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Religion in Canada

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Religion in Canada

Religion in Canada encompasses a wide range of groups and beliefs.[1] The majority of Canadians are [4][5] The preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms refers to God and the monarch carries the title of "Defender of the Faith". However, Canada has no official religion, and support for religious pluralism and freedom of religion is an important part of Canada's political culture.[6][7]

Before the European colonization Aboriginal religions were largely animistic, including an intense reverence for spirits and nature.[8] The French colonization beginning in the 17th century established a Roman Catholic francophone population in Acadia and in New France later Lower Canada, now Nova Scotia and Quebec. It has been followed by a British colonization that brought Anglicans and other Protestants to Upper Canada, now Ontario.

With Christianity in decline after having once been central and integral to Canadian culture and daily life, Canada has become a post-Christian, secular state.[9][10][11] The practice of religion is now generally considered a private matter throughout society and the state.[12] The majority of Canadians consider religion to be unimportant, but still believe in God.[13]


  • Government and religion 1
  • Census results 2
  • History 3
    • Before 1800s 3.1
    • 1800s to 1900s 3.2
    • 1900s to 1960s 3.3
    • 1960s and after 3.4
  • Abrahamic religions 4
    • Bahá'í Faith 4.1
    • Christianity 4.2
      • Anabaptism 4.2.1
        • Hutterites
        • Mennonites
      • Catholicism 4.2.2
        • Anglican Catholic Church of Canada
      • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 4.2.3
    • Islam 4.3
    • Judaism 4.4
  • Indian religions 5
    • Hinduism 5.1
    • Buddhism 5.2
    • Jainism 5.3
    • Sikhism 5.4
  • Other religions 6
    • Neopaganism 6.1
      • Neo-Druidism 6.1.1
  • Irreligion 7
  • Age and religion 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12

Government and religion

Canada today has no official church, and the government is officially committed to religious pluralism.[14] While the Canadian government's official ties to religion, specifically Christianity are few, it more overtly recognizes the existence of God and even the supremacy of God. Both the preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the national anthem in both official languages refer to God. Nevertheless the rise of irreligion within the country and influx of non-Christian peoples has led to a greater separation of government and religion,[15] demonstrated in forms like "Christmas holidays" being called "winter festivals" in public schools.[16] Some religious schools are government-funded as per Section Twenty-nine of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[17]

Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa showing Christmas decorations

Canada is a Commonwealth realm in which the head of state is shared with 15 other countries. As such Canada follows the United Kingdom's succession laws for its monarch which bar Roman Catholics from inheriting the throne.[18] Within Canada, the Queen's title includes the phrases "By the Grace of God" and "Defender of the Faith."[19]

Christmas and Easter are nationwide holidays, and while Jews, Muslims, and other religious groups are allowed to take their holy days off work, they do not share the same official recognition.[20] In 1957, the Parliament declared Thanksgiving "a day of general thanksgiving to almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed."[21]

In some parts of the country Sunday shopping is still banned, but this is steadily becoming less common. There was an ongoing battle in the late 20th century to have religious garb accepted throughout Canadian society, mostly focused on Sikh turbans. Eventually the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Armed Forces and other federal government agencies accepted members wearing turbans.

Census results

Religion in Canada (2011 National Household Survey)[2]

  Christianity (67.3%)
  Non-religious (23.9%)
  Islam (3.2%)
  Hinduism (1.5%)
  Sikhism (1.4%)
  Buddhism (1.1%)
  Judaism (1.0%)
  Other religions (0.6%)

In the Canada 2011 National Household Survey (the 2011 census did not ask about religious affiliation but the survey sent to a subset of the population did), 67% of the Canadian population list Roman Catholicism or Protestantism or another Christian denomination as their religion, considerably less than 10 years before in the Canada 2001 Census, where 77% of the population listed a Christian religion.[22] [23][24] Representing one out of three Canadians, the Roman Catholic Church in Canada is by far the country's largest single denomination. Those who listed no religion account for 24% of total respondents. In 2001 in British Columbia, however, 35% of respondents reported no religion — more than any single denomination and more than all Protestants combined.[25]

In the recent years there have been substantial rises in non-Christian religions in Canada. From the 1991 to 2011, Islam grew by 316%, Hinduism 217%, Sikhism 209%, and Buddhism 124%. The growth of non-Christian religions expressed as a percentage of Canada's population rose from 4% in 1991 to 8% in 2011. In terms of the ratio of non-Christians to Christians, it rose from 21 Christians (95% of religious population) to 1 non-Christian (5% of religious population) in 1991 to 8 Christians (89%) to 1 non-Christian (11%) in 2011, a rise of 135% of the ratio of non-Christians to Christians, or a decline of 6.5% of Christians to non-Christians, in 20 years.

