How do Canadians feel about the immigration levels?
In 2023, Canada’s population reached 40 million, with a 2.7% growth due to immigration. Historically, Canadians have held positive views toward immigrants, with Canada ranked as the most accepting country for immigrants in 2019. Over the last few decades, Canadians’ attitudes toward immigrants and immigration have been more positive than negative. On Gallup’s Migrant Acceptance Index in 2019, Canada was ranked the most welcoming country for immigrants (out of 145 countries).
People were asked if they thought it was good or bad for immigrants to live in their country, become neighbors, and marry into their families. Gallup then ranked each country on a scale from 0 to 9 and created an index based on the responses. Lower scores indicated that the nation was less accepting of migrants, and higher scores indicated that its population was more accepting of them.
According to Gallup’s Migrant Acceptance Index, Canada received the highest score of any country surveyed, totaling 8.46 out of a possible 9.0 points. At 7.95, the United States came in sixth place overall.
However, in 2023, a shift was observed as the government’s plan to welcome 485,000 permanent residents in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025 and 2026 was met with increased concerns about high immigration levels. Despite these concerns, there was no change in general attitudes towards immigrants. The belief that high immigration levels contribute to the housing crisis significantly drove this shift. Policymakers should monitor public attitudes towards immigration, as negative perceptions may affect the support and welcome immigrants receive. Notwithstanding the rising concerns about immigration levels, the public still feels positive about immigrants’ contributions.
Canada’s immigration continues steadily towards a record-breaking 2023
In November, Canadian immigration fell by 12.4% but was still set to end the year with a record number of new permanent residents, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data.
Despite the drop to 29,430 new residents in November from 33,570 in October, the total for the year was 434,360. Projections indicated 473,847 new residents by the end of 2023, 8.3% more than in 2022 and 1.9% above the target of 465,000. The 2024-2026 Immigration Levels Plan aims to welcome 485,000 new residents in 2024, 500,000 in 2025, and maintain the same level in 2026.
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