Martin C. Barry
With the release last week of a new statistical report on Laval’s ever-growing immigrant population, the city is setting higher standards for itself and hopes to be more welcoming, while being more inclusive and integrating newly arrived immigrants.
According to the report which was unveiled during a gathering of Laval-area immigration issue stakeholders at Collège Montmorency’s André Mathieu auditorium, 28.5 per cent of the City of Laval’s population consists of people who immigrated to Canada and Quebec from other countries.
Some startling stats
Perhaps more startlingly, from 2001 to 2016 the immigrant population of Laval increased by an astonishing 122.8 per cent. With a 13. 5 per cent share each of the city’s population, Syria and Haiti rank highest as the countries of birth for immigrants to Laval.
In all, 44 per cent of families in Laval are regarded as having immigrant origins. The report, based on statistics from the last national census, also reveals that more than 60 per cent of immigrants are employed, although the rate varies from 54.7 per cent for women to 66.1 per cent for males.
In addition to these facts, the report also states that 15.1 per cent of immigrants living in Laval are self-employed, compared to a 10 per cent rate for non-immigrants. As well, 74.3 per cent of immigrants are homeowners, compared to 66.8 per cent of non-immigrants.
Laval city councillor Jocelyne Frédéric-Gauthier, who is responsible for immigration and multicultural issues, said the report comes following a pledge made by the city to improve its methods for overseeing the integration of the immigrant population.
Window on immigration
“The statistical portrait of the immigrant population of Laval allows us to see the specific realities lived by people who are immigrants,” she said. “It will also allow the city, as well as institutions and local as well as regional organizations working with the immigration population to have a better knowledge of the sociological, linguistic and economic characteristics of the different groups arriving to live in Laval.”
The rate of growth for the immigrant population in Laval is four times that on the Island of Montreal, where it was only 31 per cent during the same period. Creation and finalization of the report was overseen by a team of officials from the Carrefour d’Intercultures de Laval, the CISSS de Laval, Services Québec Laval, the Table de concertation de Laval en condition féminine and the City of Laval.
Every three out of 10
The report estimates that three Laval residents out of 10 have immigrant roots. Between 2001 and 2016, the number of people in Laval who are immigrants or whose roots stem from recent immigration rose from 52,495 to 116,935.
And perhaps not surprisingly, the researchers found that Chomedey, the Laval district most often associated with high levels of immigrant population, actually has Laval’s highest percentage of immigrants, with 42.8 per cent of its population – or four out of 10 people – being able to trace their direct roots to immigration.