Main Religious Denominations in Canada
19911 2001 20112
Number % Number % Number %
Total Population 26,944,040 29,639,035 32,852,300
Christian 22,503,360 83 22,851,825 77 22,102,700 67.3
- Roman Catholic 12,203,625 45.2 12,793,125 43.2 12,728,900 38.7
- Total Protestant 9,427,675 34.9 8,654,845 29.2
- United Church of Canada 3,093,120 11.5 2,839,125 9.6 2,007,610 6.1
- Anglican Church of Canada 2,188,110 8.1 2,035,495 6.9 1,631,845 5.0
- Baptist 663,360 2.5 729,470 2.5 635,840 1.9
- Lutheran 636,205 2.4 606,590 2.0 478,185 1.5
- Protestant, not included elsewhere3 628,945 2.3 549,205 1.9
- Presbyterian 636,295 2.4 409,830 1.4 472,385 1.4
- Christian Orthodox 387,395 1.4 495,245 1.7 550,690 1.7
- Christian, not included elsewhere4 353,040 1.3 780,450 2.6
No Religious Affiliation 3,397,000 12.6 4,900,095 16.5 7,850,600 23.9
Other 1,093,690 4.1 1,887,115 6.4 2,703,200 8.1
- Muslim 253,265 0.9 579,645 2.0 1,053,945 3.2
- Hindu 157,010 0.6 297,200 1.0 497,960 1.5
- Sikh 147,440 0.5 278,415 0.9 454,965 1.4
- Buddhist 163,415 0.6 300,345 1.0 366,830 1.1
- Jewish 318,185 1.2 329,990 1.1 329,500 1.0
1For comparability purposes, 1991 data are presented according to 2001 boundaries.
2The 2011 data is from the National Household Survey[2] and so numbers are estimates.
3Includes persons who report only “Protestant”.
4Includes persons who report “Christian”, and those who report “Apostolic”, “Born-again Christian” and “Evangelical”.
Province/territory[26] Christians % Non-religious % Muslims % Jews % Buddhists % Hindus % Sikhs % Traditional (Aboriginal) Spirituality % Other religions1 %
 Alberta 2,152,200 60.32 1,126,130 31.56 113,445 3.18 10,900 0.31 44,410 1.24 36,845 1.03 52,335 1.47 15,100 0.42 16,605 0.47
 British Columbia 1,930,415 44.64 1,908,285 44.13 79,310 1.83 23,130 0.53 90,620 2.10 45,795 1.06 201,110 4.65 10,295 0.24 35,500 0.82
 Manitoba 803,640 68.43 311,105 26.49 12,405 1.06 11,110 0.95 6,770 0.58 7,720 0.66 10,200 0.87 7,155 0.61 4,245 0.36
 New Brunswick 616,910 83.84 111,435 15.14 2,640 0.36 620 0.08 975 0.13 820 0.11 20 0.00 525 0.07 1,895 0.26
 Newfoundland and Labrador 472,720 93.19 31,330 6.18 1,200 0.24 175 0.03 400 0.08 635 0.13 100 0.02 30 0.01 685 0.14
 Northwest Territories 27,050 66.30 12,450 30.51 275 0.67 40 0.10 170 0.42 70 0.17 20 0.05 500 1.23 220 0.54
 Nova Scotia 690,460 78.19 197,665 21.18 8,505 0.94 1,805 0.20 2,205 0.24 1,850 0.20 390 0.04 570 0.06 2,720 0.30
 Nunavut 27,255 85.99 4,100 12.94 50 0.16 10 0.03 20 0.06 30 0.09 10 0.03 135 0.43 85 0.27
 Ontario 8,167,295 64.55 2,927,790 23.14 581,950 4.60 195,540 1.55 163,750 1.29 366,720 2.90 179,765 1.42 15,905 0.13 53,080 0.42
 Prince Edward Island 115,620 84.16 19,820 14.43 660 0.43 100 0.07 560 0.41 205 0.15 10 0.01 55 0.04 350 0.25
 Quebec 6,356,880 82.27 937,545 12.12 243,430 3.15 85,100 1.10 52,390 0.68 33,540 0.43 9,275 0.12 2,025 0.03 12,340 0.16
 Saskatchewan 726,920 72.06 246,305 24.41 10,040 1.00 940 0.09 4,265 0.42 3,570 0.35 1650 0.16 12,240 1.21 2,810 0.28
 Yukon 15,380 46.16 16,630 49.90 40 0.12 20 0.06 295 0.89 160 0.48 90 0.27 395 1.19 300 0.90

1Includes Aboriginal spirituality, Pagan, Wicca, Unity - New Thought - Pantheist, Scientology, Rastafarian, New Age, Gnostic, Satanist, etc.[27]


Before 1800s

Le Grand Voyage du Pays des Hurons, Gabriel Sagard, 1632.

