For some children of immigrants, educational success doesn't translate to employment success

TORONTO, June 29, 2011 /CNW/ - The children of immigrants represent an increasing segment of the Canadian labour force. Yet while most tend to have higher university attainment rates than children of Canadian-born parents, some, particularly visible minority men, have higher unemployment rates and lower earnings, according to a new Ontario study commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO).

The study, Educational Attainments and Labour Market Outcomes of the Children of Immigrants in Ontario was conducted by Teresa Abada, associate professor of sociology at the University of Western Ontario; and Sylvia Lin, analyst with the Council of Ontario Universities. The authors found that in Ontario, the majority of children of immigrants (referred to as second generation) have higher university completion rates than children of Canadian-born parents (referred to as third-generation) and most have attained some postsecondary education, including colleges and trades.  However, for some, labour market outcomes are less successful.

As compared to third generation, second generation males have higher unemployment rates, including those whose parents came from Jamaica, India,  Latin America, Eastern Europe and East Asian countries other than China. These and other groups also have lower earnings compared to third generation males. In terms of employment rates and earnings, most second-generation women are not significantly different from third generation.

The most educated are children of immigrant Chinese, followed by East Asian and Indian. The children of Portuguese and Filipino immigrants have lower university attainment rates although when college and trades are factored in, they have higher attainment rates than children of Canadian-born parents.

Using the 1996 and 2006 Canadian Census, the study examined the educational attainment, employment and income of second-generation individuals ages 25-34 living in Ontario, as compared to their third generation counterparts. Ethnic groups were categorized according to the mothers' place of birth, or fathers' if the mother was born in Canada. A total of 26 groups were followed, each with a minimum sample size of at least 500 people in Ontario.

The study authors say that discrimination in the labour market experienced by the first generation may be evident among the children of immigrants, particularly those of visible minority origin. The authors note that future studies could determine the extent to which this may play a role in the earnings disparities between non-visible and visible minority second generations.

About the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario is an arm's-length agency of the Government of Ontario dedicated to ensuring the continued improvement of the postsecondary education system in Ontario.  HEQCO was created through the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario Act, 2005. It is mandated to conduct research, evaluate the postsecondary education system, and provide policy recommendations to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities with a view to enhance the quality, access, and accountability of Ontario's higher education system.

SOURCE Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

For further information:

Matt Ross
Research Communications Officer
Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario
(416) 212-3797 /

Susan Bloch-Nevitte
Executive Director, Communications
Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario
(416) 212-5242 /

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Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

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