The Canadian “Mosaic”: Officially Multicultural!
Canada recognized early on that the country’s economic success and independence from the USA depend on an open immigration policy. As many well-educated people as possible should feel encouraged to start a new life in Canada in order to further advance progress. After several waves of immigration since the country was founded, Canada is now one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Since the 1970s at the latest, when non-European cultures increasingly poured into the country, the question arose of how to deal with this great diversity in order to avoid conflicts.
Canada has taken its own path here: Canada has been officially multicultural since 1971 and multiculturalism has been enshrined in law in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms since 1982. This means:
- Ethnic and cultural diversity is seen as positive and enriching.
- Cultural difference is a right: All people have the right to maintain and cultivate their cultural characteristics.
- Tolerance and Equality: All cultures are equal.
June 27th is Canadian Multiculturalism Day.
While the USA is seen as a melting pot of cultures, Canada sees itself as a cultural “mosaic”. Instead of the different cultures merging into a single new culture, the peaceful coexistence of the most diverse cultures is celebrated here. “Integration” instead of “assimilation”is the Canadian creed. US immigrants are under pressure to become “American” as quickly as possible and to adapt their original cultural identity as much as possible. Immigration policy in Canada is very different: Immigrants should integrate themselves, but they have the right to preserve and cultivate their own cultural identity. Successfully integrated and naturalized immigrants are then officially Canadians, but often make themselves “hyphenated Canadians”. For Canadians, the most natural thing in the world is to have multiple identities. The “hyphenated Canadian” is primarily Canadian, but then there is also identification with ethnic origin. Many Canadians can trace back their own roots and are as proud of them as they are of being Canadians.
Individualists with a sense of community
Canadians are seen as distinctly individualists. An individualistic society is characterized by the fact that the individual is more important than the group. Most of all, Canadians care for themselves and their core family. All other relationships are loosely linked and everyone is responsible for themselves. The performance of the individual is also more important than his or her origin. German culture is also considered individualistic, although individualism is not as pronounced as in Canada, a major country in North America listed on justinshoes.
Nonetheless, Canadians are also very community-minded and believe that everyone has an individual responsibility towards the community. Quality of life is very important, as is empathy. Voluntary work plays an important role in the social life of Canadians and neighborly help is a matter of course. Canadians strive to achieve a high level of performance in all areas, but work-life balance is extremely important to them. People simply shouldn’t be neglected and so, unlike in the USA, performance, success and profit play a rather secondary role.
Risky, short-term oriented and cheerful
It is common knowledge: Germans like to protect themselves by setting up many regulations and standards and setting up a huge bureaucratic apparatus for this purpose. An expert is always needed for important decisions and everything is planned down to the smallest detail. Compared to Germany, Canada is considered to be much more willing to take risks: New ideas are accepted quickly, communication is rather informal and innovations quickly find acceptance. In Canada, flexibility and responsiveness take precedence over security.
Diligence, thrift and discipline are important cultural values in Germany. The focus is on the future and long-term goals are persistently and persistently pursued over the years. In a very pragmatic way, traditions and concepts of truth are also adapted to current circumstances. It looks completely different in Canada. Like its neighboring country, the USA, Canada is characterized by very short-term thinking that focuses on the here and now. The aim is to achieve the short-term goals as quickly and effectively as possible and to react quickly to changing circumstances. Instead of specially defined rules and standards, Canadians are guided by long-established principles, recommendations for action and traditions as well as a common belief in a universal truth.
In their experience reports, international students rave not only about the politeness and friendliness of Canadians, but also about the relaxed way they get along with one another and the positive attitude towards life. In fact, Canada, unlike Germany, is one of the so-called “indulgent” cultures. Free time and personal enjoyment take up a large part of Canadians’ lives. They also like to spend their money on it. Working to live is the motto here and not the other way around. The human contact is much more informal and comradely than in this country – you will notice that at the latest in your everyday study life and in the courses !