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President’s Report - March, 2010

Greetings:

As the country recovers from the celebrations of Canada’s success at the Winter Olympics, it is time perhaps to take stock of our national situation and where we are going.

We are doing that in AOTS as we prepare a national review of our constitution with a view to changing it to meet our current needs.

Today as I write this missive, a new report was released from Statistics Canada projecting a portrait of Canadian population diversity through to 2031.

We have known for some time that the Canadian social fabric is one that is interwoven with the strands of an increasingly intercultural population. That was a main thrust of the 2006 Census report, when 20% of the nation’s population was foreign-born.

Increased Diversity

By 2031 that figure is projected to be 26%. Nearly one half (46%) of Canadians over the age of 15 would be foreign born or have one parent who was foreign -born. If I’m around then I’ll be in that group being the offspring of and Canadian soldier and a war=bride mother.

As well 31% of the national population will belong to a visible minority group.

But what is most dramatic about this report is the growing diversity of the Canadian-born population. By 2031, 47% of second generation Canadians would be a member of a visible minority group. And nationally about 13 million people in the country would belong to a visible minority group.

The number of people with a non-Christian religion would double to 8% of the population and the proportion of those with a Christian religion would drop from 75% to 65%, while the share with no religion would increase from 17% to 21% of the population.

In 2031 within the country there will be great contrast in terms of both the foreign-born and the visible minority populations.

Large Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) like Toronto (50% and 63%), Vancouver (44% and 59%), Calgary (30% and 39%), Montreal (30% and 31%), Ottawa-Gatineau (29% and 36%), Abbotsford-Mission (29% and 39%) and Windsor (28% and 33%) will stand in contrast to other centres like Sudbury (5% and 5%), Quebec City (7% and 5%) and Saguenay (2% and 2%).

Growth Everywhere

But while there is great contrast between cities, the foreign-born and visible minority populations of cities will grow everywhere. The population of visible minority populations will double in Brantford, Kelowna, Sudbury, London, Moncton, Oshawa, Peterborough, Saint John, Saskatoon, Sherbrooke, St. Catherines-Niagara and St John’s. For those of you wishing to access the study report please click on the following link: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/100309/dq100309a-eng.htm

To find the CMA closest to you click here: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/100309/t100309a1-eng.htm

For us in AOTS this represents yet another challenge. How do we relate to those newcomers and others who have no experience with the United Church? How do we welcome them, throw our church doors open from the inside and say ‘join us... bring us your gifts.... let us share our gifts together and begin a new discussion about meaning, about God.... in a country we both can love”.

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