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The first report on immigrants in the labour force, based on 2006 Labour Force Survey data, was released in September 2007. The particular focus of this paper was on landed immigrants aged 25 to 54—referred to as the 'core working age.' The results of this paper revealed that established immigrants—those who had landed in Canada before 1996—of core working age had labour market outcomes that closely resembled those of their Canadian-born counterparts. Very recent immigrants—those who had landed from 2001 to 2006—had the most difficulty in the labour market in 2006, followed by recent immigrants—those who had landed from 1996 to 2001. Some of the other general findings from the first report include the following:

  • In 2006, the Canadian labour market was the strongest it had been in 30 years. For the Canadian population (including immigrants) of core working age, the unemployment rate was the lowest since 1976. The unemployment rate for women of core working age was at an all-time low, and the employment rate was at an all-time high. For men of core working age, the unemployment rate was its lowest since 1981, and the employment rate was its highest since 1990.

  • Immigrant women of core working age 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.

  • Immigrants living in Alberta benefited from a strong provincial labour market in 2006. 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 with Toronto or Vancouver. Of these three census metropolitan areas, Montréal's immigrants also had the most pronounced differences between their labour market outcomes and those of the Canadian born; those living in Toronto had the least.

  • In 2006, immigrants were more likely to have a university education than the Canadian born. However, while unemployment rates for Canadian born were lower for progressively higher levels of education, the rates for very recent immigrants varied little by education. The unemployment rate gap was narrower between recent immigrants and the Canadian born.

  • In 2006, immigrant youth (aged 15 to 24) had higher unemployment rates compared with Canadian-born youth. This was particularly true for very recent immigrant youth. The unemployment rate for young immigrant women was much higher than that of young Canadian-born women.

  • The rates of unemployment and employment for established immigrant men aged 55 and older were about the same as for Canadian-born men in the same age bracket. Older, established immigrant women, however, were slightly more likely to be unemployed in 2006 compared with their Canadian-born counterparts.

This second report builds on the findings from the original report and asks a key question: how well did immigrants from specific regions or countries of birth fare in the Canadian labour market in 2006? A third report, to be released in the spring of 2008, will analyse the relationship between the region where an immigrant received postsecondary education and his or her labour market outcomes. A final report, to be released in the fall of 2008, will examine the quality of immigrant employment in Canada.

Please refer to the first report (71-606-XIE2007001) for more details.