March 2024

Spotlight on data and research

Housing, wealth and debt: How are young Canadians adapting to current financial and housing pressures?

Housing has long been a critical source of wealth creation and financial security for Canadian families. This article examines the economic well-being of younger households as they adjust to housing market conditions and begin to build financial resilience.

Mortgage balances grew by nearly $73 billion in the third quarter of 2023. However, households where the primary earner is under 35 years old reduced their mortgage balances. This suggests that young households may be choosing not to enter the housing market, paying off existing debt, or downgrading to more affordable accommodations.

While their mortgage balances and debt to income ratios have fallen, debt servicing costs have increased markedly. Younger households have experienced some of the largest increases in their debt service ratios over the past year, rising 2.4%, as they tend to have larger mortgage balances than older households, and the costs of servicing mortgage debt has risen due to higher interest rates.

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Foreign workers in Canada: Labour force attachment among temporary residents with paid employment in 2019

Temporary foreign workers have become an important source of labour supply in Canada, yet many could only work part time due to program restrictions. Not accounting for this could lead to overestimating their impact on the labour force and their contribution to the Canadian economy. This article estimates that 10% of Temporary Foreign Worker Program participants, had a “weak attachment” to the labor force in 2019, based on annual earnings of $7,500. This figure rises to 22% among International Mobility Program workers and exceeds 50% for individuals on study permits who were employed.

Women and younger workers were more likely to have a weak labor force attachment compared with men and older workers. Furthermore, temporary residents in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia exhibited a higher rate of weak labor force attachment than those in other provinces.

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Immigration and the shifting occupational distribution in Canada, 2001 to 2021

Employment has gradually shifted in Canada over recent decades, with a higher share of the workforce in managerial, professional and technical occupations, compared with lower-skilled occupations. This study shows how immigration has contributed to this shift.

Between 2001 and 2021, most employment growth in Canada occurred in professional and technical skill occupations. Canadian-born workers accounted for about half of this employment expansion. Immigrant workers accounted for 43% of the increase in professional occupations and 37% in technical occupations. Temporary foreign workers (TFWs) accounted for 8% and 11% of the growth.

Throughout this 20-year period, employment in lower-skilled positions decreased by 860,000 among Canadian-born workers, while it rose by 213,000 for immigrant workers and by 139,000 for TFWs. This suggests that immigrant workers and TFWs have backfilled Canadian-born workers transitioning away from lower-skilled occupations.

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Temporary foreign workers in primary agriculture in Canada: Transition from temporary residency to permanent residency and industry retention after transition

From 2005 to 2020, the number of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in primary agriculture, including crop production, animal production and aquaculture, and support activities for crop and animal production, tripled. This article found the rate of transition to permanent residency (PR) was low among TFWs who first entered primary agriculture between 2005 to 2020.

Five years after entry, slightly more than 10% had obtained PR. The rate of retention in primary agriculture after PR transition was low as well. Five years after PR, around one-fifth were still employed in the primary agriculture and more than 60% moved to different industrial sectors.

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Research articles

Economic outcomes of government-assisted refugees in designated destinations: The effect of city size

Government assisted refugees (GARs) who are assigned to smaller communities are more likely to move compared to those assigned to large cities. However, this study found that those who stayed in medium-sized and small communities had stronger labour market outcomes than those who stayed in Toronto.

GARs who settled in the Toronto and Montréal metropolitan areas experienced lower employment rates and annual earnings compared with those who remained in medium-sized and small cities. Among GARs aged 20 to 54 who arrived in Canada from 2000 to 2019, the employment rate five years after arrival was 49% in Toronto and 56% in Montréal. This contrasts with 72% in small urban communities and 63% in medium-sized metropolitan areas.

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The Provincial Nominee Program: Provincial differences

In recent years, more economic immigrants entered Canada via the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) than through any other immigration program. Each province or territory is responsible for the design and management of its PNP. As the PNP evolved, the characteristics of provincial nominees changed substantially. The share of new provincial nominees with pre-landing Canadian work experience increased significantly in most provinces. However, by 2019, there were significant differences between provinces, with most new provincial nominees in Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador having previously been temporary foreign workers, compared with relatively few of those in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or Saskatchewan.

There was also a rise in the share of new provincial nominees who were former international students in some provinces, notably Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. Provincial nominees with pre-landing Canadian work or study experience tend to have better economic outcomes than other immigrants without such a background.

Significant provincial variation in the types of intended occupations of new provincial nominees was also evident. In 2019, skilled and technical provincial nominees dominated in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Alberta, while British Columbia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had larger shares of professionals, though less than a majority. In Manitoba, lower-skilled provincial nominees outnumbered either professionals or skilled and technical nominees.

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