Impacts on Immigrants and People Designated as Visible Minorities

Release date: October 20, 2020

Key messages:

Evidence of differential rates of COVID-19 among visible minorities in Canada – highlighting the need for more data on diverse populations

Concerns regarding differential impacts of COVID have prompted calls for the collection of race-based health data in Canada.

Currently, there is no requirement to collect race-based data in Canada related to COVID-19.

In Ontario, Census data were used to analyze the distribution of COVID cases across neighbourhoods with higher vs lower concentration of visible minorities. The findings show that the rate of…

...among individuals living in the most diverse neighbourhoods compared with the least diverse neighbourhoods. Most diverse neighbourhoods tend to be in large urban areas.

Age-adjusted rate and number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 for each quintile of ethnic concentration: Ontario, January 15, 2020 to May 14, 2020

Description - Age-adjusted rate and number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 for each quintile of ethnic concentration: Ontario, January 15, 2020 to May 14, 2020

Higher risk – Immigrants are disproportionately represented in sectors with greater exposure to COVID-19 – front-line/essential service workers, including long-term care, where the majority of deaths in Canada have occurred

Proportion of immigrants among nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates, Canada, 1906, 2006 and 2016

Description - Proportion of immigrants among nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates, Canada, 1906, 2006 and 2016
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Sex (appearing as row headers), Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates, All other occupations, 1996, 2006 and 2016, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates All other occupations
1996 2006 2016 1996 2006 2016
percent
Women 18.5 22.7 30.6 8.5 11.4 12.6
Men 3.2 3.5 5.2 10.6 9.7 11.1

Double jeopardy – Visible minorities are also more likely to work in industries worst affected by the pandemic, such as food and accommodation services – compounding health and economic risks

Unemployment rate by visible minority status, August 2020

Description - Unemployment rate by visible minority status, August 2020
  • Arab 17.9%
  • Black 17.6%
  • Southeast Asian 16.6%
  • South Asian 14.9%
  • Latin American 13.9%
  • Chinese 13.2%
  • Filipino 12.7%
  • Not a visible minority or Indigenous 9.4%

Source: Statistics Canada. Labour Force Survey, Supplement August 2020

Selected visible minority groups are more likely to earn lower wages.

Proportion of low wage employees (make less than $16.03 per hour by visible minority group, August, 2020

Description - Proportion of low wage employees (make less than $16.03 per hour by visible minority group, August, 2020

Proportion of low wage employees (make less than $16.03 per hour by visible minority group, August, 2020

  • Southeast Asian 32%
  • Black 25%
  • Arab 21%
  • Chinese 17%
  • Non visible minority or Indigenous 16%

Source: Statistics Canada. Labour Force Survey, Supplement August 2020

Double jeopardy – Impact of COVID-19 on immigrants' employment could reverse gains made in recent years to close the gap

Rates of transition from non-employment to employment among individuals aged 20 to 64, 2019-2020

Description - Rates of transition from non-employment to employment among individuals aged 20 to 64, 2019-2020
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Month/year (appearing as row headers), Canadian born, Recent immigrants and Long-term immigrants, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Month/year Canadian born Recent immigrants Long-term immigrants
percent
02/2019 7.5 9.1 8.1
03/2019 7.6 8.1 6.6
04/2019 10.0 13.2 10.4
05/2019 13.4 11.3 11.3
06/2019 9.8 9.7 6.2
07/2019 8.9 11.6 7.0
08/2019 9.7 8.9 9.4
09/2019 15.8 15.1 12.9
10/2019 7.8 8.7 7.5
11/2019 7.3 8.1 8.4
12/2019 7.5 9.5 6.7
01/2020 7.2 8.6 7.2
02/2020 8.0 8.2 7.5
03/2020 8.0 9.3 6.9
04/2020 10.3 10.7 9.9
05/2020 20.3 15.3 16.9
06/2020 22.4 19.7 20.5
07/2020 14.5 13.7 14.7
Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey.

