Research and insights

Benefits of immigration

Replacements for an aging workforce

Canada’s population is aging. Population growth is expected to decline to zero and turn negative in less than 20 years.

Highly educated labour force

Over half of recent immigrants have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Almost 17% of them hold a master’s or doctorate degree.

Higher economic growth

Over 5% of all immigrants start their own businesses, which create more jobs and attract trade ties to Canada.


Immigration rates in Canada are linked to greater foreign direct investment (FDI), which in turn increases innovation.

Benefits of an inclusive workforce

Highly skilled talent pool

Immigration contributes to a more dynamic and skilled workforce.

65% of employers rely on diversity and inclusion initiatives to attract & retain talent from this pool.

Competitive edge

Immigrants drive economic growth and innovation.

Companies with diverse workforces at all levels are 33% more likely to lead in their industry in terms of profit.

On-trend business practices

Newcomers help advance diversity and inclusion in the workforce and in the workplace.

This resonates with the inclusion agenda of employers. 90% expect to invest more in diversity and inclusion practices over the next five years.

Tapping the full potential?

 Over 29% of people in Ontario and 47% of the population of the Greater Toronto Area are immigrants, yet they face:

 Higher unemployment

 The unemployment rate in the Greater Toronto Area in 2017 was


for recent immigrants

 compared to


for people born in Canada

 Precarious employment

 Immigrants are more likely to be in precarious employment, which leads to


lower earnings


lower household income

 compared to secure and stable jobs.
 Wage and income gaps
 Recent immigrants in Ontario earn


 less than people born in Canada
 Lower income for same education

 In Ontario, with a bachelor’s degree from Canada in Science, Technology,                                Engineering and Mathematics

 Immigrants earn around

less than

 people born in Canada with the same qualifications

Other key trends across Canada

Women are worse off.

Recent female immigrants are disproportionately affected, with an unemployment rate of 13.2% in 2017, compared to 8% for recent male immigrants.

Employers are missing out.

Only 11% of employers say they are taking full advantage of a diverse workforce, thinking how inclusion could help them to ‘innovate.’

Skilled labour is scarce.

39% of Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises are already having difficulty finding new employees.


  1. Conference Board of Canada, 2018. Canada 2040: No Immigration vs. More Immigration
  2. Statistics Canada,
  3. Green, D. et al., 2016. Immigration, Business Ownership and Employment in Canada, Statistics Canada Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series.
  4. Conference Board of Canada, 2010. Immigrants as Innovators: Boosting Canada’s Global Competitiveness
  5. 6 Degrees & RBC, 2017. All of Us: What We Mean When We Talk About Inclusion.
  6. McKinsey, 2018. Delivering through Diversity
  7. 6 Degrees & RBC, 2017. All of Us: What We Mean When We Talk About Inclusion.
  8. 2016 Census
  9. Statistics Canada. Table  14-10-0083-01   Labour force characteristics by immigrant status, annual
  10. PEPSO, McMaster University Social Sciences, United Way Greater Toronto, 2013. It’s More than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Well-being.
  11. Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-400-X2016254.
  12. Institute for Competitiveness and Productivity, 2017. Immigration in Ontario: Achieving best outcomes for newcomers and the economy.
  13. Statistics Canada. Table 14-10-0087-01 Labour force characteristics of immigrants by educational attainment, annual
  14. 6 Degrees & RBC, 2017. Diversity and Inclusion: We’re not doing enough.
  15. Business Development Bank of Canada, 2018. Labour Shortage: Here to Stay – Worker Scarcity in Canada and What Businesses Can Do to Respond.