Reaching the Nations International Church Growth Almanac

Country reports on the LDS Church around the world from a landmark almanac. Includes detailed
analysis of history, context, culture, needs, challenges and opportunities for church growth.


Population: 34.83 millions (#38 out of 246 countries)

Reaching the Nations

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By David Stewart and Matt Martinich


Area: 9,984,640 square km.  Geographically the world's second largest country, Canada occupies vast stretches of northern North America and extends from the contiguous United States to Alaska in the west, the North Pole to the north, and Greenland to the northeast.  Canada includes dozens of large islands between the North American mainland and the North Pole and borders the North Atlantic, the North Pacific, and the Arctic Oceans.  Linked to the North Atlantic Ocean, Hudson Bay is a major geographic feature and occupies a large area in central Canada.  Temperate climate predominates in southern Canada, which is modified by distance to the ocean with wetter, more mild maritime conditions occurring in coastal areas and continental, drier conditions in interior areas.  Subarctic and arctic climate occur in central and northern Canada where terrain consists of plains and mountains covered by boreal forests and tundra.  The Rocky Mountains dominate western Canada whereas plains and lowlands occupy eastern areas.  Permafrost and severe weather are natural hazards.  Environmental issues include air and water pollution from industrial and urban activities and acid rain.  Canada is administratively divided into ten provinces and three territories.

Population: 34,030,589 (July 2011)       

Annual Growth Rate: 0.794% (2011)    

Fertility Rate: 1.58 children born per woman (2011)    

Life Expectancy: 78.81 male, 84.1 female (2011)


white: 66%

Amerindian: 2%

other: 6%

mixed: 26%

Immigration and European colonization of Canada has result in the white population accounting for the majority.  White Europeans account for two-thirds of the Canadian population, 42% of which are of British-Isles descent, 35% of which are of French descent, and 23% of which descend from other European ethnic groups.  Approximately one-quarter of the population is of mixed ancestry.  Amerindians account for 2% of the population.  6% of the population pertain to other ethnic groups, such as Asian, African, and Arab ethnicities. 

Languages: English (58.8%), French (21.6%), other (19.6%).  English and French are the official languages.  Other languages with the most speakers include languages native to India and Pakistan, other European languages, and East Asian languages.  Only English and French have over one million speakers with 20 million and 7.35 million speakers, respectively.

Literacy: 99% (2003)


Amerindian groups populated North America for millennia prior to the arrival of Europeans.  The Vikings established a settlement in Newfoundland around A.D. 1000 which was briefly maintained.  The name Canada was adopted from an Iroquoian word meaning "village" when the French began exploring eastern areas along the St. Lawrence Seaway in the early sixteenth century.  The French settled much of eastern Canada and the English began colonizing Newfoundland during this period.  The British annexed eastern Canada from the French during the eighteenth century as a result of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 and the Treaty of Paris in 1763.  Canada was divided into Upper and Lower Canada in the late eighteenth century for English and French speakers, which later laid the foundation for the present-day provinces of Ontario and Quebec.  The British based their war operations in Canada for the War of 1812 with the United States and expanded westward during the nineteenth century establishing colonies on Vancouver Island and in British Columbia.  Canada achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1867 and encouraged settlement and development of the sparsely populated and undeveloped west.  In the twentieth century, Canada participated in both world wars and bolstered ties with the United States.  Many in the French-speaking province of Quebec pushed for greater sovereignty and independence from Canada during the latter-half of the twentieth century but these efforts never came to fruition.  Canada participated in the United States-led Gulf War  in the early 1990s and invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.  Today Canada numbers among the most technologically advanced nations, experiences a high standard of living, maintains numerous trade agreements with the United States, continues to exploit abundant natural resources, and pledges dedication toward protecting the environment. 


