Canadian research firm releases survey results highlighting newcomer challenges

A new study is highlighting some of the challenges newcomers continue to face when immigrating to Canada.

The study, “Cracking the Newcomer Code,” was released Tuesday by Leger, a Canadian market research company.

It found 38 per cent of employed newcomers were not able to find a job in their field, and 60 per cent of employed newcomers said they had difficulty finding a job due to challenges with credentials and needing local experience.

It’s a story Hilda DeSouza with Winnipeg’s Elmwood Community Resource Centre’s Neighbourhood Immigrant Settlement program hears often.

“You find people with their masters, people with bachelor’s degrees, relevant years of experience having to do survival jobs because they need to be able to take care of themselves and support their families,” she said.

Leger’s survey results show 84 per cent of newcomers were caught off guard by how expensive it is to live in Canada.

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Settlement worker Jonathan Worae said costs just keep going up.

“Pre-pandemic and now post-pandemic, you’ve seen a huge increase in rent. Most Canadians and newcomers find it very difficult to afford rent,” he said.

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Reuben Garang, director of Immigration Partnership Winnipeg said this, of course, varies from person to person.

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“The people who come here because they’ve been forced to leave their countries because of the war or a situation like that,” he said, could be a very different experience than someone who “wanted to make life here.”

“Finding a place is an important element of settlement and integration,” he said. “If you have a house to live in, that’s good for you and it’s good for your family. It kind of gives you the comfort you need to be able to look for other things like employment and education.”

Leger’s report also found that 52 per cent of newcomers believe Canada should encourage them to keep and promote their religious and cultural identities, but only 26 per cent of Canadians felt this way.

Garang said all three levels of government and the community at large need to support newcomers.

“If they are provided with the solid support from their time of arrival, then the integration process is going to be very simple and short. But if they are not provided with a lot of support from, you know, the time of arrival, then the integration and processes will take longer.”

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To help, Worae, DeSouza and Garang all said access to accurate information is key.

“Making sure that, you know, people have access to information so that they can make a better choice. That’s number one.  Then supporting them holistically, supporting them with wraparound support. ”

Worae said it depends on where they get their information from.

“(If) it paints Canada as a very nice country where when you come here, you easily integrate — and especially (when) we have migrants coming in for economic reasons — when they come in and they find all these barriers… that, you know, kind of compounds the initial challenges,” he said.

Three out of 10 newcomers surveyed for the Leger study said their quality of life is either the same or worse than in their country of origin, but two-thirds said if they had to choose again, they would still make the move to Canada.

— with files from Global’s Iris Dyck

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More language resources needed for Canadian newcomers: experts

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