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Canadian identity, 2013

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Released: 2015-10-01

More than 9 in 10 Canadians believed that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the national flag were important symbols of the Canadian identity in 2013. Next highest were the national anthem (88%), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (87%) and hockey (77%).

The 2013 General Social Survey collected information on Canadians' perceptions of national identity, looking at three dimensions of identity: national symbols, shared Canadian values and pride.

The majority of people believed that Canadians shared specific values. This was most often the case when thinking about the value of human rights (92%), and less often in relation to respect for Aboriginal culture (68%) and linguistic duality (73%).

In general, pride levels were also high. Nearly 9 in 10 were proud to be Canadian, but pride was somewhat lower for Canadian achievements. Approximately 70% of Canadians were proud of Canadian history, making it the achievement with the highest ranking.

The armed forces, the health care system and the Canadian Constitution were also among the top-ranked achievements. Canada's political influence in the world, at 46%, as well as Canada's achievement in arts and literature, which just over half of Canadians cited, had the lowest levels of pride.

Perceptions of Canadian identity varied by region and socio-demographic characteristics. For instance, Quebec residents were the least likely to strongly identify symbols as very important to the national identity, though more than half (53%) believed the charter was very important. They also had lower levels of pride in being Canadian and in Canadian achievements, compared with people living elsewhere in Canada.

Overall, immigrants were consistently more likely to hold strong beliefs in the importance of national symbols and the existence of a common set of shared values. They also reported a greater feeling of pride in being Canadian and in Canadian achievements.


The report entitled "Canadian Identity" included in the publication Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey (Catalogue number89-652-X), is now available through the Publications module on our website, under the Browse by key resource tab.

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