OTTAWA — A study commissioned by the federal government to gauge public perceptions of immigration suggests Canadians are supportive overall of current immigration levels — but also worried and confused when it comes to 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 surveys by telephone and online.
Most participants said they believe immigration has a positive effect on Canada and the economy.
Some, however, expressed doubt about the fairness of the system, considering how many people have been entering Canada at unofficial border crossings of late in order to apply for asylum.
The survey found a perception 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.
Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel called the $245,000 study a costly exercise in government spin and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
The study shows how several potential messages were tested for the government to use to promote immigration to Canadians.
Ipsos recommended that Ottawa focus its communications on the economic and cultural benefits of immigration in order to address the public’s concerns about capacity.
The Canadian Press