Employment rate for immigrants and Canadian born aged 25 to 54, 2006-2019

Description - Employment rate for immigrants and Canadian born aged 25 to 54, 2006-2019
This table displays the results of Employment rate for core-aged 25-54) immigrants and Canadian-born. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Landed immigrants, Immigrants, landed 5 or less years earlier, Immigrants, landed 5 to 10 years earlier, Immigrants, landed more than 10 years earlier and Born in Canada, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Landed immigrants Immigrants, landed 5 or less years earlier Immigrants, landed more than 5 to 10 years earlier Immigrants, landed more than 10 years earlier Born in Canada
percent
2006 77.7 65.2 75.6 82 83.1
2007 77.9 65.1 76.2 82.2 83.8
2008 77.5 66.7 74.8 81.7 84.1
2009 75 63.6 72.5 79.3 82.1
2010 75.2 63.6 73.7 79.4 82.4
2011 75.7 63.6 74.5 79.8 82.9
2012 76.8 66.9 75 80.4 83.2
2013 77.2 67.4 75.7 80.6 83.3
2014 76.5 66.1 75.5 79.9 83.1
2015 77.1 66 75.6 80.9 83.3
2016 77.6 68.2 76.1 80.7 83.2
2017 78.9 69.8 77.2 82 84
2018 79.5 71.3 79.5 82.1 84.5
2019 80.1 70.4 80.6 83.1 85.2
Source: Statistics Canada Table 14-10-0085-01 derived from Labour Force Survey.

Double jeopardy – Visible minorities, already economically vulnerable, face greater financial impacts

Prior to COVID, most visible minority groups were more likely to live in poverty than the White population.

Among participants to a crowdsource survey who were employed prior to the shutdown, visible minority groups were more likely to report…

Observed and adjusted poverty rates among individuals aged 15 and over, 2015

Description - Observed and adjusted poverty rates among individuals aged 15 and over, 2015
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1 Observed and Adjusted, calculated using percent living in proverty units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Observed Adjusted
percent living in proverty
South Asian 14.3 13.1
Chinese 19.5 14.3
Black 19.9 17.5
Filipino 8.5 6.0
Latin American 17.1 13.1
Arab 28.1 24.8
Southeast Asian 16.0 14.1
West Asian 31.7 25.0
Korean 26.9 20.2
Japanese 10.6 8.1
Other visible minorities 15.4 13.8
White 9.6 10.5
Note: The poverty rate is based on the Market Basket Measure. Temporary residents are excluded from the calculation. The adjusted rates take into account group differences in immigration status, official language, education, age, sex, family size, employment status, province of residence and city size.
Source:Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

Self-reported employment and financial impacts of COVID and use of federal income support among crowdsourcing participants by population groups, Canada, May-June 2020

Description - Self-reported employment and financial impacts of COVID and use of federal income support among crowdsourcing participants by population groups, Canada, May-June 2020
Self-reported employment and financial impact of COVID-19 and use of federal income support among crowdsourcing participants by visible minority groups, 2020
  Experienced job loss or reduced hours among individuals employed before COVID-19 Reporting strong or moderate impact of COVID-19 on ability to meet financial obligations or essential needs Applied and received federal income support among individuals reporting strong or moderate impact of COVID-19
percent
South Asian 36.7 38.5 50.8
Chinese 31.2 26.8 49.5
Black 37.9 38.5 54.5
Filipino 42.2 42.9 64.5
Latin American 34.0 31.7 63.5
Arab 32.7 44.0 52.6
Southeast Asian 40.2 40.3 54.7
West Asian 46.5 42.0 61.1
Korean 40.1 36.1 67.7
Japanese 34.5 25.3 50.7
Other visible minorities 36.6 33.1 55.3
White 34.1 23.2 45.7
Source: Statistics Canada, Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians - Trust in Others: Data Collection Series (5323).

Double jeopardy – Impacts of COVID-19 likely contributing to lower mental health levels among immigrants

Prior to COVID, immigrants generally reported similar levels of positive mental health compared with Canadian born (69% vs 66%)

Since COVID, positive mental health declined for both immigrants and Canadian-born, but positive mental health appears to be higher among immigrants (60% vs 53%)

Recent immigrants responding to a crowdsource survey were more likely to report symptoms consistent with moderate to severe generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) more often (30%) than established immigrant (21%) or Canadian-born participants (26%)

Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health pre and post COVID by immigration status, Canada, 2019, March and July 2020

Description - Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health pre and post COVID by immigration status, Canada, 2019, March and July2020
Proportion of Canadians reporting excellent or very good mental health pre and post COVID by immigration status, Canada, 2019, March and July2020
2019 Mar-20 Jul-20
Immigrant / non-permanent resident 69 59 60
Canada born 66 52 53
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Community Health Survey, 2019; Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 1; Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 4