Past British and French rule have heavily influenced the development of Canadian culture as manifest by English and French designed as the official languages.  Catholicism is a traditional cultural influence in French-speaking areas but church attendance rates are generally low throughout the country.  Canada has experienced heavy immigration over the past several decades, especially from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East which has altered traditional Canadian culture as these immigrant groups are integrated into society.  Cuisine consists of foods and dishes common in Western Europe and the United States and many foods introduced by immigrant groups from Asia.  Ice hockey, Canadian football, and lacrosse are the most popular sports.  Alcohol and cigarette consumption rates are comparable to the world average.   


GDP per capita: $39,600 (2010) [83.5% of US]

Human Development Index: 0.888

Corruption Index: 8.9

Canada possesses ample natural resources, a skilled-labor work force, and an advanced, diversified market economy which is highly integrated into the economy of the United States.  75% of exports are destined to the United States and 51% of imports originate from the United States.  Canadian proven oil reserves are the world's second largest; other natural resources include iron ore, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, potash, diamonds, silver, coal, hydropower, forest, and wildlife.  Strong economic growth occurred throughout the latter half of the twentieth century.  The global financial crisis plunged the economy into recession for the first time in over a decade, but conservative lending policies from major Canadian banks contributed to a rapid recovery and a stable, robust financial sector.  Services employ 76% of the work force and generate 78% of the GDP whereas industry employs 19% of the work force and generates 20% of the GDP.  Motor vehicle equipment, chemicals, mining, food processing, wood products, fishing, petroleum, and natural gas are major industries.  Agriculture accounts for 2% of the labor force and GDP.  Common agricultural products include grains, tobacco, fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and fish.  Aside from the United States, other primary trade partners include China, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.  Canada ranks among countries with the lowest levels of perceived corruption.   


Christian: 77.1%

Muslim: 2%

Jewish: 1.1%

Buddhist: 1%

Hindu: 1%

Sikh: 1%

other: 0.8%

none: 16%


Denominations  Members  Congregations

Catholic  14,973,459  

Latter-day Saints   182,142  480

Jehovah's Witnesses  113,603  1,354

Seventh Day Adventists  61,468  356


Christians account for approximately three-quarters of the population.  57% of Christians are Catholic and 38% are Protestant; the remaining 5% follow other Christian denominations.  The largest Protestant denominations include the United Church, Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, and Pentecostal churches.  Non-Christian religious groups constitute less than five percentage of the population and with the exception of Jews are concentrated among Asian immigrants.[1]  Provinces in eastern Canada have the highest percentage of self-identified Christians whereas western provinces and territories have the lowest percentages.  Nonreligious populations comprise the largest percentage of the population in the west.

Religious Freedom

Persecution Index:

The constitution protects religious freedom which is upheld by the government.  Major Christian holidays are recognized national holidays.  Religious groups are not required to register with the government.  To receive tax-exempt status and other financial benefits, a religious group must send overseas humanitarian aid only to government-approved individuals or locations, be nonpolitical, and submit to periodic audits.  Societal abuses of religious freedom are infrequent and target Jewish and Muslim minorities.  There have been accusations of some provincial governments limiting the freedom of religious expression for Muslims.[2]

Largest Cities

Urban: 81%

Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Québec, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, St. Catharines, Halifax, Oshawa, Victoria, Windsor,  Saskatoon, Regina, Sherbrooke, St. John's, Barrie, Kelowna, Abbotsford, Sudbury , Kingston, Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Brantford, Guelph, Moncton, Saint John, Thunder Bay, Peterborough.

All 33 cities with over 100,00 inhabitants have an LDS congregation.  69% of the national population resides in the 33 most populous cities.

LDS History

The first LDS missionary work to occur outside of the United States began in Canada in September 1830 by Joseph Smith Senior and his son, Don Carlos in small towns north of the St. Lawrence River.  Brigham Young performed missionary work with his brother Phineas in 1832 and the Prophet Joseph Smith visited Canada in October 1833 to perform missionary work.  By 1834, there were 150 converts baptized and four branches established.  LDS apostles John E. Page and Paley P. Pratt were assigned to special missions in Canada in the mid-1830s and experienced great success baptizing hundreds of new converts and establishing additional congregations.  By 1850, approximately 2,500 Canadians had joined the Church primarily from Upper Canada.  Nearly all church members joined Latter-day Saints in Utah or went inactive in the mid-nineteenth century and by 1861 the Ontario census reported only 74 members in the province. 

