(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may struggle to sell his ambitious new immigration plan to Canadians, a new survey shows. Only 17% of respondents say the country should accept more immigrants in 2021 than it did last year, according to a Nanos Research Group poll conducted for Bloomberg News. That suggests most Canadians are less than enthusiastic about aggressive new targets announced last week.
Trudeau hopes to attract 401,000 newcomers next year, 60,000 more than in 2019. The target would rise by 10,000 in each subsequent year, bringing it to 421,000 in 2023. Respondents were asked whether the government should raise levels above last year’s actual inflows.
An open-door policy is a central tenet of the Liberal government’s long-term growth agenda. But with the economy recovering from the damage wrought by Covid-19, opposition parties are raising concern.
“We’re facing 9% to 10% unemployment — more than a million Canadians are out of work,” Conservative lawmaker Raquel Dancho said in an interview, adding that affordable housing is also scarce. “Where are these folks going to work? Where are these folks going to live?”
Closed borders and pandemic-related travel restrictions have slowed immigration this year and the country is on pace to meet only 60% of its 2020 target of 341,000 permanent residents.