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Study Finds Progress in Closing Gender Wage Gap for Immigrant Women in Canada

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Statistics Canada unveils a new study on the Gender Wage Gap (GWG) by citizenship and immigration status in Canada.

Statistics Canada has recently published a groundbreaking study. It sheds light on the Gender Wage Gap (GWG) among women in Canada, categorized by their citizenship and immigration status.

The GWG is the disparity in hourly wages between Canadian-born men and women occupying similar roles. This comprehensive study includes immigrant men and women in the wage analysis. To compute the GWG, Statistics Canada examined discrepancies in earnings between full-time and part-time workers across various income brackets. Additionally, the study examined differences between immigrant women who arrived in Canada as adults and those who immigrated as children.

In summary, immigrant women who arrived in Canada as children have significantly reduced their wage gap with Canadian-born men, decreasing from 14.7% in 2007 to 10.5% in 2022. Immigrant women coming as adults have also made substantial progress. Narrowing their wage gap with Canadian-born men from 27.4% in 2007 to 20.9% in 2022.

As of 2022, Canadian-born women had a GWG of 9.2% compared to Canadian men, a notable improvement from the 15% gap observed in 2007. Remarkably, immigrant men have nearly eliminated the wage gap compared to their Canadian-born counterparts.

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Participation of Immigrant Women in Canada’s Workforce

Statistics Canada’s Labor Force Survey reports that 26.1% of immigrant women who arrived in Canada as adults hold jobs in professional occupations.

In general, immigrant women in the Canadian labor force, particularly those from racialized communities, have traditionally been disproportionately represented in lower-paying roles, such as those in accommodation and food services or the hospitality industry.

Data from the Labor Force Survey in August 2023 reveals that female workers (6.2%) are more likely to hold multiple jobs compared to their male counterparts (4.7%), especially among immigrants who have been admitted to Canada within the last decade (6.9%). This suggests that recently arrived immigrant women are the most inclined to hold multiple jobs.

Differences in Income Distribution Among Immigrant Women

A notable divergence in the Gender Wage Gap (GWG) is evident when comparing immigrant women in lower and higher pay distribution positions. While those in lower pay distribution roles have made strides in narrowing the GWG, their counterparts in higher hourly pay distribution positions have yet to witness any such progress since 2007.

For instance, immigrant women with lower pay distribution profiles who arrived as adults have significantly reduced their wage gap by 13.7 percentage points, declining from 20.0% in 2007 to 6.3% in 2022.

Conversely, those positioned at the upper end of the pay distribution scale have experienced minimal change. Maintaining a GWG of 20.1% between 2007 and 2022. Immigrant women who arrived as children and occupied higher pay distribution positions faced a gap of 11.3%.

Age also plays a role in shaping the GWG dynamics. The study highlights improvements among immigrant women landing in Canada as adults and fall within the 25-29 age bracket. Their GWG has shifted from 30.5% in 2007 to 12.0% in 2022.

Women Less Likely to Serve as Primary Applicants in Immigration

Data from 2022 reveals that many female immigrants, totaling 1,215,200, arrived in Canada as secondary applicants within economic immigration programs. These individuals are typically spouses, partners, or dependents of principal applicants applying for immigration through programs such as Express Entry. Additionally, another 1,194,685 immigrant women entered Canada through family class sponsorship.

Statistics Canada highlights the challenges immigrant women face who do not hold the primary economic applicant status. They often need help securing employment due to language proficiency requirements and hurdles in recognizing their skills, education, or experience.

Furthermore, many immigrant women confront gender-specific barriers, including discrimination within the job market and the division of labor based on gender roles within their families.

A September 2022 report from Statistics Canada indicates the following. When immigrant women were part of couples with children aged 1 to 5, only 45% worked full-time. In contrast, 64% of Canadian-born women in similar situations were employed full-time.

To alleviate some of the gender-related burdens women face, especially regarding childcare, the Canadian government committed over $27 billion over a 5-year period as part of the 2021 Budget. This investment aims to establish a national early learning and childcare system in collaboration with provinces and territories.

According to a report by TD Economics released in June, the labor force participation rate among women with children under 6 has increased by 4 percentage points since 2020. This reflects the entry of approximately 111,000 additional women into the Canadian workforce as childcare services become more accessible and workplaces adopt more flexible, hybrid arrangements.

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