Immigration targets plunge with COVID-19

October 2, 2020

By Asian Pacific Post |

Canada may need to devise robust strategies to meet the 2020 target of 341,000 new permanent residents, considering sharp declines in immigration caused by the COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

Experts worry that the gap may make it harder for the Canadian economy to recover from the pandemic. But even with vastly reduced numbers of newcomers, older generations of Canadians remain more reserved towards immigration.

Immigration to Canada across all categories fell by 64 percent in Q2 2020, as compared to Q2 2019, according to the most recent government data.

In April and May alone, the number of new permanent residents sank to 15,000 from 60,000 in the same period last year. When presented with these numbers, young Canadians, between the ages of 18 and 34, were mostly positive about immigration and saw it as vital for long-term economic recovery, whereas older cohorts, over the age of 45, were “far more concerned about immigrants coming to Canada,” according to a survey conducted by Leger Marketing in partnership with the Association for Canadian Studies.

John Shields, a professor of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University, sees a high level of comfort among the youth with having peers with immigrant backgrounds.

“For younger people, multiculturalism is now just part of the Canadian experience. It is accepted as normal, and diversity, as positive – especially within the urban context,” Shields said.

Despite this growing awareness of multiculturalism, the survey indicated that Quebec is less accepting of immigrants than the rest of Canada.

Shields thinks it is because Quebecers are very protective of the idea of Quebec culture and language, but not to the point of shutting down immigration completely. Rather, they want it managed at lower levels than the rest of Canada.

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