| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Feed

Innovation & Job News

New study examines long-term fate of immigrant workers

Though Toronto prides itself on being a welcoming place for immigrants--half of us come from elsewhere, after all--a new study shows that the long-term employment prospects for immigrants are often bleaker than for those born here.

The study, An Immigrant All Over Again? Recession, Plant Closures and (Older) Racialized Immigrant Workers, comes out of the Centre for Labour Management Relations at Ryerson University, and examined what happened when more than 2,000 Toronto-area workers--a large majority of whom were racialized immigrants--suddenly lost their jobs when auto-parts manufacturer Progressive Moulded Products shut down a local factory in 2008.

Researchers tracked the employees in the years that followed, following their experiences in the labour market, with retraining programs, in temp agencies, and elsewhere. They note, especially, that since those workers had been coming out of a long-term stable employment situation, they "might have been considered successfully 'settled' and 'integrated'."

Unfortunately, the report goes on, "participants' struggles to find the appropriate training and stable re-employment in the years after the [plant's] closure suggest that, for many immigrant workers, their immigrant status never disappears."

Among the study's key findings:

  • Only one third of the workers studied have found secure full-time employment since the plant shut down.
  • Men have had an easier time finding re-employment of any kind.
  • While half the study's participants completed career retraining, only one quarter of that group found work in their new field.
  • While 42 per cent of the study's participants found new work via temp agencies, many found those agencies to be "exploitative and discriminatory."
  • Almost 70 per cent of workers surveyed "believe discrimination has been a barrier…in getting work."
The study has put together a series of detailed recommendations emerging out of its research, ranging from increased regulation of temp agencies to the suggestion that settlement services "should not be restricted solely for newcomers… Services should be extended to all users based on needs instead of being determined by the length of their stay in Canada."

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts