New research shows Bill 21 having ‘devastating’ impact on religious minorities in Quebec [particularly Muslim women]

Would be interesting to see the breakdown between Montreal and the rest of Quebec, where immigration is low as is the number of visible and religious minorities:

New research shows that three years after Quebec’s secularism law — commonly known as Bill 21 — was adopted, religious minorities in the province are feeling increasingly alienated and hopeless.  

“Religious minority communities are encountering — at levels that are disturbing — a reflection of disdain, hate, mistrust and aggression,” Miriam Taylor, lead researcher and the director of publications and partnerships at the Association for Canadian Studies, told CBC in an interview.

“We even saw threats and physical violence,” Taylor said.

Bill 21, which passed in 2019, bars public school teachers, police officers, judges and government lawyers, among other civil servants in positions of authority, from wearing religious symbols — such as hijabs, crucifixes or turbans — while at work.

Taylor and her colleagues at the association worked with polling firm Leger to gather a unique portrait of attitudes toward Bill 21 in Quebec.

The association surveyed members of certain religious minority communities including 632 Muslims, 165 Jews and 56 Sikhs.

Those results were folded into a Leger survey of the Quebec population as whole, and then weighted to ensure the sample was representative of the entire population.

That allowed Taylor to compare and contrast the attitudes toward Bill 21 of Quebecers who are religious minorities with the attitudes of Quebecers as a whole.

In total 1,828 people were questioned in the online survey.

Taylor shared an advance copy of her final report, which is being released today, with CBC.

Muslim women most affected

Although all three religious minority groups surveyed said they’ve experienced negative impacts due to Bill 21, the effects are being most acutely felt by Muslims and, in particular, Muslim women.

“We saw severe social stigmatisation of Muslim women, marginalization of Muslim women and very disturbing declines in their sense of well-being, their ability to fulfil their aspirations, sense of safety, but also hope for the future,”  Taylor said.

Of the Muslim women surveyed, 78 per cent said their feeling of being accepted as a full-fledged member of Quebec society had worsened over the last three years.

Fifty-three per cent said they’d heard prejudicial remarks about Muslims from family, friends or colleagues.

People surveyed were given the opportunity to share examples of comments they’d heard or behaviours they’d experienced.

One reported hearing: ”These Muslim women with rags on their heads, if they are not able to integrate, let them return to their country.”

Forty-seven per cent of Muslim women said they’d been treated unfairly by a person in a position of authority. 

One person reported being called a “dirty immigrant” by a police officer in Quebec City.  Another reported that a teacher told disparaging anecdotes about Islam in class.

Two thirds of Muslim women said they’d been a victim of and/or a witness to a hate crime. Seventy-three per cent said their feeling of being safe in public had worsened.

Taylor found that nearly three quarters of Muslim women surveyed felt their comfort about safety in public had worsened in the three years since Bill 21 was adopted. (Association for Canadian Studies)

People surveyed offered examples ranging from racist remarks to death threats, having hijabs ripped off and being spat on. One person reported that a man deliberately tried to run over them and their three-year-old daughter with a pickup truck.

A majority of Muslims also reported feeling less hopeful, less free to express themselves in public and less likely to participate in social and political life.

“For a law that’s supposed to be very moderate and only touch a very small number of people, we were shocked at the responses,” Taylor said.

She said the response she found most upsetting was that 83 per cent of Muslim women surveyed said their confidence in their children’s future had worsened since Bill 21 passed.

Taylor said the figure that most upset her was the lack of hope Quebec Muslims have for their children’s future. (Association for Canadian Studies)

“It’s one thing to say: ‘you know what, I’m experiencing a lot of unfair treatment because I’m not understood,'” Taylor said. “It’s another thing to project forward and have no hope for your children.”

Law reinforces existing prejudices

Taylor believes Bill 21 alone isn’t responsible for the feelings of alienation and insecurity Quebec Muslims and other religious minorities feel.

She said prejudicial attitudes have been gestating in Quebec for nearly 20 years, when the debate over so-called “reasonable accommodations” for religious minorities first took hold.

“Malaise, fear and anxieties get provoked over time,” Taylor said.

She said often those anxieties are based on ignorance.

“By their own admission, Quebecers in general have very little contact with members of religious minorities,” Taylor said. “All of these negative opinions are based on lack of knowledge.”

Taylor said Bill 21 has enabled those prejudices — rooted in ignorance — to become the norm.

“We end up with a situation where the malaise of the observer trumps the deep convictions of the person actually wearing the religious symbols,” Taylor said.

“We’re validating and reinforcing those opinions, and then we’re politicizing the symbols. Those symbols are lightning rods,” she said.

“And so we end up dehumanizing the people wearing the symbols,” Taylor said.

Women generally less supportive of Bill 21

Taylor said that Bill 21 has consistently maintained the support of about two thirds of Quebecers since it was adopted, with a dip last January after the high-profile case of a hijab-wearing teacher in Chelsea who was removed from the classroom and reassigned.

But she said that support is nuanced and full of contradictions.

