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Native-Born and Foreign-Born Canadians Share Foundation of Common Values and Celebrations of Canada Day

Immigrants to Canada and those born in Canada agree that Canada Day should be spent with family, the West Coast tops places to see and freedom is what they value most.

TORONTO, June 24, 2008 – Despite different backgrounds and places of birth, those born in Canada and those who’ve immigrated here share similar values and perceptions of Canada, according to MasterCard Canada’s 2008 Priceless Index, which follows Canadians’ views and attitudes about being Canadian.

When asked what Canadian values they value most, both groups selected freedom (41 per cent) as number one followed by democracy (13 per cent) and equality (11 per cent). Those born outside of Canada (17 per cent) are more likely to cite diversity as a key Canadian value.

Both groups agree that quality of life, security and beauty/environment are reasons for residing in Canada. However, immigrants say they chose to live here primarily for family and economic opportunities, while a quarter of those born in Canada assume freedom and political environment are the main reasons new immigrants come to Canada.

“The 2008 Priceless Index looks closely at Canada’s foundation: its people,” says Julie Wilson, Director, Public Affairs, MasterCard Canada.  “Regardless of our different backgrounds, the majority of both groups surveyed identify first and foremost with being Canadian, which suggests that once immigrants move to this country, they are quick to adopt and identify with Canadian values, interests and activities.”

In fact, the 6th annual Priceless Index revealed that those born in Canada and immigrants to Canada have much more in common than the country they share:

  • The majority of both groups see Canada Day as an important day for celebration, and intend to spend it primarily with friends and/or family engaging in a range of activities such as watching fireworks and having/attending a BBQ, picnic, or festival/fair.
  • For both Canadian-born and immigrants, the ability to engage in active, outdoor sports is their most favourite Canadian activity.
  • Top selections for favourite foods include Canadian steak/beef (12 per cent), maple syrup (6 per cent), poutine (6 per cent) and hamburgers (6 per cent) among both groups.
  • The majority of both groups, but particularly immigrants, believe that the ethnic foods and ingredients they look for are readily accessible to them in Canada.
  • Both Canadian-born and immigrants say they would most like to visit the West coast, followed by the Maritimes.

According to the 2006 Census, Canada’s population is experiencing the highest proportion of foreign-born Canadians in 75 years. Approximately one in five (19.8 per cent) are born outside of the country¹.

About the survey
The Priceless Index is a national survey carried out regularly by MasterCard. This national survey of 2,299 Canadians (1,742 Canadian-born, 577 immigrants) 18 years of age and over was carried out by telephone between May 21 and June 4, 2008, by Environics Research Group on behalf of MasterCard Canada. Results to a survey of this size can be considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.04 percentage points (Canadian-born plus or minus 2.35; immigrants plus or minus 4.15), at 95 per cent.

About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 18 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants. Through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to

For further information, please contact:

Don Blair
Environics Communications

Olivia Yu
Environics Communications


¹ Statistics Canada, 2006