Housing Issues Facing Immigrants and Refugees in Greater Toronto: Initial Findings From Jamaican, Polish and Somali Communities

Toronto is the primary reception area for Canada’s immigrants and refugees. Since the early 1970s approximately one-third of immigrants and refugees coming to Canada each year have settled in the Toronto area, which has only about thirteen percent of Canada’s population. The number of immigrants entering Canada, and settling initially in the Toronto area, increased dramatically in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For Toronto, the numbers fluctuated from just under 30,000 in the mid-1980s to more than 70,000 in the early 1990s.

The countries of origin of these immigrants have also changed dramatically since the late 1960s. Until the late 1960s, most of Toronto’s immigrants were from Britain and other European countries. Since then there has been a substantial internationalization of Toronto’s population with the arrival of relatively large numbers of immigrants from various countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and the Caribbean. The flow of immigrants to Toronto also represents a wide spectrum of economic classes ranging from refugees to business people.

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