Hamilton Citizenship Ceremony / Copyright: JOEY COLEMAN / THEPUBLICRECORD.CA

A Nanos poll has revealed that over half of Canadians would like to see the Trudeau government lower the number of incoming immigrants and international students, planned for 2023. 

The poll conducted for the Globe and Mail saw an increase of nearly 20 percentage points of Canadians who believe it’s time to lower the amount of immigrants accepted into Canada in the last six months. Ottawa’s current target is to accept 465,000 new immigrants by the end of the year. 

This figure only includes permanent residents and not temporary foreign workers or international students.

Nanos conducted a similar poll in March, which found 34% of respondents wanted fewer immigrants than the federal government’s target; that number is now up to 55%. Around a third of respondents say they are fine with the current target from Ottawa while eight percent believe it should be increased even more. 

Canada’s housing crisis is undoubtedly a large contributing factor to the shift in tone from March, according to the chairman of Nanos Research Nik Nanos. He believes the recent responses are a reflection of “the intersection of the pressure on housing affordability with views on immigration.”

“Regardless of Canada’s tradition of welcoming newcomers, there is a reality that people are wondering where the new people will live and what it might mean in terms of even more pressure on housing.” said Nanos.

The federal government laid out a plan to accept 465,000 new permanent residents this year, with an increased target of 485,000 for 2024 and then raising that number again to 500,000 for 2025.

In August, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced that Canada is set to welcome 900,000 international students in 2023, which is triple the annual amount the country accepted ten years ago. 

Similarly, the poll found over half of respondents would like to see fewer international students as well, with under a third agreeing to the target of 900,00o. Under seven percent of respondents felt the target was too low. 

Last month, Housing Minister Sean Fraser alluded to the possibility of a cap on international students, while speaking with reporters at the Liberal’s cabinet retreat in Charlottetown but he has yet to confirm any concrete information on the potential change. 

“The reality is we’ve got temporary immigration programs that were never designed to see such explosive growth in such a short period of time,” said Fraser.

The international student program has no cap in place and is simply based on demand, unlike the permanent resident program which sets targets annually. 

The poll was conducted online and by phone and saw a total of 1,044 respondents and responses tended to vary provincially. 

Respondents in the Prairies were most in favour of reducing annual immigration targets, with 61% saying that 465,000 was too many people, whereas in B.C. that number dropped to 43%.

Responses also varied when it came to international students as well, with Quebec showing the most support for reducing the number of international students, with 59.7% saying a reduction was necessary. In B.C., 48% of respondents felt it was time for a reduction. 

The age range of those who wanted a reduction of international students was most commonly found among respondents who were aged between 35-54 years old, at 57%. 

Those over the age of 55, responded in favour of fewer international students by 52.9%

The poll was conducted between Sept.2 and Sept. 4 and open to all Canadians over the age of 18. The margin of error for this poll is three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.