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Imprima y guarde

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Pro-immigration Canada: Social and Economic Roots of Popular Views




Jeffrey G/ Reitz y Jeffrey G/ Reitz


Most Canadians support the longstanding high rates of immigration, and few see immigration as one of Canada’s most significant problems. Majority Canadian support for high levels of immigration has been remarkably stable over time and relatively unaffected by recessions, the threat of terrorism and negative reports on specific immigrant groups. This study assesses recent trends in public attitudes and then examines the social and economic roots of support for high immigration based on an analysis of the Environics Focus Canada opinion survey conducted in November 2010.

Two important sources of pro-immigration sentiment are belief in immigration as an economic benefit and pride in Canadian multiculturalism. These perceptions reinforce each other, and both have broader roots. The perception of economic benefit — prevalent in all regions, including Quebec — reflects general economic optimism and personal economic success. Those who feel multiculturalism is important to Canadian identity are significantly more likely to support current immigration levels. In that regard, the survey data show that support for multiculturalism is rooted in a broader, socially progressive agenda that includes issues such as gay rights and gun control, which themselves reinforce pro-immigration attitudes. Nevertheless, many Canadians would like immigrants to blend into society rather than form separate communities; however, pride in multiculturalism helps to allay this concern.

The evidence also suggests that many of these issues are seen in terms of Canada’s difference from the US, providing further reinforcement of the links to national identity. All of Canada’s federal political parties have pro-immigration policies; however, Conservative Party supporters more often have reservations about current immigration levels based on attitudes toward multiculturalism and broader social values. All in all, the multiple supports for immigration may help account for the stability of public opinion over time, providing a buffer against antiimmigration trends.

Título de la serie

Institute for Research on Public Policy

Archivos adjuntos


Los sectores económicos

General relevance - all sectors

Tipos de contenido

Policy analysis

Los grupos destinatarios

Legisladores y Los investigadores

Esferas de la actividad

Gestión de Recursos Humanos, Ciencias Políticas, y Socioligie