Women in Quebec, for example, are generally less supportive of Bill 21 than men. Sixty-eight per cent of men support the law compared to 58 per cent of women.

Taylor said the research showed that women, and in particular young women, are less supportive of Bill 21 than men. (Association for Canadian Studies)

And the younger women are, the less likely they are to support the law.  Just 31 per cent of women aged 18-24 support Bill 21.

Taylor said that raised questions for her.

“It’s touted as a feminist law by the people who support it. So why is it that particularly the younger women of Quebec are so much less in favour of it when one would expect the reverse proportion?” she said.

Support for the law but not for enforcement

Another statistic that surprised Taylor: even Quebecers who support the law don’t necessarily want to see it enforced.

Only 40 per cent of people surveyed believe a public servant who does not comply with the law should lose their job. 

“The law is supported and liked by Quebecers. But they seem much less keen to see it actually applied,” Taylor said.

“I think that we’re a human society and we care about people. We all need income to survive and I think people are aware of what a heavy price that would be to pay,” she said.

Quebecers care about what courts say about Bill 21

Taylor was also surprised that the survey showed that Quebecers care deeply about what courts have to say about Bill 21.

When drafting the law, the Quebec government, recognizing that it would likely violate both the Canadian and the Quebec charters of rights, pre-emptively invoked the constitutional notwithstanding clause, and altered the Quebec charter to try to shut down court challenges.

But those challenges came anyway, and now both the government and groups that oppose the bill are challenging a 2021 Quebec Superior Court ruling that upheld most of the law before the Quebec Court of Appeal.

It’s widely expected the law will eventually be challenged in the Supreme Court of Canada.

The bill’s architect, Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette, has argued that it’s up to elected politicians in the National Assembly — and not the courts — to decide how they want to organize relations between the state and religion.

But Quebecers seem to feel differently.

Sixty-four per cent, roughly the same percentage that support the bill, also feel it’s important for the Supreme Court to issue an opinion on whether Bill 21 is discriminatory.

And if the courts were to confirm the law is discriminatory, support for the bill would plummet.

Only 46 per cent of people surveyed — less than half — said they would continue to support the law if the courts confirmed it violates the Charter of Rights.

Debate not over

Jolin-Barrette has portrayed Quebecers as united in support of the bill, and has accused detractors of trying to divide Quebecers.

But Taylor’s survey shows that a majority of Quebecers — 56 per cent — believe the law itself is divisive.

When Bill 21 was adopted, Jolin-Barrette said it would “permit a harmonious transition toward secularism” for Quebec.

Taylor said that clearly hasn’t been the case.

“The debate is very far from closed,” she said. “Bill 21 is having devastating impacts on citizens in our province. It’s tearing apart our social fabric and I think it’s undermining our democracy.”

“If national unity is achieved at the expense of labelling minorities as in some way harmful or a threat, these are signs of the degeneration of democracy,” she said. 

Taylor said as a Quebecer, she finds this distressing.

“We live in a very distinct province. We’re different. It’s an experiment that on some level should never have succeeded: a thriving French society on an English continent,” she said.

“In all my years, I associate that distinct nature with a humanity, with understanding how important identity is,” Taylor said.

She said Bill 21 threatens that.

“I feel like we’re doing major harm to those values that we hold dear and that make us special,” Taylor said.

Source: New research shows Bill 21 having ‘devastating’ impact on religious minorities in Quebec

New Leger Poll says 30% of young new Canadians could leave in the next two years

Interesting data, worth looking at the detailed breakdowns by age, education, income etc and significant concerns particularly among the younger and university cohorts.

Data on the number of immigrants who actually emigrate is imperfect but this 2018 Statistics Canada study, Measuring Emigration in Canada: Review of Available Data Sources and Methods, provides estimates for all Canadians, not just immigrants, ranging from 150,000 (using tax data, likely the best indicator) to 450,000.

The Annual Demographic Estimates: Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2021, however, indicates about 37,000 in 2019-20.

Earlier studies by Statistics Canada indicate that recent immigrants, young adults and more highly educated individuals are more likely to emigrate.

Given that our selection criteria are biased towards the younger and more highly educated, a certain amount of “churn” is to be expected:

A new national survey conducted by Leger on behalf of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) — Canada’s leading citizenship organization and the world’s foremost voice on citizenship and inclusion — challenges some cherished Canadian assumptions about immigration and citizenship.

“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,” says ICC CEO Daniel Bernhard. “But while this may be generally true, 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.”

Survey findings include:

  • 30% of 18–34-year-old new Canadians and 23% 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 full survey data is available here.

“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.”

Source: New Leger Poll says 30% of young new Canadians could leave in the next two years

More Canadians prefer status quo on immigration: poll

Of note. Will be interesting to see if the further increase in the 2022-24 immigration plan results in any change, most surveys don’t include the number of immigrants although I remember one which did which highlighted some concerns with the actual higher numbers:

In 2020, the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigration to Canada were not particularly clear.

