StatsCan: Official language proficiency and immigrant labour market outcomes: Evidence from test-based multidimensional measures of language skills 

Of interest. Significant difference:

Numerous studies have demonstrated that higher proficiency in the language spoken in the destination country improves immigrant labour market outcomes. However, because of a lack of objective measures of language skills, previous studies have mainly drawn on subjective measures of language proficiency and were confined to the effect of only one dimension or general language skills. This study examines the effects of test-based measures of official language proficiency in four dimensions—listening, speaking, reading and writing—on immigrant employment and earnings. The analysis focuses on economic principal applicants admitted through the Express Entry (EE) system who immigrated to Canada from 2015 to 2018. A self-reported language measure based on self-reported knowledge of official languages at immigration and mother tongue is also examined for comparison. 

The analysis of employment outcomes shows that in the initial years after immigration, test-based language measures in all four dimensions, as well as the self-reported language measure, had little effect on the incidence of employment. The analysis of earnings, however, shows that the predictive power and the marginal effect of each of the four dimensions of test-based language measures were much stronger than those of the self-reported measure, indicating that using the latter can considerably underestimate the effect of language skills on earnings. The four test-based measures of official language skills all had independent positive effects on earnings. Reading tended to have a stronger predictive power and a larger marginal effect than the other three dimensions, but the differences across the four dimensions were generally small. The tested official language skills were as important as pre-immigration Canadian work experience and more important than the educational level and age at immigration in predicting initial earnings of principal applicants admitted under the EE system.

Source: Official language proficiency and immigrant labour market outcomes: Evidence from test-based multidimensional measures of language skills

StatsCan: Housing conditions among racialized groups: A brief overview

Of note:

In response to Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, Statistics Canada’s Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics is releasing a second set of five data tables on social inclusion. Over 20 new indicators, for a total of over 120 indicators, can now be used to examine various socioeconomic facets of racialized Canadians. For more information on the new indicators released today, please see the Note to readers. 

Using data from the 2016 and 2021 censuses, this release presents some indicators of the social inclusion of racialized groups under the theme of basic needs and housing, more specifically, the population in core housing need and the population living in a dwelling owned by one or some members of the household.

Living in acceptable housing can play a key role in the satisfaction within a given community and in the social connections in the neighbourhood. Housing is also an anchor that offers security and access to local and essential services, such as transportation, education services, public facilities and green space for leisure.

For these reasons, housing characteristics, such as core housing need and home ownership, are indicators of social inclusion relevant to developing anti-racism and anti-discrimination policies that aim to improve inclusivity.

The proportion of racialized Canadians in core housing need is on the decline 

The COVID-19 pandemic shook the housing and rental market and, in many ways, redefined the needs for and functions of housing in the world of work, education and health. For some population groups, including racialized groups, finding adequate and suitable housing that is within their budget and meets their space requirements may have been particularly challenging.

The term “core housing need” refers to a household whose dwelling does not meet the threshold of at least one of the housing adequacy, affordability or suitability indicators and that would have to spend at least 30% of its total before-tax income on the median rent of another acceptable dwelling. For more information on the measure of each indicator, see Core housing need in the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021.

Living in core housing need can have a negative impact on a variety of aspects. For example, unaffordable housing can constrain a household’s financial capacity to cover other essential expenses, such as groceries, transportation and clothing, especially for those with lower incomes. Poor housing conditions, such as the need for major repairs and overcrowding (i.e., unsuitable dwelling), can increase the risk of infectious or chronic diseases and injuries and affect children’s development and educational attainment.

In 2021, 11.3% of racialized Canadians lived in a household in core housing need, a decrease of 6.5 percentage points from the 2016 Census.

However, these proportions were higher than those observed in the total population in both the 2016 and 2021 censuses.

Among racialized groups, West Asian, Korean and Arab populations have the highest proportions of people in core housing need 

Among racialized groups, West Asian (19.5%), Korean (18.7%) and Arab (14.9%) Canadians were the most likely to be in core housing need, while Filipino (5.1%), South Asian (9.1%) and Japanese (9.4%) Canadians posted the lowest proportions.

Just as the overall trend, the percentage of each racialized group in core housing need saw a decline from 2016 to 2021. West Asian, Arab, Korean, South Asian and Black Canadians reported the largest declines in percentage points.

These results can be explained in large part by the temporary pandemic income supports, especially for people with lower income. In 2016, the West Asian, Korean and Black racialized groups were among those that posted the lowest average employment income and average weekly earnings of full-time employees. The additional source of income during the pandemic reduced the share of income dedicated to housing cost and contributed to improved housing conditions by allowing some people to live in more affordable housing.

Chart 1  
Racialized groups living in core housing need, by group, 2016 and 2021

Chart 1: Racialized groups living in core housing need, by group, 2016 and 2021

Racialized Canadians who came to Canada as immigrants are more likely to be in core housing need than their non-immigrant counterparts 

One of the factors behind the prevalence of living in core housing need is related to the socioeconomic situation that can be transitory for certain population groups, such as those who were born outside Canada and recently arrived through the immigration process.

