(Black Press Media files)

Fix low incomes among family-class immigrants to help Canada’s economy: study

Newcomers to Canada through family reunification and private sponsorship earn significantly less

Chronic low income among so-called “family-class” immigrants is a concern that needs to be addressed not just for humanitarian reasons, but also to help sustain the Canadian economy, a new report from the Conference Board of Canada suggests.

As the country becomes more dependent on newcomers to fill labour needs, Canada should be looking to improve the labour market barriers and quality of life for newcomers, says the report released Tuesday.

“Low earnings and the prevalence of chronic low income among the family class are issues of concern that need to be addressed to help boost the living standards of immigrant families,” it says.

Doing so, it continues, would “help Canada benefit from their human capital in the labour market as it becomes more dependent on immigrant support for its economic growth.”

The study measures how the three classes of immigrants contribute to the economy and shows that while Canada has prioritized economic-class immigrants since the mid-1990s, family-class immigrants do more to boost retention rates and improve outcomes for immigrant families.

Newcomers to Canada through family reunification and private sponsorship programs earn significantly less on average than the average Canadian wage, but having family on hand to help with child care allows them to boost their household income by working longer hours.

Two years later: Most Syrian refugees settling well in B.C., report says

Family reunification also promotes settlement and integration of immigrants into communities, which encourages better retention rates.

“This underscores the utility of family reunification to economic development policy, as it helps to stimulate demand within the economy and add workers to the labour supply,” says the report — especially key for Atlantic Canada, where family-class immigrants have been staying in larger numbers than their economic counterparts.

The findings emphasize the importance of viewing family-class immigrants through an economic policy lens, the board notes, given the fact Canada will continue to be dependent on a steady stream of new arrivals to maintain a sustainable level of economic growth.

Statistics Canada data shows the number of deaths in Canada is forecast to overcome the rate of births by 2034, meaning a shrinking workforce that not even the rapid advancement of automation will be able to absorb.

Shutting the doors to immigrants completely would likely lead to a smaller workforce, higher taxes and dwindling social services, the study found, while boosting immigration rates to one per cent of the population would result in modest growth.

“Immigration has been vital to Canada’s prosperity throughout the country’s history and is poised to play an even bigger role moving forward. Canada needs to remain proactive in its efforts to benefit from immigration,” the report concludes.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Man extracted from vehicle eight hours after accident near Cameron Lake

People making pit stop at picnic area made crash discovery

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Winner crowned at Qualicum Bay Art Battle

Island painters compete in 20-minute art challenge

Parksville man arrested in relation to Mercedes, motorcycle fight

RCMP recommend assault charge for man driving Mercedes

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Most Read