With universities moving to virtual classes, there was little incentive for international students to secure loans and pack their bags. Economic uncertainties at home also made hiring workers from abroad more complicated.

Last year, the federal government set an aspiration of welcoming 400,000 immigrants to Canada. In December, it was announced that the goal had been reached. Ottawa touted the benefits of immigration, particularly in the area of health care, where professionals who were not born in Canada amount to 25% of the workforce.

Other countries around the world have struggled to explain how immigration works over the past few years. Canada has not been immune to these problems, even if the issue is not as polarizing as it has been in the United States and parts of Europe.

It is also clear that COVID-19 exacerbated some unjustified feelings of animosity. A survey Research Co. conducted on behalf of BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (BCOHRC) found that 9% British Columbians have directly experienced hate incidents since the start of the pandemic, a proportion that rises to 15% among residents of East Asian descent.

Research Co. and Glacier Media recently reviewed the feelings of Canadians on immigration, and some views are stable. More than half of Canadians (54%, unchanged since a similar survey conducted in December 2020) think immigration is having a mostly positive effect in Canada, while just over one in four (26%, down four points) consider the effect as mostly negative and about one in five (19%, up three points) are undecided.

While majorities of Canadians of all ages concur on the positive effect of immigration, there are some regional differences. Ontario is ahead of all provinces at 58%, followed by Quebec and Alberta (each at 56%), Atlantic Canada (54%) and British Columbia (51%). The situation in Saskatchewan and Manitoba is strikingly different, with practically the same proportion of residents looking at immigration either positively (40%) or negatively (39%).

Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the 2021 federal election are also more likely to regard immigration in a favourable light (69% and 60% respectively) than those who cast ballots for Conservative Party candidates (46%).

There is some movement when Canadians are asked about the number of immigrants that are allowed to settle in the country each year. About two in five (39%, down four points) think immigration levels should remain the same, while the same proportions would prefer to increase them (25%, up eight points) or decrease them (25%, down seven points).

A seven-point drop in the proportion of Canadians who call for lower immigration levels is noteworthy, even if we continue to see larger numbers for the status quo. Once again, not every province feels the same way. Quebecers are particularly adamant on allowing more immigrants into Canada (36%), followed by Atlantic Canadians (26%). In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, more than a third (35%) want the number to be reduced.

There was no change in two other statements that we test every time we ask Canadians about this issue. Three in four Canadians (75%, unchanged) believe that the hard work and talent of immigrants makes Canada better. However, while almost half of supporters of the New Democrats (49%) and Liberals (46%) “strongly agree” with this statement, only 28% of Conservatives concur.

Finally, almost two-thirds of Canadians (65%, also unchanged) think immigrants should only be allowed in Canada if they adopt Canadian values. Four groups have particularly strong feelings about this dictum: men (70%), Canadians aged 55 and over (77%), Quebecers (72%) and Conservative voters in 2021 (80%).

On the economic front, Canada is going through a time of mixed signals. Canadians are increasingly worried about inflation but expect the economy to do better in the future. The national unemployment rate is 6%, making the argument of immigrants taking away domestic jobs moot.

Still, it is important to recognize that the divide on the immigration file is mostly ideological. Conservative Party voters are significantly more likely than other Canadians to say that immigration has a negative effect, to call for a decrease in the number of immigrants allowed into Canada and to demand that newcomers adopt Canadian values.

As a new leadership race gets underway, Canada’s official opposition party runs the risk of overreacting on immigration, in a similar fashion to the way its provincial cousins in Alberta and Saskatchewan have recently misread public sentiment about the pandemic. Conservative voters in Canada may be more reticent about immigration, but not in numbers that suggest that the ruinous positions of other centre-right parties around the world should be emulated.

Source: More Canadians prefer status quo on immigration: poll

Diversity and Racism in Canada: Competing views deeply divide country along gender, generational lines

Summary of latest Angus Reid survey, with the usual clever segmentation. Glass half full or half empty?:

These are times of deep reckoning over issues of race and identity, hatred, and violence in Canada.

Against the backdrop of the London, ON, attack that targeted and killed a Muslim family, the deep pain associated with revelations about the hundreds of children buried on the grounds of former residential schools, and ongoing reports of discrimination against Canadians of Asian origin, many are attempting to reconcile the realities of the nation’s attitudes towards diversity and equality with national mythologizing about multiculturalism.

The second report from a comprehensive research series from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute in partnership with the University of British Columbia dives deeply into the sentiments of those living in this country – to illuminate perceptions and attitudes towards diversity and racism.

For 85 per cent of the population, that Canada is home to people from different races and ethnicities betters the nation. Canadians of all regions of the country, age groups, political ideologies and ethnic backgrounds agree on this point.

But does everyone feel it? Contradictions abound. Fully one-in-three (34%) say “Canada is a racist country.” Among those who believe this most keenly: visible minorities (42 per cent of whom say so) and women, particularly those under the age of 35, who are much more likely than men to hold this view (54%).

