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With the new data on immigrants from the Labour Force Survey, we are able to see a snapshot of the labour market experiences of immigrants in 2006. For the most part, immigrants who landed in Canada prior to 1996 have similar labour market outcomes to the Canadian born. Notable exceptions among this group include: higher 2006 unemployment rates among core working-age immigrants in Quebec, immigrant women and those with post-secondary degrees; and lower 2006 unemployment rates for core working-age immigrants in Atlantic Canada and those with less than high school education.

Very recent and recent immigrants to Canada (those who landed after 1996) however, have had even more difficulties in the labour market compared with both established immigrants and the Canadian born. In 2006, the labour market disparities between more recent immigrants and the Canadian born were evident across many socio-demographic characteristics, such as province/region, CMAs, sex, level of education and age groups. Some Canadian studies have cited educational recognition, language barriers, family obligations and immigrant class among other reasons as to why many of these immigrants appear to be having such difficulties in the labour market.

While this report provides a rich overview of how well immigrants were doing in the labour market in 2006, especially with respect to the headline employment and unemployment rates, it raises some important issues that warrant more research. For example, does country or region of birth, or country or region of education shed any more light on the successes or difficulties of immigrants in the Canadian labour market? As well, while immigrants may have obtained employment, it is important to assess the quality of these jobs. For instance, are immigrants in jobs that make use their skills? How do the wages of immigrants compare to Canadian born working in similar occupations or industries? Are immigrants able to find employment that provides them with as many hours as they would like to work?

With additional studies to be released this year using data from the Labour Force Survey, Statistics Canada hopes to address a number of these issues that affect immigrants in the labour market.