Overall, and for most racialized groups, core housing need was higher among individuals who were members of racialized groups and were also immigrants (11.4%) than among their non-immigrant counterparts (9.8%).

In terms of the period of immigration, the gap was larger between immigrants who have established in Canada in the past 10 years (13.2%), from 2011 to 2021, and immigrants who came to the country more than 10 years ago (10.5%).

The Arab, Chinese and West Asian Canadians who have established in Canada in the past 10 years were among the racialized groups that posted the largest differences in percentage points compared with their counterparts who have been in the country for more than 10 years.

Among racialized Canadians who settled in Canada in the past 10 years, West Asian (22.3%), Arab (21.5%) and Chinese (19.4%) people were also among the groups that were most likely to be in core housing need.

The prevalence of living in core housing need is lower in urban centres of Quebec 

The housing conditions of racialized groups varied by census metropolitan area (CMA).

In 2021, among the 10 CMAs with the highest proportion of the racialized population in core housing need, 6 were in Ontario: Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario part) (14.3%), Toronto (14.2%), London (12.4%), Barrie (11.8%), Guelph (10.9%) and St. Catharines–Niagara (10.2%). Conversely, 6 of the 10 CMAs with the lowest proportion of the racialized population living in core housing need were in Quebec. The proportions ranged from 5.5% (Drummondville) to 2.7% (Trois-Rivières). 

Chart 2  
Racialized groups living in core housing need, by census metropolitan areas, 2021

Chart 2: Racialized groups living in core housing need, by census metropolitan areas, 2021

Among racialized groups, Chinese, South Asian and Southeast Asian populations are most likely to live in owner household

In addition to being an investment, home ownership may provide stability and indicate a long-term settlement in a given community. However, it can also constitute a larger financial burden. The 2021 Census results on housing show a decline in the proportion of Canadian households that own their home.

While the racialized population is no exception to this general trend, some groups have remained more likely over time to live in a dwelling owned by one or some members of the household.

In 2021, among racialized groups, Chinese (84.5%), Southeast Asian (71.9%) and South Asian (70.3%) populations had the highest proportions of home ownership.

In contrast, the Black (45.2%), Arab (48.0%) and Latin American (48.6%) populations were least likely to live in a dwelling owned by one or some members of the household. For the total Canadian population, the proportion was 71.9% in 2021.

Chart 3  
Racialized groups living in a dwelling owned by one or some members of their household, by group, 2016 and 2021

Chart 3: Racialized groups living in a dwelling owned by one or some members of their household, by group, 2016 and 2021

Looking ahead 

The indicators published today complement those currently available in the Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics Hub. They are part of a broader conceptual framework that covers a total of 11 themes for the analysis of the social inclusion of racialized groups. These themes are participation in the labour market, representation in decision-making positions, civic engagement and political participation, basic needs and housing, health and well-being, education and skills development, income and wealth, social connections and personal networks, local community, public services and institutions, and discrimination and victimization.

Statistics Canada will continue to update the indicators using the latest available data. The currently available tables are based on the 2006 and the 2016 censuses, 2011 National Household Survey, 2021 Canadian Housing Survey, 2021 Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, 2020 Canadian Community Health Survey, 2020 General Social Survey – Social Identity and 2019 General Social Survey – Victimization. 

Source: Housing conditions among racialized groups: A brief overview

The Canadian census: A rich portrait of the country’s religious and ethnocultural diversity

More highlights from the StatsCan daily:

More than 450 ethnic or cultural origins were reported in the 2021 Census. The top origins reported by Canada’s population, alone or with other origins, were “Canadian” (5.7 million people), “English” (5.3 million), “Irish” (4.4 million), “Scottish” (4.4 million) and “French” (4.0 million).

In 2021, over 19.3 million people reported a Christian religion, representing just over half of the Canadian population (53.3%). However, this proportion is down from 67.3% in 2011 and 77.1% in 2001.

Approximately 12.6 million people, or more than one-third of Canada’s population, reported having no religious affiliation. The proportion of this population has more than doubled in 20 years, going from 16.5% in 2001 to 34.6% in 2021.

While small, the proportion of Canada’s population who reported being Muslim, Hindu or Sikh has more than doubled in 20 years. From 2001 to 2021, these shares rose from 2.0% to 4.9% for Muslims, from 1.0% to 2.3% for Hindus and from 0.9% to 2.1% for Sikhs.

Racialized groups in Canada are all experiencing growth. In 2021, South Asian (7.1%), Chinese (4.7%) and Black (4.3%) people together represented 16.1% of Canada’s total population.

The portrait of racialized groups varies across regions. For example, the South Asian, Chinese and Black populations are the largest groups in Ontario, while the largest groups are Black and Arab people in Quebec, Chinese and South Asians in British Columbia, and South Asians and Filipinos in the Prairies.

