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Canadians are more supportive of immigration than ever

Canadians are more supportive of immigration than ever

The respondents agree that Canada should take in more refugees and recognize the value of immigration to the economy. Survey results on Canadians' attitudes toward immigration have been made public by the Environics Institute of Canada in collaboration with the Century Initiative. 

The Environics Institute is a research organization that gathers information on Canadian issues like the government and economy and performs public opinion polls. Business executives and academics founded the registered charity Century Initiative to promote the goal of having 100,000,000 people living in Canada by the year 2100.

The survey's general conclusion is that there are now more Canadians than ever who support increased immigration. When questioned, about 70% of Canadians said they disagreed or strongly disagreed.

With 8.3 million immigrants making up 23% of Canada's overall population as of the 2021 census, this represents the highest level of support for immigration in the survey's 45-year history. By 2041, it predicts that this percentage would rise to 34%.

Telephone interviews with 2,000 Canadians were used to gather the data between September 6 and June 30, 2022. In 19 out of 20 samples, a sample this size taken from the population yields results that are accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

As in past years, the study discovered that support for immigration and immigrants is frequently correlated with political preferences.

Supporters of the federal Liberal Party (79%, up 4 since 2021), NDP (85%, up 4), and Green Party (84%, up 19) have all shown an increase in their overall support for higher immigration levels. On the other hand, only 43% of Conservative supporters think that immigration levels are too high, which is a 1% decrease from the 2021 study.

Encouragement of immigration despite pandemic challenges

The information comes as Canada deals with the COVID-19 pandemic's aftermath, an unprecedented labor shortage, and a record one million job openings. In response, Canada has increased the Immigration Levels Plan's targets. By 2024, the current plan seeks to have between 432,000 and 451,000 additional immigrants living in Canada. By November, a new strategy is anticipated.

More than 50% of Canadians surveyed think that immigration will help Canada's population grow. With a 15-point gain from the prior year, the 2021 results reveal that individuals in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have changed their opinions. Both Ontario and Alberta have gained three points.

In Atlantic Canada, where the proportion of immigrants has tripled over the past five years, there was a nine-point decline in support for immigration. A common belief is that immigration is crucial to Canada's economic development. Canada's population grows through immigration, which also broadens its tax base.

The majority of new immigrants to Canada will be paying income tax to the economy and supporting systems like healthcare and education, according to the most recent census, which revealed that two-thirds of new immigrants are of working age.

Canadians support taking in more refugees

The majority of respondents were supportive of Canada's commitment to offering a safe home for refugees, especially those leaving war zones. The survey reveals that some people are worried about how well refugees can assimilate into Canadian society and how this would affect the nation's culture and identity.

This was particularly noteworthy in Quebec, where policies on economic immigration are actively promoted in order to support the province's distinctively francophone culture and character.

However, the findings indicate that an increasing majority of Canadians, including Quebec, reject the notion that Canada welcomes an excessive number of immigrants from colored nations.

37% of Canadians agree or strongly agree that some refugees are not "genuine" or "legitimate" refugees. The percentage of respondents who hold this belief, like with all other questions, is higher among Conservative or Bloc Quebecois supporters.

Regionally, Alberta has the highest percentage of respondents who hold this opinion, but Atlantic Canadians are also becoming more in agreement, up eight points from the study from 2021. However, the survey shows that the majority of Canadians disagree with the notion that there are too many immigrants from racial minorities in the country. 

Compared to the general data from the 1990s, when public opinion on the subject was essentially evenly split, this represents a significant change. When specific nations were identified, attitudes about receiving refugees from war zones didn't generally shift.

Conflict zones like Ukraine were used as examples for some responders, while conflict zones like Afghanistan were the subject of other questions. The findings indicate a marginal but not significant difference in favor of Ukrainian refugees over Afghan refugees.

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