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Canada's Changing Labour Force, 2006 Census: The provinces and territories

Immigrants in the workforce

Immigrants made up over one-fifth of Canada's labour force in 2006

Of the 17,146,100 people in the labour force in 2006, an estimated 3,634,800 were foreign-born individuals. They accounted for slightly over one-fifth (21.2%) of Canada's total labour force in 2006, up from 19.9% five years ago in 2001.

Employment rates for immigrants and Canadian born increased between 2001 and 2006, particularly in the core working-age group, those aged 25 to 54. The employment rate for core working-age immigrants increased from 76.4% in 2001 to 77.5%. Meanwhile, the employment rate for the core working-age Canadian born increased from 80.9% in 2001 to 82.4% five years later.

The census enumerated 1,110,000 recent immigrants (those who arrived in the country between 2001 and 2006). Of this group of recent immigrants, 636,500, or 57.3%, were in the core working-age group.

The employment rate of core working-age recent immigrants was 67.0% in 2006, up 3.6 percentage points from 63.4% in 2001. This was faster than the gain among their Canadian-born counterparts, causing the gap between their employment rates to shrink from 17.5 percentage points in 2001 to 15.4 percentage points in 2006.

Figure 4 Employment rates of 25- to 54-year-olds by immigrant status and selected census years

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