Perceptions on the Benefits of Immigration Improve in Canada

While 54% of Canadians say immigration is having a positive effect in the country, only 43% of Americans hold the same view.

Vancouver, BC [December 22, 2020] – Canadians have developed a more positive opinion about immigration over the past two years, a new two-country Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of representative national samples, 54% of Canadians think immigration is having a mostly positive effect in the country, up eight points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in January 2019.

In the United States, 43% of Americans acknowledge that immigration is having a mostly positive effect, while 36% say it is mostly negative.

Just over two-in-five Canadians (43%, +8) think the number of legal immigrants who are allowed to relocate in their country should remain the same. One third of Canadians (32, -6) believe the level of legal immigration should be reduced, while 17% (-3) want it increased.

“Majorities of Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party (51%) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) (51%) in last year’s federal election want legal immigration levels to stay as they are,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Conversely, a majority of Conservative voters (53%) call for a decrease.”

In the United States, the number of Americans who would maintain the current levels of legal immigration is akin to Canada’s (42%), while similar proportions favour either an increase (24%) or a reduction (25%).

Three-in-four Canadians (75%, +20) think the hard work and talent of immigrants makes Canada better—including 81% of residents of British Columbia and 87% of those who voted for the federal Liberals last year.

Almost two thirds of Canadians (65%, +15) believe immigrants should only be allowed in Canada if they adopt Canadian values—including 76% of those who voted for the Conservative Party last year.

While 46% of Americans think illegal immigrants are employed in jobs that American workers do not want, 40% believe they take jobs away from American workers—a proportion that rises to 62% among Republicans.

Practically half of Americans (49%) think illegal immigrants who are currently working in the United States should be allowed to stay in the country and eventually apply for citizenship. About one-in-five  Americans (19%) would continue to allow these workers on a temporary basis and without a path to citizenship, while just under one-in-four (23%) would opt for deportation. 

Democrats are significantly more likely to support the notion of illegal immigrants eventually becoming citizens (64%) than Independents (51%) and Republicans (34%).

Results are based on online studies conducted from December 3 to December 5, 2020, among representative samples of 1,000 adults in Canada and 1,200 adults in the United States. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian and U.S. census figures for age, gender and region in each country. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points for Canada and +/- 2.8 percentage points for the United States.

Find our data tables for Canada here, the data tables for the United States here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.