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Many young new Canadians may be leaving the country: survey

The survey found that most Canadians have a much more positive outlook on Canada's immigration policy than do new Canadian immigrants. The main source of worry? Lack of leadership and high costs of living.
A new survey has found that many young new Canadians are saying they might leave the country in the next two years, citing lack of confidence in the leadership and high costs of living as the main reasons.

Many new immigrants are having a crisis of confidence in Canada and that should be “ringing alarm bells all over Ottawa,” states a new study that challenges “cherished assumptions” about the nation’s immigration and citizenship programs.

Based on a Leger Poll, the study by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) found that 30 per cent of young new Canadians could leave in the next two years mainly because they lack confidence in the nation’s current leadership and the high cost of living.

“Canada is a nation of immigrants — and one of the stories we tell ourselves is that we are welcoming to new immigrants, wherever they may be from,” said ICC CEO Daniel Bernhard in a statement.

“But while this may be generally true, (the) new survey data points to the fact that many new Canadians are having a crisis of confidence in Canada — and that should be ringing alarm bells all over Ottawa,” he said.

The survey’s key findings include:

  • 30 per cent of 18–34-year-old new Canadians and 23 per cent of university-educated new Canadians say they are likely to move to another country in the next two years.
  • While most Canadians and new immigrant Canadians alike believe that Canada provides immigrants with a good quality of life, Canadians have a much more positive outlook on Canada’s immigration policy compared to new Canadian immigrants.
  • New Canadian immigrants are more likely to believe that Canadians don’t understand the challenges that immigrants face and feel the rising cost of living will make immigrants less likely to stay in Canada.
  • Immigrants with university degrees tend to have less favourable opinions on matters related to fair job opportunity and pay than other immigrants.
  • Among those who would not recommend Canada as a place to live, current leadership and the high cost of living were the top two reasons.

“The data suggest that younger, highly skilled immigrants in particular are starting to fall between the cracks,” said Dave Scholz, executive vice-president at Leger. 

“We need to continue working hard to ensure that we are welcoming newcomers with the resources they need to succeed, and that we continue to be a country that provides opportunity.”

The study involved online surveys of 1,519 respondents from Leger’s panel and 2,103 New Canadians from ICC’s panel.