Source: The Canadian census: A rich portrait of the country’s religious and ethnocultural diversity

Immigrants make up the largest share of the population in over 150 years and continue to shape who we are as Canadians

Highlights from StatsCan on the 2021 Census (starting to work though the data tables for further analysis):

Almost one in four people (23.0%) counted during the 2021 Census are or have been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada. This was the highest proportion since Confederation, topping the previous record of 22.3% in 1921, and the largest proportion among G7 countries.

Just over 1.3 million new immigrants settled permanently in Canada from 2016 to 2021, the highest number of recent immigrants recorded in a Canadian census.

The share of recent immigrants settling in Atlantic Canada almost tripled in 15 years, rising from 1.2% in 2006 to 3.5% in 2021.

Over half of recent immigrants living in Canada were admitted under the economic category. Of these 748,120 economic immigrants, just over one-third (34.5%) were selected through skilled worker programs and another one-third (33.6%) through the Provincial Nominee Program.

The proportion of immigrants who first came to Canada temporarily on work or study permits or as asylum claimants before being admitted as permanent residents was especially high among recent immigrants who settled since 2016 (36.6%).

Asia, including the Middle East, remained the continent of birth for most recent immigrants (62.0%).

Almost one in five recent immigrants (18.6%) were born in India, making it the leading country of birth for recent immigration to Canada.

In contrast, the share of recent immigrants from Europe continued to decline, falling from 61.6% in 1971 to 10.1% in 2021.

The vast majority (92.7%) of recent immigrants are able to conduct a conversation in either English or French.

The share of second-generation Canadians (children of immigrants) younger than 15 years with at least one foreign-born parent rose from 26.7% in 2011 to 31.5% in 2021.

Source: Immigrants make up the largest share of the population in over 150 years and continue to shape who we are as Canadians

Visible Minority Students and Professorial Time Use

Interesting notes on methodology and the opportunities:

Unfortunately, I’m not here to announce that Canada has overtaken Nigeria or Burkina Faso for the time it takes to release national-level enrolment data (we still lag, sadly).  But the only national statistical agency we have has still managed to put out a couple of interesting pieces of interest to higher education over the last few months.  Together they make a neat little post.

Let’s start with the Profile of Canadian graduates at the bachelor level belonging to a group designated as a visible minority, 2014 to 2017 cohorts, by Sylvie Brunet and Diane Galarneau.  This is a fascinating piece, but also, as I will show in a moment, because it shows all the amazing stuff that StatsCan is capable of producing through new data-matching techniques but is choosing not to.

So, the data first: among other things, the authors show that:

a) students belonging to a group designated as a visible minority made up about 30% of all graduates of Canadian universities between 2014 and 2017– a figure which mostly lines up with previous estimates from the Canadian Undergraduate Survey Consortium which suggested that 25% of incoming students in 2010 and 36% in 2013 were self-identified visible minority.

b) visible minority students as a whole are slightly overrepresented in the graduate population compared to non-visible minorities, but this is not true of all individual ethnicities in the sample (tl;dr Chinese students are significantly over-represented, others much less so).

c) visible minority students – especially those of Chinese origin – are somewhat more likely than non-visible minorities to be enrolled either in business or STEM programs – but this effect appears to be more pronounced among female rather than male students. 

d) visible minority students were much less likely to be living apart from their parents than were non-visible minority students.

e) Black, Arab and Latin American students were much more likely to have children of their own than were non-visible minority students or other visible minorities.

Not earth-shattering, but interesting.  There is some pretty cool methodology in here, which identifies students’ ethnicities by linking their record-level student data with data from the 2016 census, and their financial status by linking to the T1FF tax file.  In fact, it is so interesting that one must ask: why in the hell isn’t StatsCan using this data more regularly and to better effect?

For instance, using exactly this technique, one could report on the ethnic composition of the student body, nationally and by province, annually.  This is data we currently do not have, but apparently now it is possible to generate.  So why don’t we?  Similarly – and MUCH more importantly – the link to the T1FF means that it should be possible to identify incoming students every year and compare their parents income to the incomes of all families with kids aged 18.  That would allow us to annually monitor not only the extent to which the student body is economically representative of the population as a whole (nationally and in each province) but also stratification between institutional types and even among fields of study.

Technically, StatsCan has opened a gold mine with these linkage techniques, but they have yet to make these crucial links. The potential for genuinely useful data to drive accountability agendas in higher education is immense, and they are just sitting on it.  It’s kind of mind-bending.

Anyways, on to the second piece from StatsCan, which is a data release from a couple of years ago that somehow slipped my notice.  Every decade or so, StatsCan asks professors how they use their time.  Believe it or not, they do this solely to derive a largely fictious number for international comparison: namely, to derive how much of the national research enterprise is “paid for” by the higher education sector (as opposed to the government sector or the private sector).  Basically, this number is calculated by multiplying professors’ salaries by the fraction of the time they claim to spend on research, and you can’t do that without knowing anything about time-allocation, so…

Figure 1 shows average hours per week spent by university professors on four different types of activities: teaching (in-class), teaching (outside the class), research, and service/administration (which includes everything from committee work to reviewing articles for journals.  Basically, it shows a profession that works a few more hours per week than other professions, on average, but not inordinately so (46 hours per week).  Remember: this is a self-report survey by professors, so if you disagree with what’s shown here, blame your fellow profs (though, to be fair, my guess is that had they split out some categories to include more specific categories on things like “keeping up with the literature”, the numbers probably would have been higher). 

