On Saturday, February 17, 2018, when Canadian Prime Minister, with his family, arrived in India for a week-long visit to discuss business and trade, it became evident that India's presence in Canada is much more than mere numbers.
Though Canada is home to immigrant communities from all around the world, Indo-Canadians are one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, this makes them the second largest non-European ethnic group in the country after Chinese Canadians. Toronto has the largest Indo-Canadian population in Canada. Almost 51 per cent of the entire Indo-Canadian community resides in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), 20 per cent in the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA), followed by growing communities in Alberta and Quebec. Most Indo-Canadians in the Toronto area live in Brampton, Mississauga, Markham, Scarborough, and Etobicoke.
Indo-Canadians have a strong presence in Brampton, where they represent a third of the population. Likewise, around 20 per cent of the entire Indo-Canadian community resides in GVA and nearby areas like Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Abbotsford and Delta. Of late there has been a surge in the number of Indians, moving to other areas outside of GVA. The City of Surrey has over 107,000 South Asians which makes up about 30 per cent of the City's population. South Asian Canadians are those who were either born in or can trace their ancestry to South Asia that includes nations such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
Brad J. Henderson, President and CEO at Sotheby's International Realty Canada (SIR) who founded the Indian Service Group in 2017 gauged the potential of this particular segment and how it will positivity impact the Canadian real estate market.
The Indian Service Group at SIR was formed because of several reasons. Firstly the idea was to capture more incoming and domestic spend associated with Indian buyers and sellers of residential real estate. We also want to partner with commercial real estate brokers to refer commercial investment opportunities and also provide a service that can be leveraged by other SIR Canada team members.
In addition to this, the Indian Service Group concentrated on more efficiently interacting with Sotheby’s International Realty affiliates in India as well as connect with other India Services Groups throughout North America and the world. "This helped us in significantly improving our capability and services to the market and our clients, thus, are recruiting more Indian real estate professionals in Canada," adds Henderson.
Rizwan Malik, Senior Vice President-Sales at SIR Canada was eight when he moved to Canada from Pakistan.
I moved right to downtown Toronto with my family. People mostly back then would move to the City, however, in the last 20-30 years, the suburbs have developed quite a lot in regards to amenities, services and connectivity. This has become a huge draw for South Asian communities who are immigrating and settling in suburbs by purchasing properties.
Malik credits education as well as the healthcare system, stable economy and public safety as some of many reasons for people to immigrate to Canada. In regards to settling in the suburbs, he feels that it is convenient as the homes are larger, newly built, less expensive and last but not the least there is a sense of community. "This is especially important for newcomers who can otherwise find a big new city like Toronto overwhelming," he adds.
Malik notes Milton and Oshawa are some new suburbs that are currently attracting a large number of South Asian communities of late.
In my opinion, 20-25 per cent of South Asians are living in the City while the rest are settled in the suburbs. I meet an average of two to three South Asian clients in a month and they mostly want to be in the suburbs unless they are in university or college then they want to be right in downtown.
Scores of foreign students choose to study in Canada especially in Ontario as well as British Columbia because of their internationally renowned education, better job opportunities, and the higher standard of living. In 2016, India topped the list with 33 per cent of students pursuing education in Canada, followed by China with 26 per cent. A report from the University of Toronto states that in 2017, Canadian colleges and universities admitted 100,000 students from India. Indo-Canadian students are well represented in Toronto-area universities; students of Indian origin make up over 35 per cent of Ryerson University, 30 per cent of York University, and 20 per cent of the University of Toronto's student bodies, respectively.
When it comes to trade and commerce, the relations between both the countries are going uphill. From past two years, bilateral trade between India and Canada has increased by nearly 30 per cent. In 2017, two-way merchandise trade between Canada and India was $8.4 billion. Canada mainly imports pearls, organic chemicals, pharmaceutical products, textiles, bicycles and motorcycles from India. It exports vegetables, paper, fertilizers, wood pulp, iron and steel and precious stones to India. In 2017, about 150 Indian companies visited Toronto, to seek new partners, find opportunities to launch start-ups, explore investment opportunities, and identify new products and technologies.
Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau, on his most recent visit to India, met with six of India’s most influential business tycoons, resulting in partnership that will create more than 5,000 new jobs as well as invest more than $250 million in Canada in the coming years in everything from pulp mills to pharmaceuticals and the IT sector.
Great to see Prime Minister @narendramodi again today in Delhi. Thank you for the warm welcome & productive talks on how Canada & India will collaborate more closely, creating more jobs and opportunities for people in both our countries. pic.twitter.com/HqmhMNk4W5— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 23, 2018
India plays a pivotal role in strengthening Canada's economy through major contributions in all the three important sectors – real estate, education and business. With the change in United States of America's foreign policy, Canada is seeing a very strong improvement in the above-mentioned sectors and is not stopping anytime soon.
Title photo by betty_xo