Canadians are individuals who are associated with the nation of Canada and its people. This link may be a physical one, a legal one, a historical one, or a cultural one. For the vast majority of Canadians, many of these ties exist, and they are collectively responsible for their sense of belonging as Canadians.
People of many various ethnic, religious, and national backgrounds inhabit Canada, which is a bilingual and multicultural culture dominated by Old World immigrants and their descendants, with the bulk of the population descended from these immigrants. Following the first era of French colonisation, which was followed by a far larger period of British colonisation, various waves (or peaks) of immigration and settlement of non-indigenous peoples occurred throughout the course of almost two centuries and continue to this day. Indigenous, French, British, and more recent immigrant traditions, dialects, and faiths have come together to create the culture of Canada, and with it, a sense of belonging for the country's inhabitants. Canada has also been profoundly affected by its linguistic, geographic, and economic neighbour, the United States, throughout the centuries.
During the decades following the establishment of the Canadian Confederation in 1867, Canadian independence from the United Kingdom gained ground gradually and over a long period of time. During World War I and World War II in particular, Canadians expressed a strong desire for the recognition of their country's status as a fully-fledged sovereign state with a unique citizenship. Parliamentary independence was established in 1931 with the passage of the Statute of Westminster. The legislation on nationality in Canada is quite similar to the law in the United Kingdom. Since the middle of the twentieth century, legislation has reflected Canadians' dedication to multilateralism and socioeconomic growth.