A new poll shows Canadians are in favour of maintaining or increasing immigration levels in Canada.
Some 53 per cent of respondents to the Nanos/Globe and Mail poll said they were happy for immigration levels to stay the same or increase, while 39 per cent favoured reduced levels.
The poll comes against a backdrop of an increase in immigration numbers being planned by the federal government due to be announced in the fall.
Canada is already on target to welcome up to 305,000 new immigrants this year, the most in the modern era.
Canadians are clearly comfortable with this increase, which includes the influx of Syrian refugees with more than 30,000 already admitted to Canada.
When looked at regionally within Canada, the results highlighted something of a divide in attitude towards immigration.
In Atlantic Canada, where the need for increased immigration is pronounced, less than 30 per cent said they prefer fewer immigrants in 2017. Meanwhile in the Prairies, currently struggling with the economic impact of lower oil prices, 48 per cent expressed a wish for fewer immigrants.
Percentage Wanting Fewer Immigrants
- Atlantic: 29.1%
- Quebec: 47.4%
- Ontario: 33.5%
- Prairies: 47.6%
- British Columbia: 31.2%
Other questions in the poll were somewhat poorly worded, meaning the results have to be taken with a grain of salt.
The poll asked whether temporary foreign workers should be allowed into Canada while qualified Canadians are available to do the same job. Unsurprisingly, 74 per cent of respondents were against the situation put forward in the question.
Immigration Minister John McCallum is planning to loosen restrictions on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program this fall, but only for those industries which are struggling to find staff.
Alberta beef processing centres and fish processing plants in the Atlantic provinces have had to operate at less than full capacity because Canadians are unwilling to work in many of the positions.
Where there are Canadians to fill jobs naturally they should be at the front of the line. But if Canadians do not want the jobs, businesses need to be able to recruit overseas.
A third question in the poll asked if Canadians supported a more onerous screening process for immigrants coming in from regions such as the Middle East to reduce security threats. Again, the obvious answer to this question is ‘yes’, and 74 per cent of respondents were in favour.
Ask anyone if they want the government to do all they can to make their country safer, and they will answer ‘yes’ every time.
Finally, the survey asked if respondents supported the government’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis. It has already been well-documented that Canadians are bucking the global trend by welcoming refugees, so it was again no surprise to see 66 per cent giving a positive response to this question.
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