Before the arrival of Europeans, the First Nations followed a wide array of mostly animistic religions and spirituality.[28][29] The first Europeans to settle in great numbers in Canada were French Latin Rite Roman Catholics, including a large number of Jesuits who established several missions in North America. They were dedicated to converting the Natives; an effort that eventually proved successful.[30]

The first large Protestant communities were formed in the Maritimes after they were conquered by the British.[31] Unable to convince enough British immigrants to go to the region, the government decided to import continental Protestants from Germany and Switzerland to populate the region and counterbalance the Roman Catholic Acadians.[32] This group was known as the Foreign Protestants. This effort proved successful and today the South Shore region of Nova Scotia is still largely Lutheran. After the Expulsion of the Acadians beginning in 1755 a large number of New England Planters settled on the vacated lands bringing with them their Congregationalist belief.[33] During the 1770s, guided by Henry Alline, the New Light movement of the Great Awakening swept through the Atlantic region converting many of the Congregationalists to the new theology.[34] After Alline's death many of these Newlights eventually became Baptists, thus making Maritime Canada the heartland of the Baptist movement in Canada.[35][36][37]

The Quebec Act of 1774 acknowledged the rights of the Roman Catholic Church throughout Lower Canada in order to keep the French Canadians loyal to Britannic Crown.[38] Roman Catholicism is still the main religion of French Canadians today.

St. Paul's Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia, the oldest Anglican church in Canada still standing, built in 1750

The American Revolution beginning in 1765 brought a large influx of Protestants to Canada when United Empire Loyalists, fleeing the rebellious United States, moved in large numbers to Upper Canada and the Maritimes.[39] They comprised a mix of Christian groups with a large number of Anglicans, but also many Presbyterians and Methodists.

1800s to 1900s

While holiness movement caught fire, with the revitalized interest of men and women in Christian perfection. Caughey successfully bridged the gap between the style of earlier camp meetings and the needs of more sophisticated Methodist congregations in the emerging cities.[40]

In the early nineteenth century in the Maritimes and Upper Canada, the Anglican Church held the same official position it did in England. This caused tension within English Canada, as much of the populace was not Anglican. Increasing immigration from Scotland created a very large Presbyterian community and they and other groups demanded equal rights. This was an important cause of the 1837 Rebellion in Upper Canada. With the arrival of responsible governments, the Anglican monopoly was ended.[41]

In [42] During this period, the Roman Catholic Church in the region became one of the most reactionary in the world. Known as Ultramontane Catholicism, the church adopted positions condemning all manifestations of liberalism.[43]

In politics, those aligned with the Roman Catholic clergy in Quebec were known as les bleus (the blues). They formed a curious alliance with the staunchly monarchist and pro-British Anglicans of English Canada (often members of the Orange Order) to form the basis of the Canadian Conservative Party. The Reform Party, which later became the Liberal Party, was largely composed of the anti-clerical French Canadians, known as les rouges (the reds) and the non-Anglican Protestant groups. In those times, right before elections, parish priests would give sermons to their flock where they said things like Le ciel est bleu et l'enfer est rouge. This translates as "Heaven/the sky is blue and hell is red".

By the late nineteenth century, Protestant pluralism had taken hold in English Canada. While much of the elite were still Anglican, other groups had become very prominent as well. Toronto had become home to the world's single largest Methodist community and it became known as the "Methodist Rome". The schools and universities created at this time reflected this pluralism with major centres of learning being established for each faith. One, King's College, later the University of Toronto, was set up as a non-denominational school. The influence of the Orange Order was strong, especially among Irish Protestant immigrants, and comprised a powerful anti-Catholic force in Ontario politics; its influence faded away after 1920.[44]

The late nineteenth century also saw the beginning of a large shift in Canadian immigration patterns. Large numbers of Irish and Southern European immigrants were creating new Roman Catholic communities in English Canada. Western Canada saw the arrival of significant Eastern Orthodox immigrants from Eastern Europe as well as Mormon and Pentecostal immigrants from the United States and Ireland.

1900s to 1960s

In 1919-20 Canada's five major Protestant denominations (Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist, and Presbyterian) cooperatively undertook the "Forward Movement." The goal was to raise funds and to strengthen Christian spirituality in Canada. The movement invoked Anglophone nationalism by linking donations with the Victory Loan campaigns of the First World War, and stressed the need for funds to Canadianize immigrants. Centred in Ontario, the campaign was a clear financial success, raising over $11 million. However the campaign exposed deep divisions among Protestants, with the traditional Evangelists speaking of a personal relationship with God and the more liberal denominations emphasizing the Social Gospel and good works.[45] Both factions (apart from the Anglicans) agreed on prohibition, which was demanded by the WCTU.[46]

Domination of Canadian society by Protestant and Roman Catholic elements continued until well into the 20th century. Until the 1960s, most parts of Canada still had extensive Lord's Day laws that limited what one could do on a Sunday.[47] The English Canadian elite were still dominated by Protestants, and Jews and Roman Catholics were often excluded.[48] A slow process of liberalization began after the Second World War in English Canada. Overtly Christian laws were expunged, including those against homosexuality. Policies favouring Christian immigration were also abolished.[49]

1960s and after

The most overwhelming change occurred during the [50] While the majority of Québécois are still professed Latin rite Roman Catholics, rates of church attendance have decreased dramatically.[51] Since then, Common law relationships, abortion, and support for same-sex marriage are more common in Quebec than in the rest of Canada.

