Angus-Reid: Canadians strongly support COVID-19 test requirement for travellers from China, but also question its efficacy

Of note. 13 percent call the policy racist, perhaps an indicator of the more activist and woke portion of the population (my understanding of the testing requirement is that it is partly due to the unavailability of credible Chinese government data):

China abandoning its COVID zero strategy has caused a ripple of concern around the globe as the world’s second-most populous country faces an unprecedented wave of infections affecting as many as four-in-five people.

In response to rising cases in China, Canada, alongside other countries, set a new requirement this month that travellers form China must produce a negative COVID-19 test prior to takeoff.

Data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds a majority of Canadians supportive of this policy, but unsure if it will be effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19 in their country. Indeed, Canadians who support the policy (77%) outnumber those who are opposed (16%) by nearly five-to-one.

However, those who believe the policy will be effective at reducing COVID-19 infections in Canada (34%) are in the minority. More Canadians believe it will be ineffective (38%) or are unsure (28%). And even among Canadians who support the policy, fewer than half (44%) say they believe it will be effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are other concerns with this policy. Some, including the Chinese government, have called it “discriminatory”. Others have gone further and called it “racist”. The pandemic has produced plenty of negative side effects, including discrimination and racism experienced by Canadians of Chinese descent. Some worry this new policy of testing travellers from China will rekindle those ugly sentiments. 

One-in-eight (13%) Canadians call the policy racist. However, more (73%) believe it’s not. Canadians who identify as visible minorities are twice as likely to label the policy racist (23%) than those who don’t identify as such (10%). Still, majorities of those who identify as visible minority (62%) and those who don’t (76%) say the policy is not racist.

More Key Findings:

  • Nearly all (94%) of those who oppose the COVID-19 testing policy for travellers from China believe it won’t be effective at reducing the spread of the virus in Canada.
  • One-in-five (19%) Canadians say they are not travelling at all because they are worried about COVID-19. A further 33 per cent say they have approached their recent travel with caution. Two-in-five (41%) are less worried about the risk of COVID-19 when it comes to travel.
  • Two-in-five (37%) of those who have not travelled at all outside of their province since March 2022 say they aren’t travelling because they worry about catching COVID-19.

Source: Canadians strongly support COVID-19 test requirement for travellers from China, but also question its efficacy

COVID-19 Immigration Effects – November 2022 update

The government continues to make progress on backlogs but the significant still not meeting service standards: temporary residence 44 percent, permanent residence 45 percent, citizenship 72 percent, visitor visas 70 percent in backlog (November 30 data).

PRs: Decrease compared to October. YTD 412,000,  2021 same period 360,000. Of note, an ongoing and dramatic drop in TR2PR transitions, from 251,000 in 2021 to 172,000 in 2022 YTD. Quebec YTD 63,000, 2021 same period 44,000 (despite public debates).

TRs/IMP: Flat compared to October. YTD 446,000, 2021 same period, 305,000.

TRs/TFWP: Slight decrease compared to October. YTD 133,000, 2021 same period 105,000.

Students: Flat compared to October. YTD 479,000, 2021 same period 415,000.

Asylum claimants: Small increase compared to October. YTD 80,000, 2021 same period 19,000.

Settlement Services (July): Decrease compared to June. YTD 1,031,000, 2021 same period 918,000.

Citizenship: Increase compared to October. YTD 347,000, 2021 same period 115,000.

Visitor Visas. Increase compared to October. YTD 1,097,000, 2021 same period 194,000.

COVID-19 Immigration Effects – October 2022 update

The government continues to make progress on backlogs but the significant not-meeting service standards: temporary residence 60 percent, permanent residence 54 percent, citizenship 30 percent, visitor visas 55 percent in backlog.

PRs: Decrease compared to September. YTD 386,000,  2021 same period 313,000. Of note, an ongoing and dramatic drop in TR2PR transitions.

TRs/IMP: Stable compared to September. YTD 393,000, 2021 same period, 282,000.

TRs/TFWP: Slight decrease compared to September. YTD 123,000, 2021 same period 100,000.

Students: Large seasonal decrease compared to September. YTD 456,000, 2021 same period 394,000.

Asylum claimants: Small increase compared to September. YTD 70,000, 2021 same period 15,000.

Settlement Services (July): Decrease compared to June. YTD 1,031,000, 2021 same period 918,000.

Citizenship: Slight increase compared to September. YTD 311,000, 2021 same period 88,000.

