Only 11 per cent of polled 18-35 year olds believe city is very successful at immigrant integration

May 6, 2010
Globe and Mail

Kelly Grant

Only 52 per cent of Toronto’s 18-to-35 year olds believe Toronto will be a better place to live in 10 years, according to a new survey commissioned by Anne Sado, president of the college.

The survey of 500 “Generation Y” Torontonians and 300 employers found both groups were slightly pessimistic about the city’s future, something that stemmed from their doubts Toronto could unclog its roads, improve its science and technology sectors and provide decent jobs for new immigrants. Some 56 per cent of employers predicted Toronto would be a better place to do business in a decade.

The respondents’ concerns about immigrants were particularly interesting considering both the under-35 set and employers cited multiculturalism as the city’s most attractive feature – 56 per cent for Gen Y and 28 per cent for the employers.

Results: Gen Y’s concerns

See results in PDF

Those results suggest they support immigration, but think immigrants aren’t receiving enough support.

For instance, the survey found that only 11 per cent of 18-to-35 year olds think Toronto is very successful at integrating immigrants. Forty-six per cent called the city’s efforts somewhat successful.

“I think it’s deeply disturbing,” said TD Bank Chief Economist Don Drummond, who reviewed the Leger Marketing survey released Thursday. “Typically you’ll get the reaction that also came from the survey that immigration is absolutely wonderful, enriching everybody’s life and [respondents] said that’s absolutely true. But it’s not working for the benefit of the immigrants.”

Mr. Drummond pointed to the hurdles newcomers have to leap to have their professional credentials approved. Absorbing immigrants is a national dilemma, he said, but one felt most acutely in Toronto and the GTA.

The survey took a surprisingly dim view of the city’s environmental reputation, something Mayor David Miller has worked diligently to burnish.

“My personal view on that is that relates back to the transit situation,” Mr. Drummond said. “I can see a slice of the Gardiner right now and there’s not 10 feet between any cars on it.” Ms. Sado added that younger Torontonians tend to “apply a higher standard” when it comes to sprucing up the urban environment. Indeed, only 28 per cent believe Toronto is a more environmentally friendly city than its Canadian counterparts.

Still, the survey wasn’t all bad tidings for Toronto. Eighty-six per cent in the Generation Y group and 73 per cent in the employer group rated Toronto a good or excellent place to live now. And despite their lukewarm view of the city’s future, neither group is inclined to move away in the next decade. A whopping 80 per cent of employers said it is very likely they’ll keep their businesses in the GTA in the next 10 years.

The under-35s and employers differed slightly on their pick for Toronto’s worst attribute. Employers selected the city’s taxes and cost of living – 27 per cent – followed by its traffic at 17 per cent. Among the younger respondents, cost of living and taxes tied traffic tied with 23 per cent apiece.

Leger Marketing conducted the survey in January and early February using online questionnaires for the Generation Y group and telephone interviews for employers. The employers were hiring managers in companies with at least five employees in the City of Toronto.

Reference: Globe and Mail