(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

Abbotsford Visitor Centre closing for winter due to low attendance

Tourism Abbotsford says declining traffic during fall, winter months common for B.C. visitor centres

Nominations open for UFV Betty Urquhart Community Service award

Award recognizes those who make community a better place to live

Fraser Health to buy two private MRI clinics in Surrey, Abbotsford

New clinics will provide 2,000 more MRIs by fiscal year-end

Abbotsford’s Batra disqualified after late attack

Austin Batra loses title after knocking opponent out in 32 seconds

Nominees announced for annual Arty Awards

Event takes place Sept. 29 at The Reach in Abbotsford

VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Snowbird RV Show

Highlights from the Abbotsford event

5 to start your day

Fraser Health buys two MRI clinics, South Surrey boy helps kids in need and more

Vancouver, Delta police won’t use new roadside saliva test to detect pot

The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is designed to find THC, the high-inducing part of marijuana

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Trudeau looks to restart Canada’s UN charm offensive in New York City

Freeland says the question of job retraining in the 21st century — and the uncertainty that surrounds it — is the federal government’s central preoccupation.

Calgary mayor seeks person who leaked details of closed-door Olympic meeting

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he will ask the city’s integrity commissioner to investigate a leak of details from an in-camera council meeting.

South Surrey boy, 10, to help kids in need

Ronin Bulmer, 10, is going door-to-door asking for donations

B.C. MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

Most Read