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Canadians more tolerant of immigration levels: Study

Findings from a new study by the Institute For Research on Public Policy suggests that Canadians have grown more tolerant of the country’s immigration levels — even as the number of newcomers has increased over the years. A poll of 2,020 people has revealed that 58 per cent of Canadians surveyed last year supported the country’s level of immigration.

While the findings also suggest that Canadians have had positive views of immigration levels for more than a decade, they seem to be divergent from occasional stories found in news headlines that suggest Canadians might be increasingly fed up with accommodating newcomers.  Canadian Immigrant spoke to readers about what they felt in the wake of the findings of the report.

“I’ve never felt any real sense of discrimination as a recent immigrant. In fact, when I tell people where I’m from, they want to know more about my background,” says Joslyne Núñez who has been living in Canada since 2007. Speaking specifically about the profession of immigration law that she is in, Núñez adds, “ I only had one bad experience in which I applied for a job with a Canadian lawyer. After speaking with my acquaintances in the same field, I realized that despite being a foreign-trained lawyer I was being offered a very low salary.”

IRPP’s research director for diversity, immigration and integration program stated that while disputes make flashy headlines, they overshadow the many positive stories of integration that are never told.

Daniel Guttentag who was born in Canada, then lived in the United States before returning to Canada in 2007 for good, says, “At a recent party, I was speaking with few people and it gave me a sense that a vast majority of Canadians value the benefits that immigration and diversity provide. Though, there are occasional stories in the media related to disputes over minority accommodations, there does not appear to be much underlying tension between immigrants and non-immigrants here, as we hear about from other parts of the world in the news.”

The IRPP study cited a 2010 survey that found close to 60 per cent of people in the United Kingdom thought there were too many immigrants in their country. By comparison, less than 20 per cent of Canadians felt the same way.

In the poll taken by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Canadians were also found to be more tolerant of immigrants than people in Italy, Spain, the U.S., France, Netherlands and Germany.  But Canadians’ views toward immigrants haven’t always been as welcoming. The study by IRPP, a non-partisan, Montreal-based public policy think-tank, suggests there was a shift in public opinion about a decade ago.

From the late 1970s until the early 1990s, the majority of Canadians held negative attitudes about the country’s immigration levels. Following a shift in the 1990s, Canadians’ view of immigration has been more positive than negative since the latter part of that decade. The country opened its doors to 280,000 immigrants last year and has accepted more than 200,000 newcomers annually since 2000, according to Citizenship and Immigration Department statistics cited in the study. In the mid 1980s, fewer than 100,000 immigrants per year came to Canada.

The report argued that Canadians who support immigration believe that multiculturalism is a source of national pride and creates economic benefits.The research also found that attitudes about immigration varied by region, though each area had majority support for existing levels.

This article first appeared HERE.

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