Canadians still support immigration
by Michael Scott
What do Canadians think about immigration? Like other countries, the opinions vary, but there is objective evidence to show that Canadians continue to support immigration to the country. CIC News published the results of an October survey conducted by the Environics Institute, which show only a minor change in the level of support since February 2018. This is surprising given the increased politicization of the issue in the United States and across Europe.
In response to the statement, “Overall, there is too much immigration to Canada,” 58 per cent of those interviewed disagreed, down slightly from the 60 per cent in February. The number of Canadians who think Canada has too much immigration remained unchanged at 35 per cent while the number with no clear opinion increased by two points to seven per cent. More than three quarters of Canadian respondents continue to believe that immigration has a positive impact on the country. This is down slightly from the 80 per cent who responded positively to this question and the number of Canadians who oppose this positive view on immigration rose from 16 to 18 per cent. The survey found that Canadians who think immigration has made Canada a better place is almost a 3 to 1 margin (45 per cent versus 17 per cent). “There is no public consensus on the overall impact that immigration has on the country, but the balance of opinion is clearly in a positive direction, and has held steady for the past seven years,” the study concludes.
Integration of newcomers continues to be an issue for all Canadians. The study found that 52 per cent of Canadian respondents think newcomers are not adopting Canadian values, slightly more than those who think they are. Overall the survey found that concerns about integration “remain lower than for most of the last 25 years.” Both Canadian-born and foreign-born respondents share this attitude and value respect for Canadian history and culture first, along with fluency in English and French languages, and tolerance and respect for each other. But immigration issues are well down the list of items most Canadians are focused on, such as the economy, heath care and the environment.
In terms of demographics the survey reports that British Columbia leads all provinces in having a positive opinion about immigration with 63 per cent disagreeing with the statement that Canada “has too much immigration.” Sixty per cent of Canadians under the age of 40 and 70 per cent with university degrees also disagreed with the statement. In contrast to BC, 42 per cent of respondents in Alberta agreed with the statement that Canada welcomes too many immigrants and Canadians, as did persons with high school or lower education.
The overall results are encouraging especially in world where we have to tolerate the ignorance and intolerance of leaders such as Donald Trump. But then again, Canada is different. It is noteworthy that roughly 35 per cent of Canadians oppose immigration and this number mirrors the hard-core support in the United States for Trump. Maybe we are not so different. We should, however, take comfort in the survey results but remain vigilant to protect Canadian values and immigration efforts. Efforts such as: opening the doors for refugees; the reunification of families; the recruitment of temporary foreign students and workers; and permanent immigration of skilled worker immigration under the federal Express Entry or the provincial nominee programs. Thank you to the survey respondents who confirm the fact that Canadians support immigration to the country.
Michael Scott is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC, R525678) who has 30 years of experience with Canada Immigration and the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program. He currently works as a licensed consultant with R.B. Global Immigration Consultants Ltd. 204-691-1166 or 204-227-0292. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.