The employment rate for immigrants aged 25 to 54 is well below that of their Canadian-born counterparts, and the gap between the two has widened in recent years.
Canada cannot hope to fill future labour needs without immigration.
Immigrants arrive optimistic and eager to contribute their skills and experience to the Canadian economy. Some fill serious labour shortages. Others open doors to foreign markets. Yet many experience considerable barriers within the labour market.
Immigrants with strong general and technical language skills and an understanding and openness to Canadian workplace culture and communication tend to fare better in the labour market.
Employers must also prepare to make Canadian workplaces more inclusive and respectful of diversity. Prejudice and the failure to recognize foreign credentials and work experience leave many skilled immigrants unemployed or underemployed.
An increasing reliance on temporary foreign worker programs to fill unskilled labour shortages may be creating a subclass of workers – prone to exploitation and not always able to access protections through labour standards and other Canadian laws.