Thailand is a comparatively large and prosperous democratic country in Southeast Asia. Although there are relatively few Thais in Canada (approximately 10,000), Thailand and Canada share important economic ties and have also cooperated in global efforts to support human rights.
Thai Immigrants to Canada
After experiencing rapid economic growth between 1985 and 1995, Thailand faced a financial crisis in 1997 that resulted in more Thais looking for work and educational opportunities overseas, including in Canada.
Thai Canadians Today
The majority of Thais in Canada are well-educated professionals, including those in banking, medicine, engineering and business. Some Thais in Canada also work in the restaurant industry, as Thai cuisine has become increasingly popular in this country.
Allegiance to the Thai monarchy, the Thai language and the practice of Theravada Buddhism are all important to Thais. Most Thai men become Buddhist monks for a period of time, and Buddhist temples are central to community life. There are several long-established Thai Buddhist temples in Canada, which remain significant for religious and cultural practices, and for helping Thais build community and maintain their cultural identity.
Thailand is one of 10 Southeast Asian nations that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic organization. In addition to promoting economic partnerships through ASEAN, Canada and Thailand have also made connections through tourism and through educational and cultural exchanges.
Due in part to its commitment to democracy, Thailand has traditionally had a strong relationship with western countries such as Canada. Thailand has also been involved with Canada and other countries in global organizations such as the Human Security Network (HSN), established in 1999 as part of the International Organization for Migration to support human rights. Thai representatives held the presidency of the HSN in 2005-06 and focused on “Freedom from Want,” addressing poverty and the rights of all people to live in security and dignity.
Learn more: Thais in The Canadian Encyclopedia