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New results from the Labour Force Survey show immigrants had a vast array of labour market experiences, often influenced by their time since landing, where they settled, their gender, their age and also their educational attainment.

In 2006, immigrants who had been in the country for more than 10 years (established immigrants) had labour market outcomes that most closely resembled those of the Canadian born. However, immigrants who had landed since 2001 (or very recent immigrants, those who landed in Canada 5 or less years prior to 2006) had the most difficulty in the labour market in 2006, followed by those who landed between 1996 and 2001 (or recent immigrants, those who landed in Canada between 5 and 10 years prior to 2006).

Immigrants living in Alberta and Manitoba benefited from strong provincial labour markets in 2006 and had some of the best labour market outcomes of all immigrants in the country. For example, recent immigrants in Manitoba had higher employment rates than the Canadian-born in other provinces. As well, very recent immigrants in Alberta had the lowest unemployment rates among their counterparts in the other provinces. Immigrants in Quebec, however, no matter when they landed, experienced higher unemployment rates in 2006 than Canadian-born Quebeckers.

The vast majority of Canada’s immigrants lived in Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal in 2006. Montréal reported lower employment rates in 2006 for all residents compared to Toronto or Vancouver. Montréal’s immigrants also had the most pronounced differences between their labour market outcomes and those of Canadian-born Montréalers; those living in Toronto had the least.

Immigrant youths (ages 15 to 24) had higher unemployment rates compared with Canadian-born youths, with the exception of those who had landed in Canada more than 10 years ago. This was particularly true for very recent immigrant youths. The unemployment rate for young immigrant women was much higher than that of young Canadian-born women.

Immigrant women in the 25 to 54, or ‘core’ working age group had much higher unemployment rates and lower employment rates than both immigrant men and Canadian-born women, regardless of how long they had been in Canada.

The unemployment and employment rates for older (age 55 and older) immigrant men who immigrated very recently were on par with Canadian-born men in the same age bracket. However, older very recent immigrant women were more likely to be unemployed compared with their Canadian-born counterparts.

In 2006, immigrants were more likely to have a university education than Canadian-born men and women. However, while Canadian-born unemployment rates were lower for progressively higher levels of education, the rates for immigrants who landed in the five previous years varied little by education. While immigrants who had been in Canada longer still had lower employment rates and higher unemployment rates than the Canadian born with the same education, the gap was narrower than that between more recent immigrants and the Canadian born.

Immigrants were more likely to work in manufacturing industries than Canadian born, as well as in professional, scientific and technical services. They were also more likely to be employed in accommodation and food service industries than those born in Canada.

In terms of occupations, immigrants who landed since 2001 were more likely to be working in sales and service and manufacturing occupations than Canadian born. Occupations in the natural and applied sciences were also more common among both very recent and recent immigrants than was the case among the Canadian born.