How Employers Can Help Eliminate the Income Gap for Economic Immigrants in B.C.

It takes economic immigrants five years on average for their income to match or surpass the income of the average British Columbian. However, one year after admission, immigrants in BC who had previously studied or worked in Canada earned more than the average British Columbian. The relative ease immigrants in this admission class have integrating into the local labour demonstrates the disadvantage those without Canadian experience face.

IEC-BC’s programs such as ASCEND and Tech Bootcamps, aim to reduce this discrepancy in ‘Canadian experience’ for program participants by teaching and reinforcing soft skills Canadian employers look for. This ensures participants better understand the expectations of the Canadian workplace and allows for a smoother transition into the Canadian labour market.

In the first year after admission, immigrants admitted under the skilled trade stream earned less than other economic immigration streams. However, newcomers admitted through the skilled trades program their yearly incomes grew much quicker, with an average increase of almost 16% compared to 9% for all immigration categories, surpassing the average British Columbian in four years. The high rate of wage growth demonstrates the employer demand in the skilled trades sector once newcomers are able to restart their careers.

IEC-BC’s FAST program ensures newcomers, such as those in skilled trades, are hired in their preferred sector as quickly as possible, reducing the wage gap as they restart their careers in Canada. The program allows participants to demonstrate prior learning and experience through the competency-based assessment and identify opportunities to fill any gaps before arriving in Canada. This allows participants to integrate into the local labour market quicker with two out of every three landed FAST clients hired in their field 1-4 months after arrival.

Eliminating the wage gap benefits not only newcomers but the Canadian economy as well. As Canada increases its immigration targets, it is imperative that educational institutions, settlement agencies and community groups, as well as employers, work together to eliminate the wage gap, ensuring the economy receives the full benefits of Canada’s immigrant workforce.

All businesses in Canada can support IEC-BC’s work in eliminating the income gap by signing up to become an employer and joining meaningful conversations that shape our country’s labour market landscape.

Opportunities for employers include:

  • Joining our EAG to shape future IEC-BC programs.
  • Hosting a Connections event.
  • Supporting a MentorConnect cohort.

Contact us to learn more. 

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