Marketers interested in connecting with Canada’s ethnic communities were impatiently waiting for the results of the 2016 census to discover how to adjust their strategy and develop new markets. How has the Canadian ethnic and linguistic landscape changed since the last census in 2011?

Results are in, and although South Asians and Chinese remain the two largest ethnic communities in Canada, the Philippines have now become the largest source of new immigrants to the country.

Census Immigration Highlights

– The largest source of new immigrants is the Philippines (15.6%), followed by India (12.1%) and China (10.6%).
– The Tagalog, Arabic, Persian (Farsi), Hindi, and Urdu languages all saw increases of more than 25%.
– Immigrants are settling in greater numbers in the Prairies and the Maritimes where Tagalog and Arabic are reported as the top immigrant language, respectively.


Due to government incentives such as the Provincial and Territorial Nominee Program, migrants are increasingly choosing to settle in the Prairies, many of whom are of Filipino origin.

As a result, Tagalog (spoken in the Philippines) was named the top immigrant language in 6 out of 13 Canadian provinces and territories: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Although these provinces and territories represent a mere 18% of Canada’s total population, they are home to 53% of the Filipino migrants who have arrived since 2011. *


In recent years, marketers looking for new opportunities have researched the Filipino culture to better understand how it relates to consumer behavior and advertising, and have pinpointed three areas in which these stand out from other consumers:

1. Word of Mouth and Social Networks

According to a 2013 Nielsen study, word of mouth from family and friends is the most influential method of advertising among Filipino consumers, with 89% of respondents reporting that they trust their peers.

This affinity to share their thoughts has naturally spread to social media, of which they are the world’s top users. According to a 2017 report, Filipinos spend an average of 4 hours and 17 minutes daily on social media, more than anyone else in the world. Their love of Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter makes them a force to be reckoned with when they share their consumer experiences, for better or worse!

For marketers: Be aware of what is said on social media in your market and about your competitors. Be proactive with your online presence and respond quickly (in the customer’s language if possible) when you receive comments about your product or service, good or bad. This will give you a greater amount of control over your online reputation.


2. Improving credibility of online advertising

Filipino consumers’ trust in online advertising in the form of website content has increased 11% since 2007; 82% of them now believe brand websites to be credible, well above the global average of 69%.

This positive response toward brand websites gives marketers an opportunity to control their message in a way that will be considered credible by consumers.

For marketers: Make sure your website’s content is up-to-date and relevant. Add even more credibility to your brand by making your information available in some of the common immigrant languages in your area.

3. Real-life situations, humour and family

Of the many types of advertising presented to Southeast Asians in the Nielsen study, Filipinos responded best to those that featured real-life situations; humorous stories, family and health topics also generated positive reactions.

For marketers: Since the effectiveness of your message lies in its positive impact on consumers when making a purchase decision, connect with this audience in a meaningful way by featuring relatable and humorous family situations in your advertising.

* Most of the remaining Filipino migrants settled in Ontario (28%) and B.C. (14%).

Maple Diversity are experts in reaching Canadians of all ethnic backgrounds with messages specifically designed for their needs and adapted to their perception and culture. If you want to expand your market into Canada’s growing and diverse ethnic communities, connect with us. We will be happy to help!