In the late 1880s, the LDS Church established a presence in western Canada under the direction of Charles Card to avoid persecution by the United States government for some members of the Church practicing plural marriage.  In 1887, the settlement of Cardston was founded and a LDS congregation was organized as part of the Cache Valley Stake.  LDS Church leadership advised Card to purchase 20,000 acres to make the settlement permanent and self-sustaining due to the degree of tolerance exhibited by the Canadian government to the Church at the time.  By 1895, the first LDS stake outside the United States was organized in Canada, named the Alberta Stake.  Additional town and communities were founded by Latter-day Saint settlers in the region during the 1890s, including Raymond, Magrath, and Stirling, and Canadian businessmen contracted members to irrigate 720,00 acres between the United States border and Lethbridge.  The reputation of Latter-day Saints with the general Canadian population improved in the early twentieth century following the discontinuance of the practice of plural marriage.  LDS missionaries were banned from entering Quebec for many years however.  Missionary work occurred throughout western Canada before World War I but with little success.  Missionary work expanded into eastern Canada during the mid-twentieth century.[3]  Future LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson served as a mission president over the Canadian Mission from 1959 to 1962 which at the time included Ontario and Quebec.[4]


LDS missionary efforts commenced in Canada during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century under no official mission organization or through LDS missions based in the United States.  Later renamed the Ontario Toronto Mission in 1974, the Canadian Mission was initially organized in 1919 from the Eastern States and Northern States Missions.  In 1941, a second mission was organized, the Western Canadian Mission, from missions based in the United States and was renamed the Canada Calgary Mission in 1974.  The Canadian-Alaskan Mission was organized in 1960 and renamed the Canada Vancouver Mission in 1974.  By 1970, there were four missions.  Additional missions were organized in Halifax (1973), Winnipeg (1976), Toronto East (1993), and Edmonton (1998).  In 2011, the two missions in Toronto were consolidated into a single mission.  The number of missions increased to six in 1980 and eight in 2000.  In 2011, there were seven LDS missions.

Membership Growth

LDS Membership: 182,142 (2010)

There were approximately 10,000 Latter-day Saints in southern Alberta accounting for three percent of the provincial population by 1914. In 1923, 80% of Canadian church membership resided within 100 miles of Cardston.  In 1950, there were 30,000 members.[5]  In 1973, there were 55,532 Latter-day Saints in Canada, 37,512 of which resided within the boundaries of the ten stakes operating at the time.[6]  By 1983, there were 90,321 members, 44,335 of which resided in Alberta (49%), 17,439 in Ontario (19%), and 15,932 in British Columbia (18%).  There were 12,000 members in Calgary in 1988.[7]  At the time 75% of church membership in Alberta resided in Calgary and Edmonton.[8]  Canadian LDS membership increased to 118,000 in 1987, 138,000 in 1993, 151,000 in 1997, and 158,511 in 2000.

Slow membership growth occurred in the 2000s as membership reached 163,666 in 2002, 169,633 in 2004, 175,383 in 2006, 177,600 in 2008, and 182,142 in 2010.  Annual membership growth rates ranged between one and two percent during the 2000s with the exception of 2008 when membership slightly declined (-0.3%).  Church membership generally increases between 2,000 and 3,000 members annually.  In 2010, one in 187 was LDS.

Congregational Growth

Wards: 328 Branches: 153

There were 370 LDS congregations in 1987, 410 in 1993, 434 in 1997, and 468 in 2000.  During the 2000s, congregational growth fluctuated from stagnation to slight increases in total congregations.  There were 467 LDS congregations in 2002, 479 in 2003, 481 in 2007, and 480 in 2010.  The number of wards increased from 217 in 1987 to 256 in 1993, 270 in 1997, 299 in 2000, 305 in 2001, 311 in 2003, 320 in 2006, 324 in 2007, and 328 in early 2011. 

