Newcomers to Canada have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19, with higher rates of infection and severity of illness. Determinants of higher rates may relate to social and structural inequities that impact newcomers’ capacity to follow countermeasures. Our aim was to describe and document factors shaping newcomers’ acceptance of COVID-19 countermeasures. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with individuals living in Canada for <5 years. Participants were asked to discuss their pandemic experiences, and perceptions and acceptance of measures. Five themes were identified: (i) belief in the necessity and efficacy of countermeasures; (ii) negative impact of measures on health/wellbeing; (iii) existing barriers to newcomer settlement exacerbated by pandemic measures; (iv) countermeasure adherence related to immigration status and (v) past experiences shaping countermeasure acceptance. Government should continue to provide messaging regarding the importance of measures for individual and population heath and continue to demonstrate a commitment to the interests of citizens. Importantly, newcomer trust in government should not be taken for granted, as this trust is critical for the acceptance of government interventions now and moving forward. It will be important to ensure that newcomers are given support to overcome challenges to settlement that were intensified during the pandemic.

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