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Canada's slow pace of life baffles immigrants

CHINESE immigrants to Canada find the pace of life too slow - particularly if they are from Hong Kong - and most are not optimistic about the country's economic development, a recent survey has found.

The survey of 1,500 Chinese living in Toronto and Vancouver has found immigrants are initially frustrated with life in Canada. Two-thirds feel Canada's high taxes discourage hard work.

The same proportion of those who had arrived during the economically depressed years following the 1987 stock market crash said they found it almost impossible to get a satisfying job.

Despite this, more than two-thirds of newly-arrived immigrants consider Canada's quality of life one of the best in the world. And the longer immigrants live there, the more they like it.

The survey by DJC Research found Chinese immigrants were younger, wealthier and better educated than the average Canadian.

And with Chinese having become the third most important language in Canada, after English and French, Chinese immigrants are an important part of the community - particularly as consumers.

The survey found Chinese make up about one in 10 consumers in Toronto and Vancouver. They are big spenders on luxury electronic goods, with higher ownership of microwave ovens and CD players than among Canadians generally.

The survey found the core of the Chinese community was made up of business immigrants, mostly from Hong Kong, who were more likely to own their own home in Canada than other immigrants.

Many Chinese immigrants go back home often, with Hong Kong being the most frequently visited destination outside North America.

The survey is the first in a series of annual studies aimed at giving manufacturers, retailers, financial institutions and advertisers insights into the fastest-growing language group in Canada.