The first LDS stake in Canada was organized in 1895 and today is known as the Cardston Alberta Stake.  Four additional stakes were organized in Alberta before 1960 in Raymond (1903), Calgary (1921), and Lethbridge (1951).  The first stake outside of Alberta was organized in Toronto, Ontario in 1960.  The number of stakes in Canada increased to eight  in 1960, ten in 1970, 26 in 1980, 34 in 1990, 44 in 2000, and 47 in 2010.  The first LDS stake was organized in British Colombia in 1960, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in 1978, Nova Scotia in 1985, and New Brunswick in 1988. 

As the number of stakes increased the number of districts declined from 11 in 1987 to 8 in 1993, 7 in 1997, 6 in 2000, 5 in 2003, and 4 in 2011.  At present districts operate in Fort Frances (1970), Terrace (1980), New Glasgow (1989), and Kingston (1996).  The Yellowknife Branch and several branches in Maritime Canada do not pertain to a stake or district and report directly to missions.  The Canada Montreal Mission Branch administers to isolated members in northern Canada.  By April 2011, there were 47 stakes and four districts.

Activity and Retention

The average number of members per congregation increased from 319 in 1987 to 339 in 2000  and 379 in 2010.  There were approximately 6,700 enrolled in seminary and institute during the 1987-1988 school year.[9]  9,934 were enrolled in seminary and institute during the 2009-2010 school year.  Short-term convert retention rates appear 50% or higher for most Canadian missions.  Most wards in Alberta appear to have between 100 and 250 active members whereas most wards elsewhere in Canada generally have between 75 and 150 active members.  Most branches typically have between 25 and 75 active members.  Nationwide active membership is estimated between 60,000 and 65,000, or 33-36% of total church membership. 


Door-to-door proselytism and street contacting are the primary forms of LDS finding efforts in Canada.  Member and investigator referrals are utilized less frequently, but yield better teaching, baptizing, and retention prospects.  Latter-day Saints at times have participated in international or national events and have held special meetings.  In 1988, approximately 500 Latter-day Saints in Alberta volunteered for the Winter Olympic Games in Calgary.[10]  The Church is invested in local and national public affairs over a variety of issues, such as sustaining traditional family values and shunning pornography.[11]  In 1994, the Church broadcast a television series on the Church, its members, and its values and how these remain constant throughout different cultures and ethnicities.[12] 

Language Materials

Languages with LDS Scripture: English, French, Chinese (traditional and simplified characters), Spanish, Italian, Arabic, German, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Urdu, Polish, Korean, Farsi, Russian, Tamil, Greek, Romanian.  

All LDS scriptures and most church materials are available in French, Chinese (traditional and simplified characters), Spanish, Italian, Arabic, German, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Polish, Korean, Russian, Greek, and Romanian.  Only the Book of Mormon and a limited number of church materials are available in Urdu, Farsi, and Tamil.  Only the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith is available in Punjabi.  The Liahona magazine has monthly issues in English, French, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, German, Tagalog, Portuguese, Korean, and Russian; four issues a year in Vietnamese, Polish, and Romanian; three issues a year in Urdu; and one issue a year in Greek.  Many other immigrant languages from Europe and East Asia have LDS materials available, such as Hindi. 


There were 243 LDS meetinghouses operating or under construction in 1988.[13]  In April 2011, there were approximately 320 LDS meetinghouses nationwide, nearly all of which have been built by the Church.  Some smaller branches in remote locations meet in rented spaces or renovated buildings.

Humanitarian and Development Work

LDS humanitarian and development work occurs on a congregation, stake, or mission level to meet local needs through service projects.  There have been few humanitarian resources dedicated to Canada largely due to the government welfare system and high standards of living.  Projects completed by the Church have included donating to food banks, housing the poor projects, and medical equipment donations.[14]  Young single adult members have frequently participated in local service projects.[15]


Opportunities, Challenges and Prospects

Religious Freedom

Latter-day Saints experience full religious freedom to worship, proselyte, and assemble.  Foreign missionaries regularly serve in Canada.

