TD Report: Asia No. 1 Source of Immigrants to Canada, But Share Shrinking

Traditional entrance gate to Montreal’s Chinatown. 63.4 percent of immigrants live in Canada’s three largest metropolitan areas: Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver according to the 2011 National Household Survey (Quinn Dombrowski)

A new TD analysis of the recently released 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) shows Asia is the largest, though shrinking, source of immigrants to Canada.

While 60 percent of immigrants originated in Asia, which includes the Middle East, in 2005, by 2011 that number had declined to 56.9 percent.

The three largest source countries for immigrants were all Asian: the Philippines, China and India. The Philippines saw its immigrant number nearly double from 2005 to 2011, while the share of immigrants from India and China declined, from a combined 27 percent in 2005, to 21 percent in 2011.

Among the major regions, the two that saw the biggest growth since 2005 were the Africa region, and the Caribbean and Central/South America region, which are now the origin of about 25 percent of Canadian immigrants.

The TD analysis also looked at where immigrants are settling. They continue to settle primarily (91 percent) in Canada’s largest 33 metropolitan areas, with the Big Three, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, continuing to lead the way.

The prairie metropolises of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba saw a small increase in their immigrant populations relative to the Big Three, likely as a result of the strong demand for labour seen in these provinces.

A final demographic measure looked at by the TD report was the change in the visible minority component of the Canadian population. The percentage of Canadians classified as visible minorities increased from 16.2 percent in 2005 to 19.1 percent in 2011, according to the NHS.

The three largest visible minority groups are South Asians (which include Indians, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans), at 1.6 million, Chinese, at 1.3 million, and blacks, at 945,000.

70 percent of visible minority immigrants live in one of the three largest metropolises; Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver.

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TD Bank Analysis Finds Even Wage Growth Among Canadian Occupation Groups, Skill Levels

A large increase in construction jobs helped buoy the total employment share and the rate of wage growth of medium skilled jobs in Canada since 1999

A report released on Tuesday and put together by TD Bank’s deputy chief economist finds that wages for Canadian workers have grown at roughly the same pace in all major occupational groupings and skill levels, and the number of high skilled jobs has increased at the expense of low-skilled and medium-skilled jobs.

The findings suggest either that the skills mismatch that has resulted in a severe shortage of workers skilled in the trades has existed for longer than a decade, and has not gotten any worse in the intervening time, or that immigration is increasing the number of skilled tradespeople in Canada at the same pace as demand for trades labour is increasing, or a combination of these two factors.

Unlike in the U.S., wages for medium-skilled workers in Canada have grown at nearly the same rate as those of highly skilled workers, a result that the report attributes to expansion of the energy, mining and construction sectors, which increase demand for well-paid medium skilled jobs.

The report finds that high-skilled jobs increased their share of total employment from 33.4 percent in 1999 to 36.3 percent in 2010, while the employment share of medium and low skilled jobs has declined from 57.3 and 9.3 percent to 54.6 and 9.1 percent over the same period, respectively.

Report author Derek Burleton calls the findings a refutation of common wisdom that wages between high skilled and medium-skilled workers and between tradespeople and other workers are diverging, and proposes more research be done on Canadian labour trends to increase understanding and avoid misconceptions.

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