Level of anxiety (GAD-7) of participants by immigrant status and period of immigration

Description - Level of anxiety (GAD-7) of participants by immigrant status and period of immigration
Data table for Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 3 No Symptoms, Minimal symptoms, Mild symptoms, Moderate symptoms and Severe symptoms, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  No symptoms Minimal symptoms Mild symptoms Moderate symptoms Severe symptoms
percent
Recent Immigrants (0 to 5 years since admission (YSA)) 9 28 33 17 14
Established immigrants (6+ YSA) 16 33 29 12 9
Canadian-born 12 31 30 15 11

Triple jeopardy – immigrants and visible minorities more likely to report facing harassment, attacks, and stigma – adding to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 for some

Prior to the pandemic, 44% of hate crimes were motivated by hatred of a race or ethnicity (2018)

Since COVID, visible minority participants of a crowdsource survey were three times more likely to report a perceived increase in the frequency of harassment or attacks based on race, ethnicity or skin colour compared with the rest of respondents (18% and 6%).

Percent who feel unsafe

Description - Percent who feel unsafe
  • Korean 43%
  • Filipino 38%
  • Chinese 31%
  • South Asian 26%
  • West Asian 26%
  • Black 25%
  • Not a visible minority 15%

Source: Statistics Canada, Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians - Perceptions of Safety, of Industry, May 2020

27% of visible minority participants reported feeling very or somewhat unsafe when walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark, compared with 15% of participants who were not designated as visible minorities.

Among visible minority participants, more than 1 in 3 women felt unsafe when walking alone after dark, compared with 1 in 5 men.

Immigrants were almost twice as likely as the Canadian-born to report that they were afraid of being the target of unwanted behaviours (29% vs 17%) – among these individuals, immigrants were significantly more likely to report that they feared being stigmatized because of their racial identity (42% vs 9%).

Perceived increase in harassment or attacks on the basis of race, ethnicity, or skin colour in neighbourhood since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, by visible minority, group, Canada, 2020

Description - Perceived increase in harassment or attacks on the basis of race, ethnicity, or skin colour in neighbourhood since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, by visible minority, group, Canada, 2020
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2. The information is grouped by Visible minority group (appearing as row headers), Percent (appearing as column headers).
Visible minority group Percent
Chinese 30.4
Korean 27.0
Southeast Asian 19.3
Filipino 15.5
Japanese 15.3
West Asian 12.8
Arab 12.5
Black 12.0
South Asian 11.5
Latin American 7.5
Multiple visible minorities 21.9
Visible minority n.i.e 6.5
Not a visible minority 5.9
n.i.e. not indicated elsewhere
Source:Statistics Canada, Crowdsourcing on perceptions of safety, May 12-25, 2020.

Managing the pandemic moving forward – Immigrants are more concerned with their health and social consequences of the pandemic and more likely to take precautions, but less likely to get a vaccine

Immigrants were generally more concerned than Canadian-born individuals about the health risks of resuming activities.

Immigrants are more likely than Canadian-born individuals to continue taking precautions as COVID-19 safety measures are relaxed…

Despite these trends, immigrants were less likely than those born in Canada to report that they would use a vaccine (52% vs 59%).

Proportion of immigrants and Canadian-born individuals aged 15 and older who reported that they were "very" or "extremely" concerned about selected social issues

Description - Proportion of immigrants and Canadian-born individuals aged 15 and older who reported that they were "very" or "extremely" concerned about selected social issues
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1 Immigrants and Canadian-born people, calculated using proportion units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Immigrants Canadian-born individuals
proportion
Violence in the home 11.6Footnote 1 7.0
Family stress from confinement 38.2Footnote 1 30.1
Ability to cooperate and support one another after the crisis 50.7Footnote 1 35.3
Ability to cooperate and support one another during the crisis 56.7Footnote 1 36.6
Maintaining social ties 43.7Footnote 1 30.1
Civil disorder 52.9Footnote 1 37.0
Overloading the health system 86.2 83.1
World population's health 71.9 68.2
Canadian population's health 73.9 68.1
Vulnerable people's health 77.2 80.1
Member of the household's health 68.5Footnote 1 49.9
My own health 48.6Footnote 1 32.5
Footnote 1

Significantly different from Canadian-born individuals (p<0.05)

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Source: Canadian Perspectives Survey Series, March and April 2020.

Looking forward

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