Cultural Issues

Nominal Christianity and secularism are the primary cultural obstacles reducing receptivity to the LDS Church in Canada and challenge efforts to develop culturally-adapted outreach approaches.  French Canadians traditionally identify as Catholic although few attend church services and affiliation with the Catholic Church is generally ethnically and culturally based.  Religion has become increasingly marginalized by society throughout Canada as secularism has spread.  Those who continue to identify as Christian seldom attend church services or participate in daily personal religious activities, challenging LDS mission efforts to instill practices such as daily scripture reading and weekly church attendance into many investigators.  The high degree of cultural pluralism exhibited by areas with higher ethnic diversity challenge LDS efforts to tailor teaching and outreach to individual cultural needs while simultaneously striving to integrate members and investigators from differing cultural backgrounds into the same congregations.  Increasing the number of language-specific congregations is an appropriate approach to meet the complex cultural needs in the largest cities with sizeable ethnic minority groups which continue to speak their respective languages.  The LDS Church has maintained consistent outreach to Chinese-speaking populations in several cities, but has not performed specific outreach to most immigrant groups. 

Due to a long-term LDS presence and large LDS populations, a tight-knit LDS culture has arisen in many areas of Alberta which has created challenges for LDS Church growth as many seasoned members limit their social interaction to fellow Latter-day Saints and lose the needed member-missionary and social skills needed to interact and invite nonmembers to learn about the church and attend meetings or activities in a natural way.  Many face difficulty distinguishing LDS doctrines and teachings from customs, traditions, and attitudes which have originated from member communities.  Instances of "cultural Mormonism" include overemphasis on church socializing activities, the marginalization of middle-aged and older single adults, the expectation of youth to attend church schools, and at times the ostracizing of youth and young adults which do not conform to church standards or express no desire to serve full-time missions. 

National Outreach

Canada receives excellent LDS mission outreach as manifested by the operation of seven missions in 2011 administering a population of 34 million, or approximately one mission per five million.  All administrative division have at least one independent LDS congregation operating with the exception of Nunavut where members meet in groups under the Canada Montreal Mission Branch.  At least 70% of the national population resides in cities with an LDS congregation.  Five cities with over 60,000 inhabitants have no LDS congregations and are all located in Quebec (Terrebonne, Repentigny, Chateauguay, Saint-Jerome, and Granby).  All cities over 20,000 inhabitants in Alberta have an LDS congregation.  

The percentage of Latter-day Saints varies by Canadian province or territory, with the highest percentage in Alberta (2% or one in 49) and the lowest percentage in Nunavut (0.03% or one in 3,320).  Some small cities and towns in southern Alberta settled by Latter-day Saints remain over 50% LDS today.  LDS membership constitutes over 0.5% of the population in Alberta, Yukon Territory, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia and constitutes less than 0.3% of the population in the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Quebec, and Nunavut.  In 1983, 86% of Canadian LDS membership resided in Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia notwithstanding the three provinces accounted for 55% of the national population at the time.  The distribution of Latter-day Saints has remained relatively constant over the past three decades as in 2010, 83% of Canadian LDS membership resided in Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia.  The population of Quebec has been the most resistant to LDS mission efforts as evidenced by consistent mission outreach for decades and Latter-day Saints accounting for only one in 722 in 2010.  Several of Canada's largest cities, such as Toronto, Quebec, and Vancouver have many neighborhoods and communities with no nearby LDS congregations and provide favorable conditions for church planting approaches, especially among ethnic minority groups.  Although there have been few efforts to establish additional congregations in the largest cities, missionaries serving in Toronto reported that coordinated efforts to perform outreach among Farsi-speaking Iranians began in 2010.  

Indigenous Inuit and other Native American populations are nearly completely unreached by the Church due to their small numbers distributed over enormous, isolated expanses of undeveloped territory primarily in Nunavut and Northern Territories.  No LDS materials in indigenous Native American languages, a lack of LDS members among native populations, and low receptivity to the LDS Church have continued to delay LDS mission outreach among Native Americans.