Visitor Visas. Increase compared to September. YTD 959,000, 2021 same period 144,000.

COVID-19 Immigration Effects – August 2022 update

NEW DATA on Settlement Services, showing an overall decline compared to the pre-pandemic with only partial recovery. Afghanistan and Ukraine have shown the greatest increase given the number of refugees from those two countries. Pre-arrival information and orientation, language assessment and resettlement assistance have increased the most.

While the government has made some progress in reducing backlogs with respect to temporary residents and citizenship, it has not made progress with respect to Permanent Residents.

PRs: Decline compared to July. YTD 308,000,  2021 same period 222,000.

TRs/IMP: Increase compared to July. YTD 280,000, 2021 same period, 228,000.

TRs/TFWP: Slight decrease compared to July. YTD 100,000, 2021 same period 90,000.

Students: Large seasonal increase compared to July (may reflect processing issues). YTD 366,000, 2021 same period 295,000.

Asylum claimants: Stable. YTD 53,000, 2021 same period 10,000.

Settlement Services (July): Decrease compared to June. YTD 1,031,000, 2021 same period 918,000.

Citizenship: Increase compared to July. YTD 248,000, 2021 same period 55,000.

Visitor Visas. Increase compared to July. YTD 752,000, 2021 same period 67,000.

COVID-19 Immigration Effects – July 2022 update

A few changes to the standard deck of note. Monthly update delayed slightly given citizenship data delays.

I have removed the separate slide on Provincial Nominee Program admissions given that the admissions chart separates the economic class by federal and Provincial Nominee Program (can send those interested the data tables).

Given the large numbers of temporary residents, I have added charts (slides 27 and 30) comparing the changes by province for both IMP and TFWP, year-over-year, 2022 compared to 2020, and 2021 compared to 2018. With respect to the 2021 compared to 2018, the most notable increases have been in Atlantic Canada and Ontario for IMP, and Quebec and Atlantic Canada for TFWP.

These numbers are in the context of remaining high levels of processing backlogs for the vast majority of IRCC programs although some progress is being made.

July Permanent Residents admissions continue at over 40,000 per month with the greatest year-over-year increases for Provincial Nominee Program and refugees.

TR2PR transitions declined slightly compared to June, roughly accounting for 40 percent of all admissions (some double counting).

The greatest increase since 2020 for TRs/IMP continues to be with respect to Canadian Interests for for TRs/TFWP with respect to permits requiring a LMIA.

While International student permits have largely returned to seasonal patterns, the number of applications has increased the most compared to 2020.

The number of new citizens slightly declined to less than 30,000.

The number of visitor visas declined with once again, Ukrainians forming one-third of visas issued. 

The Differential Impact of COVID-19 on Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrants in Canada

Another study on the differential impact of COVID on immigrants, recent and long-term, highlighting, as expected recent immigrants were most affected, followed by established immigrants. Conclusion below:

Our results indicate that the pandemic has had an obvious large adverse effect on a wide range of labour market outcomes for all workers in Canada. The adverse effects, however, have been particularly large for recent immigrants relative to the domestic-born as they experienced a disproportionately lower probability of being employed and of holding a full-time job, a higher probability of having only temporary work and substantially more unpaid overtime. When these disproportionate adverse effects for recent immigrants are added to the overall adverse effects for all workers, the magnitudes of the total adverse effects of the pandemic for immigrants are extremely large. The same applies to established immigrants. In essence, the overall workforce experienced substantial adverse effects of the pandemic, but those adverse effects were disproportionately large for recent and established immigrants.

Most of the effects of the pandemic were concentrated in the initial first wave as the shutdowns and social distancing forced consumers, employers, and workers to adjust immediately; however, recent immigrants continued to experience disproportionately negative labour market outcomes in later waves. Heterogeneous effects were also documented with greater adverse effects for recent immigrants relative to domestic-born who are women, who have child responsibilities and who are the less educated. Of particular note, recent immigrants working in occupations with greater exposure to COVID-risk reported increased employment and substantially more unpaid overtime than domestic-born during the pandemic.

