37% in Ipsos poll say immigration is a ‘threat’ to white Canadians — what’s the threat?

May 24, 2019

By Globe News |

Canada’s reputation of “welcoming” immigrants is one often cited by international rankings that list the country as among the best in the world.

But several recent polls show that Canadians themselves are increasingly critical of the country’s immigration policies.

Among them is a recent poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Global News, which found that 37 per cent of respondents believe immigration is a “threat” to white Canadians. Those who have university educations, at 27 per cent, were least likely to hold such views. Canadians without a high school diploma were most likely, at 46 per cent, to see immigrants as a threat.

All of the Ipsos poll data is available online.

Sean Simpson, vice-president of Ipsos Public Affairs, explained to Global News that the “threat” in this case might include common fears that some Canadians may hold about immigration.

“It might be the belief that people who are immigrating from other countries are a drain on the health-care system or the social assistance system. It may be that they’re taking jobs from other people.”

Simpson noted that the so-called threat can be “interpreted and defined” in different ways by different individuals. He also noted that roughly four in 10 Canadians view immigration negatively.

Several other polls conducted in Canada recently have shown similar results indicating that Canadians are increasingly fearful of immigration and its impacts. An August 2018 poll by the Angus Reid Institute also found that half of Canadians want to see the government’s immigration targets reduced.

The Angus Reid analysis noted that over the past 40 years, opinions on immigration have been divisive in Canada — but the number of Canadians who oppose and support immigration have been fairly steady. Most Canadians have supported immigration numbers, some even saying intake should be increased.

The institute’s most recent data, however, showed that in 2014, only 36 per cent of Canadians wanted fewer immigrants. In 2018, 49 per cent of Canadians held that belief.

But experts say fears or hesitation over immigration aren’t backed up by the numerous studies done on topic — in Canada or around the world.

Here is a look at some of the fears surrounding immigration and what immigration experts have to say about it.

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