The Church operates no country-specific website for Canada notwithstanding widespread internet use.  The Church in Canada utilizes the general and websites for providing online explanations of church doctrine, internet proselytism, and information of meetinghouse locations.  French-speaking Canadians must utilize other LDS country websites in French and as of April 2011 there were no French-speaking member profiles under the revamped new website.  Local members utilizing social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter may increase opportunities for expanding national outreach, especially in lesser-reached areas of eastern Canada.

Member Activity and Convert Retention

Active LDS membership increase in Canada has been flat for over a decade as manifest by few new congregations organized and no significant increase in seminary and institute enrollment.  Church membership increased by 23,600 between 2000 and 2010 whereas the number of LDS congregations increased by 12 during this period, or one LDS congregation per 1,969 members.  The number of members enrolled in seminary and institute declined by 2% between 2008 and 2010.  Full-time missionaries have reported greater numbers of convert baptisms among ethnic minority groups, which appear more challenging to retain over the long term than white Canadians.  Member activity rates appear to vary by region, with New Brunswick and several other eastern Canadian provinces with the lowest member activity rates and western Canadian provinces with the highest member activity rates.  Increasing secularism, inadequate prebaptismal preparation, and low levels of member-missionary participation appear to be the primary contributors to modest convert retention rates over the past decade.  Reactivation efforts in some cities have been successful but generally rely on full-time missionaries.  Local leaders and full-time missionaries stressing seminary and institute attendance, the organization of additional language-specific congregations, and reduced full-time missionary involvement in reactivation and finding efforts may improve convert retention rates over the medium and long term. 

Ethnic Issues and Integration

Other than language barriers, there are no significant ethnic integration issues in Canada for the LDS Church notwithstanding significant ethnic diversity in the largest cities.  Establishing language-specific congregations has generally demonstrated greater success maintaining higher member activity rates among ethnic minority groups and retaining greater numbers of converts as investigators and members from these groups often feel a greater attachment to their respective congregations and its members.  There were no Korean LDS congregations in Canada until 2003 when the North York (Korean) Branch was organized in Toronto.  Prior to the organization of the branch, Korean members attended various congregations throughout the Toronto area.  In 2007, the branch had 69 Korean-speaking members and one of the highest member activity rates in Canada with member activity rates over 80%, sacrament meeting attendance at times exceeding 100% of church membership on branch records due to numerous investigators attending church, and regular convert baptisms notwithstanding many traveling dozens of kilometers to attend church meetings from throughout the Toronto area.  Some members reported that they did not feel like their testimony in the Church was progressing in English-speaking congregations.[16]  Reasons for success in the Korean branch were attributed to an inviting atmosphere for Koreans to attend church meetings in the native language, well-trained local priesthood leadership, and strong local member involvement in member-missionary work.  Similar opportunities exist for other receptive ethnic minority groups which already have several Latter-day Saints, such as Iranians, Bangladeshis, and several African groups.

Language Issues

LDS materials and scriptures are available in both official languages and in all the most commonly-spoken languages among recent immigrant groups.  Many foreign language speakers are bilingual in English or French or speak either language as a second language, reducing the need for LDS language-specific congregations to extend outreach.  The need for language-specific congregations is also culturally-based and in April 2011 there were 19 non-English and non-French-speaking congregations in Canada (twelve Spanish, three Mandarin, two Korean, one Cantonese, one Chinese).  In 2004, the Church provided translations of a regional church conference in eastern Canada in German and Portuguese[17] notwithstanding there being no LDS congregations designated German or Portuguese-speaking in Canada at the time.  Prospects for the translation of LDS materials into Inuit and Native American languages is unlikely for the foreseeable future as there are few speakers of these languages, few or no Latter-day Saints who speak these languages, and many of these languages are not written and are spoken primarily in the home.