Inauguration of United Church at Mutual Street Arena, Toronto, on June 10, 1925

English Canada also underwent secularization. The United Church of Canada, the country's largest Protestant denomination, became one of the most liberal major Protestant churches in the world. Flatt argues that in the 1960s Canada's rapid cultural changes led the United Church to end its evangelical programs and change its identity. It made revolutionary changes in its evangelistic campaigns, educational programs, moral stances, and theological image. However, membership declined sharply as the United Church affirmed a commitment to gay rights including marriage and ordination, and to the ordination of women.[52][53]

Meanwhile a strong current of evangelical Protestantism emerged. The largest groups are found in the Atlantic provinces and Western Canada, particularly in Alberta, Southern Manitoba and the Southern interior and Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, also known as the "Canadian Bible Belt", as well as parts of Ontario outside the Greater Toronto Area. The social environment is more conservative, somewhat more in line with that of the Midwestern and Southern United States, and same-sex marriage, abortion, and common-law relationships are less widely accepted. This movement has grown sharply after 1960. The evangelicals increasingly influence public policy. Nevertheless, the overall proportion of evangelicals in Canada remains considerably lower than in the United States and the polarization much less intense. There are very few evangelicals in Quebec and in the largest urban areas, which are generally secular, although there are several congregations above 1000 members in most large cities.[54]

Abrahamic religions

Bahá'í Faith

The Montreal Bahá'í Shrine

The Canadian community is one of the earliest western communities of Bahá'ís, at one point sharing a joint National Spiritual Assembly with the United States, and is a co-recipient of `Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablets of the Divine Plan. The first North American woman to declare herself a Bahá'í was Kate C. Ives, of Canadian ancestry, though not living in Canada at the time. Moojan Momen, in reviewing "The Origins of the Bahá'í Community of Canada, 1898–1948" notes that "the Magee family... are credited with bringing the Bahá'í Faith to Canada. Edith Magee became a Bahá'í in 1898 in Chicago and returned to her home in London, Ontario, where four other female members of her family became Bahá'ís. This predominance of women converts became a feature of the Canadian Bahá'í community..."[55]


Canadian Christian bodies

The majority of Canadian Christians attend church services infrequently. Cross-national surveys of religiosity rates such as the Pew Global Attitudes Project indicate that, on average, Canadian Christians are less observant than those of the United States but are still more overtly religious than their counterparts in Western Europe. In 2002, 30% of Canadians reported to Pew researchers that religion was "very important" to them. A 2005 Gallup poll showed that 28% of Canadians consider religion to be "very important" (55% of Americans and 19% of Britons say the same).[56] Regional differences within Canada exist, however, with British Columbia and Quebec reporting especially low metrics of traditional religious observance, as well as a significant urban-rural divide, while Alberta and rural Ontario saw high rates of religious attendance. The rates for weekly church attendance are contested, with estimates running as low as 11% as per the latest Ipsos-Reid poll and as high as 25% as per Christianity Today magazine. This American magazine reported that three polls conducted by Focus on the Family, Time Canada and the Vanier Institute of the Family showed church attendance increasing for the first time in a generation, with weekly attendance at 25 per cent. This number is similar to the statistics reported by premier Canadian sociologist of religion, Prof. Reginald Bibby of the University of Lethbridge, who has been studying Canadian religious patterns since 1975. Although lower than in the US, which has reported weekly church attendance at about 40% since the Second World War, weekly church attendance rates are higher than those in Northern Europe.

As well as the large churches — Roman Catholic, United, and Anglican, which together count more than half of the Canadian population as nominal adherents — Canada also has many smaller Christian groups, including Orthodox Christianity. The Egyptian population in Ontario and Quebec (Greater Toronto in particular) has seen a large influx of the Coptic Orthodox population in just a few decades. The relatively large Ukrainian population of Manitoba and Saskatchewan has produced many followers of the Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, while southern Manitoba has been settled largely by Mennonites. The concentration of these smaller groups often varies greatly across the country. Baptists are especially numerous in the Maritimes. The Maritimes, prairie provinces, and southwestern Ontario have significant numbers of Lutherans. Southwest Ontario has seen large numbers of German and Russian immigrants, including many Mennonites and Hutterites, as well as a significant contingent of Dutch Reformed. Alberta has seen considerable immigration from the American plains, creating a significant Mormon minority in that province. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claimed to have 178,102 members (74,377 of whom in in Alberta) at the end of 2007.[57] And according to the Jehovah's Witnesses year report there are 111,963 active members (members who actively preach) in Canada.

