July 2021

Spotlight on data and research

Self-reported loneliness among recent immigrants, long-term immigrants, and Canadian-born individuals

Many newcomers to Canada experience disruption to their social networks during migration and encounter barriers establishing new relationships and connections, leaving them vulnerable to loneliness. Loneliness is associated with both mental health consequences such as anxiety and depression, and physical health consequences such as cardiovascular disease and increased mortality. This article uses the 2018 General Social Survey to compare self-reported loneliness between immigrants and the Canadian-born population. The results show that both recent and long-term immigrants reported higher levels of loneliness than the Canadian-born. Moreover, loneliness did not appear to be alleviated by the length of stay in Canada.

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Starting a business in a pandemic: The experiences of businesses created during COVID-19

Despite the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 112,764 new businesses (entrants) created in 2020. However, this was 5.4% fewer entrants than in 2019. Furthermore, the bulk of business creation in 2020 was concentrated in the latter half of the year.

From June to December 2020 there were 2.8% more entrants than over the same period in 2019. The increase in entrants ranged from 0.7% in Alberta to 7.1% in British Columbia. In contrast, the number of entrants decreased by 10.7% in Saskatchewan, 3.1% in the territories and 0.2% in New Brunswick.

The employment associated with entrants in 2020 was 20.7% lower than in 2019, and this finding of lower employment is present across industries as well as provinces and territories. This provides evidence that the businesses created in 2020 were smaller on average than businesses created prior to 2020. 

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The oil and gas sector in Canada: A year after the start of the pandemic

The oil and gas sector in Canada was hit hard in 2020, first by the oil price crisis in March and April, and then by a sharp decline in demand caused by pandemic travel restrictions. However, by April 2021, it had almost fully recovered, with the sector’s gross domestic product, employment and exports reaching 95.4%, 95.7% and 102.5% of their corresponding levels from January 2020, respectively.

This article provides an update on the performance of Canada’s oil and gas extraction industry. Despite the recent recovery, capital expenditures in the industry have been declining since 2014, and this deteriorating investment situation worsened in 2020, dropping by 36% compared to 9% in industries overall.

In addition to declining capital investment, the sector had faced many headwinds that impeded its expansion and development, such as the cancellation of Keystone XL, carbon pricing, and regulations designed to accelerate the transition to green energy. However, the recent surge in the price of oil may attract more investment into the sector, and capital spending in supporting activities for mining and oil and gas extraction is expected to grow by more than 33% in 2021 after a 20% decline in 2020—a good barometer for future investment in oil sands extraction.

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International students as a source of labour supply: The growing number of international students and their changing sociodemographic characteristics

International students are an important future source of skilled labour in Canada, as they may be eligible for permanent residency through immigration programs after graduation. This study examines the changing sociodemographic characteristics of international students.

Over the 2000 to 2019 period, the annual number of first-time study permit holders increased from 70,000 to 250,000. Seven countries—South Korea, China, Japan, the United States, France, Mexico and India—remained among the top 10 source countries over the entire period. The United Kingdom, Taiwan and Germany made up the rest of the top 10 sources for the 2000-to-2004 period, replaced by Brazil, Nigeria and Vietnam for the 2015-to-2019 period.

The increase in concentration of source countries occurred both at the college and university levels. At the college level, the share of international students from India grew from 4% in the 2000-to-2004 period to 67% in the 2015-to-2019 period. At the university level, India replaced China in the 2015-to-2019 period as the number one source country.

In terms of province of study, Ontario attracted the largest share (37%) of international students in the early 2000s, and this share has grown to 49% in the 2015-to-2019 period, predominantly occurring at the college level. As the province attracting the second-largest number of international students, British Columbia saw its share fall from 31% in the 2001-to-2004 period to 23% in the 2015-to-2019 period.

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