Missionary Service

Less than 300 missionaries were called to serve throughout Canada from British Columbia to Manitoba before World War I.[18]  In early 2011, the number of full-time missionaries assigned to Canada was estimated at 800.  Significant numbers of local members serve full-time missions although LDS Canadian missionary manpower appears only self-sufficient in staffing its own missionary needs as seven LDS missions operate.  American members serve in large numbers in Canada together with members from other nations, allowing for Canadian missionaries to serve elsewhere.  Many Canadian Latter-day Saints serve missions internationally in virtually all missions in which missionaries from the United States are called to serve as most can receive foreign language instruction in English at the Provo Utah Missionary Training Center. 


Abundant numbers of active, tithe-paying Melchizedek priesthood holders in western Canada and Ontario are capable of staffing dozens of stakes and providing adequate numbers of leaders to maintain local unit and stake administrative duties.  Local leadership is much more limited in other areas of Canada, especially in the maritime provinces, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwestern Territories, and Nunavut and has prevented the creation of additional congregations and jeopardizes the closure or consolidation of some smaller branches and wards.  The overall strength of Canadian LDS leadership has originated from moderate rates of member activity and full-time missionary service.  Canadian members have been overrepresented in international church leadership positions and have served as apostles, general authorities, seventies, area seventies, regional representatives, mission presidents, and temple presidents.  


Latter-day Saint settlers in western Canada attended temples in the United States until the completion of the Cardston Alberta Temple in 1923.  The temple in Cardston became the first LDS temple built outside of the United States and stands as a testimony to the self-reliance, dedication, and activity of early Canadian Latter-day Saints.  Continued high levels of temple attendance among active members, the financial stability of the LDS Church in Canada, and long distances for many members to attend the temple have contributed to decisions by the Church to construct additional temples throughout the country even in areas with only one or two stakes.  Temples have since been constructed in Toronto (1990), Halifax (1999), Regina (1999), Edmonton (1999), Montreal (2000), and Vancouver (2010).  In early 2011, the Calgary Alberta Temple was under construction and in April 2010 the Winnipeg Manitoba Temple was announced by the Church.  The Cardston Alberta Temple is the most heavily utilized Canadian temple, with hourly endowment sessions on weekdays excluding Mondays and sessions every 45 minutes on Saturdays.  In 2011, the Edmonton Alberta Temple scheduled six endowment sessions on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and three sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Two endowment sessions were scheduled Wednesdays through Fridays and three sessions on Saturdays at the Halifax Nova Scotia Temple.  The Montreal Quebec Temple scheduled three sessions on Tuesdays, one on Wednesdays and Thursdays, five on Fridays, and three on Saturdays.  Temple wok occurs by appointment at the Regina Saskatchewan Temple.  The Toronto Ontario Temple scheduled three sessions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, six on Thursdays and Fridays, and sessions every half hour or hour on Saturdays.  The Vancouver British Columbia Temple scheduled seven endowment sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and three on Thursdays.

Comparative Growth

The LDS Church in Canada has the eleventh largest number of members, eighth most congregations, eighth most stakes, third most temples, and ninth most missions in the world although Canada ranks thirty-seventh in the world by total population.  There were more LDS temples in Canada than in Brazil in early 2011 notwithstanding LDS membership in Brazil totaling nearly a million more than in Canada.  The LDS Church in Canada had the lowest average number of members per congregation and one of the highest member activity rates among countries with over 100,000 members in 2010.  The percentage of members enrolled in seminary and institute (5.5%) is higher than most industrialized nations with an LDS presence and comparable to the United States.  Canadian Latter-day Saints appear to serve full-time missions more frequently than in most nations with large LDS populations.  Membership growth rates are comparable those experienced by the Church in Western Europe and the United States.  LDS congregational growth rates in Canada are comparable to those experienced in Australia and Western Europe and are much lower than in the United States.  The percentage of Latter-day Saints in the general population is higher than most industrialized nations and ranks among the lowest in North and South America.  LDS mission outreach in Canada as evidenced by the ratio of LDS missions  to the general population is comparable to the United States and much of Latin American.  The percentage of the population residing in cities and towns with an LDS congregation is slightly lower than the United States but higher than most countries with a church presence. 