Figure 1: Hours per Week, by Task, Full-Time Professors, 2019

This data shows us that professors work consistent hours across a range of factors.  There are not huge differences based on sex, disability, or visible minority status.  Even between professors in STEM fields and those not in STEM fields, the difference is only about two hours per week less on teaching and eight hours per week more on research than their colleagues in other fields.  The most significant gap listed here is between Indigenous and non-Indigenous profs, but I suspect the difference is at least partially accounted for by not accounting specifically for work in the community. 

(There is also data in this release for college teachers, but frankly it is much less interesting: they work about twice the teaching hours as university staff, 20% of the research hours and 60% of the admin hours for, in total, a work week which is about five hours shorter, on average, than that of university instructors).

Anyways, there you have it.  A national statistical agency which is by turns utterly infuriating yet technically skilled and occasionally illuminating.   


StatsCan: While English and French are still the main languages spoken in Canada, the country’s linguistic diversity continues to grow

Of note, if not unexpected given immigration impact:

English is the first official language spoken by just over three in four Canadians. This proportion increased from 74.8% in 2016 to 75.5% in 2021.

French is the first official language spoken by an increasing number of Canadians, but the proportion fell from 22.2% in 2016 to 21.4% in 2021.

From 2016 to 2021, the number of Canadians who spoke predominantly French at home rose in Quebec, British Columbia and Yukon, but decreased in the other provinces and territories.

The proportion of Canadians who spoke predominantly French at home decreased in all the provinces and territories, except Yukon.

For the first time in the census, the number of people in Quebec whose first official language spoken is English topped 1 million and their proportion of the population rose from 12.0% in 2016 to 13.0% in 2021. Moreover, 7 in 10 English speakers lived on Montréal Island or in Montérégie. 

The proportion of bilingual English-French Canadians (18.0%) remained virtually unchanged from 2016. From 2016 to 2021, the increase in the bilingualism rate in Quebec (from 44.5% to 46.4%) offset the decrease observed outside Quebec (from 9.8% to 9.5%). 

In Canada, 4 in 10 people could conduct a conversation in more than one language. This proportion rose from 39.0% in 2016 to 41.2% in 2021. In addition, 1 in 11 could speak three or more languages. 

In 2021, one in four Canadians had at least one mother tongue other than English or French, and one in eight Canadians spoke predominantly a language other than English or French at home—both the highest proportions on record.

The number of Canadians who spoke predominantly a South Asian language such as Gujarati, Punjabi, Hindi or Malayalam at home grew significantly from 2016 to 2021, an increase fuelled by immigration. In fact, the growth rate of the population speaking one of these languages was at least eight times larger than that of the overall Canadian population during this period.

In contrast, there was a decline in the number of Canadians who spoke predominantly certain European languages at home, such as Italian, Polish and Greek.

Aside from English and French, Mandarin and Punjabi were the country’s most widely spoken languages. In 2021, more than half a million Canadians spoke predominantly Mandarin at home and more than half a million spoke Punjabi.

Among Canadians whose mother tongue is neither English nor French, 7 in 10 spoke an official language at home at least on a regular basis. 

In 2021, 189,000 people reported having at least one Indigenous mother tongue and 183,000 reported speaking an Indigenous language at home at least on a regular basis. Cree languages and Inuktitut are the main Indigenous languages spoken in Canada.

Among individuals with an Indigenous mother tongue, four out of five spoke that language at home at least on a regular basis, and half spoke it predominantly.

Source: While English and French are still the main languages spoken in Canada, the country’s linguistic diversity continues to grow

Police-reported hate-motivated crime rises sharply for second year in a row

Latest numbers by StatsCan, showing particularly high increase in 2021 of religiously motivated hate crimes, with biggest relative increase for Catholics, likely due to the discovery of unmarked graves. In terms of ethnicity motivated, the rise of anti East and SE Asian hate crimes during pandemic stands out:

The number of police-reported hate-motivated crimes in Canada increased by 27%, up from 2,646 incidents in 2020 to 3,360 in 2021. This follows a 36% increase in 2020. In total, the number of police-reported hate crimes rose 72% from 2019 to 2021. Higher numbers of hate-motivated crimes targeting religion (+67%; 884 incidents), sexual orientation (+64%; 423 incidents) and race or ethnicity (+6%; 1,723 incidents) accounted for the majority of the increase. All provinces and territories reported increases in the number of hate crimes in 2021, except for Yukon, where it remained the same.

Police data on hate crimes reflect only those incidents that come to the attention of police and that are subsequently classified as hate crimes. As a result, fluctuations in the number of reported incidents may be attributable to a true change in the volume of hate crimes, but they might also reflect changes in reporting by the public because of increased community outreach by police or heightened sensitivity after high-profile events. Reporting may also be influenced by language barriers, issues of trust or confidence in the police, or fear of further victimization or stigma.

