MONTREAL -- Immigrants to Quebec are more afraid of contracting COVID-19 than non-immigrants and are more likely to know someone who has contracted the virus, according to a new poll.

The poll commissioned by the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and carried out by Leger found that 20.8 per cent of immigrants in Quebec said they are very afraid of contracting COVID-19; only 12.6 per cent of non-immigrants said they feel the same.

Fifty-seven per cent of immigrants said they are somewhat or very afraid of contracting the virus, while just over 51 per cent of non-immigrants expressed any fear of the coronavirus.

More recent immigrants are more afraid of COVID-19 than more settled ones, the poll also found: among immigrants who have been here for less than 10 years, two thirds - 66.6 per cent - said they are afraid of getting COVID-19, while 54.7 per cent of those who have been here for more than a decade said they are afraid.

The poll also found that immigrants are more afraid of a family member contracting COVID-19, more likely to know someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more likely to have felt the economic impact of COVID-19 confinement measures than non-immigrants.

They are also more likely than non-immigrants to have adhered to public health orders related to containing the spread of COVID-19.

Among religious groups, the poll found that Jewish Quebecers (83.3 per cent) were, proportionally, far and away the most afraid of contracting COVID-19, followed by Protestants (68.4 per cent) and Catholics (53.4 per cent). Only 41.7 per cent of atheists expressed fear of COVID-19.

The online survey of 1,638 Quebec adults took place May 1 to May 6. There is no margin error provided for the survey,

ACS/Leger survey results released Wednesday that showed English-speaking Quebecers are more fearful of COVID-19 than their French-speaking counterparts prompted Quebec Premier Francois Legault to criticize English media in Quebec, specifically the Montreal Gazette, for possibly fostering fear among English Quebecers.

However, observers have pointed out that Montreal, which has been hardest hit by the pandemic, is also home to the vast majority of English-speaking Quebecers, which likely explains the higher proportion of English speakers who are afraid of COVID-19.

The same holds true for immigrants to Quebec, the majority of whom live in the hard-hit Montreal area, including boroughs in the city that have been hotspots for the virus.