The COVID-19 pandemic may have caused unprecedented social and economic inequalities around the world, but new research indicates that it has not brought about a more inward-looking Canadian society.
According to a recent study, Canadians’ openness to welcoming newcomers has actually increased in spite of the pandemic, reaching all-time high levels well above those recorded in Canada over the last 40 years.
The study, conducted by the Environics Institute, the University of Ottawa, and Century Initiative between Sept. 8 and Sept. 28, shows that Canadians predominantly express positive views about immigration, with a majority being more likely to believe that newcomers make Canada a better place to live.
What’s more, more than 8 in 10 Canadians think immigrants are beneficial to the economy, with job creation and business expansion listed among the top reasons for welcoming newcomers.
Most Canadians also hold the view that immigration adds to Canada’s policy of multiculturalism and diversity, rather than believing it undermines Canadian values.
While some respondents in Canada’s most conservative-leaning provinces, including Alberta, have tended to express more moderate views on the topic in the past, the study points to a growing comfort with current immigration levels among all segments of the population — regardless of political affiliation.
Researchers attribute this positive sentiment to several factors, including the belief that Canadians are better off sticking together amid a concerning climate brought on by COVID-19 and political instability experienced south of the border.
Under its current Immigration Levels Plan, Canada is projected to become home to more than 390,000 new permanent residents by 2022, two-thirds of whom are economic immigrants. The plan, which was unveiled in March, also foresees a steady increase in the intake of refugees resettling in Canada over the next two years.
Canada was recently ranked third out of 50 countries in the ISPOS Nation Brand Index on global reputation for the second consecutive year. The welcoming nature of Canada’s people, along with its institutions, seem to be a key component of this overwhelmingly positive reputation on the global stage.