Canada as a nation is becoming increasingly religiously diverse, especially in large urban centres such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, where minority groups and new immigrants who make up the growth in most religious groups congregate. Two significant trends become clear when we examine the current religious landscape closely. One is the loss of ‘secularized’ Canadians as active and regular participants in the churches and denominations they grew up in, which were overwhelmingly Christian, while these churches remain a part of Canadians cultural identity. The other is the increasing presence of ethnically diverse immigration within the religious makeup of the country.

Notre-Dame Basilica, a Roman Catholic church in Old Montreal of Montreal, Quebec. On its completion in 1888, it was the largest church building in North America.

As Mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics have experienced drastic losses over the past 30 years, others have been expanding rapidly: overall by 144% in ‘Eastern’ religions during the 1981-1991 decade.[58] Considering Canada’s increasing reliance on immigration to bolster a low birth rate, the situation is only likely to continue to diversify. This increased influx of ethnic immigrants not only affects the types of religions represented in the Canadian context but also the increasingly multicultural and multilingual makeup of individual Christian denominations. From Chinese Anglican or Korean United Church communities, to the Lutheran focus on providing much needed services to immigrants new to the Canadian context and English language, immigration is making changes.[59]

For some Protestant denominations, adapting to a new secular context has meant adjusting to their non-institutional roles in society by increasingly focusing on social justice.[60] However the pull between conservative religious members and the more radical among the church members is complicated by the numbers of immigrant communities who may desire a church that fulfills a more ‘institutionally complete’ role as a buffer in this new country over the current tension filled debates over same-sex marriage, ordination of women and homosexuals, or the role of women in the church. This of course will depend on the background of the immigrant population, as in the Hong Kong context where ordination of Florence Li Tim Oi happened long before women’s ordination was ever raised on the Canadian Anglican church level.[61]

As well a multicultural focus on the churches part may include non-Christian elements (such as the inclusion of a Buddhist priest in one incident) which are unwelcome to the transplanted religious community.[62] Serving the needs and desires of different aspects of the Canadian and newly Canadian populations makes a difficult balancing act for the various mainline churches which are starved for money and active parishioners in a time where 16% of Canadians identify as non-religious and up to two-thirds of those who do identify with a denomination use the church only for it’s life-cycle rituals governing birth, marriage, and death.[63] The church retains that hold in their parishioner’s lives but not the commitment of time and energy necessary to support an aging institution.

Evangelical portions of the Protestant groups proclaim their growth as well but as Roger O’Tool notes they make up 7% of the Canadian population and seem to gain most of their growth from a higher birthrate.[64] What is significant is the higher participation of their members in contrast to Mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. This high commitment would seem to translate into the kind of political power evangelicals in the United States enjoy but despite Canada's historically Christian background as Lori Beaman notes neatly “...[forming] the backdrop for social process”[65] explicit religiosity appears to have not effectively moved the government towards legal discrimination against gay marriage. Much as many Roman Catholics in Quebec ignore the Church’s stance on birth control, abortion, or premarital sex, the churches do not dictate much of the daily lives of regular Canadians.[66]

Christianity remains a social justice and community force within Canada but its cultural loss of active and engaged participants has not been supplanted by the gains in immigrant numbers, thus Canada’s religious landscape has become increasingly diverse.

 Newfoundland and Labrador 97.1%
 Nunavut 93.2%
 Prince Edward Island 92.8%
 New Brunswick 91.4%
 Quebec 90.2%
 Nova Scotia 86.9%
 Saskatchewan 82.6%
 Northwest Territories 79.9%
 Manitoba 77.8%
 Canada 77.1%
 Ontario 74.5%
 Alberta 71.3%
 Yukon 58.4%
 British Columbia 54.9%


A Hutterite colony in Manitoba

In mid-1870s Hutterites moved from Europe to the Dakota Territory in the United States to avoid military service and other persecutions.[68] During World War I Hutterites suffered from persecutions in the United States because they are pacifist and refused military service.[69][70] They then moved almost all of their communities to Canada in the Western provinces of Alberta and Manitoba in 1918.[70] In the 1940s, there were 52 Hutterite colonies in Canada.[70]

Today, more than 75% of the world's Hutterite colonies are located in Canada, mainly in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the rest being almost exclusively in the United States.[71] The Hutterite population in North America is about 45,000 people.[72]


First Mennonites arrived in Canada in 1786 from Pennsylvania, but following Mennonites arrived directly from Europe.[73] The Mennonite Church Canada had about 35,000 members in 1998.[74]


Anglican Catholic Church of Canada

The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada is a founding member of the Traditional Anglican Communion and its parishes are part of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. Its parishes were once Anglican but decided to become Catholic while maintaining Anglican traditions.[75][76] The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada has parishes and missions in eight of the ten provinces.[77]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Cardston Alberta Temple, the oldest LDS temple outside the United States

