October 9, 2019
Immigrant Employment by the Numbers
In Part One of this blog we looked at Is Mass Immigration in Canada’s Best Interests – What’s the Story? We discussed how mass immigration is being posited as deleterious and negatively influential to domestic economic, social and political interests. But like Canada, countries with more aged populations will be seeking “young, skilled and mobile workers,” thereby driving competitive policy for these sought-after individuals globally. It becomes increasingly evident the value immigration has for our country, our economy, and our future: “By increasing Canada’s immigration rate, the country aims to attract and retain overseas talent to support labour market shortages across the country.”  But as always it is important to separate fact from fiction. I noted of we can believe the numbers and there does not appear to be a reasonable basis not to, the need for immigration is not decreasing but becoming more vital to Canada’s best interests. This does not necessarily however equate to mass migration a term that in my view is used too loosely and often for the wrong reasons. I highlighted in Part II I would discuss the issue of employment gains and what role immigration is playing. So, let’s look at the numbers.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Departmental Plan 2019-2020  relies heavily on the data found in the StatsCan report Canadian Immigrant Labour Market: Recent Trends from 2006 to 2017  (released December 2018) and presents rather telling numbers specific to immigrant employment gains in Canada. A select summary of key findings is below:
- “there has been a decrease in the employment rate gap between immigrants and Canadian-born workers”
- “The unemployment rate for core-aged immigrants dropped to 6.4% in 2017, which is the lowest rate since 2006”
- “Approximately 70% of newcomers are employed with over half of all newcomers being in the middle-income range or higher”
- “A 2017 national evaluation of the [Provincial Nominee Program] PNP found that 92% of principal applicants had established economically after one year in Canada”
The IRCC Departmental Plan 2019-2020  continues:
- “In 2019-2020, IRCC will continue to explore additional pathways for Canada to attract and retain global talent to meet local labour market needs, including practices that may support international students’ outcomes while they are in school and as they transition into the labour market and permanent residency.”
- “A survey of Syrian refugees shows that employment rates are increasing, with over half of the respondents reporting that they are currently employed (summer 2018).”
A news-feed article from IRCC  highlights encouraging trends in employment in August, 2019:
“Five Canadian provinces saw employment gains while the rest of the country held steady, according to the StatsCan Labour Force Survey, and three industrial sectors benefitted from significant increases.”
“Ontario produced the bulk of Canadian job gains last month with an increase of 58,000 net new jobs in August, all in part-time work. Employment in Ontario was up 250,000 compared to August 2018, a year-over-year increase of 3.5 per cent”
“In August, there were 109,000 net new jobs in the professional, scientific, and technical services industries compared to August 2018, an increase of 7.4 per cent. Statistics Canada said this was the fastest rate of growth among all major industrial sectors.”
“Employment in the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing industry grew by 22,000 in August, a year-over-year increase of 46,000, or 3.9 per cent. This industry grew mostly in Ontario and Quebec.”
Looking at The Canadian Labour Market: Recent Trends from 2006 to 2017  report, there are rather promising statistics related to newcomer immigration gains and the overall support of Canadian economic sectors by foreign and immigrant workers. The report also references the changing Canadian-born employment landscape, often citing employment declines due to an aging Canadian population and fertility rate. Several highlights are included below:
- “The lion’s share (60% of national employment gains between 2016 and 2017 was accounted for by immigrants of core working-age (25 to 54 years) and Canadian-born workers aged 55 and older.”
- “Employment gains for university-educated immigrants helped lift their employment rate to a record high of 82.1% in 2017.”
- “For the core working-ages of 25 to 54, the majority (60%) of the employment gains in 2017 were accounted for by landed immigrants. This is mostly a reflection of higher population growth among immigrants compared with the Canadian-born in this age group.”
- In 2017, over a third (34%) of employment gains among the Canadian-born were attributable to those aged 25 to 54, while the corresponding figure for immigrants was 75%. This is not surprising, as the majority of immigrants are selected in the prime working ages of 25 to 54.”
- “This difference between immigrants and the Canadian-born in the core-aged group highlights the well-known demographic trend of the aging of the baby-boom generation.”
- “As the share of the labour force born in Canada declined steadily (from 78% in 2006 to 74% in 2017), the share of immigrants has increased (from 22% to 26% during the same period). This is reflected in the long-term trend of employment (Chart 2), indicating how immigrants’ growing contribution to Canada’s economy and society is associated with long-term demographic trends that are prevalent in most industrialized countries.”
- “In 2017, over a quarter (26%) of Canada’s total workforce of core working-age (25 to 54) were landed immigrants, up from 21% in 2006. At the same time, the corresponding share of Canadian-born workers in the same age group fell from 78% to 72%.”
- “These changes are also reflected in the labour market, as employment growth has been essentially coming from two groups: core-aged immigrants and Canadian-born 55 and older. From 2016 to 2017, employment in the core working ages of 25 to 54 increased by 2.9% (+87,000) among landed immigrants, while it rose by 0.7% (+59,000) among the Canadian-born. Additional employment gains during 2017 came from the Canadian-born aged 55 and older (+3.8% or +103,000).
- “The largest share of the immigrant employment increase from 2016 to 2017 was accounted for by those who had been in the country for more than 10 years (established immigrants). However, over one-third (35%) of this increase was attributable to newcomers (in Canada for 5 years or less).”
- “For the first time since 2006 (when comparable data became available), the unemployed rate for core-aged newcomers fell below the double digits: 9.6% in 2017, and their employment rate (69.8%) was at the highest level since 2006.”
- “Gender differentials are particularly notable for immigrant women – irrespective of how long they have been in the country. Their employment rate is significantly lower than the rate for their Canadian-born counterparts. Similarly, their unemployment rate is also significantly higher (69.8%) was at the highest level since 2006.”
Therefore, the numbers point to an increased emphasis on newcomer labour and although there is work to be done especially as it relates to the underemployment of immigrant woman it is clear the significant role immigrant labour is playing in our economy.
Thank you for reading.