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Community Dispatch - An InfoFax of the Halton Social Planning Council & Volunteer Centre

March 2001


A Social Profile of the Halton Visible Minority Population is a technical report that provides information on the Halton visible minority population . The report speaks to the capacity of visible minority workers to find and keep jobs. The report identifies and specifies the socio-economic and labour market characteristics of the visible minority population in Halton and describes some of the barriers that visible minorities experience in finding employment.

Overview

The Halton visible minority population is young and highly educated, younger and better educated than the non-visible minority population. Compared to Ontario visible minorities, Halton visible minorities are likely to have been in Canada for a longer period of time and more likely to speak English at home. Employment and income outcomes are good. While median employment income is less than that of non-visible minorities in Halton, visible minorities fare significantly better than Ontario visible minorities. South Asians make up a higher proportion of the visible minority population in Halton than in Ontario while Chinese and Blacks make up slightly less.

Summary Profile of Visible Minority Population in Halton

Oakville has the largest visible minority population in Halton. The Oakville visible minority population is less likely to have been born in Canada than the population in the rest of Halton, as well as less likely to speak English at home, more likely to have a university degree and to be employed. Median employment income is higher than visible minorities living in Burlington or North Halton.

Burlington's visible minority population is slightly older than Oakville's, less likely to be South Asian, more likely to have been born in Canada, less educated and more likely to be employed. Median employment incomes for visible minorities in Burlington are similar to that of visible minorities in Milton and significantly lower than that of those living in Oakville or Halton Hills.

In North Halton, there are significant differences between visible minorities in Halton Hills and Milton when it comes to education and employment and income outcomes. Visible minorities in Halton Hills are significantly more likely to have a university degree, and to be employed than those living in Milton and the median employment income is significantly higher for visible minorities living in Halton Hills, than in Milton.

Who Are the Visible Minority Groups in Halton?

South Asians are the largest visible minority group in Halton with a young well-educated population, most likely to be living in Oakville. More than 1/3 of the South Asian population was born in Canada with another 1/3 arriving in Canada prior to 1980, indicating a population which is generally well settled. Labour force participation and employment rates are relatively high, while median income is in the middle for visible minority groups in Halton. The next two largest groups in Halton are the Chinese and Black populations.

What is the Gender Makeup of the Visible Minority?

The male visible minority population is younger than the female, more likely to have been born in Canada or immigrated early and is highly educated, with median employment incomes significantly higher than female incomes. The female visible minority population is older, less likely to be born in Canada and to have immigrated more recently. Females are less likely to have a university degree.

What is the Age Profile of the Visible Minority Population?

The visible minority young population (under 25) is most likely to live in Oakville, to be South Asian, to be born in Canada and to speak English at home. Many of this age group have not yet completed their education and are not in the labour force.

Of the two working age groups the younger group (25 to 44 years) is larger, most likely to live in Oakville, more likely to be from 'other visible minority' groups, equally likely to speak English at home as the older group and more likely both to be born in Canada and to have immigrated recently.

The older working age group (45 to 64 years) represents people at the peak of their careers. It is a smaller group, slightly less likely to be living in Oakville and more likely to be living in Burlington than the younger working age group. It is slightly more likely to be South Asian although not as likely as the young population (under 25 years). Almost 3/4 of this group immigrated to Canada prior to 1980 (more than 40% in the 1970's) and thus established their careers in Canada. They are the most highly educated group and, as would be expected from their education and age, have the lowest unemployment rate and highest median income.

The senior population is small and significantly more likely to be living in Burlington than other age groups. It is also less likely to speak English at home and significantly more likely to indicate that it has no knowledge of English. More than 20% indicate they have no knowledge of English. While the senior age group is less educated than other adult groups, it is significantly better educated than its non-visible minority counterparts. Labour force participation is low as would be expected and for those that are employed, median income is low.

What is the English Language Capacity of the Visible Minority Population?

More recent immigrants are less likely to speak English at home than those who were born in Canada or immigrated earlier. Thus the differences in employment and income for those not speaking English at home is likely an effect of their more recent immigrant status.

What is the Education Attainment of the Visible Minority Population?

Less educated visible minorities in Halton (those having no post secondary education) are more likely to live in Burlington or North Halton and are either younger or older. They are more likely to be either born in Canada or immigrated recently and less likely to have immigrated to Canada in the 1960's and 70's. They have a higher employment rate and lower median incomes.

Highly educated visible minorities in Halton who are the majority of the population (70.1% of Halton visible minority labour force population have some post secondary education) are most likely to live in Oakville, be South Asian, be working age (25 to 64 years) and to have immigrated to Canada in the 1960's and 1970's. They are also significantly more likely to be male than female. Their labour force participation rate is high and unemployment rate less than 5%. Median income is more than double that of visible minorities that have not completed high school.

