The Nanos poll reveals that 53% of Canadians now prefer lower immigration targets compared to the 465,000 set for 2023. This marks a significant change from earlier in March 2023 when only 34% felt this way.
These findings contrast with a 2022 poll by the Environics Institute, where a majority of Canadians expressed support for the current levels of immigration. An impressive seven out of ten Canadians voiced their approval for immigration and refugees.
Understanding the Shift: Why Is This Happening?
Despite the declining support for IRCC targets, there is a widely shared consensus among Canadians regarding the pivotal role of immigration in the country’s economy and population growth.
According to the 2022-2023 IRCC Annual Tracking survey, half of those surveyed believe that the right number of immigrants are coming to Canada.
Additionally, 71% of respondents felt that immigration has a somewhat or very positive effect on the country.
These targets are set to increase to 500,000 annually by the end of 2025, as outlined in the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan.
These Plans are released every year by November 1 (unless it is an election year). It is not yet known what to expect in terms of targets for the 2024-2026 plan, but IRCC Minister Marc Miller said that he does not see the targets dropping.
“I don’t see a world in which we lower immigration targets, the need is too great … whether we revise them upwards or not is something that I have to look at but certainly, I don’t think [we will] lower them.”IRCC Minister Marc Miller
Housing Affordability Concerns
The Nanos poll’s release coincides with mounting concerns about housing affordability across Canada. A portion of the population—15%, to be exact—believes that newcomers are driving up home prices, exacerbating the already challenging situation.
Economists and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) have noted a significant gap between the demand for housing and the available supply.
According to CMHC, Canada requires an additional 3.5 million homes to be built by 2030 to restore affordability, in addition to the projected 18.2 million units.
Immigration and Housing Connection:
The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) suggests that immigration plays a pivotal role in addressing housing affordability. RBC points out that a shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry is driving up construction costs.
Without an influx of skilled labor, construction expenses may remain high, which could have a direct impact on housing affordability.
Canada’s Minister for Housing and Infrastructure, Sean Fraser, concurs that reducing newcomer numbers won’t provide an instant solution to lowering housing costs. Instead, building the national labor force is considered critical to addressing the affordable housing crisis.
As the support for immigration in Canada experiences fluctuations, it remains a complex issue intertwined with the ever-pressing concern of housing affordability and labor market dynamics.
The government’s stance emphasizes the importance of immigration in addressing labor shortages and its potential positive impact on housing affordability. However, public sentiment continues to evolve, influenced by a myriad of factors.
These dynamics will undoubtedly play a substantial role in shaping Canada’s immigration policies and housing strategies in the years to come.