Despite Wage Growth for Immigrants and New Canadians, Inequality Persists
According to an article from CBC News, recent immigrants to Canada are experiencing higher wages than ever before. Based Statistics Canada findings, the median income for immigrants a year after arriving in Canada is the highest since 1981. However, successful immigration and permanent residency are no guarantee of income equality.
While more immigrants are earning more than historical trends and records, a wage gap persists between these new Canadians and citizens born in the country.
Pinpointing the Cause for Increased Earnings
The Canadian Experience Class, a central component of the former Conservative government’s economic immigration reforms, is partly responsible for these higher earnings. This class targets immigrants with Canadian work experience, putting them on a fast-track for permanent residency. Economic Class immigrants (including the Canadian Experience), those coming to Canada expressly for work, often start earning higher wages upon arrival when compared with non-economic immigrant classes. However, while wages have risen across the board for many newcomers, a gap still exists between immigrants and Canadian-born workers.
Wage Gap Persists Provincially
This wage gap varies by province and by immigrants’ countries of origin. The highest wage gap is in Alberta, while the lowest is in Nova Scotia. Newcomers from Africa and the Middle East earn the lowest wages compared to immigrants from America, Asia, and Europe.
This wage-gap inequality for immigrants in Canada is due to several factors and shows that Canada still has a way to go towards equal treatment for all. The CBC News article discusses leading factors for income inequality amongst immigrants in Canada, including:
- Lack of language skills, and,
- Lack of foreign qualification and skills recognition.
Examining Employment and the Wage Gap
Many newcomers to Canada who earn low wages are underemployed or unemployed. Underemployment stems from a lack of recognition of foreign skills, experience, and education.
Although many immigrants held established careers with valid post-secondary education in their country of origin, it goes unrecognized next to Canadian credentials. As a result, their current jobs in Canada often don’t match their level of skills, experience, and education. Unemployed newcomers can’t find work and are must rely on social assistance because of discrimination and a lack of proficiency in both official languages.
Although immigrants are earning more than they have been at any point in the last thirty years, there is still a dire need for improvements in Canada. This wage gap between immigrants and Canadian-born workers must be reduced. Doing so will require a close examination of inequality in various aspects of Canadian society and the treatment of immigrants. As long as discrimination persists in Canada, newcomers won’t have fair access to the jobs they’re qualified for or earn a wage consist with their skills.