  • CBC Digital Archives - Religion in the Classroom
  • Canada religious census 2001
  • Canadian Church Reading Room, with extensive links to on-line resources on Christianity in Canada (Tyndale Seminary)
  • Canada’s Demo-Religious Revolution: 2017

External links

  • Lori G. Beaman (2006). Religion And Canadian Society: Traditions, Transitions, And Innovations. Canadian Scholars' Press.  
  • Lori Gail Beaman; Peter Beyer (2008). Religion and Diversity in Canada. BRILL.  
  • Paul Bramadat; David Seljak (2009). Religion and Ethnicity in Canada. University of Toronto Press.  
  • Paul A. Bramadat; David Seljak (2008). Christianity and Ethnicity in Canada. University of Toronto Press.  
  • Robert Choquette (2004). Canada's Religions: An Historical Introduction. University of Ottawa Press.  
  • Terence J. Fay (2002). History of Canadian Catholics. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP.  
  • Kevin N. Flatt. After Evangelicalism: The Sixties and the United Church of Canada (2013) excerpt and text search
  • Paul Robert Magocsi (1999). Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples. University of Toronto Press.  
  • William Bettridge (1838). A Brief History of the Church in Upper Canada: Containing the Acts of Parliament, Imperial and Provincial, Royal Instructions, Proceedings of the Deputation, Correspondence with the Government, Clergy Reserves' Question, &c. &c. W.E. Painter. 
  • Nancy Christie; Michael Gauvreau (2010). Christian Churches and Their Peoples, 1840-1965: A Social History of Religion in Canada. University of Toronto Press.  
  • Gary Miedema (2005). For Canada's Sake: Public Religion, Centennial Celebrations, and the Re-making of Canada in the 1960s. McGill-Queen's Press.  
  • Richard Moon (2008). Law and Religious Pluralism in Canada. UBC Press.  
  • Terrence Murphy; Roberto Perin (1996). A concise history of Christianity in Canada. Oxford University Press.  
  • John G. Stackhouse, Jr. (1998). Canadian Evangelicalism in the Twentieth Century: An Introduction to Its Character. Regent College Publishing.  
  • Elam Rush Stimson (2008). History of the Separation of Church and State in Canada. BiblioBazaar.  
  • Frances Swyripa (2010). Storied Landscapes: Ethno-Religious Identity and the Canadian Prairies. Univ. of Manitoba Press.  
  • Marguerite Van Die (2001). Religion and Public Life in Canada: Historical and Comparative Perspectives. University of Toronto Press.  
  • Douglas James Wilson (1966). The Church Grows in Canada. University of Wisconsin: Ryerson Press. 

Further reading

  1. ^ Dianne R. Hales; Lara Lauzon (2009). An Invitation to Health. Cengage Learning. p. 440.  
  2. ^ a b c d "Religions in Canada—Census 2011". Statistics Canada/Statistique Canada. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ "Canada".  
  5. ^ J. Gordon Melton; Martin Baumann (2010). Religions of the World, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. p. 493.  
  6. ^ "Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982)". Department of Justice Canada. 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  7. ^ Gary Miedema (2005). For Canada's Sake: Public Religion, Centennial Celebrations, and the Re-making of Canada in the 1960s. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 15.  
  8. ^ Native North American Religious Traditions: Dancing for Life - Page 5, Jordan D. Paper - 2007
  9. ^ Paul Bramadat; David Seljak (2009). Religion and Ethnicity in Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 3.  
  10. ^ Kurt Bowen (2004). Christians in a Secular World: The Canadian Experience. McGill-Queen's Press. p. 174.  
  11. ^ Derek Gregory; Ron Johnston; Geraldine Pratt; Michael Watts, Sarah Whatmore (2009). The Dictionary of Human Geography. John Wiley & Sons. p. 672.  
  12. ^ Kevin Boyle; Juliet Sheen (2013). Freedom of Religion and Belief: A World Report. University of Essex - Routledge. p. 219.  
  13. ^ Poll: Most Canadians say religion is not important, although the majority believe in God. Retrieved 2012-10-06
  14. ^ Richard Moon (2008). Law and Religious Pluralism in Canada. UBC Press. pp. 1–4.  
  15. ^ Lance W. Roberts; Rodney A. Clifton; Barry Ferguson (2005). Recent Social Trends in Canada, 1960-2000. McGill-Queens. p. 359.  
  16. ^ Marguerite Van Die (2001). Religion and Public Life in Canada: Historical and Comparative Perspectives. University of Toronto Press. p. 289.  
  17. ^ Anne F. Bayefsky; Arieh Waldman (2007). State Support Of Religious Education: Canada Versus the United Nations. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 3.  
  18. ^ "U.K. Royal Succession Rules To Change". Huffington Post. Oct 28, 2011. 
  19. ^ Robert A. Battram (2010). Canada In Crisis...: An Agenda to Unify the Nation. Trafford Publishing. p. 86.  
  20. ^  
  21. ^ Erwin Fahlbusch; Geoffrey William Bromiley (1999). The Encyclopedia of Christianity: E-I. Volume 2. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 501.  
  22. ^ "Summary Tables". Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
  23. ^ "96F0030XIE2001015 - Religions in Canada". Retrieved 2012-10-17. 
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See also