Source: Police-reported hate-motivated crime rises sharply for second year in a row


The head of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is calling for action to combat hate and more federal help for victims, as new statistics show that hate crimes in Canada rose by 27 per cent last year. 

Executive director Mohammed Hashim warned that unless action is taken to combat hate-motivated abuse, including online, it will continue to spread.

He said the “slew of hate” online is so prevalent it risks becoming normalized and those affected are changing their behaviour to deal with it, including by not reading social media comments.

“It is a firehose of hate that is growing, honestly, like a wildfire,” he said. “And unmitigated it will grow even further to a point where we will normalize being in a wildfire.

“That is because we have left this environment unchecked.”

Statistics Canada reported a dramatic increase in hate crimes in 2021. Last year, the number of hate-motivated crimes reported to the police rose to 3,360 incidents from 2,646 in 2020. This followed a 36 per cent rise in 2020. 

In total, the number of hate-motivated crimes recorded by the police has gone up 72 per cent since 2019, according to the agency. 

Four Muslim Canadians from the same family were killed in June last year when a man rammed a truck into them in London, Ont. Police have said the attack was motivated by Islamophobia.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said the figures are “further evidence of the alarming and unacceptable rise of hate that marginalized communities have experienced in recent years.”

Mendicino said the federal government is taking action on a variety of fronts, led by new legislation to tackle the rise of hate speech and hate crimes.

“We will not rest until all Canadians feel safe in their communities,” he added. 

A report by the race relations foundation, published Tuesday, calls for greater federal help for victims of hate, many of whom do not qualify for financial compensation because their abuse does not count as a crime.

Hashim warned that “not supporting victims and leaving hate to proliferate freely disintegrates Canadian multiculturalism as a whole and a sense of collective belonging to this nation.”

Hate-motivated crimes targeting a person’s religious affiliation were up 67 per cent last year, according to Statistics Canada. Crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation were up 64 per cent year over year. Another 1,723 recorded incidents targeted a person’s race or ethnicity, a six per cent increase, and together these categories made up the majority of the overall rise.

Marvin Rotrand of B’nai Brith Canada said Jews were the No. 1 target of hate crimes aimed at religious minorities. 

“All Canadians should be worried about the alarming explosion of hate crimes witnessed in 2021,” Rotrand said. “Our community comprises 1.25 per cent of the Canadian population but were the victims of 56 per cent of hate crimes aimed at religious minorities. That is more than all other religious groups combined.”

Shimon Koffler Fogel, president and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said incidents targeting the Jewish community have risen by 47 per cent since 2020.

“Statistically, Canadian Jews were more than 10 times more likely than any other Canadian religious minority to report being the target of a hate crime,” he said.

All provinces and territories reported increases in the number of hate crimes in 2021, except for Yukon, where the numbers remained the same.

Hashim, who regularly tours the country speaking to victims of hate as well as community groups and police forces, said more focus must be put on victims. He said young women are facing huge amounts of abuse online, particularly young Black women. 

“Right now we talk a lot about hate crime statistics, how police are dealing with it or not dealing with it, being reported or not being reported,” he said. “What we are constantly missing is what is the effect on victims.”

The Department of Canadian Heritage is working on drafting an online hate bill to set up a framework to combat abuse online.

A previous anti-hate bill, introduced at the tail end of the last Parliament, died when the election was called. 

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez appointed an expert panel to make suggestions for a future bill, including faster takedown obligations on platforms, in particular over child pornography.

During a consultation by the federal government last year, some minority groups raised concerns about directly involving the police to combat hate speech online.

Hashim warned against “digital carding” and a mass trawl of content online. He acknowledged there is concern about whether police should be able to access all takedown materials for investigative purposes.

“I don’t think that is the proper way of doing online safety. There need to be checks and balances between how much information is accessible to the police. That is why we have warrants,” he said.

“Just creating open access for all police, for all takedown data, for all social media platforms is overkill in my opinion.” 

The report commissioned by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and written by PricewaterhouseCoopers, said 80 per cent of hate crimes go unreported each year.

The report recommends Canada mirror Germany’s model for supporting victims of hate with millions of dollars of funding for community groups, which people who encounter hate “instinctively” reach out to, as well as a further victims fund. 

It says the government’s current compensation schemes exclude many victims of hate because few hate-motivated acts are designated as criminal.

The report also suggests the government establish an emergency response fund for communities hit by hate attacks on a large scale, as well as a central national support hub for victims.

Source: Race relations foundation urges more help for victims as hate crimes rise further

StatsCan Study: The religiosity of Canadians and the COVID-19 pandemic

Of interest, both the overall trend and the differences between different religious groups. Can’t wait for the October release and opportunities for deeper analysis:

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on many aspects of Canadian life, including religion. In particular, the risks associated with the virus, as well as physical distancing measures, have limited access to places of worship. Many religious organizations have offered the option to attend religious services online. Although the pandemic has made group worship difficult, some surveys conducted by private firms have suggested that it has led to an increase in prayer or a strengthening of faith.

