Most Vancouverites Would Allow Permanent Residents to Vote

Citizens born in Canada are more likely to support the change than those who gained Canadian citizenship after immigrating from another country.

Vancouver, BC [May 8, 2018] – The proposal from Vancouver City Council that seeks to allow Permanent Residents of the city to cast ballots in municipal elections is currently supported by a majority of residents, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of City of Vancouver residents, 57% of respondents support allowing Vancouver’s Permanent Residents to vote in municipal elections, while more than a third (35%) are opposed.

In Canada, Permanent Residents are eligible for most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive (including health care coverage), can live, work or study anywhere in Canada, and are protected under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Permanent Residents must pay taxes and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. Permanent Residents cannot currently vote or run for political office in Canada, but are eligible to do so once they apply—and are granted—status as Canadian citizens.

Vancouver City Council’s motion asks the Government of British Columbia to “make the necessary changes” to allow Permanent Residents to vote in Vancouver’s municipal elections. About 60,000 Permanent Residents currently live in Vancouver.

Support for allowing Permanent Residents of Vancouver to vote in municipal elections is highest among residents aged 18-to-34 (68%), those who live on the East Side of Vancouver (62%) and women (58%).

“Residents of Vancouver aged 55 and over are more skeptical about the proposed change than their younger counterparts” says Mario Canseco, President at Research Co. “The level of support for the change is higher among Vancouverites who were born in Canada (58%) than among those who acquired citizenship after immigrating from another country (48%).”

Three-in-five Vancouverites (63%) think it makes sense to allow Permanent Residents, who contribute to the city by working, living and paying taxes here, to vote in Vancouver’s municipal elections.

However, 49% concede that allowing Permanent Residents to vote sets a dangerous precedent, as foreigners who have not sworn allegiance to Canada would have a say in the formation of governments.

Results are based on an online study conducted from April 28 to April 30, 2018, among 400 adults in the City of Vancouver. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in the City of Vancouver. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 4.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.
Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.


Photo Credit: Differense.