On the other hand, however, fewer than one-in-eight (12%) say they believe some races are superior to others. Further, 41 per cent of Canadians say that people seeing discrimination where it does not exist is a bigger problem for the country than people not being able to see where it does.

These perspectives coalesce to form four mindsets with which Canadians view diversity. This report analyzes each – the Detractors, Guarded, Accepting and Advocates – to better understand the expectations of Canadians heading into the second half century of official multiculturalism.

More Key Findings:

  • Three-quarters of Canadians over the age of 55 disagree that Canada is a racist country, while 54 per cent of women between the ages of 18 and 34 say that it is
  • One-in-five Canadians (21%) say that they feel like they are treated as an outsider in Canada. This proportion is 17 per cent among Caucasians, 30 per cent among Indigenous respondents and 29 per cent among visible minorities.
  • The Advocates, one-quarter of Canadians, are very concerned about racism and discrimination, to the point that they are twice as likely as visible minorities themselves to say that police are prejudiced or racist toward the latter demographic (83% vs 42%)
  • The Detractors, made up of older and more conservative Canadians, are also one-quarter of the population. This group is distinct in that it is more likely than others to say that immigration levels are way too high, and that racism is not a problem in Canada
  • One-quarter of Canadians feel “cold” toward Muslims, more than any other group asked about in the survey. Men over the age of 55 (42%) and Quebecers (37%) are among the most likely to say that.
  • Most Albertans (54%) and Saskatchewanians (57%) believe exaggerating racism is a bigger problem in Canada than not seeing racism where it exists.
  • Yet residents of Saskatchewan (44%) were the most likely to agree that Canada is a racist country. Residents of Quebec (24%) were the least likely.

Source: Diversity and Racism in Canada: Competing views deeply divide country along gender, generational lines

Full survey: click here

CATO Poll: 72% of Americans Say Immigrants Come to the United States for Jobs and to Improve Their Lives

The top level finding, with the report having a wealth of detail, with some of the same characteristics as in Canada such as age, education, political affiliation in terms of support or not for immigration:

The Cato Institute 2021 Immigration and Identity National Survey, a new national survey of 2,600 U.S. adults, finds that nearly three‐​fourths (72%) of Americans believe immigrants come to the United States to “find jobs and improve their lives” while 27% think immigrants come to obtain government services and welfare.

READ THE FULL SURVEY REPORT HERE

Support for More Immigration Is on the Rise

Support for more immigration has tripled from the mid‐​1990s when about 10% of the public supported more immigration and two‐​thirds wanted less. Today 29% of Americans want more, 38% want to maintain current levels, and 33% want less.

Chart 1

 

Democrats’ views largely account for this shift. Starting around 2008–2010, Democratic support for more immigration rose from about 20% to 47% today.

….

Source: Poll: 72% of Americans Say Immigrants Come to the United States for Jobs and to Improve Their Lives

Survey shows support for migrant workers getting more benefits and protections, as senators introduce motion for change

Good initiative by Senators Black and Omidvar in commissioning this poll:

Eight in 10 Canadians say temporary foreign workers should be entitled to the same benefits and protection as any other workers in this country, according to a Nanos Research poll.

The survey, commissioned by senators Ratna Omidvar and Rob Black, was released Thursday in the wake of a Star story that highlighted the plight of hundreds of Trinidadian seasonal migrant farm workers, who are stuck in Canada due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and unable to access employment insurance benefits.

The pandemic has shed light on the vulnerability of temporary foreign workers, who pay the same EI premiums as Canadian workers but who have difficulty accessing the benefits due to their precarious immigration status.

Trinidad and Tobago has closed its airports to international flights since March and the estimated 400 stranded workers are on the verge of losing their legal status in Canada as their work permits expire on Dec. 15. Many have been denied EI, with officials saying their “closed” work permit prevents the workers from looking for other employers, resulting in them being declared not “ready or available” for work.

The senators say that in addition to benefits, migrant workers should have “pathways” to obtaining permanent resident status in Canada, something that is currently very limited for these workers.

“The pandemic has highlighted the fact that temporary migrant workers and seasonal agricultural workers are essential to Canada,” said Black. “We are calling on the Government of Canada for pathways to permanency for essential workers, should they so desire.”

The poll of 1,040 Canadians was conducted in late October and independent from the Star story.

It found that 93 per cent of respondents said migrant workers are essential contributors to Canada’s agricultural sector and 81 per cent said they deserved a pathway to permanent residence.

Canada’s agricultural sector depends on the temporary migrant work force, which makes up 17 per cent of the total employment in the sector.

“We need more concrete and equitable improvements to our migrant workers program. Since the workers are essential to our well being and safety, then the safest … and the most human way forward is to provide them with more permanent residency options,” Omidvar said.

Both Black and Omidvar plan to introduce a motion in the Senate on Thursday calling on the Liberal government to create permanent residence pathways for migrant workers.

Source: Survey shows support for migrant workers getting more benefits and protections, as senators introduce motion for change

Canadians becoming more accepting of immigrants and refugees, despite pandemic, survey suggests

The latest from the Environics Institute, which has been tracking immigration attitudes for some 30 years with consistent questions and is one of the more reliable surveys.