The pandemic generally had different effects across the quantiles of the distribution of the outcomes for recent immigrants, relative to the domestic-born, with the differential adverse effects tending to be concentrated at the bottom of the outcome distributions. Although recent immigrants gain a small positive wage premium relative to the domestic-born at the bottom of the wage distribution, the benefits of this may be illusory if it reflects wage bonuses for COVID risks or low-wage workers more likely not to be employed. Recent immigrants at the bottom of the outcome distributions reported fewer weekly hours worked, fewer hours worked relative to scheduled hours, and more unpaid overtime than domestic-born workers. The hours differences could exacerbate inequality in hours worked between immigrants and the domestic-born for those working in precarious arrangement (i.e., few hours, large scheduling uncertainty, and more unpaid overtime hours).

While hazardous to suggest policy implications from such an unanticipated and still unfolding event as the pandemic, a number of policy considerations merit attention. The disproportionate adverse effect of the pandemic on more vulnerable disadvantaged recent immigrants (e.g., women, less educated, low-wage, those with childcare responsibilities and high exposure to COVID risk) should be recognized, and targeted rather than applying “one-size fits all” initiatives.8 Koebel et al. (2021), for example, argue that a basic income guarantee targeted toward low-income workers, in combination with Canada’s pre-existing Employment Insurance program, would have produced better employment and public health outcomes than the less targeted combination of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy that were used. Qian and Fuller (2020) emphasise the importance of enhanced child-care arrangements given the disproportionate adverse effect on women with child-care responsibilities.

Immigrants tend to face barriers in having their foreign credentials recognized and in acquiring occupational licenses and the associated wage gains that are disproportionately large for them (Gomez et al. 2015). Removing such barriers and relaxing occupational licensing restrictions can be a targeted initiative for immigrants (Gomez et al. 2015). The fact that the adverse effects tended to occur early in the pandemic highlights the importance of early intervention and having a playbook in place to facilitate an early response. Elements of a playbook for labour policy include: having a first-responder labour policy team in place; determining early the novel versus permanent nature of the shock; acting quickly but flexibly to make mid-course corrections if necessary; keeping people in their existing jobs to preserve firm-specific human capital; balancing active labour market policy versus passive income support; co-ordinating with other departments and jurisdictions; anticipating conflicts; and planning for the recovery with an exit strategy (Gunderson 2020). Lessons from this pandemic as well as previous shocks can be invaluable for preparing for future shocks.

Source: The Differential Impact of COVID-19 on Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrants in Canada

COVID-19 Immigration Effects – June 2022 update

My latest monthly update.

June numbers reflect a gradual but uneven opening across the suite of immigration-related programs compared to April and May.

The number of TR2PR transitions increased slightly compared to May but remained significantly below the latter half of 2021, again suggesting a decreased “inventory” and/or a conscious government decision to redress the balance and address backlogs.

While TRs/TFWP remained largely stable compared to May, the number of TRs/IMP climbed dramatically for Canadian Interests and the frustrating unclear categories of “other IMP participants” and “not stated.”

International students, applications and permits, continue to reflect normal seasonal patterns.

While last month, I thought that citizenship looked on track to continue whittling away at the backlog of close 400,000 (as if July 4), this appears unlikely at IRCC has been averaging about 30,000 per month in 2022.

The number of Ukrainians arriving in Canada, mainly under the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel remains significant, but has declined to only about one-third of all visitor visas in June compared to one-half in April and May, while overall numbers have declined somewhat and remain below pre-pandemic levels.

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Canadians are seeking asylum in US due to Trudeau’s Covid policies

Funny and sad that some think they can apply for asylum in the USA given COVID-related restrictions. At least the lawyer involved is reasonable honest about the likelihood of success (while pocketing his fees). “True” North is not exactly innocent in promoting such beliefs:

Buffalo immigration lawyer Matthew Kolken has filed asylum applications for at least half a dozen Canadians who hope to flee the country permanently due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pandemic policies. 

In an exclusive interview with True North, Kolken, who is a former director of the Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, explained that his clients fear being persecuted for being unvaccinated should they return to Canada.

“If you just don’t want to go back to Canada, you actually need to fear that you will be the victim of targeted persecution by the Government of Canada or by groups within the country that the government either can’t or won’t protect you from,” said Kolken. 

“(The application) says they’ve either expressed some sort of political speech or a member of a particular social group like unvaccinated individuals that have faced persecution before either through seizing of bank accounts, or loss of employment, or forced quarantines, things of that nature.”

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, those seeking asylum must apply within one year of arriving in the country. Groundsfor seeking asylum include suffering persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. 

An application filed by Kolken in January for one client cited the Liberal government’s crackdown on the Freedom Convoy in February. To deal with the situation, Trudeau took the unprecedented step of invoking the Emergencies Act which enabled the government to freeze the bank accounts of protesters.

