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Newspaper article

Foreign workers earn ‘substantially’ less than Canadians

Date

2010-06-08

Authors

Nicholas Keung

Abstract

Temporary foreign workers earn substantially less than their Canadian counterparts and their most common jobs are as live-in caregivers, housekeepers and cleaners, says a new report.

Newspaper title

The Toronto Star

Full text

Temporary foreign workers earn substantially less than their Canadian counterparts and their most common jobs are as live-in caregivers, housekeepers and cleaners, says a new report.

Almost 30 per cent of Canada’s 265,000 non-permanent residents at the time of the 2006 census, including foreigners here on work permits and student visas, had been in Canada for at least five years, according to the Statistics Canada study released Tuesday.

Of these temporary residents, about 230,000 were 15 or older. More than 112,000 were employed, the majority full-time. Almost one-third lived in Greater Toronto, 15 per cent in Montreal, 12.5 per cent in Vancouver, 5.5 per cent in Calgary and 3.7 per cent in Edmonton.

“Many non-permanent workers were members of a visible minority group. In all, over 62 per cent were members of at least one visible minority group,” said the report, which is a first attempt to examine who these foreign workers are and compare their earnings with Canadians.

The biggest cluster — almost 14 per cent — was Filipino, followed by South Asian at 11 per cent; Latin American at 9.7 per cent, and black at 9.6 per cent.

Forty-one per cent were female, 46.1 per cent were university-educated, and nine out of 10 could speak one of the two official languages. Their average age was 35.1 years and they worked about 44.8 hours a week.

The most common occupation was child care: babysitters, nannies and parents’ helpers. Along with general farm workers, housekeepers, cleaners, cooks, kitchen helpers and greenhouse workers, low-skilled jobs represented about 20 per cent of these foreign workers.

Over 6.3 per cent of foreign workers were employed as researchers and teaching assistants, with another 1.9 per cent hired as university professors. The retail and marketing industry hired another 6 per cent.

Temporary workers from the United States and Europe were more likely to be working as academics and senior managers than those arriving from Latin America, the Caribbean or Asia.

Foreign workers are found at both ends of the income continuum: About 5 per cent earned $3,000 or more per week in 2005, while 46 per cent earned less than $500 a week.

By comparison, only 2.5 per cent of Canadian-born workers made $3,000 a week, and fewer than one-quarter earned less than $500 weekly

Links

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers, Occupations in services - Domestic work, Sales and service occupations - general, Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations - general, Natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations - general, and Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing

Content types

Numbers of migrant workers

Target groups

Public awareness

Geographical focuses

Canada, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, British Columbia, Other provinces, Federal, Nova Scotia, and National relevance

Languages

English