Stronger levels of support than I would have expected given COVID-19, highlighting the degree to which Canadian attitudes differ from most other countries:

Canadians are steadily becoming more open and accepting of immigrants and refugees despite uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey indicates.

In the past year, Canadians’ views toward immigration became more positive than they have been in more than four decades, according to a new survey from Environics Institute, Century Initiative and the University of Ottawa.

The poll provided exclusively to The Globe and Mail shows that two-thirds of Canadians now reject the idea that immigration levels are too high.

When asked if respondents agree or disagree with the statement: “Overall, there is too much immigration to Canada,” 66 per cent said they disagree, an increase of three percentage points from last year, while 27 per cent said they agree with the statement, down seven percentage points, and fewer than 7 per cent have a clear opinion either way.

Strength in opinion has also shifted, the survey found, with 39 per cent of Canadians strongly disagreeing with the statement, and the trend is consistent across the country and among different demographics.

The survey report said that since the pandemic left millions of Canadians out of work and confined to their homes, people might be expected to turn away from immigration. But it said the results indicate the pandemic has not diminished Canadians’ openness.

Keith Neuman, senior associate of Environics, said the overall positive trend is significant because it’s not specific to certain parts of the population.

“We’re seeing this kind of positive trend in almost every region and demographic group we’ve identified, so it is not limited to simply east versus west or only young people, or only people with the most education, or income,” he said.

Mr. Neuman said even groups who have historically been less supportive of immigration became more supportive over the past year.

The survey report said the increase in support of current immigration levels is noticeable among Albertans, people with lower household incomes and first-generation Canadians.

Past surveys showed views on immigration polarized along political lines, but Mr. Neuman said this gap narrowed a bit over the past year.

The survey shows 81 per cent of NDP supporters favour the current immigration levels, as do 75 per cent of Liberal Party voters, both up a tad since last year. The positive trend is most noticeable among federal Conservative Party supporters, with 52 per cent disagreeing with the statement that there is too much immigration to Canada, up seven percentage points.

The survey also shows that 84 per cent of respondents agreed immigration has a positive impact on the Canadian economy, up four percentage points from last year. Fifty per cent of respondents strongly agree with the statement that over all, immigration has a positive impact on the economy, and 12 per cent disagree, with 4 per cent having no opinion.

“Belief in immigration as an economic driver is the majority view across the country, expressed by over 70 per cent in every province and identified demographic group,” the report said.

Seventy-eight per cent of Canadians disagreed with the statement “Immigrants take jobs away from other Canadians,” reflecting a significant increase of 11 percentage points from 2015. This view is also reflected in every region and demographic.

Mr. Neuman said this survey is conducted every six months, when possible, but at least annually, and repeats the same questions to determine how sentiment evolves.

He said every question shows people feel more positive about immigrants.

“What we’re seeing is the continuation of a trend that has been happening for the last few years. So these trend lines for the most part have not reversed, they’re extending the trend we started seeing particularly about two years ago.”

The survey of 2,000 Canadians was conducted Sept. 8 to 23, 2020, through telephone interviews on landline and cellphone. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percentage points in 19 times out of 20.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-canadians-becoming-more-accepting-of-immigrants-and-refugees-despite/

Link to report: https://www.environicsinstitute.org/docs/default-source/project-documents/fc-fall-2020—immigration/focus-canada-fall-2020—public-opinion-on-immigration-refugees—final-report.pdf?sfvrsn=bd51588f_2

COVID-19 has hardened Canadian views on immigration

One poll, by a market research firm that does not have a track record on measuring attitudes towards immigration without any information or their methodology:

With an aging and slow-growing population, Canada depends on immigration for economic and demographic growth

But the COVID-19 pandemic has effectively closed our borders and virtually halted the entry of immigrants.

Troubling new evidence about Canadian attitudes, shaped by the pandemic, suggests that even when borders finally reopen and the economic rebuilding begins, immigrants may no longer be as welcome as they have been in the past.

Outside Canada, the far right has stoked anti-immigrant rhetoric, and Canada is not immune to racism against immigrants.


Despite Canadians’ historical openness to newcomers, there are calls here at home for reducing the number of immigrants allowed to enter, and there is growing discrimination against immigrants, particularly people from Asia. 

Permanent damage?

Could pandemic fears permanently harden Canadian attitudes toward immigration, and generate pressure to reduce the number of yearly arrivals?

With concerns that the pandemic has made Canadians less open to immigration, researchers at McMaster University worked with Dynata Research to conduct a national survey in early August. The survey, which has yet to be published, asked 1,000 Canadians aged 25 and over about their attitudes toward immigration and their experiences during the pandemic.

The results raise questions about when, how and even whether Canada should be willing to reopen its borders to immigrants after the pandemic has been controlled.

Canadians ranked COVID-19 as the No. 1 problem currently facing the country. This was ranked far ahead of the economy and health care, which were ranked second and third, respectively. Crime, the environment, poverty, unemployment and other issues ranked much lower.

