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Sri Lankan Canadians


Sri Lankan Canadians

Sri Lankan Canadians
Total population
(by ancestry, 2011 Census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Ontario · Quebec · British Columbia · Alberta
Canadian English · Tamil · Sinhalese · Sri Lankan Malay
Buddhism · Hinduism · Islam · Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Sri Lankan people · South Asian Canadians

Sri Lankan Canadians refers to people from Sri Lanka who have arrived and settled in Canada. Among these immigrants include members from the Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor, Malay and Burgher ethnicities. As of 2006 there are 103,625 Sri Lankans in Canada.[2]


  • Demographics 1
    • Population settlement 1.1
  • Dual Citizenship 2
  • Community 3
    • Ontario 3.1
    • Manitoba 3.2
    • Nova Scotia 3.3
    • Saskatchewan 3.4
  • Notable Sri Lankan Canadians 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Sri Lankan Canadians are concentrated in the cities of Toronto and Montreal. According to the 2001 census, there are 62,000 Canadians who claim Sri Lankan, but only 10,000 claimed sinhalese origin ancestry.[3] The number may not be an actual representation because many Tamil Canadians from Sri Lanka do not list themselves as Sri Lankans on the official Census.

Population settlement

The Sri Lankan Canadian Population according to Statistics Canada in the 2006 census in the 10 Canadian Provinces and 3 territories:[4]

Province Sri Lankans
Ontario 85,935[5]
Quebec 10,750[6]
British Columbia 4,150[7]
Alberta 1,740[8]
Manitoba 445[9]
Saskatchewan 240[10]
Nova Scotia 155[11]
Newfoundland and Labrador 115[12]
New Brunswick 45[13]
Yukon 25[14]
Northwest Territories 10[15]
Nunavut 10[12]
Prince Edward Island 0[16]
Canada 103,625

Dual Citizenship

Some Sri Lankan Canadians are holding the citizenship of both countries, Canada and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government encourage Sri Lankan expatriates to obtain the citizenship of their country of birth[17] at a fee and to return to Sri Lanka at a future date. There is a drive to attract the educated Sri Lankan immigrants in Canada for new opportunities arising in the government sector of Sri Lanka (such as universities, research institutes etc.),[18][19] which may sometime require the applicants to be Sri Lankan citizens.

Since almost all the Sri Lankans who immigrated to Canada under skilled migration schemes have received their higher education free, there is a moral tendency among them to obtain dual citizenship in addition to the fact that they left behind relatives and accrued wealth.{Ref:to be added} Note: The Sri Lankan government have suspended its dual citizenship program until further notice.




Sri Lankan Associations in Canada and their role: There is a considerable number of Sri Lankan associations in Canada. The main objectives of these associations are to help the immigrants, continue their Sri Lankan traditions and to help Sri Lanka. Some of these associations are ethnic based but majority of the cities have associations which cater to all people having a link with Sri Lanka regardless of their ethnic or political orientation (E.g. [Tamil cultural association of waterlooregion community organisation for kitchener,waterloo,Cambridge,Guelph, Brantford]).

List of Sri Lankan associations in Ontario:

  • Sri Lanka United National Association of Canada [SLUNA] Est. 1983
  • Canada Sri Lanka Association of Canada [Oldest Sri Lankan organization in Canada]
  • Tamil Cultural Association of Waterloo Region (
  • Sri Lanka Canada Association of Ottawa,
  • Canada/Sri Lanka Association
  • Democratic Tamil Cultural Association,
  • Sri Lanka Malay Association of Toronto (SLAMAT -
  • Sinhala Association,
  • Josephian-Peterite Alumni Association of Canada (Established in 1984)
  • Canada Sri Lanka Muslim Association,
  • Sri Jayewardenepura Graduates Association
  • Ambalangoda Association,[21]
  • Sri Lanka Association of Cambridge, Guelph, Kitchener, and Waterloo
  • Alumni Association of University of Peradeniya Canada - Ottawa Chapter
  • University of Colombo Alumni Association of Canada

News Papers catering Sri Lankan Canadians A number of newspapers are printed in Ontario to cater the Sri Lankan diaspora. They are printed in English, Sinhalese and Tamil languages and distributed free. These news papers mainly tell the stories from Sri Lanka (current and old) and talks about the achievements of Canadian Sri Lankans. Sometimes, they get in to small discussions on Sri Lankan politics as well as give some general information and tips necessary to help immigrants survive in Canada. These newspapers can be picked up at some grocery stores where they sell Sri Lankan food, places of religious worship, etc.

List of Sri Lankan news papers available in Ontario.

  • The Times of Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka Reporter
  • Analai Express
  • Yathra
  • Dasatha
  • Canada Mirror

There are many religious associations functioning in Ontario to cater the needs of Sri Lankan Canadians. The following are some of them.

Buddhist Associations

  • Waterloo Wellington Buddhist Cultural Association (WWBCA)

Hindu Associations


  • Sri Lankan Association of Manitoba (SLAM)
  • Manitoba Buddhist Vihara and Cultural Association (MBVCA)
  • Ottawa Theravada Buddhist Vihara and Cultural Center (OTBVCC)located at 2878, Navan Road, Orleans, Ottawa,ON K1C7G4 CANADA Tel:(613)424 4482

Nova Scotia

  • Sri Lanka Canada Association of Atlantic Region (SLCAAR)


  • Saskatoon Sri Lankan Community [22]

Notable Sri Lankan Canadians

Famous Sri Lankan Canadians include author Michael Ondaatje and his financier brother Christopher Ondaatje; Principal Research scientist at the National Research Council of Canada Chandre Dharma-wardana ; Buddhist leader, scholar, poet, novelist Suwanda H J Sugunasiri,Academic Engineer Indira Samarasekera, musician Nirmala Basnayake, formerly of the band controller.controller; news anchor Anne-Marie Mediwake; anchor novelist Shyam Selvadurai; cricketers Sanjayan Thuraisingam, film Actor, producer and multiple Guinness World Record-holder Suresh Joachim; and Pubudu Dassanayake.

See also


  1. ^  
  2. ^ "Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data". 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  3. ^ [2] Ethnic Origin (232), Sex (3) and Single and Multiple Responses (3) for Population, for Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas 1 and Census Agglomerations, 2001 Census - 20% Sample Data
  4. ^ Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada Highlight Tables (choose desired city in the left column and look under the term "Sri Lankan" in the chart)
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Department of Immigration and Emigration, Sri Lanka.
  18. ^ Database on Sri Lankan Expatriate scientists. Welcome to Science & Technology Management Information System.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Consulate General of Sri Lanka, Toronto.
  22. ^

External links

  • Canadian Tamil Business Directory
  • Global Sri Lankan Forum
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