Forging Our Labour Market: Equal Opportunity Access

Topics: Employment, Canada, Toronto Pages: 8 (2522 words) Published: April 15, 2013
Forging Our Labour Market: Equal Opportunity Access

In this era of Neo Liberal Capital competition, many professionals have moved from their birth countries to more prosperous countries for better job opportunities. According to the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canada has welcomed more than 200,000 immigrants the highest population of immigrants entering into Canada in over 50 years. These immigrants represent three dominant backgrounds: Refugees, immigrants with family members already residing in Canada and economic immigrants. To enhance its economic growth and international scale, in 1967, Canada introduced the point system, which was designed to capture the demographic and labour market requirements of the country. The point system by which these professional immigrants entered Canada is based on age, higher education, language skill(s), and working experience. Hence, professionals entering Canada were entering the country based on having ‘good’ education and work experience. It is important to analyse how these immigrants have impacted the Canadian labour market and if Canada’s point system has reached its objective. As Reiltz noticed, Over several decades, and despite higher levels of education, qualified immigrants appear to be having greater difficult access to work in knowledge occupations. As a result, they more often end up working in less-skilled occupations than their comparably qualified native-born Canadians.

Consequently, it is paramount to closely identify the gaps and issues in the Canadian labour market the policies and practices which govern it. Why would Canada still call for qualified professionals in a country where standards and policies of the labour market seem to ignore or/and overlook immigrants’ education and working experience?

Research conducted by Oreopoulos and Dechief in Why do some employers prefer to interview Matthew, but not Samir? New evidence from Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, demonstrates that by changing their names to more ‘American’ sounding names, immigrants from ethnic backgrounds received callback from employers.Thus, employers often do not call back; this shows that bias may be evident in hiring practices due to employers’ preconceived assumptions in need of a “Canadian experience”. Consequently, result suggests that most employers do not value international education as much as they value Canadian education and experience. This paper will analyse the actual Canadian labour market vis-à-vis of the immigrants, the employers, and the point system, and the solutions that have been brought up by organisations such as the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) who works to connect qualified immigrants to employers, thus highlighting the need for a more equitable recruitment process. Economic immigrants have been acknowledged for the diverse skill sets they bring to the Canadian labour market. As Garnett Picot has noticed in his analytical research paper: T, the Deteriorating Economic Welfare of Immigrants and Possible Causes, Host countries (here Canada) are increasingly seeking highly –educated immigrants to drive economic growth in the “knowledge-based’ economy, and immigrants look to exploit their higher education levels to achieve high economic standards of living.

However, this concept of ‘give and take’ seems as though it is not benefiting both ways. As one may be acquainted with, it is common in Canada to meet a taxi driver with a PHD or a cleaner with a BA in engineering. These are examples of some immigrants who came as professionals under the Canadian point system but did not achieve employment in their skill area. How then have these immigrants ended up being taxi drivers or cleaners? It is important to look closely into two big components to understand the cause of the problem: language skill(s) and education.

First of all, the majority of ‘recent’ professional immigrants tend to come from countries where English...
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