This month, the Federal Government will update its new immigration targets for 2022-2024, following a bumper year for immigration. Last year, Canada admitted 401,000 permanent residents, a historic high. The momentum is likely to continue, but policymakers must wrestle with new economic and social trends in the wake of the pandemic. How does Canada, in a profoundly transformed world, integrate the growing ranks of newcomers into its labour market?

To help foster dialogue, TRIEC is launching a report this week on immigrant labour market integration in Canada. The study, based primarily on a literature review, examines how workforce trends effect immigrant talent in the midst of social and economic changes. As Canadian policymakers chart a course for the post-pandemic recovery, asking the right questions will help identify challenges—and opportunities—that lie ahead.

What does the gig economy mean for immigrant professionals? How could technological advances strengthen, or impede, newcomers’ job integration? Will the emphasis on job retraining prompt immigrants to recalibrate how they upskill? At TRIEC, understanding how immigrant professionals fare in the job market defines what we do, a mission steeped in Canada’s devotion to diversity and inclusion. The country’s future prosperity, we believe, hinges on the success of newcomers.

“A wealth of research has already shed light on the changing labour market,” said Sugi Vasavithasan, Research and Evaluation Manager at TRIEC. “But not all workers will experience change in the same way. Despite their impressive credentials, many newcomers to Canada face persistent barriers to enter and advance in the workforce. Given their role in building the economy, it’s important to understand how a rapidly evolving labour market landscape will affect them.”

In uprooting old lives, immigrants see potential for a brighter future. Receiving countries reap hefty benefits as well. Immigrants bring skills needed in the labour market, start new businesses, and strengthen diversity. Already in Toronto, immigrants make up half the workforce. Across Canada, net labour force growth will come from newcomers in the coming decades, a testament to the important role immigrants play in the economy.

“Newcomers and refugees have long been the motor of Canada’s society and economy,” Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said in January, as he announced a $35 million initiative to expand settlement services targeting newcomers. “Our country has a proud tradition of being an international leader in resettlement and integration.”

TRIEC will release the report on February 3.