Press Release: New study reveals economic precarity and limited job supports for racialized communities and English-speaking immigrants in Québec.

2023 - 10 - 3 Outreach

New study reveals economic precarity and limited job supports for racialized communities and English-speaking immigrants in Québec.

Montreal, October 3, 2023 – A recent study by the Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT) sheds light on the unique labour market challenges faced by Québec’s English-speaking racialized communities and immigrants. The report highlights a critical lack of tailored employment support, leaving these communities grappling with high unemployment rates, lower incomes, and a higher likelihood of falling below the low-income threshold compared to their francophone counterparts.

PERT’s findings indicate that despite achieving higher levels of educational attainment than the English-speaking community as a whole, a higher proportion of Québec`s English-speaking visible minorities (19.2%) fall below the low-income measure compared to the total English-speaking community (14.7%). This is also true for English-speaking immigrants, 15.2% of whom live below the low-income cut-off, slightly exceeding the overall rate of 14.7% for the English-speaking community. 

PERT’s report also reveals that only 67 programs and services exist to support the 365,191 racialized and immigrant English speakers in Québec’s job market. This disparity underscores the need for more comprehensive services, English-language employment assistance, and adequate funding. 

Nicholas Salter, Executive Director of PERT, says the report points toward solutions to the barriers these communities face in Québec’s labour market. “Our research provides a roadmap for policymakers, funders, and community stakeholders to collectively address the employment obstacles encountered by racialized communities and English-speaking immigrants in Québec.”

PERT urges a coordinated response to tackle the disparities outlined in their report. Better policy, funding, and programming options must also be developed to meet the needs of racialized communities and immigrants. 

Salter emphasized the potential benefits of bolstering resources for these communities, “Given Québec’s ongoing labour shortage, the government can seize this moment to address its workforce demands by channelling investments into programs that prepare these communities to excel in the labour market.” 

Key Findings:

  • Racialized communities and immigrants have difficulty accessing employment services owing to a lack of English-language services and the language barrier associated with accessing French-language services. As a result, employment service providers often provide ad-hoc services such as translation. 
  • English-speaking visible minorities have an unemployment rate of 12.3% compared to a 10.9% unemployment rate for the English-speaking population as a whole.
  • Indigenous individuals who speak English as their FOL have a higher unemployment rate than the total ESC (12.2% compared to 10.9%).
  • Immigrants who speak English as their FOL have an unemployment rate of 11.6%, compared to 10.9% within the broader English-speaking community, 9.0% among French-speaking immigrants, and 6.9% among all individuals who speak French as their FOL.
  • The study identified 67 employment and employability programs targeted towards racialized communities, immigrants, and Indigenous communities that speak English as their FOL, with the majority (29) located in Montréal.
  • Demographic and labour force portraits reveal that one-third (35.9%) of English-speaking Quebecers are visible minorities (447,078 individuals). First Nations, Inuit, and Métis individuals who speak English as their FOL comprise 4.0% of the English-speaking community in Québec (50,040). One-third (32.5%) of the English-speaking community in Québec consists of immigrants (404,573 individuals). 
  • The research highlights the need for employment service provision to consider the holistic needs of racialized clients, and immigrants, including housing, food, mental health, illness, and childcare. Language barriers often hinder access to employment services, and ad-hoc measures like translation support are common.

The full report is available here.

About PERT 

The Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT) is a non-profit multi-stakeholder initiative focused on addressing the employment and employability challenges facing

Québec’s English-speaking community. For more information about the Provincial Employment Roundtable (PERT):