Who are the Most Recent Visible Minority Immigrants?

Most recent immigrants (14.1%) arrived in Canada from 1991 to 1996. They are significantly more likely to be from other than the three major visible minority groups. The representation of the three major groups drops to 59% in this group and more than 35% are from groups other than South Asian, Chinese and Black, including 12.6% Arabs/West Asians and 10.7% Filipino. The most recent immigrant is significantly more likely to be female than male and is a young population, although not as young as the 1981 to1990 group. Slightly less educated than previous groups, this group's labour force participation rate, unemployment rate and median employment income reflect their age and status as newcomers.

Visible Minority Profile by Employment and Income

Visible and non-visible minorities are similarly distributed among occupational groups. Both groups are equally likely to be professionals or managers, although non-visible minorities are more likely to be in senior management than visible minorities. Visible minorities are more likely than non-visible minorities to be in semi-skilled and manual occupations. With no exceptions, those with university degrees have higher labour force participation rates and lower unemployment rates than those with high school education.

Both non-visible and visible minority women have lower labour force participation rates than men. Labour force participation rates increase and unemployment rates decrease for immigrants as length of time in the country increases.

In Halton, 24.3% of the total census families and 19.0% of visible minority census families had 1995 census family income over $100,000. In Ontario 12.4% of the total census families and 7.2% of visible minority census families had 1995 census family incomes over $100,000.

In Halton 2.3% of all census families and 6.9% of visible minority census families had 1995 census family incomes under $10,000. In Ontario, 5.0% of all census families and 12.6% of visible minority census families had 1995 census family incomes under $10,000.

Incidence of low income for persons in private households decreases with length of time in the country.

Barriers to Employment

This research identifies barriers to employment that particularly affect new immigrants as well as all visible minorities.

Internal Barriers:

  • Limited ability to speak English
  • Having to learn about Canadian culture and look for employment at the same time
  • Lack of Canadian experience
  • Lack of information about services to boost individual capacity
  • Limited skills
  • Transportation
  • Not enough money to enrol in some training programs
  • Family problems
  • High level of stress
  • Low self-esteem

External Barriers:

  • Racial discrimination in all parts of the labour market/employment stream
  • Employers not being formally/officially accountable to the government and the community at large for providing opportunity in the workplace
  • Limited to no recognition or acceptance of work experience outside Canada
  • Difficulty in getting accreditation for trades certificates and university degrees earned outside Canada
  • Not enough language training programs available
  • Insufficient training programs for job search and job preparation
  • Not being eligible for any employment or training assistance because of ineligibility for both employment insurance and social assistance or welfare
  • Hardly any training on how to deal with racism and sexism in the employment system, especially in the workplace
  • Very few visible minority employment counsellors and trainers

Conclusions

The visible minority population living in Halton is well educated, likely to be employed and to have adequate income, as is the majority of Halton residents.

The primary barriers to finding employment for visible minorities in Halton are those faced by many recent immigrants, although most recent immigrants to Canada do not first come to Halton. Employment services for new immigrants need to take into account the high levels of education of the immigrant visible minority population in Halton. Notwithstanding accreditation issues, foreign trained professionals seek employment programs which provide placements and/or mentoring and other kinds of networking opportunities with professional colleagues.

It is quite clear that visible minorities, new immigrants and those whose home language is not English are congregated north of the QEW in Oakville and Burlington, with the highest concentrations in the Northeast, closest to the boundary with Peel. Access to services is increased when services are located close to where people live. Cultural interpretation services need further development to assist newcomers. All organizations serving these populations should take this into account when planning where services will be located. This is particularly the case in Halton where transportation is an issue. Newcomers must wait at least eight months for a drivers' licence and public transit systems are not well developed.

While neither focus group participants nor key informants indicated that visible minorities face extensive racial discrimination in finding employment, all visible minority groups indicated that discrimination does exist and that the darker your skin the more likely you will face discrimination. That is, all groups believe that Blacks are more likely to face discrimination than other groups.

Focus groups also indicated that small businesses are less likely to take a chance on new immigrants, visible minority or not, than larger businesses. Education for small businesses, provided through Business Development and/or local Chambers of Commerce, on how to evaluate the experience and education of new immigrants and how to integrate new immigrants into their workforce would assist in building the capacity of small businesses in Halton to hire new immigrants, both visible minority and non-visible minority.


A Social Profile of the Halton Visible Minority Population Full Report


Produced by the Community Development Halton
860 Harrington Court
Burlington, Ontario L7N 3N4
(905) 632-1975, (905) 878-0955; Fax: (905) 632-0778; E-mail:
office@cdhalton.ca