TORONTO, June 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Older immigrant workers who have been
laid off are falling through the cracks of Canada's employment system,
with many of them ending up in temporary jobs with few benefits, finds
a new study released today at Ryerson University's Centre for Labour
Management Relations at Ted Rogers School of Management.
"We were interested in finding out how this group of workers has managed
since the plant closure five years ago and whether they have found
stable work again," says Winnie Ng, CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social
Justice and Democracy and lead author of the study.
The study documented the experiences of 78 of the 2,400 older racialized
workers who lost their jobs after Progressive Moulded Products (PMP),
the largest auto-parts manufacturer in the Greater Toronto Area, filed
for bankruptcy protection and closed their operations in June 2008. The
co-authors of the report are Sedef Arat-Koc, Aparna Sundar,
Grace-Edward Galabuzi and Sareh Serajelahi from Ryerson University, and
Salmaan Khan of York University. The report's collaborator is the
Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW).
"Nearly half of the research participants are now working in temporary
jobs with poverty wages and no benefits. Our findings show that they
are worse off than when they first came to Canada," says Ng. "The
economic crisis has 'unsettled' these long term immigrant workers in a
highly competitive and precarious labour market. The systemic barriers
of race, gender and age further marginalize this group of workers."
Highlights of the report's key findings include:
One third of the immigrant workers have found permanent full-time
employment of more than 25 hours per week. The remaining two-thirds
were working in either precarious employment arrangements or are
Of those who are working in precarious employment scenarios, close to 40
per cent have been working on-call, casual work or other forms of
Forty-two per cent of women participants who were in non-permanent
positions were mostly employed in casual or on-call employment
arrangements versus 25 per cent of their male counterparts.
The majority of participants (77 per cent) indicated that their current
wages and benefits are worse than when they were employed at PMP.
Close to 70 per cent of participants believe that discrimination has
been a barrier for them in finding work, citing age, race and language
as the top three obstacles.
The majority (87 per cent) of participants indicated they applied to
temporary agencies to look for work compared to 13 per cent who did
The study outlines ten key recommendations to improve working and
employment conditions for older immigrant workers who experience
similar challenges and barriers to finding employment opportunities,
calling for monitoring and regulation of temporary agencies;
better access to settlement agencies for immigrants who have been living
in Canada for more than three years; and
better retraining and bridging programs for older workers and affordable
childcare to accommodate the family needs of shift workers.
"This is an important study that goes beyond the national employment
numbers and takes a hard look at the struggles workers face in today's
labour market," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "The PMP workers have
showed tremendous courage and resiliency over these past years to
retrain and get back on their feet - like so many other displaced,
older manufacturing workers in Canada. They're doing their part, but
are still worse off. Government officials and policy-makers should pay
close attention to the recommendations provided by these workers -
those who are falling through our country's employment gaps."
The study, An Immigrant All Over Again? Recession, Plant Closures and
[Older] Racialized Immigrant Workers, was funded by Ted Rogers School
of Management's Centre for Labour Management Relations.
About Ryerson University
Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented
education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve
societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its
community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate
programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the
university is home to more than 38,000 students, including 2,300
master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more
than 140,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory
of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the
past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is
Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more
information, visit www.ryerson.ca
About the Canadian Auto Workers union
The Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW-Canada) is one of Canada's largest
labour unions, representing 195,000 members working in nearly every
major sector of the economy.
SOURCE: Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)
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