Using data from several cycles of the General Social Survey, a new study released today examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the religiosity of Canadians. Specifically, it analyzes changes in rates of religious affiliation, frequency of participation in religious activities on a group or individual basis, and involvement with religious organizations from 2015 to 2020.

The study found a decrease in group religious participation from 2019 (pre-pandemic) to 2020 (start of the pandemic). In the general population, the percentage of people who participated in a religious group activity in the previous year fell from 47% in 2019 to 40% in 2020.

The study also found that the impact of the pandemic on participation in religious group activities was greater for some religious groups. For example, the proportion of people who had participated in a religious group activity in the previous year fell more sharply than average among Buddhists (from 74% in 2019 to 50% in 2020) and Muslims (from 71% to 57%). This proportion fell from 60% to 53% among Christian-affiliated groups, from 75% to 67% among Jewish people, and from 78% to 70% among Hindus.

Finally, the data revealed that, overall, the pandemic had no measurable effect on the frequency of individual religious or spiritual activities (e.g., prayer, meditation, etc.). Similarly, it did not appear to have affected self-reported religious affiliation.

On October 26, new data from the 2021 Census will provide a more detailed picture of the diversity of religious affiliation groups in Canada and of the people that form them.

Source: Study: The religiosity of Canadians and the COVID-19 pandemic

Longitudinal Immigration Database: Immigrants’ income trajectories during the initial years since admission

Usual useful analysis by StatsCan, in particular the highlighting of how two-step immigration is resulting in stronger economic outcomes for the economic class:

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of Canadian immigrants in many ways. To assess these impacts, it is important to know where Canadian immigrants stood economically right before the outbreak of the pandemic. Based on the latest available data from the 2020 Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB), the present article serves this goal by focusing on immigrant wages in recent years, including 2019. This will provide a baseline for comparison once data for 2020 are available.

Immigrants admitted to Canada in 2018 had a median wage of $31,900 in 2019. This was 4.2% higher than the median entry wage of immigrants admitted in 2017 ($30,600). In fact, immigrants admitted in 2018 had the highest median entry wage, reported one year after admission, among all immigrants admitted since 1981. Despite that, their median wage was still 17.8% lower than the 2019 median wage of the total Canadian population ($38,800).

Compared with those admitted in 2017, immigrants admitted in 2018 experienced median entry wage increases in all provinces, except Alberta, and Newfoundland and Labrador. A closer look by immigration category and pre-admission experience sheds light on differences among various groups of immigrants admitted in 2018, compared with their counterparts admitted in 2017 as well as the Canadian population in corresponding years.

Median wage of economic immigrant principal applicants surpasses that of the Canadian population one year after admission 

Principal applicants of economic categories are selected for their ability to be integrated into the Canadian labour market and to contribute to the economy. Most of them have post-secondary education and knowledge of at least one official language. Immigrants admitted under those categories in 2018 had a median wage of $43,600 in 2019, 12.4% higher than the Canadian median wage in the same year ($38,800) and 3.8% higher than the median entry wage of their counterparts admitted in 2017 ($42,000).

While the median wage of economic principal applicants surpassed that of the Canadian population one year after admission, those of all other immigrants were still less than the Canadian median wage.

The median entry wage of economic immigrant dependents admitted in 2018, spouses included, was $27,600. While lower than the 2019 Canadian median wage, this number was 7.0% higher than that of their counterparts admitted in 2017 ($25,800).

There was no change in the median entry wage between family sponsored immigrants admitted in 2017 and 2018 ($24,500). The median entry wage of refugees ($19,200) was the lowest among immigrants admitted in 2018, though it was 2.7% higher compared with that of their counterparts admitted in 2017 ($18,700).

Economic principal applicants are selected on the basis of their education, specific skills and work experience. The vast majority (96.1%) of immigrant taxfilers admitted under this category in 2018 had completed some post-secondary education at the time of their admission. Economic principal applicants are also more likely to have pre-admission experience in Canada. Among those admitted under this category in 2018, almost two-thirds (64.5%) of them had pre-admission experience in Canada, in contrast with their counterparts admitted as refugees (33.3%), through family sponsorship (32.7%), or as dependents of economic immigrants (32.6%).

Pre-admission experience in Canada, particularly work-related, plays an important role in lifting immigrants’ wages, as it provides a pathway for immigrants to acquire language skills and knowledge of the Canadian labour market. Immigrant taxfilers having both study and work permits prior to immigration obtained the highest median wage one year after admission, both for those admitted in 2017 ($44,900) and in 2018 ($44,600). Immigrants only having work permits prior to immigration obtained the second highest median wage one year after admission ($39,900 for those admitted in 2017 and $39,300 for the 2018 admission cohort). Immigrants admitted with pre-admission work-related experience in 2017 and 2018 already had median wages higher than those of the Canadian population in 2018 ($38,200) and 2019 ($38,800), respectively.

