While there has been recent debate over the benefits of multiculturalism, national polls consistently show that multiculturalism is strongly supported by a majority of Canadians.
Multiculturalism has been Canadian federal policy since 1971. Combined with a policy of bilingualism – which recognizes English and French as Canada’s two official languages – multicultural policy was designed not only to recognize Canada’s diversity, but also to reverse earlier practices of assimilation.
Multiculturalism encourages all Canadians to accept cultural pluralism and to participate fully in Canadian society. It also recognizes the fundamental equality of all citizens, regardless of ethno-cultural background.
In British Columbia, initiatives supporting multiculturalism and diversity and working towards the elimination of racism are supported through the Government of BC’s EmbraceBC program.
For many immigrants and their children, negotiating a sense of belonging and identity within multicultural Canada is a lifelong process. People may change how they articulate and represent their identities over time.