,000 km2, just under 0.3 percent of the country’s area. The Canadian Constitution of 1982 guarantees the special rights of the indigenous peoples and regulates relations with the federal government.

The indigenous cultures are divided into six cultural areas: Arctic, subarctic, northwestern coast, plateau, prairie and eastern forest land. Of these, the subarctic is the only one found solely within Canada’s borders; it therefore gets a more detailed description here (for the Arctic, see Inuit and Arctic; for the northwestern coast, see northwest coastal Indians; for the prairie, see the prairie Indians; the peoples of the plateau and the eastern forest land are dealt with in the article Native Americans).

The Arctic areas are inhabited mainly by Inuit. The Northwestern Territories were split in 1999 by the establishment of the autonomous Nunavut, a vast, sparsely populated area where nearly 84 percent are Inuit (2011). In the remaining part of the Northwestern Territories, 36 percent of First Nations are divided into 26 different groups and 11 percent of Inuit.

According to Countryaah data, the indigenous people of the subarctic area traditionally fed on hunting, fishing and gathering. Due to the scant amount of quarry, population density in subarctic was among the lowest in the world; the ambitious groups (English bands) usually consisted of only 25-30 individuals per group. Formal political leadership was lacking; Decisions were made through consensus, and families or individuals who became unhappy with the group had the opportunity to leave it and join another. The traditional technology, for example. transport and storage of food meant a perfect adaptation to the natural environment. The hides (the wigwams)) were cone-shaped and covered with birch bark or leather, and for transport on lakes and rivers, birch canoes were used. However, contact with the Europeans meant a deterioration in the conditions of the indigenous population: fur trading meant that several animal species were almost extinct, while the indigenous population depended on the trading stations for weapons and weapons, sometimes also food and alcohol. Their numbers were also decimated by European diseases such as smallpox, measles and influenza.

The subarctic peoples belong to two language groups: among the Algonque speakers who live south and east of Hudson Bay, for example, Innu (formerly called Montagnais) and Naskapi, Algonquins, Cree and Ojibwa, and among the Athapaski-speakers, west of Hudson Bay, among others.. chipewyan (dene), danezaa (formerly called beaver), dakelh (carrier), slave, tlicho (dogrib) and gwichin (kutchin). On Newfoundland, the extinct Beothuk was now spoken, which is usually counted as the Algonquin languages, although other theories have been put forward.

Religion among the various sub-Arctic groups had many common features. In myths, the relationship between man and nature was emphasized and expressed, especially among the Algon-speaking peoples, in the ritual identification between certain animal species and genealogies (see totemism). The quarry had its protective spirits, which must be applauded in connection with the hunting of larger animals (see bear cult); human protective spirits were sometimes individual and had to be contacted or “found” through fasting and prayers. Religious specialists, shamans or medicine men, established contact with the spirits, often by transposing themselves, and acted as healers, prophets and seers.


Canada has two official languages ​​at the national level, English and French, but in addition, fifty native languages ​​and a large number of immigrant languages ​​are spoken. The largest languages ​​according to the 2011 census are English (57% of the population), French (21%) and Chinese (3%). Most French speakers are in the province of Quebec.

The native languages ​​belong to a dozen different language families, the largest of which are the Algonquin languages, the Eskimo-Aleutian languages ​​and the Athapascan languages. Most native speakers (2011) have the Algonquin language cree (83,500) and the Eskimo-Aleutian language Inuktitut (34,100).

At the provincial level, English is the official language everywhere except in Quebec. French is officially in New Brunswick, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec and Yukon. In Nunavut, in addition to English and French, two Eskimo-Aleutian languages ​​are official (Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun). The Northwest Territories recognize a total of eight native languages.


The religious conditions reflect Canada’s immigrant history. The Roman Catholic Church came to Canada through the French colonizers and from 1608 also missioned among the indigenous people. Protestantism was introduced at the same time by the Huguenots. By the British conquest of 1760, Anglicanism became official religion, but the Catholics had their freedom of religion reaffirmed in 1774. The constitution in 1852 abolished the state church system, and general religious freedom was introduced. Catholics (45-50%) predominate in the French-speaking areas (especially Quebec); Archbishops are found in Toronto, Quebec, Montreal and Winnipeg. The Protestants are about 40%, of which Anglicans 10%. Methodists, Congregationalists and half of the Presbyterians were united in 1925 at The United Church of Canada (UCC). Through immigration, a number of smaller Orthodox churches have also been established.

The Jews of Canada have been represented by the Canadian Jewish Congress since 1919. Islam has increased in recent years through immigration from Asia and Africa; Hinduism and Buddhism have also gained more followers. In recent decades, more and more indigenous people have returned to the traditional religions.

Canada Religion