New poll reveals striking consistency between the values of newcomers
and those of native-born Canadians on key immigration issues
Research precedes 8th Annual Trudeau Foundation Conference in Halifax,
NS, November 17-19
MONTREAL, Nov. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - Canadians almost unanimously expect new
immigrants who want to live in Canada to adopt Canadian values, but are
much more forgiving about how long it might take to become economically
self-sufficient, according to a new survey commissioned by the Pierre
Elliott Trudeau Foundation in collaboration with Dalhousie University.
Interestingly, newcomers themselves feel the same way, and their
opinions on other key immigration issues also closely align to those of
native-born Canadians. The poll results are being released at a
conference on immigration being held by the Foundation in Halifax,
"Canada was built on immigration. It defines our history, which is why
it is critical to pause and take a closer look at how it could - and
should - shape Canada's future," said Dr. Pierre-Gerlier Forest,
President of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. "The Trudeau
Foundation Conference, underpinned by this type of research, creates an
informed arena for some of the world's leading experts to advance our
understanding of vital public issues such as immigration."
When asked by the poll what immigrants should be expected to do as a
condition of being accepted into the country, 97 percent of Canadians
stressed the adoption of the Canadian values of gender equality and the
tolerance of others. Ninety-six percent of immigrants surveyed agreed
with this sentiment. In contrast, fewer than six-in-ten (59%) believed
that newcomers should become economically self-sufficient within their
first year, with 60 percent of immigrants saying the same.
The poll comes at a time when the federal government has proposed to
initiate a national reflection about Canada's immigration policy. The
poll's findings about Canadians' opinion on immigration could help
redefine the current policy.
For example, about half (51%) of Canadians surveyed feel that Canada
should place higher priority on accepting applicants who qualify for
immigration based on education and employability. Forty-two percent of
respondents say that immigrants in this category should be given the
same priority as they receive now, and just four percent say they
should be given lower priority.
In contrast, over a third (35%) of those surveyed for the Trudeau
Foundation say that those who have family members living in Canada
should be given higher priority, and 55 percent say that they should be
given the same priority as they receive now. Just eight percent suggest
that they should receive lower priority.
Similarly, public opinion about easing obstacles for temporary foreign
workers is decidedly mixed: three in ten (33%) say that they approve of
the decision to accept an increasing number of foreign workers,
compared with one-third (35%) who disapprove and a comparable portion
(32%) who have no clear opinion.
While newcomers have historically settled in major urban centres such as
Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, creating popular enclaves known as
Chinatown and Little India, three quarters (74%) of Canadians believe
immigrants should be more evenly distributed across the country.
Seventy-two percent of immigrants share this view, the poll reveals.
In general, the poll demonstrates that Canadians are much more likely to
be positive than negative about the overall impact of Canada's
longstanding tradition of accepting newcomers. By a three-to-one
margin, the public says that immigration is making Canada a better
place (47%) rather than a worse place (16%); the remainder says that it
makes no difference (29%) or is unable to offer a definitive response
(8%). Similarly, the Canadian public is more likely than not to believe
that immigrants are fitting into their new community in terms of
finding jobs (58%), participating in civic institutions like voting
(57%), and adopting Canadian values (55%), although sizable minorities
The Trudeau Foundation Conference - The Making of Citizens: Beyond the Canadian Consensus on Immigration—takes place in Halifax, NS, on November 17-19, 2011. The conference
features keynote speeches and panel discussions with renowned
specialists on critical issues related to immigration. Topics include
immigration policy, multiculturalism, integration, economic impact,
social and cultural implications and the environmental impact of
Members of the media are invited to attend the conference. More
information is available at www.trudeaufoundation.ca/2011conference.
About the Foundation
A Canadian institution with a national purpose, the Pierre Elliott
Trudeau Foundation is an independent and non-partisan charity. It was
established in 2001 as a living memorial to the former Prime Minister
by his family, friends, and colleagues. In 2002, the Government of
Canada endowed the Foundation with a donation of $125 million following
a unanimous vote in the House of Commons. In addition, the Foundation
benefits from private sector donations in support of specific
initiatives. Through its Scholarship, Fellowship, Mentorship and Public
Interaction programs, the Foundation supports outstanding individuals
who make meaningful contributions to critical public issues. More at www.trudeaufoundation.ca.
About the research
The results are based on a telephone survey conducted by the Environics
Research Group with a representative sample of 2,000 Canadians 18 years
and older between October 11 and 22, 2011. The sample was stratified by
province and community size to ensure adequate coverage of
jurisdictions for analysis purposes. A sample of this size produces a
margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points, 19
times out of 20. The margin of error is greater for results for
regional and socio-demographic subgroups of the total sample.
The survey questions were designed by Environics senior researchers in
conjunction with representatives from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Foundation and Dalhousie University.
SOURCE Trudeau Foundation
For further information:
For conference media accreditation, more information or to arrange an interview, contact: