Immigrants have built the unique fabric of our country and the Toronto Region specifically.
Yet, in recent decades, immigrants too often find they are unable to apply their significant education and professional experience towards meaningful employment in our region. Instead, they face the same persistent challenges – including lack of Canadian experience, professional networks and communications skills – with the result that they cannot find employment in their professional field at the level that matches their skills and qualifications. As a result, many skilled immigrants take survival jobs and give up on their professions.
Started as an idea to address this issue and help bridge employers and skilled immigrate talent, since 2003 TRIEC has been partnering with employers, community partners, government, colleges and universities to find solutions and connect the talent to opportunities.
Why focus on immigrant employment?
TRIEC believes when immigrants prosper, we all do. This belief is backed up by research and statistics.
Immigrants face higher unemployment than Canadian born:
- In the Toronto Region, the unemployment rate for working-age recent immigrants is 10.92% compared to 5.56% for Canadian born. (Statistics Canada Labour Force Surveys, 2006-2011)
- Among those employed in 2006, 62% of the Canadian-born were working in the regulated profession for which they trained compared to only 24% of foreign-educated immigrants. (Statistics Canada, 2010)
This costs us:
- The unemployment/underemployment of immigrants in Canada costs more than $30-billion a year – about 2 per cent of the GDP – in lost income for immigrants. (RBC Economics, December 2011).
Meanwhile, the Toronto Region is growing and labour market growth depends on skilled immigrants, as baby boomers retire and the birth rate declines:
- By 2031, one in three workers across the country will be born outside of Canada. (Statistics Canada, 2011)
- Already, immigrants make up over 50% of Toronto’s population. (Statistics Canada 2006 Census)
- Over the next five years, Toronto Region is projected to create 271,721 new jobs on a place-of-work basis. At the same time, 248,160 workers are likely to retire from their current jobs. Taken together, the Toronto Region will need to fill 519,881 positions with new workers over this five years span to meet demands created by economic growth and when workers retire. (Source: Closing the Prosperity Gap, Toronto Region Board of Trade and United Way Toronto, 2014.)
What is more, skilled immigrants bring valuable skills and experience to our region and contribute extensively to the innovation and entrepreneurialism of our region. The result is that the meaningful integration of skilled immigrants into the labour market is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do.
What barriers do immigrants face finding meaningful employment?
Despite high skills and education levels, immigrants can face barriers entering the Toronto Region labour market including:
What skills do immigrants bring?
Skilled immigrants bring valuable skills and experience to our region:
- Over 51% of recent immigrants have a university degree compared to 20% of Canadian-born.
- Although 23% of Canadians aged between 25 and 64 were born outside Canada, they accounted for nearly one-half (49%) of the doctorate holders in Canada and for 40% of adults with a master’s degree. (2006 Census: Educational Portrait of Canada, 2006” Statistics Canada)
Why hire skilled immigrants?
Skilled immigrants have a lot to offer employers. They complement the skills of the domestic labour force, bring new investments and innovative practices, help to open trade routes with their countries of origin and enhance cultural diversity. (TD Economics, 2012 –
Many employers now see the benefits of hiring skilled immigrants. In a 2011 survey, Almost 1 in 5 employers in the Greater Toronto Area has hired a skilled immigrant (TRIEC engaged EKOS to survey 461 employers in the Greater Toronto Area using EKOS’ Probit© online panel) to:
- target local cultural communities to find new business opportunities – of these 83% felt it was effective.
- help diversify their company’s client base globally – of these 93% felt it was effective.
Learn more about how TRIEC can help you benefit from building a diverse and inclusive workplace.
How does TRIEC help?
TRIEC’s programs and initiatives support immigrants, employers and other stakeholders build inclusive workplaces and integrate skilled immigrants into the workplace. See how: Employer Success Stories; Immigrants Success Stories; Partners Success Stories.
What can you do?
- Volunteer to become a mentor
- Share with your colleagues and manager. Be a change advocate for a more diverse and inclusive workplace
- Connect with our Manager of Employer Relation to make your workplace more diverse and inclusive
- Spread the word: sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn