Increased Immigration

The Majority of Canadians See Increased Immigration as Beneficial for the Country’s Economy

Canada is experiencing explosive population growth leading to soaring rent prices in major cities. This condition has forced many Canadians to leave these urban centres and look for more affordable housing options in other communities. In light of these developments, there is a belief that immigration may compromise the Canadian housing market by creating a level of demand that the country may not be able to keep up with. However, a recent Bloomberg-commissioned poll from Nanos Research Group indicates that most polled Canadians remain focused on the positive impact they expect immigration to have on the economy.

According to the poll, more than half of the respondents believe that Canada’s increased annual immigration target will have a positive or somewhat positive effect on the economy. Slightly over one-third of respondents said this increase will have a negative or somewhat negative impact, while around 1-in-20 surveyed Canadians were unsure what economic impact would come from increased annual immigration targets. A small contingent of respondents indicated that they believe Canada’s increased immigration target will have no impact on the economy.

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Canada’s relationship with immigration is allowing the country to experience the fastest population growth rate of any country in the Group of Seven. This trend is expected to continue in line with Canada’s rising immigration targets, which include welcoming 500,000 new permanent residents in 2025 in line with the Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025. As of 2021, census data indicates that immigrants make up 23% of Canada’s total population.

Public support for this year’s immigration target has increased by 10% since November 2020, while about a third of respondents say Canada should accept fewer permanent residents, and 15% of the surveyed public wanted the country to bring in more people. Further establishing public support for immigration across Canada is a survey by the Environics Institute of Canada, in partnership with the Century Initiative, from October 2022. In this survey, nearly 70% of Canadians disagreed or strongly disagreed when asked if Canada’s immigration levels were too high.

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A Century Initiative report from February this year titled Public Opinion and Immigration: Maintaining Canada’s Advantage reinforces the reality that many Canadians support immigration. This is especially true of immigration as it relates to foreign nationals from crisis-stricken nations, as 76% of Canadians believe that the country should accept more immigrants from places experiencing major conflicts. This figure is an increase of 42% from 1993, making it evident that Canadians have a largely positive outlook on immigration.

In an effort to allow Canadians even more opportunities to express their opinions and beliefs on immigration, Canada has also begun an initiative called “An Immigration System for Canada’s Future.” This venture will allow Canadians to participate in dialogue sessions, surveys, and other events for the purpose of sharing their ideas and perspectives on how Canada can build a stronger, more adaptive immigration system for Canada’s future. This initiative invites stakeholders of all kinds, including all levels of government, businesses, academia, post-secondary institutions, and settlement organizations, to participate in these events and allow their voices to be heard.

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) note that the input gathered through this initiative will inform Canada’s future immigration policies and programs and will help shape a system that will benefit communities across the country for decades to come. Overall, it appears that Canadians have a largely positive outlook on immigration and recognize its potential to benefit the country’s economy and society in the long run.

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