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    Job market unkind to Canada-born minorities: study

    Wed Feb 22, 7:06 PM ET

    TORONTO (Reuters) – Canadian-born visible minorities face more hurdles than any other groups when trying to get well-paid jobs, according to a study published on Wednesday.

    The gap is not due to differences in skills and education, but to racial discrimination, said the study published by the Canadian Labour Congress.

    Lower incomes, higher unemployment and precarious work status are prevalent among workers from visible minorities, and particularly for the second-generation of immigrants born in Canada.

    Although they are more highly educated than average, this second generation has the most difficulty finding steady employment at decent wages, said Leslie Cheung, a graduate student in public policy at Simon Fraser University and author of the study.

    Canadian-born workers from visible minorities are younger than the average worker, explaining part of the gap.

    But they still lag behind when compared to white workers in the same age group, according to the study, which compared unemployment rates, income and representation in lower and higher skilled occupations.

    Among other things, the study found Canadian-born visible minorities were over-represented in part-time and temporary jobs.

    Visible minorities, who make up about 13 percent of the workforce, are concentrated in low level sales and clerical jobs, working under a glass ceiling that prevents them from climbing to more senior positions, the study found.

    “Given that this group was born and educated in Canada, this gap is likely to reflect racial status to a greater degree than language abilities,” Cheung wrote in the study. “Foreign credentials, a barrier for many immigrant workers of color, are clearly not a factor.”

    Annual earnings of Canadian-born visible minorities averaged C$21,983 in 2000, while immigrant workers earned C$25,205 and white Canadians earned C$30,141.

    The unemployment rates for the same year for people aged 15 to 24 show comparable gaps — 15.5 percent for Canadian-born visible minorities and 13.3 per cent for Canadian-born whites.

    The federal government has projected that by 2017 about 20 percent of Canadians will be members of a visible minority group, defined as non-white and non-aboriginal, with higher rates in large cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.

    “With the young Canadian-born worker of color population now entering the work force in large numbers, and the ever increasing migration of people of color to Canada, the reality of racism must be confronted from all sectors of society, rather than denied,” according to the study, which was based on data from Statistics Canada’s 2001 census.

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