  • Presbyterian 46.1
  • United Church 44.1
  • Anglican 43.8
  • Lutheran 43.3
  • Jewish 41.5
  • Greek Orthodox 40.7
  • Baptist 39.3
  • Buddhist 38.0
  • Roman Catholic 37.8
  • Pentecostal 33.5
  • No Religion 31.9
  • Hindu 30.2
  • Sikh 29.7
  • Muslim 28.1

According to the 2001 census, the major religions in Canada have the following median age. Canada has a median age of 37.3.[109]

Age and religion

Religiously unaffiliated population[67]
 Yukon 37.4%
 British Columbia 35.1%
 Alberta 23.1%
 Manitoba 18.3%
 Northwest Territories 17.4%
 Canada 16.2%
 Ontario 16.1%
 Saskatchewan 15.4%
 Nova Scotia 11.6%
 New Brunswick 7.8%
 Prince Edward Island 6.5%
 Nunavut 6.0%
 Quebec 5.6%
 Newfoundland and Labrador 2.5%

Irreligious Canadians include atheists, agnostics, and humanists. The surveys may also include those who are spiritual, deists, and pantheists. In 1991 they made up 12.3% of the Canadian population. In the 2001 census this number increased to 16.2% and increased again in 2011 to 23.9%.[2] Some non-religious Canadians have formed associations, such as the Humanist Association of Canada, Toronto Secular Alliance or the Centre for Inquiry Canada, as well as a number of University Campus Groups.


In Neo-Druid history a notable community was the Reformed Druids of North America, one of whose four founders was Canadian, which served both the US Druid community and the Canadian Druid community. Neo-Druidism largely spread in Canada through the Ancient Order of the Druids during the 19th century.[108]


Census data showed Neopaganism grew by 281 per cent between 1991 and 2001, making it the fastest growing religion in Canada during that decade.[107]


Other religions

Province Sikhs population[101]
British Columbia 135,310
Ontario 108,785
Alberta 23,470
Quebec 8,225
Manitoba 5,485
Saskatchewan 500
Nova Scotia 270
Newfoundland and Labrador 135
Yukon 100
New Brunswick 90
Northwest Territories 45
Prince Edward Island 1
Nunavut 0
Canada 278,410

Sikhs are the largest religious group among Indo-Canadians.[106] According to the 2001 census there are 278,410 Sikhs in Canada.[101] Sikhs have been in Canada since at least 1887.


The first official Jain temple was established in Toronto in 1988.[104] This temple served both the Digambar and Svetambara communities.[105]


Province Buddhists population[101]
 Ontario 128,321
 British Columbia 85,540
 Quebec 41,380
 Alberta 33,410
 Manitoba 5,745
 Saskatchewan 3,050
 Nova Scotia 1,730
 New Brunswick 545
 Newfoundland and Labrador 185
 Northwest Territories 155
 Prince Edward Island 140
 Yukon 130
 Nunavut 15
Canada 300,346

[102] The first Japanese Buddhist temple in Canada was built at the Ishikawa Hotel in [102] Modern Buddhism in Canada traces to Japanese immigration during the late 19th century.[102] Buddhism has been practiced in Canada for more than a century and in recent years has grown dramatically. Buddhism arrived in Canada with the arrival of Chinese laborers in the territories during the 19th century.

There is a small, rapidly growing Buddhist community in Canada. At the 2001 census, 300,346 Canadians identified their religion as Buddhist, about 1% of the country's population.[101]


Province Hindus population[101]
Ontario 217,555
British Columbia 31,500
Quebec 24,525
Alberta 15,965
Manitoba 3,835
Saskatchewan 1,585
Nova Scotia 1,235
New Brunswick 475
Newfoundland and Labrador 405
Northwest Territories 65
Prince Edward Island 30
Yukon 10
Nunavut 1
Canada 297,200

According to the 2001 Ontario (primarily in Toronto, Scarborough, Brampton, Hamilton, Windsor & Ottawa), Quebec (primarily around the Montreal area) & British Columbia, (primarily around the Vancouver area).[100]

Hindus in Canada generally come from one of four groups. The first is primarily made up of Nepalese Canadian community is mostly Hindu.