Other missionary-minded Christian reports report ongoing frustrations extending mission outreach in Canada due to low receptivity but have made greater inroads among ethnic minority groups than Latter-day Saints.  Some denominations have reported regular increases in the number of their congregations.  The Seventh Day Adventist Church generally baptized between 1,500 and 2,500 new converts annually and creates several new congregations a year as the number of Adventist churches increased from 327 to 352 between 2000 and 2009.[19]  Adventists also operate ethnic or language-specific congregations for Filipinos, Spanish-speakers, Koreans, Cambodians, Portuguese-speakers, Ghanaians (Twi), Romanians, Russians, Rwandans,  Chinese, Hungarians, Italians, Japanese, Ukrainians, former Yugoslav peoples, and Zimbabweans.  Jehovah's Witnesses operated three times as many congregations as Latter-day Saints, claimed over 100,000 active members, and baptized over 2,000 new converts in 2010.  Evangelicals were in decline for much of the twentieth century and have begun to increase in numbers over the past couple decades. 

Future Prospects

The outlook for future LDS Church growth in Canada is mixed as member activity rates remain moderate in most locations and stable among youth but few new congregations have been organized in recent years indicating possible shortages of capable church leaders, a lack of vision in expanding outreach in the largest cities and unreached rural areas, overstaffing Canadian missions with large numbers of full-time missionaries who serve in many areas with low receptivity, and lower member activity rates among nonwhites.  The large number of temples built by the Church in Canada evidence the strength of active membership in meeting individual and congregational church responsibilities which will carry on as a major strength for decades to come.  New stakes may be organized in the near future in Calgary and Edmonton as many stakes have a large and often increasing number of congregations, but no other areas of Canada appear likely to have additional stakes organized in the foreseeable future.  Focus on dedicating mission resources to ethnic minority groups and fostering the development of self-sufficient local leadership will be critical towards ensuring ongoing church growth in the coming years, particularly to capitalize on more receptive populations.  Efforts directed towards several Asian groups and Spanish-speakers is encouraging.  There is need to begin outreach among Native American populations in remote areas through the wise appropriation of limited mission resources and will most likely be accomplished effectively through member-missionary efforts.  LDS proselytism approaches in French-speaking areas remain largely ineffective in addressing low receptivity issues and developing personal religious habits among nominal Catholics. 

[1]  "Canada," International Religious Freedom Report 2010, 17 November 2010.

[2]  "Canada," International Religious Freedom Report 2010, 17 November 2010.

[3]  "Canada: From Struggling Seed, the Church Has Risen to Branching Maple," Ensign, September 1988.

[4]  Farrington, John.  "Return to Canada," LDS Church News, 8 May 2004.

[5]  "Canada: From Struggling Seed, the Church Has Risen to Branching Maple," Ensign, September 1988.

[6]  "Membership Distribution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973," Deseret News 1974 Church Almanac, p. 117

[7]  "500 LDS involved in Winter Games," LDS Church News, 13 February 1988.

[8]  "Canada: From Struggling Seed, the Church Has Risen to Branching Maple," Ensign, September 1988.

[9]  "The Canadian LDS Profile," Ensign, September 1988.

[10]  "500 LDS involved in Winter Games," LDS Church News, 13 February 1988.

[11]  Farrington, John.  "Family values honored in Canada," LDS Church News, 8 February 2003.

[12]  Smart, William B.  "Church begins series on TV across Canada," LDS Church News, 5 February 1994.

[13]  "The Canadian LDS Profile," Ensign, September 1988.

[14]  "Locations - Canada," Humanitarian Activities Worldwide, retrieved 20 April 2011.,13501,4607-1-2008-205,00.html

[15]  "Kaleidoscope of service in Canada," LDS Church News, 20 July 2002.

[16]  Dietlein, Sister Sandra.  "Leading the way," LDS Church News, 20 January 2007.

[17]  Farrington, John.  "Return to Canada," LDS Church News, 8 May 2004.

[18]  "Canada: From Struggling Seed, the Church Has Risen to Branching Maple," Ensign, September 1988.

[19]  "Canada Union Conference,", retrieved 13 April 2011.