Perceptions on Immigration Harden Considerably in Canada

Vancouver, BC [October 20, 2023] – The proportion of Canadians who regard immigration with pessimism has increased markedly in the past year and a half, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 38% of Canadians believe immigration is having a mostly negative effect in the country, up 12 points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in February 2022.

More than two-in-five Canadians (45%, -9) think immigration is having a mostly positive effect, while 17% (-2) are not sure.

Just over a third of Canadians who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2021 federal election (34%, -12) think immigration is having a mostly positive effect in Canada. The proportions are larger among those who cast ballots for the Liberal Party (57%, -12) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) (50%, -10) two years ago.

Just under two-in-five Canadians (39%, +14) think the number of legal immigrants who are allowed to relocate in Canada should decrease, while 37% (-2) would maintain the current levels and 17% (-8) would increase them.

“Half of Albertans (50%) think fewer legal immigrants should be allowed into Canada,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Fewer residents feel the same way in Atlantic Canada (45%), Ontario (42%), British Columbia (41%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (36%) and Quebec (28%).”

Almost two thirds of Canadians (65%, =) believe immigrants should only be allowed in Canada if they adopt Canadian values, while three-in-four (75%, =) think the hard work and talent of immigrants makes Canada better.

Canadians are deeply divided when asked to choose between two concepts related to immigration. While 45% (+2 since July 2021) believe Canada should be a “mosaic” where cultural differences are valuable and preserved, 42% (+7) prefer a “melting pot”, where Immigrants assimilate and blend into society.

The concept of the “mosaic” is more popular in Atlantic Canada (51%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (also 51%), followed by Alberta (47%), Ontario (also 47%), British Columbia (45%) and Quebec (39%).

The “melting pot” is preferred by almost half of Quebecers (48%), but drops in Alberta (44%), Ontario (43%), British Columbia (41%), Atlantic Canada (35%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (34%).

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted on October 11 to October 13, 2023, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.



Photo Credit: Alexandre Moreau