Indian religions

Jews [67]
 Ontario 1.7%
 Quebec 1.3%
 Manitoba 1.2%
 Canada 1.1%
 British Columbia 0.5%
 Alberta 0.4%
 Nova Scotia 0.2%
 Yukon 0.1%
 New Brunswick 0.09%
 Saskatchewan 0.09%
 Northwest Territories 0.07%
 Prince Edward Island 0.04%
 Newfoundland and Labrador 0.03%
 Nunavut 0.0%
with over 113 incidents, and some reports listing 479 in Toronto alone. [99] having the largest Jewish population centre. Recently, anti-Semitism has been a growing concern in Canada. In 2009, anti-Semitic incidents jumped a fivefold,Toronto, with Quebec and Ontario language. Most of Canada's Jews live in Yiddish, other than religious ceremonies, while there is a decline in the Hebrew and practices in both of the official languages of Canada. There is an increase in the number of people that use [98]Today the Canadian Jewish community is the sixth largest in the world

The Jewish population saw a growth during the 1880s due to the [97] During the Second World War almost twenty thousand Canadian Jews volunteered to fight overseas. Nearly 40,000 Holocaust survivors moved to Canada in the late 1940s to rebuild their lives.

The Jewish community in Canada is almost as old as the nation itself. The earliest documentation of Jews in Canada are British Army records from the French and Indian War from 1754. In 1760, General Jeffrey Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst attacked and won Montreal for the British. In his regiment there were several Jews, including four among his officer corps, most notably Lieutenant Aaron Hart who is considered the father of Canadian Jewry.[93] In 1807, Ezekiel Hart was elected to the legislature of Lower Canada, becoming the first Jew in the British Empire to hold an official position. Hart was sworn in on a Hebrew Bible as opposed to a Christian Bible.[94][95] The next day an objection was raised that Hart had not taken the oath in the manner required for sitting in the assembly — an oath of abjuration, which would have required Hart to swear "on the true faith of a Christian".[96] Hart was expelled from the assembly, only to be re-elected two more times. In 1768, the first synagogue in Canada was built in Montreal, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal. In 1832, partly because of the work of Ezekiel Hart, a law was passed that guaranteed Jews the same political rights and freedoms as Christians.

Aaron Hart is considered to be the father of Canadian Jewry


 Ontario 3.1%
 Canada 1.9%
 Alberta 1.6%
 Quebec 1.5%
 British Columbia 1.4%
 Manitoba 0.4%
 Northwest Territories 0.4%
 Nova Scotia 0.3%
 Saskatchewan 0.2%
 Yukon 0.2%
 New Brunswick 0.1%
 Newfoundland and Labrador 0.1%
 Nunavut 0.1%
 Prince Edward Island 0.1%
[92].Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Mosque, the largest mosque in Canada for its inaugural session with the Head of the Baitun Nur, visited the Stephen Harper In 2008, the Prime Minister of Canada, [91] in Canada.Islam, a contemporary reflection and critical commentary on attitudes towards Little Mosque on the Prairie introduced a popular television sitcom called CBCIn 2007, the

According to Canada's 2001 census, there were 579,740 Muslims in Canada, just under 2% of the population.[84] In 2006, the Muslim population was estimated to be 0.8 million or about 2.6%. In 2010, the Pew Research Centre estimates there were about 0.9 million Muslims in Canada.[85] About 65% were Sunni, while 15% were Shia.[86] Some Muslims are non-practicing. In May 2013, Muslims constituted 3.2% of the population[87][88] making them largest religious adherents after Christianity. Islam is the fastest growing religion in Canada.[87] Sunni Islam is followed by the majority while there are significant Shia Muslims. Ahmadiyya also has a significant proportion with more than 25,000 Ahmadis are living in Canada.[89] There are also non-denominational Muslims[90]

Four years after Canada's founding in 1867, the 1871 Canadian Census found 13 Muslims among the population.[82] Today, Islam is the second largest religion in Canada, practised by 3.2% of the total population.[3] The first Canadian mosque was constructed in Edmonton in 1938, when there were approximately 700 Muslims in the country.[83] This building is now part of the museum at Fort Edmonton Park. The years after World War II saw a small increase in the Muslim population. However, Muslims were still a distinct minority. It was only with the removal of European immigration preferences in the late 1960s that Muslims began to arrive in significant numbers.

Gatineau Mosque in Quebec


In 2011, there are around 200,000 members of the LDS Church in Canada. The LDS Church has congregations in all Canadian provinces and territories and possess at least one temple in six of the ten provinces, including the oldest LDS temple outside the United States. Alberta is the province with the most members of the LDS Church in Canada, having approximately 40% of the total of Canadian LDS Church members and representing 2% of the total population of the province, followed by Ontario and British Columbia.[81]

The LDS Church has founded several communities in Alberta. [80] The first LDS Church in Canada has been established in 1895 in what will become Alberta; it was the first stake of the Church to be established outside the United States.[79] Canada has been used as a refuge territory by members of the LDS Church to avoid the anti-polygamy prosecutions by the United States government.[78]

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