The Labour Market Vulnerabilities of Refugees in Canada: The Impacts of Entry Programs

Researchers: Monica Boyd1 and Shawn Perron1
Affiliations: University of Toronto1
Keywords: refugees, entry program, entry visas, economic outcomes, gender, age, gender inequalities in economic outcomes, socioeconomic integration, employment, income, labour force participation, privately sponsored refugees (PSRs), Government Assisted Refugees (GARS), Protected Persons in Canada (PPC), quantitative methodology
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Overview: This study focused on three types of humanitarian class admissions between 1980 and 2014: government-assisted refugees (GARs), privately sponsored refugees (PSRs) and migrants who apply for asylum in Canada and become protected persons in Canada (PPC). The study looked at whether differences in entry programs and gender created differences in labour market integration and economic outcomes among refugee populations. 

Objective: to document and analyze how different modes of entry (refugee subclasses) affect socioeconomic integration, and to demonstrate the additional impacts of gender on economic outcomes of refugees. 

Research Justification: Research has shown that refugees in the Private Sponsorship (PSR) entry program have the best integration profiles and that male refugees have better labour market integration than females. This study tests whether differences in entry status and gender affect refugees’ economic integration.

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Full Infographic

Executive Summary


This study combines data from IRCC’s entry visa information and the 2016 census of population records. The target population is the first generation who immigrated at age 20+, between 1980 and 2014, and are currently aged 20-64 and residing in Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). The research team tested for the possibilities that different refugee groups have different economic outcomes based on their mode of entry (GAR, PSR, or PPC). Gender differences are also scrutinized, producing 6 main groups of interest from the intersection of sex with the three refugee classes. The economic outcomes analysed in this study include occupational locations and earnings, as defined by the 2016 census.

To benchmark the results of this study with early findings, immigration characteristics (region of origin, decade of admission, and applicant status (principal applicant, spouse or dependents), social characteristics (marital status, education) and the previously noted economic outcomes are compared across three main admission categories: economic immigrants, family-class immigrants, and refugee, separately for women and men. 

Two sets of methodologies were used in this study. Bi-variate analysis was used to produce informative cross-tabulations, charts and short summaries for a non-academic audience. Multivariate analyses (ordinary least squares’ logistic regression, multinomial regression) were conducted on a smaller subset of indicators (labour force participation, occupational location and earnings).


For the figures and graphs of this project, please see the data page

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