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Federal Immigration Plan Could Offset Canadian Secularisation

New research confirms immigrants are significantly more religious than non-immigrant Canadians


July 6, 2023 

OTTAWA – The aggressive immigration targets in the 2023-2024 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Departmental Plan could help offset Canadian secularisation. The Departmental Plan calls for the potential arrival of more than 1.5 million immigrants to Canada by the end of 2025. Immigrants to Canada tend to be more religious and more open to public religious expression than Canadians born here, according to Religion and Belief Among Immigrants to Canada, a research brief by non-partisan think tank Cardus using data collected by the Angus Reid Institute.

Among several key findings, the Cardus research brief notes:

  • 72% of Canadian immigrants believe in God, compared to just 64% of non-immigrant Canadians.
  • 27% of Canadian immigrants attend religious services at least monthly, compared to just 13% of non-immigrant Canadians.
  • Close to half of Canadian immigrants say Canadians who hold public positions should feel free to speak and act based on their religious beliefs, while 67% of non-immigrant Canadians say God and religion should be kept completely out of public life.

According to the Departmental Plan, Canada aims to welcome up to 505,000 new permanent residents this year, 542,500 in 2024, and 550,000 newcomers in 2025.

“Welcoming a potential 1.5 million new Canadians by the end of 2025 could help sustain and strengthen the role of religion in society and public life,” says Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett, Faith Communities Program Director at Cardus. “Immigrants are contributing more than their skills, cultural backgrounds, and different perspectives on the world to Canadian pluralism; they’re enlivening Canada’s beautiful tapestry of religious faith.”

Religion and Belief Among Immigrants to Canada is freely available on the Cardus website.

Daniel Proussalidis
Cardus – Director of Communications

Cardus – Imagination toward a thriving society

Cardus is a non-partisan think tank dedicated to clarifying and strengthening, through research and dialogue, the ways in which society’s institutions can work together for the common good.