Immigrants without pre-admission experience had lower median entry wages than immigrants with Canadian work experience prior to their admission. Their median entry wage was $23,100 for those admitted in 2017 and $25,700 for those admitted in 2018.

Among immigrants with pre-admission experience in Canada, those with study permits only prior to admission had the lowest median entry wages in 2018 ($14,400) and 2019 ($15,100). However, this group of immigrants is on average younger than their counterparts in all other groups, and therefore has a strong potential to increase their earnings as their careers unfold in the Canadian labour market. Furthermore, they are also more likely to have part-time jobs; information about whether or not their employment was full-time, full-year is unavailable.

Chart 1  
Median entry wage of immigrants admitted in 2017 and 2018, by pre-admission experience

Chart 1: Median entry wage of immigrants admitted in 2017 and 2018, by pre-admission experience

Median wages increase over time with different outcomes for men and women according to their immigration category

When tracking changes over time, a focus on immigrant men and women admitted at age 18 or older in 2009 shows that median wages increased across all immigration categories and for both men and women from 2010 to 2019. However, such increases benefited immigrant men and women differently.

Both economic principal applicant men and women admitted in 2009 had median wages far above those of their counterparts in all other categories throughout the 10-year period. The median wage of men nearly doubled, from $32,500 in 2010 to $62,300 in 2019, with an average annual increase rate of 10.2%. The median wage of their woman counterparts nearly doubled as well, from $24,500 to $44,900 over the same period, with an average 9.3% annual increase. Among economic principal applicants, women’s median wage started lower than men’s and men’s median wage increased faster than women’s. As a result, the median wage gap widened between men and women over time in favour of men.

The opposite pattern is observed among all other immigration categories. Although women’s median wage was even lower than men’s within each of those categories, it increased faster than men’s. During the 10-year observational period, men’s median wage increased among economic dependents, refugees, and family sponsored immigrants with average annual increase rates of 11.9%, 10.2% and 10.0%, respectively. The average annual rates of increase for women were 15.4%, 14.4% and 13.1%, respectively, for economic dependents, refugees and family sponsored immigrants. With women’s higher increase rates of their median wages, the median wage gap narrowed between men and women within each of those immigration categories over time in favour of women.

Chart 2  
Median wage of immigrant men admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019 

Chart 2: Median wage of immigrant men admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Chart 3  
Median wage of immigrant women admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Chart 3: Median wage of immigrant women admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Pay ratio of immigrant women versus men increases over time for all immigration categories except economic principal applicants

Pay disparity between women and men is an important social, economic, and political issue. As immigration aims to respond to Canada’s need for labour supply, the gender parity and successful settlement of women in the labour market is key to achieving Canada’s objectives. To measure the median gender pay ratio, the median annual wages, salaries and commissions of women were divided by the median annual wages, salaries and commissions of men.

From 2010 to 2019, the gender pay ratio for Canadians increased from 67.9% to 72.6%. Among immigrants admitted as adults in 2009, the gender pay ratio followed a similar pattern: 65.5% in 2010 compared with 69.6% in 2019. The gender pay ratio, however, differed by immigration category during this period.

The increasing gender pay ratio was seen in all immigration categories, except economic principal applicants. From 2010 to 2019, the gender pay ratio increased from 57.2% to 65.5% among family sponsored immigrants, from 65.4% to 75.1% among dependents of economic immigrants, and from 63.5% to 75.9% among refugees.

For economic principal applicants, however, the gender pay ratio slightly decreased from 75.4% in 2010 to 72.1% in 2019. Further analysis would be required to understand the reasons behind this trend.

Chart 4  
Median pay ratio of immigrant women versus men admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Chart 4: Median pay ratio of immigrant women versus men admitted in 2009 by immigration category, 2010 to 2019

Within immigration categories, the wage gap between women and men decreased overtime, except for economic principal applicants. Although the median wage of economic principal applicant women increased greatly over time, their man counterparts had a larger increase, resulting in a widening of the median wage gap between immigrant women and men.

This article is the first part of a two-part series about recent immigrants’ outcomes using data from the Longitudinal Immigration Database. The second part will discuss immigrants’ mobility.


Study: Religiosity in Canada and its evolution from 1985 to 2019

Interesting findings from the GSS. Census 2021 will include religious affiliation data which will allow for detailed socio-economic analysis:

A new study finds that Canada’s religious landscape has undergone significant changes in recent decades, including a decline in religious affiliation and a decrease in participation in individual and group religious activities.

The study “Religiosity in Canada and its evolution from 1985 to 2019” uses data from the General Social Survey to profile different patterns of religiosity in Canada and examine how they have changed since 1985.

A clearer understanding of how Canadians’ relationships with religion have evolved provides better insight into the country’s cultural and social history of the country and the diversity of today’s population. New data from the 2021 Census will soon update the portrait of religious diversity in Canada by providing detailed information on religious affiliations and the people with these affiliations.

Around two-thirds of Canadians report having a religious affiliation

In 2019, just over two-thirds (68%) of the Canadian population reported having a religious affiliation, and over half (54%) said their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important to the way they live their lives. 

