Half of Canadians feel that too many immigrants entering the country: Poll

Toronto: Half of Canadians believe that there are too many immigrants coming into the country, according to the findings of a new survey.

Passengers wait for their flights at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Canada. (AFP)

The survey, conducted the agency Leger for the Montreal-headquartered Association for Canadian Studies and the Metropolis Institute, showed that 50% of respondents were of the opinion that immigration numbers are too high.

Hindustan Times – your fastest source for breaking news! Read now.

That was a steep increase from the 21% who held that opinion in a previous survey in January 2023 conducted by the Canadian government cited by the outlet National Post. At that time, they were outnumbered by those that sought higher immigration.

Canada has never had an anti-immigrant sentiment, and all parties have agreed on the necessity of newcomers. But, Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies and the Metropolis Institute, told the National Post, “This concern about immigration has traction and certainly it constitutes a challenge to this consensus.”

“This suggests it’s a departure from what we’ve seen in the previous decade,” he added.

These views have evolved amid a surge in immigration after travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic were lifted. There were nearly a million newcomers in 2022, and was higher in 2023. In fact, last year saw a million international students in the country for the first time.

Some of the change in the prior welcoming attitude towards immigrants is from those who came to the country fairly recently, between the last 10 and 20 years, according to Naresh Chavda, president of Globayan Immigration Corporation, felt. “They are not saying they are anti-immigrant,” Chavda stressed, but that “the number of immigrants coming in should not exceed the capacity of the country to absorb them.”

As economic issues, like cost-of-living and housing affordability, become prime drivers of the weakening support for immigration, Chavda said new groups, like recent immigrants as well as those once holding a liberal stance towards immigration, are joining those who were always against newcomers, in boosting the negativity. “They believe their standard of living is dropping,” Chavda said.

The change in perception has already weighed heavily on the popularity of the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leading to measures like reducing the number of applications being accepted for study permits and holding steady the quantum of permanent residencies being granted.

In January, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a cap of 35% on the intake of applications for study permits this year, which is expected to bring the number of approvals down to 360,000. Starting in 2026, the government will “stabilise” the number of permanent residents accepted to 500,000.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button