Immigrant Poverty in Canada: Focus on Toronto

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1 Immigrant Poverty in Canada: Focus on Toronto Semone Kassim and Laurel Rothman Campaign 2000 c/o Family Service Association of Toronto 355 Church St., Toronto On M5B 1Z8

2 "In the new, global knowledge economy of the 21 st century prosperity depends on innovation, which, in turn, depends on the investments that we make in the creativity and talents of our people. We must invest not only in technology and innovation but also, in the Canadian way, to create an environment of inclusion, in which all Canadians can take advantage of their talents, their skills and their ideas." The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien Prime Minister of Canada Source: Human Resources Development Canada, Canada s Innovation Strategy

3 Key Messages: Recent newcomers (arrivals during the 1990 s) have not fared as well as previous cohorts of immigrants in Canada There is an income and employment gap between visible and non-visible minority immigrants Poverty has increased for visible minority immigrants, particularly in Toronto

4 Canada s Recent Newcomers

5 Recent Immigrants Face More Barriers to Economic Success Poor economic conditions in Canada during the 1990 s may have affected long term economic performance of recently arrived immigrants Changing nature of the job market Research suggests that Canada s recent immigrants have an increased risk for discrimination in employment due to the large proportion of visible minorities Source: Human Resources Development Canada, Immigrants and the Canadian Labour Market, 2001

6 Recent Arrivals have Significantly Lower Earnings Average Earnings of Recent Immigrants 1980 s Average Earnings of Recent Immigrants 2000 Earnings Difference Male Age $ $ $ Source: Statistics Canada, Census 2001 data

7 Visible Minority and Non-Visible Minority Immigrants

8 Discrimination in Employment Visible minority immigrants experience high rates of unemployment and underemployment The education and experience obtained abroad by immigrants may be perceived as less relevant Difficulties in foreign credential recognition and adaptation to new cultural and linguistic environment particularly severe for this group Recent immigrants may face greater discriminatory hiring and promotion practices Source: Human Resources Development Canada, Applied Research Bulletin, Winter/Spring 2001, 7(1).

9 Economic Performance of Ethno- Racial Groups in Toronto, 1996 Bangladesh, Pakistani & Tamil Vietnamese European Name of Group African & Caribbean Total Population Living Below the Low Income Poverty Line (LICO) 45% 35% 47% 14% 23% Unemployment Rate 25% 23% 21% 8% 11% Source: Grace-Edward Galabuzi. Canada s Creeping Economic Apartheid. Toronto, Centre for Social Justice, 2001

10 Poverty Levels Among Immigrants has Poverty levels for visible minority immigrants Poverty level for immigrants who are not visible minorities Increased Toronto ( ) 1996) 11.6% 4.6% In a period of improved economic growth, the poverty situation of immigrants has actually worsened Visible minority immigrants in Toronto are persistently more disadvantaged than their counterparts in Canada Source: Edward B Harvey & Kathleen Reil, An Analysis of Socioeconomic Situation by Ethnocultural Groups, Period of Immigration and Gender for Canada and Toronto CMA, 1986, 1991 and 1996 Compared. University of Toronto, 2000.

11 Toronto: The Racialization of Poverty?

12 Toronto: Urban Poverty There is a concentration of neighbourhood poverty in Toronto and the income gap between rich and poor neighbourhoods had increased dramatically over the past decade In Toronto, immigrants are more likely than non- immigrants to live in neighbourhoods with high rates of poverty There is an underclass of visible minorities, many of whom are recent immigrants, concentrated in racial enclaves of poverty Source: A decade of decline: Poverty and income inequality in the City of Toronto in the 1990s. United Way of Greater Toronto and Canadian Council on Social Development,, 2002 & Ratna Omidvar & Ted Richmond, Immigrant Settlement and Social Inclusion, Laidlaw Foundation, 2003.

13 Food Bank Usage in Greater Toronto Spring 1995 Spring 2001 Spring 2002 % of households headed by immigrants % of immigrants with at least some college or university education Source: Daily Bread Food Bank and North York Harvest Food Bank survey of food recipients, 1995, 2001, 2002.

14 Canada Needs Newcomers Immigration has been an important source of growth in the labour force during the 1990s. They represented almost 70% of the total growth in the labour force over the decade Retiring babyboomers will have a significant impact on the size of the labour market, especially as relatively small cohorts of young people will be entering it Beginning in 2010, the proportion of the population in the age group 65 and over will expand rapidly, reinforced by a low birth rate and longer life expectancy Many occupations will risk shortages especially the health sector, the construction sector and the education sector Source: Statistics Canada 2001 Census Data

15 Brain Gain Eliminating the learning recognition gap in Canada would give Canadians an additional $4.1billion billion annually More than Canadians stand to gain an average of $ $ each year from improved learning recognition An improved system for recognizing the learning of immigrants would offset the brain drain Source: Michael Bloom and Michael Grant, Brain Gain: The Economic Benefits of recognizing Learning and Learning Credentials in Canada, The Conference Board of Canada, 2001.

16 Strategies Information for new and prospective immigrants about professional standards, licensing and certification requirements Develop reliable tools for assessing and recognizing academic qualifications and prior learning and work experience Appropriate language and licensing tests Partnership arrangements with government, employers, labour and communities More policies should be directed at identifying and minimizing situations that foster workplace discrimination

17 Contact Information Laurel Rothman Director of Community Building and Social Reform, Family Services Association (416) /x /x228 Semone Kassim Campaign 2000 (416)

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