May 1, 2024

The time is now to make changes to Canada’s immigration system

Calgary, Alberta—Historically Canadians have been strongly supportive of immigration—and for good reason. Canada has long been a global leader in immigration: the system attracted highly skilled people who helped grow the economy and were able to successfully build a great life in Canada.

However, between surging population growth and a weak economy, public opinion has shifted.

A new poll, released today by the Business Council of Alberta, found that Canadians are concerned about the effectiveness of Canada’s immigration system and believe that we need to make changes urgently to ensure we maintain the benefit and opportunity of immigration.

Entitled Perceptions of Canada’s Immigration System: A Summary of Public Sentiment on Canada’s Immigration Strategy, key insights from the study include:

  • Less than half of Canadians think that immigration is good for Canada’s economy, standing in the world, society, prosperity, and the majority (62%) believe that Canada’s immigration policy should prioritize economic immigration.
  • Less than one-third (28%) of Canadians believe that our current approach to immigration is effective in its selection and support of immigrants.
  • Top reasons attributed to the system’s ineffectiveness include not having enough housing or infrastructure to accommodate a surging population, an overwhelming influx of new immigrants, and a lack of credential recognition. Not listed in the top reasons are perceptions of competition for jobs or issues related to social cohesion.
  • With this prevalent belief in the system’s ineffectiveness, 70% of Canadians advocate for necessary adjustments, with strong support for reforms for recognizing credentials, selecting economic immigrants with the highest economic potential, and refocusing economic immigration on improving living standards for everyone.  

The full study can be found here.

About the Study

This report is a summary of the findings of a survey by Abacus Data. The survey was administered to 2,302 adult Canadians from April 11 – 16, 2024. The data is weighted by age, gender, education and region. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.04%, 19 times out of 20. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

This study is the 10th publication in the Business Council of Alberta’s Prosperity-Driven Immigration Strategy for Canada project. In the next week, the project’s Executive Task Force will release its final recommendations for the federal government to better attract, select, and support immigrants and ultimately improve prosperity for everyone.


About the Business Council of Alberta. The Business Council of Alberta is a non-partisan, for-purpose organization dedicated to building a better Alberta within a more dynamic Canada. Composed of the chief executives and leading entrepreneurs of the province’s largest enterprises, Council members are proud to represent the majority of Alberta’s private sector investment, job creation, exports, and research and development. The Council is committed to working with leaders and stakeholders across Alberta and Canada in proposing bold and innovative public policy solutions and initiatives that will make life better for Albertans.

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