Official languages are English (Canadian English) and French (Canadian French). Numerous indigenous American languages are also recognized.
Canadians (singular Canadian) are the people who are identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be genetic, residential, legal, historical, cultural or ethnic. For most Canadians, several (frequently all) of those types of connections exist and are the source(s) of them being considered Canadians.
Aside from the Aboriginal peoples, who according to the 2006 Canadian Census numbered 1,172,790, 3.8% of the country's total population, the majority of the population is made up of Old World immigrants and their descendants. After the initial period of French and then British colonization, different waves (or peaks) of immigration and settlement of non-aboriginal peoples took place over the course of nearly two centuries and continues today. Elements of Aboriginal, French, British and more recent immigrant customs, languages and religions have combined to form the culture of Canada and thus a Canadian identity. Canada has also been strongly influenced by that of its linguistic, geographic and economic neighbour, the United States.
Canadian independence grew incrementally over the course of many years since the formation of the Canadian Confederation in 1867. World War I and World War II in particular gave rise to a desire amongst Canadians to have their country recognized as a fully-fledged sovereign state with a distinct citizenship. This was established with the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1946 that took effect on 1 January 1947. Canadians retained their status as British subjects until the new Citizenship Act, 15 February 1977. Canada's nationality law closely mirrored that of the United Kingdom. Legislation since the mid 20th century represents Canadians' commitment to multilateralism and socioeconomic development.
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