Census results indicate that immigrants are more likely to live in poverty than non-immigrants in Canada. In 2016, 36% of new immigrants and refugees were living in poverty. Immigrants living in poverty are more likely to be young, married, highly educated, and unemployed (Government of Canada, 2013).
The employment rate for immigrants has steadily increased since 2013. However, immigrant unemployment rates for people who have lived in Canada for 5 years or less (10.4%) is still found to be significantly more than for born Canadians (6.2%). While fewer immigrants remain unemployed after 5 or more years, unemployment rates are still found to be higher (7.2%) than the national average (Statistics Canada, 2017). Only immigrants who have been in Canada for 10 years or more have an unemployment rate that is close to the overall national average (Statistics Canada, 2017).
Unfortunately for many new immigrants in Canada, poverty may be a “transient and inevitable part of the resettlement process” (Beiser, Hou, Hyman, & Tousignant, 2002). Many factors influence this likelihood such as the immigrant’s knowledge of French or English, level of accreditation of education, and social network in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2015). While new immigrants may have valuable assets and supports such as “intrafamilial ties and supportive communities” that could impact their likelihood of living in poverty, many new immigrants enter into a cycle of poverty due to unemployment, isolation, and unaccredited education (Beiser et. al, 2002).
While many services provide language training to reduce the likelihood of poverty for new immigrants, a study by Kaida (2013) suggests that language learning only reduces the likelihood for highly educated immigrants. A study by Caidi (2005) suggests that access to information and services is integral to the success and integration of immigrants. It is therefore important for information services to collaborate with immigrant service providers to direct programs and supports according to the real needs, feedback, and experiences of immigrants. This would ultimately increase accessibility, use, and effectiveness of services aimed at helping newcomers integrate and succeed (Caidi & Allard, 2005).