Immigrants are finding the Canadian dream is elusive and Immigration Minister Marc Miller said Ottawa should do more to match the hopes of newcomers who face the realities of the Canadian economy.
“The Canadian dream crashes with reality at times. Even more so when there’s a severe affordability challenge in the country, like ours, like in pretty much everywhere around the world now,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller told OMNI News.
Miller spoke to OMNI News Wednesday following the release of multiple immigration-related polls in November, including a poll commissioned exclusively for OMNI News by Leger. Findings of which revealed the affordability crisis is putting the Canadian dream at risk.
The OMNI-Leger poll revealed two-in-five, or 42 per cent of immigrant households are struggling to make ends meet. The poll is one of the largest polling samples of immigrants in recent years, surveying 1,522 immigrants across Canada between Oct. 18 and 25. It is also one of the few polls specifically surveying immigrants.
Another Leger poll released this morning found Canadians agree that higher immigration rates are putting pressure on both the housing market and the healthcare system.
“Generally speaking, we haven’t done a great job at making sure once people are here, at least from the federal government’s perspective, that there are considerations for the impact on housing,” Miller said.
The Canadian government is planning on welcoming 500,000 immigrants by 2026. But 71 per cent of OMNI-Leger poll respondents believe Canada has not thought through a strategy for settling new immigrants.
In another survey released Wednesday by Abacus Data, respondents believe Ottawa’s immigration targets are too high. With 67 per cent of respondents saying Canada should not be welcoming 500,000 new permanent residents a year.
“Turning off the taps is a different conversation. In the areas that we control, like economic migration, my question to people when they ask that is where? Do we want fewer skilled workers? Do we want fewer people working in the industries that are key to the growth of the economy?”
“Those are questions that we have to look at in a mature fashion over the coming year in particular.”
But Miller thinks Canada might have “gotten lazy” about immigration, taking for granted the settlement and integration of newcomers, even though with rising social and economic pressures “there is sometimes a tendency to blame immigration.”
“Perhaps we haven’t done a good enough job at making sure that we are addressing these issues and these concerns without polarizing people, which at times, is sadly a political tendency.”