Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey of public perceptions commissioned by the federal government suggests. But they are also worried and confused when it comes to the issue of asylum seekers.
The study — conducted in March by the polling firm Ipsos — solicited the opinions of newcomers, established immigrants living in Canada and the general public through a series of focus groups, as well as surveys conducted via telephone and online.
It was commissioned, with a price tag of $245,000, by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as part of ongoing research to gain a better understanding of the attitudes of Canadians toward immigrants and the federal government's immigration programs.
Most participants said they believe immigration has a positive effect on Canada, on the country's economic prospects and on "shaping Canada's cultural mosaic," the study found.
Some respondents, however, expressed doubt about the fairness of the system, considering the influx of people who have been entering Canada at unofficial border crossings since 2017 in order to apply for asylum.
A perception exists that so-called "irregular" migrants are exploiting the system to get express entry into Canada and that security procedures are being compromised as a result, the survey found.