Between myths and realities what is immigrants’ reality?

Immigrants in the labor market by province

Did you know?
Employment rates are the highest in the Prairies In 2011, more than half of employment growth among immigrants in Canada was due to immigrants living in the Prairies and British Columbia. While these immigrants account for 31 per cent of Canada’s immigrant workforce, they account for 53 per cent of employment growth among immigrants between 2010 and 2011.



With a relatively stable labor market during the downturn, immigrant employment in Saskatchewan has grown at a sustained pace.

Among very recent immigrants, it doubled between 2008 and 2011, bringing their employment rate to 77.0 per cent, the second highest rate after that of their Manitoba counterparts.



Another province with a smaller gap between immigrants and Canadian-born, the immigrant unemployment rate was the lowest among immigrants in all provinces.

Established immigrants had a higher employment rate than the Canadian-born (85.6 per cent vs. 84.4 per cent), and both had similar unemployment rates of 4.1 per cent and 4.3 per cent, respectively.

The decline in gas and oil prices that have caused an economic downturn in Alberta will surely change these statistics.




A province where immigrants continued to have the highest employment rate (82.5 per cent) among immigrants in all provinces and their unemployment rate was the second lowest (6.0 per cent).

For Canadian-born people living in this province, the figures were 85.1 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively, making Manitoba one of the provinces where the labour market gap between immigrants and Canadian-born workers the lowest.

As in Alberta, established immigrants from Manitoba also had a higher employment rate than their Canadian-born counterparts.


British Columbia

Immigrants experienced a slight increase in employment, and their unemployment rate decreased from 8.8 per cent in 2010 to 7.4 per cent in 2011, thus narrowing the gap between them and Canadian-born workers.

Established immigrants, in particular, experienced a significant increase in employment and an equally significant drop in their unemployment rate to 5.8 per cent.

At the same time, the employment rate of immigrants in this province increased slightly to 75.4 per cent, and there was little change in the gap between immigrants and Canadian-born individuals.



Ontario has been hit hard by the economic downturn, well over half the employment losses (55 per cent) among the 25-to-54 year-olds occurred in the province.

Ontario is home to 40 per cent of the nation’s manufacturing and construction labor force.

In 2009, there was a sharper increase in the unemployment rate, widening the gap between immigrants and Canadian-born individuals.

Statistics Canada reports that for Ontario immigrants of core working-age, the employment rate (75.4 per cent) was essentially unchanged in 2011 from 2010, while the unemployment rate fell from 9.9 per cent to 8.7 cent, following a decline in the number of unemployed. The corresponding figures for their Canadian-born counterparts were 83.3 per cent and 5.4 per cent, respectively.

Since there was little change in employment relative to 2010 for both immigrants and Canadian-born, the differences between the two groups remained virtually unchanged.



Immigrants in Quebec saw little change in their labour market outcomes in 2011, the gaps between them and the Canadian-born persisted and remained wider compared to other provinces.

In 2011, the employment rate for Quebec immigrants, which stood at 70.3 per cent, was lower than that of immigrants from any other province.

Similarly, their unemployment rate, which reached 11.9 per cent – the highest of all provinces – was twice that of Canadian-born Quebeckers (5.6 per cent).


Atlantic Canada

The employment rate of immigrants is lower than that of the Canadian-born – 77.4 per cent, compared with 78.2 per cent, respectively.

Working age immigrants in these provinces make up 4 per cent of the total population, the lowest share in the country.

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  • without dates the data on this page are hard to put into context; when quoting figures such as employment numbers dates are crtitcal