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64% of Immigrants Welcome Religious Influence on Public Life


 July 9, 2018

OTTAWA A new poll suggests newcomers to Canada are more open than Canadians generally are to seeing religious and faith community participation and influence in the country’s social and political debates. An Angus Reid Institute poll done in partnership with Cardus found that almost two-thirds of immigrants (64%) say religious voices should have some or a major influence in Canadian public life. That compares with 49% of Canadians generally who take the same view.

“We’ve seen courts begin to close the public square to the public expression of faith and even provincial and federal governments try to keep religion in its own private corner,” says Ray Pennings, Cardus Executive Vice President. “But as immigrants tell us – many from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa – the enforced secularism we increasingly see in Canada is at odds with their expectations and values. If Canada is to keep welcoming newcomers, it will need to accommodate voices of faith.”

The poll also found immigrants take a distinct view of the contributions of religious communities. A full 57% of immigrants agreed that religious communities make a “very good” or “more good than bad” contribution to Canada and Canadian society. Only 36% of Canadians in general said the same thing.

Immigrants also credited religious communities with helping them settle into life in Canada. About half of immigrants (49%) say religious communities helped them find a job and a place to live, or to get language training after they arrived in Canada. More than six in 10 immigrants say religious communities helped give them a social network. And 65% of immigrants say religious communities provided them a spiritual home during their transition to life in this country.

“Religious communities are leaders in supporting and setting up immigrants for success in Canada,” says Pennings. To see full poll results and methodology, please, click here.


Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications
613-241-4500 x508