May 3, 2024

Weekly EconMinute—Canadian Perceptions of Immigration: Part 2

In Part II of this special edition of our EconMinute series that explores Canadians’ Perceptions of Immigration, we’re talking about issues and challenges related to immigration.

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.

In Part I of our mini series on Canadians’ Perceptions of Immigration, we explored broad, popular opinion about immigration in Canada. The results showed that while many Canadians view immigration as beneficial to the country, there are also many who are unsure of its benefit or do not believe it is good for Canada. Furthermore, compared with previous surveys, there has been a significant decline in popular support for immigration.

Survey data show that a majority of Canadians (60%) believe that Canada’s immigration system is broken. But what is not working? Respondents were asked to select the top three reasons why they believe the current immigration system is not functioning well.

Here’s what we found:

  • Most notably, 66% of respondents listed a lack of housing or infrastructure (such as hospitals and schools) to accommodate population growth.
  • Additionally, 48% of individuals are worried about current levels of immigration. Individuals born in Canada are more likely to cite this concern compared to recent immigrants themselves, but the gap is not especially large (50% versus 40%).
  • Another top concern—noted by 37% of respondents—is restrictions that get in the way of immigrants using foreign credentials in Canada.
  • Of those that agreed that credentialling issues are a top concern, 45% of respondents were immigrants themselves.
  • Lastly, 31% of individuals feel that the current process for selecting immigrants with relevant skills in the Canadian labour market is inadequate.

Ultimately, these results show that Canadians perceive there to be cracks in the current immigration system. Most notably, they highlight the importance of considering Canada’s ability to respond to growth when setting immigration targets.

In Part III of our mini series, we turn to one question left unanswered: what is the vision for immigration that Canadians want.

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