Amid growing levels of immigration into the country before the pandemic (more than 300,000 in 2019), about six in 10 Canadians had been comfortable with the number of immigrants entering the country. 

In fact, most respondents said they felt immigration has made Canada a better place. Slightly more than 50 per cent of respondents also said immigration has a positive impact on the economy and Canada’s cultural and social life. A large majority also felt that immigrants were welcomed into their communities.

But a deeper dive into the numbers reveals clear signs of strain and discomfort over immigration, particularly looking ahead to when Canada emerges from the pandemic. For instance, more than half of respondents felt immigrants were not adopting Canadian values, and 46 per cent felt immigrants posed a risk to Canada’s social-welfare system.

More negative

While the majority felt their attitudes toward immigration had not changed since the pandemic started, some 20 per cent of Canadians said they have developed a more negative attitude toward it.

Perhaps most revealing is the respondents’ answers when asked if immigration levels should be increased after the pandemic to make up for the immigrants who could not make it to Canada during the lockdown.

Only a small proportion of respondents indicated that immigration numbers should be increased. A majority of respondents felt the number of immigrants should actually be reduced because of the impacts of COVID-19. Looking farther ahead, only 22 per cent of Canadian respondents felt immigration would be an important part of Canada’s economic recovery.

Racism and discrimination toward racial minorities was also acknowledged, with one in 10 respondents reporting an experience of racism or discrimination since the pandemic started. Most respondents also felt that such incidents had increased since March 2020.

Lukewarm about immigration

Overall, the survey results suggest that Canadians may be less keen on immigration now than in the past.

More appear to be taking the view that closing the borders and limiting access would protect both the economy and the health of Canadians. But the nation’s economy and its reputation for welcoming newcomers would be at risk if these emerging attitudes take hold.

Canada still needs immigrants to help rebuild the economy, fill job vacancies and broaden the tax base. Despite the strain COVID-19 has placed on Canadian society, it’s imperative that Canada continues to be open to immigration. 

Doing so means that its economy, population and labour force are ready for the post-pandemic world. Turning away immigrants after the pandemic would not just hurt the people hoping to make a new start in Canada, it would hurt the people who are already here.

Source: https://theconversationcanada.cmail20.com/t/r-l-juaudly-kyldjlthkt-b/

Canada No. 1 for Migrants, U.S. in Sixth Place

Given the contrast in media coverage and political discourse in both countries, would have expected a larger gap:

Canada and the U.S. remained among the most-accepting countries in the world for migrants in 2019. In fact, with a score of 8.46 (out of a possible 9.0) on Gallup’s second administration of its Migrant Acceptance Index, Canada, for the first time, led the rest of the world. The U.S. ranked sixth, with a score of 7.95.

Most-Accepting Countries for Migrants
Migrant Acceptance Index
Canada 8.46
Iceland 8.41
New Zealand 8.32
Australia 8.28
Sierra Leone 8.14
United States 7.95
Burkina Faso* 7.93
Sweden 7.92
Chad* 7.91
Ireland* 7.88
Rwanda 7.88
*Country not on the list in 2016-2017
GALLUP WORLD POLL, 2019

The index is based on three questions that Gallup asked in 140 countries in 2016 and 2017 and updated again in 145 countries in 2019. The questions ask whether people think migrants living in their country, becoming their neighbors and marrying into their families are good things or bad things.

The index is a sum of the points across the three questions, with a maximum possible score of 9.0 (all three are good things) and a minimum possible score of zero (all three are bad things). The higher the score, the more accepting the population is of migrants.

Both Canada and the U.S., which have long histories as receiving countries for migrants, made the most-accepting list in 2017 as well. Migration policies in each country have taken different paths since then, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opening Canada’s doors even wider, as President Donald Trump has tried to shut doors in the U.S. However, the acceptance of migrants among residents in each country has remained resolute and relatively unchanged from where they stood three years ago.

In Canada, residents almost universally saw migrants living in their country (94%) and being in their neighborhoods (95%) as good things, while more than nine in 10 (91%) said a migrant marrying into their family would be a good thing. Most Americans said the same, although not nearly to the same degree as Canadians. Nine in 10 (90%) said a migrant living in their neighborhood would be a good thing, and similar percentages said migrants living in their country (87%) and marrying into their families (85%) would be good things.

Migrant Acceptance Continues to Follow Political Fault Lines

As in 2017, migrant acceptance in both countries continues to be polarized. In the U.S., those who approved of Trump’s job performance scored a 7.10 out of a possible 9.0 on the Migrant Acceptance Index, while those who disapproved scored an 8.59 on the index. In Canada, those who approved of Trudeau’s job performance scored an 8.73, while the score was 8.21 among those who disapproved.

The same relationships persist, although not to the same degree, looking at approval of the country’s leadership in general.

