(by ancestry, 2011 Census)
|Regions with significant populations|
|Montréal, Toronto, Alberta (Edmonton)|
|Chilean Spanish, Canadian English, Canadian French|
|Related ethnic groups|
Chilean Canadians are Canadian citizens of Chilean descent or a Chile-born person who resides in Canada. According to the 2011 Census there were 38,140 Canadians who claimed full or partial Chilean ancestry. The first major wave of Chilean arrival in Canada began in the second half of the twentieth century. This was also the first great wave of Latin American immigrants in Canada and the third Latin American wave in that country (though the previous two were smaller).
After the coup d'état carried out by Army General Augusto Pinochet on September 11, 1973 in Chile, which overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende and established a military dictatorship, a significant number of Chileans emigrated to Canada in early 1974. This migration of refugees to Canada lasted until the nineties, when Pinochet's rule over Chile ended.
Although the Canadian government rejected these political refugees, the Canadian population in general had a greater acceptance of them. Groups such as the Inter-Church Committee (which later became the Inter Church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America and is now integrated in KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives) were formed to advocate for more open doors to these refugees. Church groups like the Canadian Council of Churches, and spontaneously formed citizens' organizations, helped refugees in income and settlement of the country. Not all the population supported the newcomers, however. Small demonstrations were developed rejecting Chilean immigrants, labeling them Marxists, and supporting the coup in Chile that broke with the Socialist government, replacing it with a neoliberal dictatorship.
The most important consequence of the arrival of Chilean refugees to the country was the founding of organizations whose aim is to help to the country's growing Latin American community. According to studies, the Chileans who arrived in Canada after the coup in Chile brought with them political activism, which caused the formation of Chilean partnerships and associations which eventually became organizations for the Latino community in Canada. Examples of this include the Arauco cooperative housing in Toronto and various associations and publications in Alberta, as well as the television news program Nosotros (We) and the radio program Hispanoamérica in Edmonton. In other cases, Chileans formed and worked on pan-Latin American organizations that have helped political and economic refugees Hispanics adjust to life in Canada, and may be considered essential in the formation of these associations.
Tulio Gonzalez - Political Prisoner / Engineer