(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

Sunday update: dozens of new fires discovered yesterday in West, East Kootenay

Weather front moving through area sparks fires including in Syringa Provincial Park and Valhalla.

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Lightning sparks more than 20 new fires in West Kootenay

Fires burning across West Kootenay include Syringa Provincial Park and Valhalla.

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

UPDATE: Fire closes BC Hwy 3 between Salmo and Creston

‘Extreme fire behaviour’ of Blazed Creek fire forces road closure on main southern route to Alberta.

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Hot, dry conditions forces drought rating to highest level on Vancouver Island

The province says Vancouver Island is under Stage 4 drought conditions

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Darkwoods Conservation is closed to all public road access due to wildfires

Boat access to Tye along the shore of Kootenay Lake is still permitted.

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Most Read