Political Divides on Migration in Canada, U.S.
Migrant Acceptance Index
Americans
Approve of Trump 7.10
Disapprove of Trump 8.59
Approve of country’s leadership 7.10
Disapprove of country’s leadership 8.49
Canadians
Approve of Trudeau 8.73
Disapprove of Trudeau 8.21
Approve of country’s leadership 8.59
Disapprove of country’s leadership 8.31
GALLUP WORLD POLL, 2019

In the U.S., interestingly, there are differences in migrant acceptance among those who personally identified most with their city and country where they live (8.16) compared with those who identified most with their race or religion (7.69). In Canada, there were no differences in migrant acceptance based on how people identified themselves.

Most Educated in Each Country Are Most Accepting

For the most part, as it did in 2017, people’s acceptance of migrants follow the same patterns in both Canada and the U.S.: Acceptance is higher among those with the most education and among those living in urban areas.

Interestingly, the patterns by age in the two countries are different. In the U.S., acceptance was highest among the youngest Americans and then declined with age. Among Americans between the ages of 15 and 29, the index score was 8.34; it measured nearly a full point lower among those aged 65 and older (7.37). In Canada, there were no real statistical differences by age group.

Migrant Acceptance by Age in the U.S., Canada
Migrant Acceptance Index
Americans
15-29 8.34
30-44 8.11
45-54 8.04
55-64 7.79
65+ 7.37
Canadians
15-29* 8.32
30-44 8.54
45-54 8.53
55-64 8.41
65+ 8.51
*Difference not significant because of smaller sample sizes
GALLUP WORLD POLL, 2019

Bottom Line

Both Canada and the U.S. have long histories as receiving countries, but over the past several years, policies in each country have moved in opposite directions. Until the pandemic forced Canada to slow immigration to a trickle, the country was poised to admit more than 1 million permanent residents between 2019 and 2021, with targets increasing every year. In the U.S., the Trump administration is estimated to have cut legal immigration by almost half since taking office.

However, it appears that these changes in policies haven’t drastically changed most people’s acceptance of migrants. Residents in each country, and particularly in Canada, are accepting of the migrants who will continue to play a huge role in shaping their country’s future.

Source: https://news.gallup.com/poll/320669/canada-migrants-sixth-place.aspx

And for a broader take:

Global tolerance of migrants declined between 2016 and 2019, Gallup’s Migrant Acceptance Indexrevealed on Wednesday.

The survey showed that several of the least tolerant countries were from the EU. Member states met Wednesday to discuss a new joint migration policy.

The report gave countries scores based on the attitudes of respondents to the idea of migrants living in their country, moving into their neighborhood and marrying into their family. The average score globally fell from 5.34 in 2016 to 5.21 in 2019. Nne was the highest possible result.

The largest drop in tolerant attitudes towards migrants was seen in South America, where several countries have experienced a large influx of refugees from Venezuela. In Colombia, which bore the brunt of the exodus, the percentage of respondents with a positive view of migrants living in the country plummeted from 61% to 29%.

Belgium and Switzerland had some of the largest decreases in tolerant attitudes. Belgium, home to the European Parliament, saw its score fall by 1.33.

EU member states Hungary, Croatia, Latvia and Slovakia were among the top ten least accepting countries according to the poll, with a further four Balkan countries making it onto the list.

Another country which has played a significant role in the EU’s immigration policy was also revealed to have largely negative attitudes towards immigration. Turkey, which became home to some 4 million refugees as part of a deal with the European bloc, was the 10th least accepting country for migrants according to the data collected by Gallup.

However, one eastern European country with a traditionally low tolerance of immigration saw an increase in positive and tolerant attitudes. A share of 42% of Polish respondents said that they considered migrants living in the country as something good, up from 29% three years prior.

Which countries are most tolerant of immigration?

Canada topped the list for the countries most accepting of immigration — 94% of respondents had positive views of immigrants living in their country, followed by Iceland and New Zealand. Within the EU, only Sweden and Ireland made it into the top 10.

Despite a series of anti-immigration policies by President Donald Trump’s administration in the US, the country came in sixth place for its generally pro-immigration attitudes. When asked about immigrants moving into their neighborhood, 90% of US respondents said this was a good thing.

Among those who supported Trump, the average score was 7.1 out of nine. The biggest difference was between the younger and older generations with 16- to 29-year-olds scoring 8.34 and those older than 65 scoring around one point less, at 7.37.

How The Pandemic Is Widening The Racial Wealth Gap

Good data-based analysis:

Joeller Stanton used to be an assistant teacher at a private school in Baltimore and made about $30,000 a year. In mid-March, when the pandemic was just starting, her school closed for what was supposed to be two weeks. “Up to that point, we were under the impression that it wasn’t that serious, that everything was going to be OK,” Stanton recalls.

But as schools in Maryland switched to virtual learning indefinitely, Stanton was let go from her job. She received her last paycheck in March. “I had about $300 savings that was basically gone by the end of March,” she says.

She says she applied for unemployment but was denied initially. And by April, she had no money to pay for rent and utilities, and was struggling to put food on the table for her two children.

