May 3, 2024

Weekly EconMinute—Canadian Perceptions of Immigration: Part 1

In Part I of this special edition of our EconMinute series that explores Canadians’ Perceptions of Immigration, we’re talking about how Canadians believe immigration affects Canada.

Public Opinion Polling and BCA’s Prosperity-Driven Immigration Project

As a part of our work on Prosperity-Driven Immigration—a summary of which can be found here—we were interested in gaining a better understanding of how Canadians feel about immigration, including the existing challenges they see and their vision for the future. Through public polling conducted by Abacus Data in April 2024, we were able to gain insights from diverse voices across Canada. Over the course of this mini-series, we highlight some of the key findings from this polling data (the full results of which can be found here.

Immigration has long been integral to Canada and its economy, shaping the country in many positive ways. However, amid rapid population growth and economic stagnation, we were curious to understand Canadians’ views on the role of immigration today. In Part I of our mini series, we look at popular opinion about immigration in Canada. (see text box above for further details).

Here’s what we found:

  • Less than half of Canadians believe immigration is good for Canada’s economy, standing in the world, society, and prosperity.
  • Though results are moderately positive across the board, a large number of Canadians disagree (around 46%) that immigration brings value to Canada, and 26% are unsure.
  • Though this specific poll was only conducted once, previous opinion polling from the Environics Institute suggests this 46% share represents a sharp decline in sentiment. As of 2018, 80% believed that immigration had a positive impact on the economy.
  • Some Canadians hold a more positive view than others. Those most likely to see immigration as positive are also those who think Canada is currently headed in the right direction while those who think Canada is headed in the wrong direction are among the least positive about where Canada is going. Additionally, young adults (those aged 18 to 29) tend to view immigration more positively than older Canadians. 

Overall, the findings show that while many Canadians acknowledge the value of immigration to Canada, there is a large (and, possibly, growing) number of Canadians who disagree or are unsure, questioning the long-held consensus view that immigration is good for Canada. While these results provide insight into how Canadians view immigration, they do not tell us why , which is crucial for a better understanding of what could be driving the decline in sentiment. In our next part of this mini series , we will take a closer look at what Canadians see as the current issues and challenges around immigration.

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