Female Immigrants Earn Less Than Canadian-born Counterparts: Report

The gap between female immigrants, who are new as well as settled in Canada, and those born in Canada is persistent, the data shows.


Female immigrants make less money and are faced with greater employment barriers as compared with male immigrants as well as women born in Canada, according to data collected by the Canadian immigration department, the Star reported.

The gap between female immigrants who are new as well as settled in Canada, and those born in Canada is persistent, the data obtained by the Canadian Press through the Access to Information Act showed. “Unlike male immigrants, a persistent gap exists between very recent, recent and established female immigrants and their Canadian-born counterparts,” the report said.

More women come to Canada as wives of immigrants or as newcomers. So they have a lower rate of employment and earn less than the average wage.

Such barriers in employment are also present for the children of immigrants, especially when the parents are visible minorities and even when they have higher levels of education than Canada-born children.

The report used internal government data to outline the economic and social outcomes of immigrants according to categories such as economic class, family class and refugee streams, the National Post reported.

Recognizing the gap, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said: “Of course we want all newcomers to succeed and restart their lives in Canada as fast as possible and succeed and contribute back to Canada.” He added that the government has been working to make settlement programs so it can improve opportunities for immigrant women and their children, the National Post reported.

“There is also now money within our ministry to encourage settlement service providers to test out new ideas, to borrow good ideas from the private sector, to implement good things that are happening in one part of the country to another part of the country,” Hussen said, adding that C$31.8 million has been reserved in the federal budget this year for a pilot program that will support women who are newcomers, and  those entering and remaining in the workforce.

Many immigrant women hail from cultures where they have grown up to take on the role of a caregiver, Pari Karem, general manager of immigrant services at the YMCA in Kitchener, Ontario who works with newcomer youth and women, said, the National Post reported. “If I, as a female, think it is my role to only stay home and look after my children, no matter how many programs are out there for me, I’m not going to try them,” Karem added.

In Canada, female immigrants earned $11,126 less in a year than Canadian-born women, and earned 83 cents for every dollar earned by their Canadian counterpart, the Canadian magazine of immigration said in November 2016. The immigrant wage gap for women (the difference in median hourly wages for immigrant women and Canadian-born women) is higher than that for men (23.2 per cent for women versus 19.2 per cent for men, in 2015), according to the Conference Board of Canada.

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