Stanton, who is Black, is caught up in a huge wave of economic stress hitting Americans, especially people of color.

Sixty percent of Black households are facing serious financial problems since the pandemic began, according to a national poll released this week by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. That includes 41% who say they’ve used up most or all their savings, while an additional 10% had no savings before the outbreak.

Latinos and Native Americans are also disproportionately affected by the pandemic’s economic impact. Seventy-two percent of Latino and 55% of Native American respondents say their households are facing serious financial problems, compared with 36% of whites.

“The thing that immediately struck me was how large the gap was by race for the people who said they were facing serious problems,” says Valerie Wilson, director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy at the Economic Policy Institute.

The pandemic’s disproportionate financial impact on communities of color reflects — and is worsening — existing racial disparities in wealth, she adds.

Struggles with income, housing, food

“The three groups that are being just ravaged by this epidemic are reporting unbelievable problems of just trying to cope with their day-to-day lives,” says Robert Blendon, professor emeritus of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who oversaw the poll.

Thirty-two percent of Latino and 28% of Black respondents say they’re having problems paying rent or mortgages. About a third of respondents in both groups were struggling to pay credit cards or other loans. And 26% of Latino and Native American respondents say they struggle to afford food, while 22% of Black respondents do.

Among households that reported they lost income, survival is even more of a challenge. For Black respondents, 40% say they’re struggling to pay rent or mortgage, and 43% say they’re having trouble paying utilities. For Latino households that lost income, 46% say they’re struggling to pay mortgage or rent. About a third of both Black and Latino respondents who lost household income said they’re struggling to pay for food.

The fact that many minority groups are also experiencing higher rates of coronavirus infections makes it even harder for them to cope financially, Blendon adds.

“You have people who don’t have savings, they can’t pay bills,” he says. “And then you’re going to tell them, ‘Well, somebody in the household tested positive, nobody can go work.’ How are they going to keep their lives going?”

Stanton’s sister, who works for the city government, got COVID-19 earlier this year and had to isolate in her basement. “She had a cough, and she couldn’t eat because her taste buds were completely gone,” Stanton says. “I would cook meals, and I would take it to the basement, put it down on the floor for her.”

Luckily, she says, no one else in the family — including her 82-year-old mother and her 7-year-old son, who has asthma — got infected.

But Stanton says she has lost a sister-in-law to the disease and had a friend in coma for six weeks on a ventilator. She knows of many others in her community who have died.

And most of her co-workers and friends are out of work.

Worsening existing disparities

Even during the economic recovery of recent years, minority groups were lagging behind, says Wilson of the Economic Policy Institute. “There were significant racial disparities in wages, significant racial disparities in unemployment, significant racial disparities in the kinds of jobs people held.”

Black, Latino and Native American workers were more likely to have jobs that were lost during the pandemic, Wilson says. A Harvard University analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Pulse Survey, released in July, found that 58% of Latino and 53% of Black households experienced loss in earnings early in the pandemic. Wilson’s own research has shown that Latino workers have been particularly affected by job losses during the pandemic.

Wilson adds that people in these groups are also more likely to have jobs that didn’t allow them to work from the safety of their homes, therefore putting them more at risk of getting infected. And they’re also less likely to have substantial savings. As a result, it makes it harder for them to weather times of economic downturn, she says.

Wilson says she worries that the pandemic is worsening racial disparities.

“We’re going to see coming out of this pandemic an expansion of the racial wealth gap,” she says. “We saw the same kind of thing in the Great Recession in 2007-2008 — in particular then with the extensive foreclosures in communities of color and the loss of housing wealth.”

“You just pray”

The pandemic forced Stanton to give up her rental home back in April. But she says she was fortunate not to end up homeless, thanks to her sister.

“My sister helped me get a storage unit,” Stanton says. “I moved my furniture into a storage unit. And I moved in with my sister, me and my two kids — my 11-year-old daughter and my 7-year-old son.”

She is grateful to have a roof over her head, but money, she says, is still tight.

She now gets $280 a week from the state of Maryland as unemployment, but it doesn’t go far.

“The first thing I buy is any personal hygiene items me or my kids need,” she says. She buys food, above what food stamps get her; she pays her phone bill and covers her sister’s utility bills. “That’s my only way of telling her, ‘Thank you,’ to show her that I appreciate what she’s doing.”

What little she has left, she buys a treat or two for her children, who have mostly been stuck indoors since the pandemic began: “Just trying to keep them happy,” she says.

But she’s far from happy herself. She hasn’t been able to find a new job because of the nature of remote learning. “They don’t need an assistant right now because the kids are not physically in the building,” she says.

And even if she did find a job, she worries she’d have to use pay to cover child care. Her kids are now also learning virtually from home and need constant supervision.

Stanton says the only way she copes with her daily struggles is through faith. “A lot of prayer and a lot of patience,” she says. “I try not to let things bother me because I don’t want to become depressed. So, you know, you just pray. I hope this is all over soon.”

Source: How The Pandemic Is Widening The Racial Wealth Gap