National Research: Keeping faith on immigration.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The past few years have not been good ones for immigrants and multicultural diversity – worldwide or in Canada. At the global level, the flow of migrants is now higher than at any time in human history. A growing part of this flow comes from refugees fleeing conflict zones, placing increasing pressure on European countries that are struggling to maintain policies of openness and accommodation. Canada continues to accept more than 200,000 immigrants each year, but new federal government policies are tightening the rules and making the country less welcoming. Some commentators have cited anecdotal evidence that the mainstream public is feeling less comfortable with the country’s growing ethnic diversity. The former Quebec government’s proposed charter of secular values was a flashpoint in that province, and now appears ready for a comeback in a milder form.

In this context, it would be understandable to find that Canadians’ attitudes about immigration and multiculturalism have soured, but this is not the case. The Environics Institute’s latest Focus Canada survey – conducted last month and updating trends dating back to the 1980s – shows that Canadian attitudes about these issues have held steady or grown more positive over the past three to five years. The public continues to believe that immigration is good for the economy, and is more confident about the country’s ability to manage refugees and potential criminal elements. Canadians remain divided about accepting refugees who would not otherwise qualify under the rules, but opinions on this issue have remained stable since 2010.

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Source: Globe and Mail. By Keith Neuman is executive director, and Michael Adams is founder and president, of the Environics Institute for Survey Research.