The increasing level of immigration to Canada has lately sparked a growing concern among Canadians. This is partly due to the country’s population hitting a milestone of over 40,000,000 people in 2023, with plans to admit 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024, and 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026.
There is a perception that the rapid population growth caused by immigration is contributing to a higher cost of living in Canada, especially for housing. Nevertheless, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) 2022 Report on Immigration to Parliament showed that immigration is responsible for 90% of Canada’s labor force growth and is essential to filling the vacancies left by the expected nine million retirements by 2030.
The recent Immigration Levels Plan is seen as sustainable and vital for supporting the economy, while also relieving pressure in the healthcare and housing sectors. Despite the need for newcomers to strengthen Canada’s economy, polls from Nanos, the Environics Institute, and Leger found that there is growing concern about immigration among Canadians who are dealing with a high cost of living, elevated inflation, and difficulty finding an affordable place to live.
The polls have revealed that a significant portion of Canadians prefer to see fewer immigrants in Canada, with only 9% expressing a desire to welcome a higher number of newcomers. Additionally, 72% of Canadians believe immigrants play a key role in growing Canada’s population, but nearly the same number feel immigrants are contributing to the housing crisis and putting pressure on the health care and school systems.
This significant decline in support for high levels of immigration has been attributed to several factors, including the impact on affordability and housing as well as the lack of affordable housing. It’s also worth noting that the concern about immigration’s effect on housing is driven more by the media than Canadians’ direct experience or locally based developments.
The political leanings of Canadians also seem to influence their support for immigration. There is less support for high levels of immigration across all political parties, with the most dramatic decrease found among supporters of the Conservative party.
Additionally, Canadians over the age of 55 are less supportive of immigration compared to younger demographics. Overall, the polls indicate a declining support for high levels of immigration in Canada due to concerns about housing, affordability, and the impact on various sectors.
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