While the potential for economic benefits should not be the motivator for Canada’s commitment to refugee resettlement, it is important to recognize that refugees are sources of talent and opportunity.
Most refugees come to Canada with few financial resources, and often have to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. Despite these challenges, the results show that refugees embrace the opportunities provided to build a better life and become important contributors to Canada’s economy.
Canada has welcomed more than a million refugees since 1980, and in that time, they have brought many positive economic benefits. According to the UNHCR report on Refugees in Canada, 23% of refugees earn a middle-class income, which is similar to the percentage of Canadians and total immigrants. Over 50% of refugees work in high-skilled jobs, and about 20% work in jobs that require a University degree, such as doctors, engineers, and architects.
14% of Refugees have become entrepreneurs, creating jobs for themselves and other Canadians. Refugees are not only thriving, but have skills and talent that benefit Canada as a whole, and are crucial in building Canada’s economy.
Organizations that have hired refugees have also seen a positive impact on their businesses. According to the Refugees as Employees report by the Tent Partnership for Refugees, refugees are more loyal to the organization resulting in lower employee turnover, which saves recruitment costs. Their international experience also brings new perspectives and ideas to the table, and their resilience makes them great employees.
While it is important that we make refugees feel welcomed and secure in their new home, the benefits that our economy and businesses receive are significant. At TRIEC, we are currently partnering with World Education Services on their #WelcomingEconomy for Refugees campaign. We have also been involved in supporting employers in the GTA create more inclusive workplaces while partnering with service provider and other organizations supporting immigrant professionals, including refugees in their job search.
There are many ways for you to get involved in supporting refugees, either as an individual or as an organization. Please visit the #WelcomingEconomy website for more information and resources to connect with and hire refugee talent. Together, we can certainly create a much better and sustainable career pathway for the refugees and ultimately, a stronger Canadian economy.