Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Publicis Media Newcomer Study 'I Am Canada' Reveals Challenging Realities of Immigrant Life in Canada

Advertising Agency
Toronto, Canada
Half of newcomers report the overall cost of living is higher than anticipated and 50 per cent say buying a home is harder than expected

Close to half of newcomers to Canada are planning to leave the country or feel uncertain about their future on Canadian soil, according to I Am Canada, a new study from Publicis Media and Angus Reid.

While an estimated 400,000 new immigrants will come to Canada each year for the next three years dreaming of a better life in this country, the survey of more than 500 newcomers reveals a gap between their expectations and their on-the-ground reality. The data insights in I Am Canada will help furnish connections for Canadian brands and companies that want to help newcomers settle in and find a sense of home.

“When it comes to adjusting to new surroundings, food, music, and community can give newcomers a sense of belonging, but our study identified some uniquely Canadian gaps where with awareness and action we can improve the experience for those coming to Canada,” said David Rusli, chief strategy and data officer for Publicis Media and architect of the study. “We still have a long way to go to improve representation for newcomers in movies, TV shows, and advertisements as 55% of respondents consider it is among the top two important things a brand can do to connect with them.  At Publicis Media, we are working to build bridges between diverse communities and brands. People want to see and feel that they belong in Canada, and media representation is a critical component of their experience.”

Expectations vs. realities: immigrating to Canada is not as easy as it seems

Many immigrants regard Canada as a land of opportunity, safe and filled with friendly people. The survey reveals the bulk of newcomers come to Canada for education or work opportunities and ambition drives many people to Canada, with 48% of newcomers citing a job opportunity as one of their top three reasons for immigrating. Eighty percent of newcomers report they were able to quickly settle into new employment after their arrival. Newcomers with children are also impressed by the benefit of free education, access to publicly funded activities and other community supports, according to the study.

However, when it comes to finance and accessibility to healthcare, newcomers face a harsh reality. Half of the respondents found the overall cost of living to be higher than expected and 50 per cent said buying a home is harder than they would have expected it to be. Many face obstacles in establishing themselves with a Canadian financial institution. Black newcomers to Canada, for example, are 84% more likely to face difficulty obtaining a credit card when compared with other newcomers.

Culture is the best way to facilitate integration, and brands can help

As a significant player in the advertising media industry, helping brands across the country find the best mass media channel in which to showcase their marketing campaigns, Publicis Media Canada recognises that brands live and evolve within communities. When newcomers arrive in Canada, they seek a balance between staying connected to their home culture and adjusting to their new surroundings, the study found.

For example, newcomers will embrace the culture of both regions by going to stores that feature products from their culture (52%) and from Canada (52%); watch content from their own culture (38%) and from Canada (49%); listen to their culture’s music (48%) and music (58%); and make food from their culture (66%) and from Canada (43%).

“At Publicis Media, we have laid the groundwork to help brands become a conduit of truly inclusive communications,” David said. “Brands and industries such as banking have an opportunity to rethink how they communicate with our Canadian newcomers. In order to adapt to the changing face of Canada and reflect our cultural persona as the rich tapestry it is, brands need to connect to new Canadians where they live, work and play.”

The study concludes that brands have many opportunities to connect newcomers to their new homes and bring all Canadians together to celebrate the country’s diversity, whether it's through supporting cultural festivals, through food, music and entertainment, or by marking cultural holidays.

Work from Publicis Canada
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