Professor Lo looks at Chinese settlement patterns

The York Centre for Asian Research and the Centre for Feminist Research recently presented the third in a series of talks. Speaker Lucio Lo, from the Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, spoke on Chinese settlement patterns in Toronto, looking at groups who had emigrated from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Lo examined census data of the Greater Toronto Area from the perspective of sub-ethnicity, the period of arrival and soci-economic indicators of the Toronto Chinese to better understand how selective immigration policies and world geopolitical changes are reflected in their economic adaptability and integration.

Immigration occurred as a result of political and economic changes in the places of origin, Lo said, and as a result, these groups arrived in Toronto at different times. This is reflected in varying patterns of their participation and integration into the economic life of Toronto.

Chinese began to immigrate to Canada at the turn of the century as workers for the railway, said Lo. However, in 1967 immigration laws changed significantly, allowing for families to immigrate. At the same time, Chinese political circumstances forced the middle class to move out of fear for their safety and security.

There have been three significant periods of immigration: 1973, which saw the first wave of ‘boat people’ and the end of the Vietnam War; 1984, when the British treaty with Hong Kong expired, and 1991–1996, which saw a younger and more educated group of Chinese immigrate, Lo said, adding that there is speculation as to why the last group is not as actively involved in the labour force as the previous two groups of people.