Kolken stated that his clients were also “scared to death” of being singled out by the Trudeau government for speaking out against vaccine mandates or have their employment opportunities limited. 

“They’re scared to death that if they go back to Canada they will be singled out and isolated by the Government of Canada, they will be unable to travel,” said Kolken.

“They’re afraid they wouldn’t get onto a plane in Canada and they will be trapped within their own country and that their abilities to obtain employment are limited there.”

Although the Liberals lifted travel mandates which prohibited unvaccinated Canadians from boarding a plane and train domestically or abroad, public health officials have not ruled out re-introducing restrictions in the future. 

“[If] COVID-19 takes a turn for the worst and we need to readjust and go back to a different regime, maybe similar to what we might have had before, we’re ready to do that,” said Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo in June. “We have no idea what the long term success rate is but I counsel my clients over the phone, the applications that clearly are justifiable under the law and regulations. They set forth a bonafide non-frivolous case.”

He also warned those seeking asylum that the Safe Third Country Agreement which dictates asylum applications between Canada and the US could be used against them. 

“The Safe Third Country Agreement cannot differentiate either country’s treaty obligations to accept asylees from one of the two contracting countries. You can’t say that because of the Safe Third Country Agreement that nobody who is a Canadian citizen can’t apply for asylum in the United States.”

Source: Canadians are seeking asylum in US due to Trudeau’s Covid policies

StatsCan Study: The religiosity of Canadians and the COVID-19 pandemic

Of interest, both the overall trend and the differences between different religious groups. Can’t wait for the October release and opportunities for deeper analysis:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on many aspects of Canadian life, including religion. In particular, the risks associated with the virus, as well as physical distancing measures, have limited access to places of worship. Many religious organizations have offered the option to attend religious services online. Although the pandemic has made group worship difficult, some surveys conducted by private firms have suggested that it has led to an increase in prayer or a strengthening of faith.

Using data from several cycles of the General Social Survey, a new study released today examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the religiosity of Canadians. Specifically, it analyzes changes in rates of religious affiliation, frequency of participation in religious activities on a group or individual basis, and involvement with religious organizations from 2015 to 2020.

The study found a decrease in group religious participation from 2019 (pre-pandemic) to 2020 (start of the pandemic). In the general population, the percentage of people who participated in a religious group activity in the previous year fell from 47% in 2019 to 40% in 2020.

The study also found that the impact of the pandemic on participation in religious group activities was greater for some religious groups. For example, the proportion of people who had participated in a religious group activity in the previous year fell more sharply than average among Buddhists (from 74% in 2019 to 50% in 2020) and Muslims (from 71% to 57%). This proportion fell from 60% to 53% among Christian-affiliated groups, from 75% to 67% among Jewish people, and from 78% to 70% among Hindus.

Finally, the data revealed that, overall, the pandemic had no measurable effect on the frequency of individual religious or spiritual activities (e.g., prayer, meditation, etc.). Similarly, it did not appear to have affected self-reported religious affiliation.

On October 26, new data from the 2021 Census will provide a more detailed picture of the diversity of religious affiliation groups in Canada and of the people that form them.

Source: Study: The religiosity of Canadians and the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Immigration Effects – May 2022 update

My latest monthly update.

May numbers are similar to April as the first months of the pandemic resulted in drastic shutdowns and reductions across the suite of immigration-related programs.

The number of TR2PR transitions continued to decline. While in 2021, these transitions (some double counting) averaged about 68 percent of all Permanent Residents admissions, in 2022 this share had dropped to about 51 percent, suggesting a decreased “inventory” and/or a conscious government decision too redress the balance and address backlogs.

Temporary residents (IMP and TFWP) continued reflected an ongoing return to pre-pandemic levels along with the seasonal changes in agriculture workers. The number of not-stated IMP has increased, from forming about 9 percent of all IMP in 2021 to about 23 percent in 2022, possibly reflecting coding issues.

International students, applications and permits, reflect normal seasonal patterns. As noted, given the number of media and other reports regarding private colleges being used more for immigration than study purposes (and related exploitation), IRCC needs to consider seriously disaggregating post-secondary study permits data to separate out public and private sector institutions.

Citizenship looks on track to continue whittling away at the backlog of about 400,000 (as if June 1st).

The number of Ukrainians arriving in Canada, mainly under the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel remains significant, comprising half of all visitor visas in April and May.