Immigrant Economic and Social Outcomes in Canada: Research and Data Development at Statistics Canada
The past 25 years has seen a more or less continuous deterioration in the economic outcomes for immigrants entering Canada. However, economic outcomes for second-generation Canadians (children of immigrants) are more positive, and in spite of the economic difficulties, after four years in Canada most immigrants entering in 2000 remained positive regarding their immigration decision, citing the freedom, safety, rights, security and prospects for the future as the aspects they appreciate most in Canada. This paper reviews what we know about the economic deterioration, and the possible reasons behind it, in particular based on the research conducted at Statistics Canada. It also outlines the data development undertaken by Statistics Canada and its policy department partners to support increased research of this topic. From 2002 to 2008, Statistics Canada released 64 research articles on the above topics, and others related to immigration. The research suggests that through the 1980s and 1990s three factors were associated with the deterioration in economic outcomes: (1) the changing mix of source regions and related issues such as language and school quality, (2) declining returns to foreign experience, and (3) the deterioration in economic outcomes for all new labour market entrants, of which immigrants are a special case. After 2000, the reasons appear to be different, and are associated more with the dramatic increase in the number of engineers and information technology (IT) workers entering Canada, and the IT economic downturn. Data also suggest that, by and large, Canadians continue to see immigration as an important part of the development of Canada and that they continue to support it. The paper reviews Statistics Canada research that indicates that economic outcomes for most second-generation Canadians remain very positive. Finally, there is a discussion of the interaction between immigration and social cohesion in Canada, and possible reasons as to why we hav
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