Latino Studies Latinos in Canada
Luis Loya García
  • LAST REVIEWED: 29 September 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 September 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0103


Latino Canadian studies is a relatively young field. US Latinos and Latino Canadians hardly know each other. While departments of Latino studies in the United States offer majors, minors, master’s degrees, and doctorates in studying this particular group, in Canada, this doesn’t exist yet. Often, Latinos in the United States look south of the Rio Grande to connect with their roots in Latin America; this article intends to open the northern border to promote cultural traffic and dialogue among US Latinos and Latino Canadians. Both groups share valuable cultural experiences that will contribute to better understanding the Latino populations in North America. The US-Canada Latino connection opens new possibilities and research. Although they are not as populous as Latinos in the United States, Latino Canadians are present throughout Canada. As understood by Statistics Canada, more than half of this group is educated, holding an undergraduate or graduate degree, in comparison to the rest of the population. They live primarily in major cities; most of them are foreign born, relatively young, and able to converse in English and/or French. There are more women than men, and most of the population is Catholic. The majority have a feeling of belonging to Canada, and they contribute to the sociopolitical, economic, linguistic, and cultural development of the country. Latinos are categorized as allophones, minority groups who don’t have English or French (the two official languages of Canada) as their mother tongue. Historically, waves of Latino immigrants arrived in Canada in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s–mainly because of sociopolitical instability such as dictatorships in the region, while in the 1990s economic uncertainty was the main cause of Latin American immigration to this country. Canada started the 21st century adopting immigration programs that recruit well-educated individuals capable of acculturating in French and/or English. Unlike the United States, Canada’s immigration policies are reasonably more humane and certainly more civil, which facilitates the movement of Latinos up north. The sections in this article will guide students and researchers in their discovery of Latino Canadians. The researcher will have insight into texts that span from the first contacts to major waves of Latino immigration, and from key Latino personalities to early-21st-century conditions of Latino Canadians. The texts are written in Spanish, English, or French.

General Overviews

Programas de estudios hispánicos en Canadá provides a list of academic programs and departments in universities that offer Hispanic studies in Canada; most of them are in the humanities. García 2006 studies the expeditions of Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra; his journals confirm the first contacts of peoples of Hispanic origins with peoples along the coast of what is now British Columbia. Hazelton 2007 gives a panoramic and historical view of the flow of Hispanic immigrants in Canada, identifying major waves of immigration and the sociopolitical circumstances of this migration. Statistics Canada ratifies that in 2001, there were 244,400 people of Latino origin living in the country, representing 1 percent of the whole population. Houpt 2011 understands the Hispanic Canadian community as a growing market that deserves attention by Canadian investors. Filici 2014 documents the case of José Figueroa as a historical precedent of misunderstanding and bad judgment by Canadian immigration officers. Vigil 2009 archives the ten most-recognized Latino Canadians of the year, a celebration that has taken place annually since 2007. Loya-García 2014 identifies an early-21st century wave of the “inverse colonization of Latinos” where Latino immigrants seek to be acculturated by choice in order to obtain papers and to experience the freedom they lack in their home countries.

  • Filici, Vilma. “Caso de José Figueroa servirá de precedente legal.” Inmigrando a Canadá (blog). MontrealHispano (2014).

    Judge Mosley ordered Immigration Canada to revise the case of Salvadoran José Figueroa whose permanent residency was denied by an immigration officer arguing that Figueroa belonged to a terrorist group in El Salvador.

  • García, Sánchez J. M. “Los discursos de reconocimiento de Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra.” Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment 29.2 (2006): 165–178.

    The first contacts between peoples of Hispanic origins and the peoples of the West coast of North America can be traced in the journals of Bodega y Quadra, a Peruvian who took three expeditions. These are several journals that have historic, geographic, and ethnographic value.

  • Hazelton, Hugh. “Introduction: Latin American Writing in Canada.” In Latinocanadá: A Critical Study of Ten Latin American Writers of Canada. Montreal and Kingston, Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007.

    Traces the arrival of Hispanic peoples in Canada, their adaptation, the themes and artistic developments through the years, and the author’s contextualization of what he calls “Latinocanadá.” Of interest to researchers who want to understand the historical progression of Hispanic communities in Canada.

  • Houpt, Simon. “Targeting Canada’s ‘Invisible’ Hispanic Community.” Globe and Mail, 18 November 2011.

    The article recognizes the Hispanic population in Canada as an important market to be explored by Canadian businesses; it offers a comparison with US Latinos and marketing.

  • Loya-García, J. Luis. “Frañol radio: Un métissage textuel reproductif dans les borderlands sociolinguistiques et culturels hispano-francophones.” MA thesis, Concordia University, 2014.

    See “Une colonisation renversée” (pp. 16–19). Presents the phenomenon of inverse colonization of Latinos in Canada, where Latino immigrants opt to be colonized by choice in order to receive papers and to experience freedoms they don’t have in Latin America.

  • Programas de estudios hispánicos en Canadá. Asociación Canadiense de Hispanistas.

    The Canadian Association of Hispanists, or Asociación Canadiense de Hispanistas, offers a list of departments and programs of Hispanic studies in Canadian universities, taking into account undergraduate and graduate programs.

  • Statistics Canada. “The Latin American Community in Canada.” Statistics Canada.

    Important information by the Government of Canada about Latinos: the majority are foreign born, and most live in four provinces and large cities; it’s a young population. There are more women than men; most of them are Catholic.

  • Vigil, Oscar. “Eligieron en Toronto a los ‘10 Hispanos de mayor influencia en Canadá 2009’.” Review Debate, 25 November 2009.

    Since 2007, Latinos in Canada have been recognized by their contribution in society. The article can help researchers to trace major personalities and their work.

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