More than one-third of Canadians (37%) reported engaging in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a month, and almost one-quarter (23%) reported participating in a group religious activity at least once a month in the previous year. 

Women were more likely than men to report having a religious affiliation (72% compared with 64%) or to consider their religious or spiritual beliefs somewhat or very important to how they live their lives (61% vs. 47%). They were also more likely than men to participate in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a week (36% vs. 24%) and in group religious activities at least once a month (26% compared with 21%). The same types of results are found by gender and age. Women are more likely than men to report having a religious affiliation, to participate in group or individual religious or spiritual activities, and to place a high value on their religious or spiritual beliefs, regardless of age.

Dynamics vary across regions

The diversity of regional dynamics has long been a fundamental characteristic of Canada’s religious landscape. For example, high proportions of non-affiliation have distinguished British Columbia for several decades and still characterize the province, with 40% of the population reporting no religious affiliation from 2017 to 2019.

In Quebec, religious affiliation is relatively high. However, more often than elsewhere, it goes hand in hand with low importance given to religious or spiritual beliefs. From 2017 to 2019, 40% of Quebec residents reported both a religious affiliation and low importance of religious or spiritual beliefs, compared with 15% to 25% in other provinces.

Trends in religion in the Atlantic provinces have generally been more stable than in other regions, particularly with respect to religious affiliation. However, the most recent data show particularly sharp contrasts between generations, suggesting that significant changes in the religious landscape have begun in these provinces. For example, from 2017 to 2019, those born between 1940 and 1959 were twice as likely to report both having a religious affiliation and considering their religious or spiritual beliefs somewhat or very important (74%) than those born between 1980 and 1999 (37%).

Participation in religious activities varies widely across religious affiliations 

Among those who reported having a religious affiliation between 2017 and 2019, nearly one-third (32%) had participated in group religious activities at least once a month. However, the frequency of participation in religious activities varied widely across religious affiliations.

For example, a majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses (86%), Latter Day Saints (80%) and Anabaptists (75%) participated in group religious activities monthly. In contrast, Buddhists (15%), Anglicans (19%) and those affiliated with the United Church (19%) had proportions of monthly group participation well below average.

There is also some variation in the importance given to religious beliefs by religious affiliation. Nevertheless, a majority of people of each affiliation reported that their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important, ranging from 62% for Catholics to 98% for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Declines in religious affiliation and participation in religious activities

Both religious affiliation and frequency of participation in group religious activities have trended downward in recent decades. For example, the share of people who reported having a religious affiliation fell from 90% in 1985 to 68% in 2019. Meanwhile, the share of those who attended a group religious activity at least once a month fell by almost half, from 43% to 23% over the same period.

Similar trends were also observed with respect to the practice of individual religious or spiritual activities and the importance given to religious and spiritual beliefs. For example, in 2003, 71% of people reported that their religious or spiritual beliefs were somewhat or very important, compared with 54% in 2019. Finally, the proportion of people who engaged in religious or spiritual activities on their own at least once a week fell from 46% in 2006 to 30% in 2019.

Chart 1  
Evolution of the different religiosity indicators, 1985 to 2019

Chart 1: Evolution of the different religiosity indicators, 1985 to 2019

Religious affiliation and participation are less common among younger generations

In general, recent generations were less likely than the generations that came before them to report a religious affiliation, to participate in group or individual religious activities, or to place a high value on religious and spiritual beliefs in how they live their lives.

For example, at the same age, when they were 20 to 30 years old, those born between 1960 and 1969 were significantly more likely to report a religious affiliation (82%) than those born between 1990 and 1999 (54%). They were also more likely to participate in group religious activities (24%) than their counterparts born between 1990 and 1999 (14%). Similar trends were also observed for participation in individual religious or spiritual activities and the importance of religious beliefs.

The succession of generations displaying these forms of religiosity less and less often accounts for much of the decline in religious affiliation, practices and importance among the Canadian population over the past few decades.

In terms of religiosity, people born outside Canada differ more from those born in Canada among the younger generations

In general, people born outside Canada are more likely than those born in Canada to report a religious affiliation, to consider their religious and spiritual beliefs important to how they live their lives, and to participate in group or individual religious activities. However, this difference is more pronounced among members of younger generations.

For example, among those born between 1980 and 1999, those born outside Canada were much more likely than those born in Canada to report a religious affiliation (71% vs. 59%) or to consider their religious beliefs to be somewhat or very important (62% compared with 39%). In comparison, those born outside Canada between 1940 and 1959 were about as likely as their Canadian-born counterparts to report a religious affiliation (85% vs. 87%) and only slightly more likely to consider their religious beliefs to be somewhat or very important (74% compared with 66%).

Given that immigration is an important factor in Canada’s population growth, these trends could have an impact on the evolution of the various religiosity indicators examined in this study.

In addition, information from the 2021 Census will soon provide an updated picture of religious diversity in Canada. This information will provide a more detailed picture of religious affiliations and the people with these affiliations.