Young new Canadians could leave Canada due to high cost of living
According to a national survey conducted by Leger for the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), 30% of new Canadians aged 18-34, and 23% of university-educated new Canadians, said they are likely to move to another country in the next two years.
One of the challenges for immigrants is the cost of living in Canada. According to the new poll, 75% of new Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 said they believe the rising cost of living means immigrants are less likely to stay in Canada. Also, 6% of Canadians in the same age group agreed with this statement.
“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 in a press release. “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.”
- New Canadian immigrants are more likely to believe that Canadians don’t understand the challenges that immigrants face.
- Immigrants with university degrees tend to have less favourable opinions on matters related to fair job opportunities 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.
In February 2022, Canadian consumer prices increased to 5.7%, up from a 5.1% gain in January. This was the largest gain since August 1991 (+6.0%) said Statistics Canada. “February marked the second consecutive month where headline inflation exceeded 5%.” Housing is also becoming increasingly scarce, with record-low mortgage rates propelling Canadian home prices 52% higher over the past two years. There are also fewer rentals available.
Recently, the Canadian government revealed its Immigration Levels Plan for 2022-2024. It plans to welcome more than 1.3 million new permanent residents to the country over the next three years. However, immigrants and professionals have raised doubts about the government’s ability to bring more people to Canada while struggling with an unprecedented backlog.
In addition, researchers said Canada may need to offer more support to new Canadians in order for that to happen. “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.”
Measures the government is taking
Canada is investing $85 million to reduce backlogs in the immigration system. The government acknowledged the pandemic dramatically slowed down the pace of processing applications, and now it is investing in resources to speed up the process of obtaining citizenship, reuniting families, and welcoming immigrants who can help address Canada’s labour shortages.
In addition to investing $85 million to reduce immigration processing backlogs in fiscal 2022-23, Canada also expanded the following functionalities to transform the immigration system into a digital immigration platform:
- For citizenship applicants, IRCC introduced online testing, created an online application tracker, and launched virtual citizenship ceremonies.
- IRCC also introduced a new Permanent Residence Application Tracker for spouses and dependents to allow clients easy access to their application information and status online.
Furthermore, IRCC is exploring more options for those who wish to self-administer their Oath by signed attestation, and celebrate their citizenship at a later date. This would shorten the waiting time for those at the final stage of their citizenship process.
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