Canadians Divided On Immigration Target Levels, Says Poll


VANCOUVER – As travel restrictions in Canada brought by COVID-19 begin to lift, the impacts will not only be felt by people living in this country, but those waiting to settle here.

An unprecedented, pandemic-related slowdown in immigration over the last year and a half is poised to ramp up against news last Monday that some 23,000 approved immigrants to Canada could immediately begin their journey to their new home country.

Public health, economic and perhaps even electoral outcomes pending, the Canadian government has signalled it plans to land more than 400,000 newcomers next year.

New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute in partnership with the University of British Columbia finds Canadians divided along age, gender, and political lines about whether that number represents an appropriate target.

Overall, one-in-three (34%) say that this is the right level. A plurality of past NDP (43%) and Liberal (47%) voters believe the current target of 411,000 new permanent residents is the right amount. One-quarter of past CPC voters agree (23%).

On the other hand, a plurality of 39 per cent feel that the target is too high. This proportion rises to a majority in Alberta (50%) and Saskatchewan (54%) and is the opinion of nearly two-thirds (64%) of past Conservative voters.

One-in-eight (13%) Canadians say the 411,000 target is not ambitious enough, rising to one-in-five among past Liberal and New Democrat voters.

As to which regions of the globe Canada should prioritize for new permanent residents, three-in-five Canadians say that it does not matter to them, and that no region should have priority over another. One-quarter (26%) prefer Europe, while one-in-five (20%) say the United States and Mexico. Immigration from South Asia is chosen by just four per cent, a finding starkly contrasted against the fact that Canada’s largest source of immigration is currently India.