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Survey Shows Canadians More Supportive of Immigration Levels After Being Informed of Target Numbers

Most Canadians say they are in favour of the country’s current immigration levels but support drops once they’re made aware of specific federal immigration targets, an internal government survey suggests.

“Approximately half of surveyed Canadians (52 percent) feel that the right number of immigrants are coming to Canada,” the 2022–23 IRCC Annual Tracking Survey report said.

Among those who did not agree that the right number of immigrants are coming into Canada, 22 percent said immigration levels are too high and another 22 percent said levels are too low.

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The report was prepared for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) by Ottawa-based research firm Phoenix SPI. The company surveyed 3,400 Canadians between Jan. 31 and March 17.

IRCC has revised its immigration targets to accept 465,000 new immigrants this year, 485,000 in 2024, and half a million in 2025.

After being informed about the government’s planned number of immigrants to be settled in the country for 2023, survey participants started showing reticence.

“While half (51 percent) said that this is about the right number, approximately one-third (35 percent) of Canadians felt that this would be too many immigrants,” the report said, noting a 13 percent increase among the latter cohort when told the quota for 2023.

When told of Canada’s 2023 target for immigrants, the proportion of respondents who still believed the number was too low declined from 22 percent to 10 percent.

Canada’s record immigration levels have raised questions about the impact on the housing market and the current affordability crisis, as housing demand vastly outstrips supply.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Aug. 21 that the solution to rising housing affordability woes is to increase immigration, citing labour shortages.

“One of the things I have heard consistently in the construction industry is the lack of labour: more carpenters, more skilled labourers, more folks to work in the construction industry to build the homes that we are needing to match the growing economy that we have right across the country,” Mr. Trudeau said.
According to a TD Bank report, out of the 1.2 million individuals who were added to Canada’s population last year, 60 percent consisted of non-permanent residents who were processed to fill job vacancies.
Scotiabank assesses for its part that rising immigration is contributing to elevated inflation, which increased to 4 percent in August from 3.3 percent in July.
“Alas, no one will win a Nobel Prize in Economics for observing that when you add a massive surge of immigration into a market with no supply, rents and house prices will push higher,” Scotiabank wrote in an August report.

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