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Immigrant joblessness narrows to 6.4% as Canada looks to newcomers to build workforce

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The employment gap between immigrants and Canadian-born workers is narrowing, as employers increasingly rely on newcomers to fill jobs, new research from Statistics Canada shows.

The federal research agency found 78.9 per cent of newcomers aged 25 to 54 are in the workforce, compared to 84 per cent of people who are Canadian-born.

The unemployment rate for core working-age immigrants in 2017 was 6.4 per cent, the lowest since 2006 when Statistics Canada first began tracking employment among newcomers through its Labour Force Survey.

The comparable jobless rate among Canadian-born workers is five per cent.

Statistics Canada defines core working age as 25 to 54, a time when individuals in are most likely to have finished their schooling and not yet retired from the workforce.

Canada has an aging workforce, with the large baby boom population moving into retirement age and fewer young people available to take up jobs.

Relying on immigrant workers

In 2017, 26 per cent of Canada’s total workforce of core working-age were landed immigrants.

Statistics Canada says first generation immigrants will make up an increasingly important part of the workforce over the next decade.

By 2036, it projects the share of immigrants in Canada’s population would stand between 24.5 per cent and 30 per cent and Canada will be competing with other industrial countries for a share of young, skilled workers.

Most of the growth in the workforce between 2016 and 2017 was accounted for by immigrants of core working age and Canadian-born workers aged 55 and older.

From 2016 to 2017, which was a good year in Canada for generating jobs, 87,000 new immigrants joined the workforce, compared to 59,000 new Canadian-born workers.

The employment-rate gap between immigrants and the Canadian-born has narrowed for three consecutive years, and was lower than the national average in Manitoba and Alberta.

Newcomers who have been here 10 years or longer are most likely to have full-time employment. Still 65.2 per cent of those who came within the last five years were working.

Many people relate tales of struggling in their first few years in Canada, but the figures seem to indicate they eventually find work, though perhaps not in the field they prefer.

Newcomers are more likely to have low-paying jobs in the accommodation and food industries, but are also one third of the workforce in high-paying industries such as finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing services, as well as professional, scientific and technical services.

Filipinos have better employment levels than Canadians

The highest employment rates were among immigrants from the Philippines, with 88.5 per cent of them having jobs, a better rate of employment than the Canadian-born population.

Statistics Canada attributes this to high levels of education among Filipino immigrants, as well as strong English skills and a school system closely related to the North-American system.

Immigrants born in Africa had less success in the job market with 72.5 per cent of them employed. They make up about 10 per cent of Canada’s immigrant labour force aged 25 to 54.

This group may have more difficulty because a lot of them come to Canada as refugees and are likely to have less support, including family support, in their early years in Canada, the federal agency said.

Immigrant women are also less likely to be employed than men — with 72 per cent of them in the workforce, compared with 82 per cent of Canadian-born women in the core age group.

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Students call on University of Ottawa to implement pass/fail grading amid pandemic

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OTTAWA — The University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) is calling on the university to introduce optional, one-course-only pass/fail grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The students’ union said nearly 5,000 uOttawa students have signed its petition supporting the grading system.

In a letter to the university, the UOSU said it is asking the school to make changes to the grading structure, including allowing one course per semester to be converted to the “pass” or “satisfactory” designation.

The UOSU also made recommendations regarding a reduction of workload and course delivery.

“The adaptation to online learning during the pandemic for students has created unique challenges and disruptions that could not have been anticipated,” wrote Tim Gulliver, the UOSU’s Advocacy Commissioner. 

“The use of flexible compassionate grading options has been introduced in other universities, such as Carleton University which includes a use of Pass/Fail which we feel could be implemented at the University of Ottawa.”

Carleton University approved the use of flexible and compassionate grading for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms in early November.

The UOSU also called for all grades that constitute a fail to appear as “Not Satisfactory” on their transcript, which would not be included in grade point average calculations. 

The union represents more than 38,000 undergraduate students at the University of Ottawa.

In a response to CTV News, the University of Ottawa said it is aware of the petition.

“Last spring a decision was made by the (University) Senate to allow the Satisfactory/Non Satisfactory mark to be used, given the unique circumstances of the pandemic, which hit us close to the end of the Winter 2020 semester. The University is aware of the petition and is looking into the matter.”

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OPP warn of phone scams in Ottawa Valley

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Upper Ottawa Valley OPP warn residents of a phone scam that’s been making its way through the region recently. 

Police say a scammer pretends to be from a local business and tells the person their credit card didn’t work on a recent purchase before asking the person on the phone to confirm their credit card number. 

The victim may not have even used the card at the store, but police said the scammer creates a sense of urgency. 

Police remind residents to verify the legitimacy of any caller before providing any personal information over the phone. 

Similar scams have been reported recently in the region, according to police, with scammers posing as police officers, Revenue Canada or other government agencies demanding payment for a variety of reasons. A Social Insurance Number scam has also been reported recently, where a victim is asked for their SIN number under threat of being arrested. 
 
If a scam artist contacts you or if you have been defrauded, you’re asked to contact police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website at www.antifraudcentre.ca.

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The human history of Ottawa Valley is thousands of years old. Archeologists may have found a piece of it on Parliament Hill

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OTTAWA—Archeologists working on Parliament Hill have discovered a relic of Indigenous life that one Algonquin leader sees as a symbol of his people’s long history in what is now the heart of Canadian political power.

The jagged stone point was unearthed last year on the east side of Centre Block, but its discovery was not publicized as officials worked with Algonquin communities to authenticate the object, the Star has learned.

Stephen Jarrett, the lead archeologist for the ongoing renovation of Parliament’s Centre Block, said this week that while such an object is “not an uncommon find,” the stone point joins just a small handful of Indigenous artifacts ever discovered on Parliament Hill.

“It’s about the size of my palm, and it could be used as a knife or a projectile,” Jarrett said this week in response to inquiries from the Star.

He said the point is made of chert, a type of sedimentary stone most often used for implements of this type. And while the point was unearthed in what Jarrett calls “disturbed soil” — earth that has been dug up and moved, most likely during construction of Parliament — the soil it was in “is natural to the site.”

That means “it came from a source nearby, but finding exactly where it came from is impossible,” Jarrett said.

For Douglas Odjick, a band council member responsible for education and culture with the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, this artifact of “an original world” is a testament to the longevity of his Algonquin nation in an area they still claim as unceded and unsurrendered territory. Based on the assessment of Ian Badgley, the top archeologist with the National Capital Commission, Odjick said the stone point is likely 4,000 years old and dates to a time when the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau Rivers — along with all their tributaries that stretch out into the surrounding area — served as a great hub of regional trade activity.

“It symbolizes who we are and how long we’ve been here,” Odjick said, comparing the area to an ancient version of a busy hub like New York’s busy Grand Central Station.

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