This infographic by the Wellesley Institute on Shadow Economies demonstrates the challenge of unregulated employment for new immigrants who live in Toronto. The infographic is based on Shadow Economies report, which included analysis of 450 interviews in Toronto.

Almost half of those interviewed reported depression in the last month, and stress related to their finances.

Those who work in informal labour agreements may lack the safety granted through labour laws, as well as minimum wage. This meant that workers were regularly not aware of employment rights such as vacation pay and worker’s compensation. When people learned about these rights, over half found that reporting them would result in a risk to their employment.

Almost 3 out of 4 individuals interviewed (or 71%), earned under $30,000 annually, while 57% of recent immigrants earned under $10,000 annually. Almost 2 out of 3 households earn under $30,000 annually.

Housing affordability and low vacancy rates coupled with precarious employment has made it more difficult for some households to live in safe housing conditions.

Even for those who work in formal labour industries, the lack of “Canadian experience” can be a challenge when looking for employment, even with comparable foreign credentials. This means that valuable professional experience is being ignored, forcing people to work for lower wages or in unrelated fields.

Precarious employment lacks the security and benefits formerly associated with labour practices (PEPSO). In a world that is shifting away from employment with benefits, towards more precarious forms of employments, individuals and families are potentially left without the security of living wages and health provisions.

The changes to employment standards are troubling. When we consider the rising cost of housing, new immigrants continue to be at risk of homelessness. In Toronto’s 2013 Street Needs Assessment, 30% of those in family shelters reported having recently arrived from another country.