cultural diversity - resources

Making Connections: Social and Civic Engagement among New Canadians

by Katherine Scott, Kevin Selbee, and Paul Reed, April 2006

MakingConnections CoverImmigrants give larger donations, on average, than the Canadian-born population but they are slightly less likely to volunteer their time than people born in Canada, according to research by the Canadian Council on Social Development (CCSD).

Making Connections: Social and Civic Engagement among New Canadians also shows that the rate of volunteering is increasing, particularly among recent immigrants.

"Despite a variety of barriers, including economic insecurity, many new Canadians are connecting with their communities and making a difference," says Katherine Scott, CCSD vice president of research and co-author of the report. "Immigrants donated more than 98 million hours of volunteer time in 2000. That is equivalent to 50,000 full-time jobs."

The study found the highest rate of volunteering among immigrants in Atlantic Canada (35%), followed by those in the Prairies (34%) and British Columbia (30%). Just over one-quarter of Ontario immigrants (28%) and 24% of immigrants in Québec volunteered their time in 2003. The participation rate in Québec was approximately the same for both immigrants and non-immigrants.

"We found that overall, immigrants were motivated by the same sorts of things as Canadian-born volunteers – in particular, the feeling of personal connection to a cause or organization," says Scott. Personal connection to a cause was particularly important among established immigrants.

"Many new Canadians also see volunteering as a way to use their skills and experience and they hope it will lead to a job," says Scott. "But the reality is that many new immigrants experience significant economic barriers. Those who would most benefit from participation in civic activities are those who are the most marginalized. That has major implications for the health and vitality of both the individuals and Canadian communities."

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National Network on Partner Voilence Against Immigrant and Visible Minority Women


Does a Rising Tide Lift All Boats? Labour Market Experiences and Incomes of Recent Immigrants

by Ekuwa Smith, Andrew Jackson, February 2002

Does a Rising Tide Lift All Boats? Labour Market Experiences and Incomes of Recent Immigrants, a report by CCSD Senior Research Associate Ekuwa Smith and CCSD Research Director Andrew Jackson, uses the latest available statistics to provide a picture of the challenges facing recent immigrants to Canada. Using data from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, the research focuses on levels of employment, earnings, family incomes and poverty rates of recent immigrants compared to those of the rest of the Canadian population over the economic recovery period from 1995 to 1998. Key findings include:

  • The gap in employment and income opportunities between recent immigrants and other Canadians narrowed between 1995 and 1998. Regardless of the measure used, poverty fell sharply among recent immigrant families over the 1995 to 1998 period.
  • However, gaps remain very large: in 1998, poverty among recent immigrants stood at 27%, double the 13% rate among the rest of the Canadian population; their annual wages and salaries were one-third less than those of other Canadians.
  • Despite the large gaps, the rising tide of economic recovery over the second half of the 1990s had a positive impact on the employment opportunities and incomes of recent Canadian immigrants. This indicates that a healthy labour market can provide a major impetus towards equality and the inclusion of recent immigrants into the economic and social mainstream. Other measures, however, are still required.
  • Immigration is expected to account for virtually all of the net growth in the Canadian labour force by the year 2011.
  • While Canada has always been a nation of immigrants, members of visible minority groups now make up about 11% of the total population, compared to just 6% as recently as 1986. Three in four recent immigrants to Canada now belong to visible minority groups, making them more vulnerable to racial discrimination and social exclusion.
  • Another factor which might help explain why recent immigrants have not done as well in the job market as previous cohorts of immigrants is the problem of non-recognition or the undervaluing of foreign education, skills and credentials in a rapidly changing job market.
  • Strong economic and job growth seems to be a potent force for greater equality. However, it remains to be seen if the situation of recent immigrants at the end of the 1990s will return to the norm of the early 1980s, when new immigrants to Canada ‘caught up’ economically to the rest of the population within a shorter period of time.
  • The successful inclusion of recent immigrants into the Canadian labour market and Canadian society will not be achieved by simply leaving matters to market forces. Rather, a wide range of policies are needed to speed up the process of integration and address sources of disadvantage. These include policies on employment equity, recognition and promotion of the “hidden skills” of new immigrants to prospective employers, provision of language and skills training to new immigrants, and expedited recognition of foreign credentials.

Urban Poverty In Canada: A Statiscal Profile

by Kevin K. Lee, April 2000

Urban Poverty

Published in April 2000 by the Canadian Council on Social Development, this study uses the most recent statistics available to compare poverty rates among Canadian cities and provide a profile of Canada's urban poor. Special attention is given to poverty rates among visible minorities, immigrants, and Aboriginal peoples living in urban areas.

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CCSD

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