Section 7
Summary and concluding remarks

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Unlike the waves of immigrants who arrived in the 1950s and 1960s, those arriving in Canada since the 1970s have possessed relatively high educational levels, making an enormous contribution to the pool of individuals in Canada with postsecondary qualifications (Reitz 2007). Upon their arrival however, many immigrants initially face difficulties finding employment related to their field of study as well as finding jobs that pay relatively high wages. As observed by Boudarbat and Chernoff (2009), if one of the main functions of education, obtained either inside or outside the country, is to provide skills that will be used in subsequent employment, then it would be an inefficient use of resources, for both individuals and for society as a whole, not to use their education in their jobs.

The successful integration of immigrants in the Canadian labour market is of interest to the Canadian public and to current and potential immigrants, alike. While different measures can be used to assess what would be considered a 'successful' integration for these immigrants, the present report focused exclusively on the following two 'positive' employment outcomes: 1) working in an occupation corresponding to their field of study or in an occupation requiring similar or higher skill levels, and 2) having earnings at or above the national median earnings calculated for the occupation corresponding best to their field of study. Factors and determinants most likely associated with those 'positive' outcomes were examined throughout the report.

Given the purpose of this report, which was to identify the factors and determinants most likely to lead to the 'successful' integration of internationally-educated immigrants in the Canadian labour market, only individuals in the core working-age group of 25 to 64 with a postsecondary education who reported not attending school in 2006 and working for pay were included. To determine if these individuals were working in their field of study or in an equivalent occupation, only those who reported having completed their postsecondary education in one of the instructional programs leading to the targeted occupations as identified by the FCR Program at HRSDC were selected.

In the context of this report, there is no attempt to define 'precisely' what should be considered a 'successful' or a 'poor' integration in the labour market for these immigrants. The interpretation is left completely to the discretion of the reader as, in the opinion of the author, such a concept is arbitrary and subject to debate.

As shown by the 2006 Census, internationally-educated immigrants were generally less likely than their Canadian-educated counterparts and the Canadian-born with a postsecondary education to be employed in their field or in occupations requiring similar or higher skill levels. This was also true with regard to the education-employment earnings match.

Regions from which credentials were obtained had a clear influence on the likelihood, for these immigrants, of having 'positive' outcomes in the Canadian labour market. Immigrant paid workers with credentials from Canada, North America, and from different regions of Europe showed the highest likelihood of having good education-job skills match or education-employment earnings match. The ranking order of these regions did, however, vary by the type of credentials obtained.

Time elapsed since landing also figured among the characteristics and determinants more closely associated with a 'successful' integration of internationally-educated immigrants in the Canadian labour market. Those established in the country for more than ten years were generally more likely than their recent and very-recent counterparts to be working in the best corresponding or an equivalent occupation or to report a good education-employment earnings match. One should note, however, that although these difficulties seem to ease over time, internationally-educated immigrant paid workers established in the country for more than ten years were still generally less likely than their counterparts born in Canada to report such 'positive' outcomes.

Not all core working-age paid workers faced the same challenges — depending on the field of study, some were more likely than others to report good education-job or education-employment earnings matches in 2006. Not surprisingly, paid workers who studied in programs where there was a clear relationship between educational credentials and the ability to meet the requirements to work — such as for most regulated occupations and trades — generally had a higher likelihood of having 'positive' outcomes in the Canadian labour market than those who had studied in a field for which this relationship was not as direct.

Provincially, paid workers living in Alberta and the territories were more likely than their counterparts in Ontario and the other provinces to report working in the best corresponding or an equivalent occupation or to report a good education-employment earnings match. On the other hand, paid workers residing in the Atlantic Provinces, followed closely by those in Quebec had the lowest probabilities of having such 'positive' outcomes in the Canadian labour market.

Results also showed that, compared to the knowledge of English only, being able to converse in both official languages increases the likelihood of having good education-job and education-employment earnings matches. Conversely, paid workers who reported not being able to converse in at least one of Canada's official languages, or in French only, were less likely than those speaking English only to report such 'positive' outcomes.

Finally, the analysis found that being a man, living in a married or common-law relationship, having pre-school children, living in population centres, and the fact of working on a full-time full year basis in the case of the education-job skills match, also figure among the characteristics and determinants more closely associated with a 'successful' integration of paid workers in the Canadian labour market. The influence of age and the fact of being a member of a visible minority group was not as clear when analyzed throughout the selected occupations and could not be generalized.

Similar results could be observed among immigrant paid workers in general (including internationally-educated immigrant paid workers). Although with different intensity, controlling for factors such as sex and age group, marital status and presence of children, level of education and major instructional program, location of residence (i.e., province, territory, population centre and rural area), language ability, visible minority status, and full/part-time and full/part-year status of employment all had some influence on the likelihood that these immigrants would have a good education-job skills match and good employment earnings.

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