B.C. immigrants earn less and see their work credentials devalued according to new research by Vancity

Immigrants in BC

Research / Immigrants

New Canadians in B.C. earn eight per cent less than workers who are at least third generation Canadian, while immigrants in Vancouver earn 18 per cent less, a new Vancity report has found.
Recognizing the Problem: Workplace credentials and the newcomer experience in BC’ also shows that B.C. immigrants with the same workplace credentials and language abilities as third-plus generation Canadians earn nine per cent less on average, according to an analysis of census data conducted for Vancity by an independent economist.
Meanwhile, newcomers with manual labour jobs are five times more likely than third-plus generation Canadians to have university degrees.
The report includes results from two unique surveys conducted by Vancity and Angus Reid Global. Their survey of new Canadians in B.C. found that only 49% of those seeking employment in their chosen fields found work at levels that matched their workplace credentials, while the rest took work in junior positions or in different fields.
Most of those surveyed say their credentials-work experience, professional qualifications and education-from their countries of origin are less respected than the Canadian equivalents, leading to economic difficulties and employment exclusion.
A second Vancity and Angus Reid Global survey of B.C. residents found that almost two-thirds say it is urgent that employers treat professional foreign credentials the same as Canadian credentials, and almost 60 per cent say it is urgent that employers treat foreign credentials for trades and semi-skilled roles the same as Canadian credentials.
“When newcomers don’t find work in their professions or trades, the effects are broadly felt. They include intergenerational poverty,” says Catherine Ludgate, Vancity’s senior manager of community investment. “This report demonstrates the importance of assigning fair value to international workplace credentials.”
For more than a decade, Vancity has offered microcredit loans to newcomers to help them get into productive economic activity in their new neighbourhoods. The Back to Work loan has been helping ‘foreign trained professionals’ recertify in their chosen profession, and the With These Hands loan provides the funds to get into a trade.
Vancity is also a financial partner in the new Foreign Credential Recognition Loan Program, supported in part by the federal government. The program provides newcomers with loans to upgrade credentials, write challenge exams and improve professional language skills. Vancity anticipates providing approximately 500 loans a year through this new program.
“New Canadians tell us that all the experience and education they’ve accumulated gives them only a 50/50 shot at being employed at an appropriate level in B.C.,” says Demetre Eliopoulos, senior vice-president and managing director of Angus Reid Public Affairs. “Those are low odds for credentials they’ve worked so hard to attain.”
While the report recognizes efforts made across Canada to remove credentials recognition obstacles, it calls on all levels of government to commit to reducing recognition steps and wait times.

Roadmap to Employment Services in British Columbia

BC Employment Services Directory 2019

British Columbia has a broad array of employment services funded by the Province of BC, many of which receive support partnership funding from the Government of Canada. It can sometimes be difficult to understand the various services and funding organizations and so the BC Employment Services Guide is intended to provide a roadmap to navigate the available programs.
On the provincial side, there are two ministries that primary fund employment programs including the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (MSDPR) and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (MAEST).
Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
For the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, the primary program is WorkBC Employment Services, which in 2019/2020 is funded to the tune of $287 million. This encompasses WorkBC Centres, assistive technology, apprentice services and the Community and Employer Partnerships program. Funding is provided through the federal government’s Labour Market Development Agreement, along with $29 million from the Province.
MSDPR also provides the Community and Employer Partnerships Fund, supporting a variety of community projects and initiatives across B.C. The fund is intended to help communities see economic growth, job creation, positive social impacts and more employment opportunities for unemployed British Columbians.
Under the Community and Employer Partnerships Fund, a broad range of projects are funded. Examples include:
Community Improvement Initiatives: building affordable housing, research projects, accessibility enhancements to buildings, trails or parks, historical building/site restoration, Indigenous Longhouse renovation, museum archiving.
Environmental Restoration Projects: trail building, food reclaiming and repurposing, developing community sustainable gardens.
Skills Training Opportunities: early childcare education training, occupational training and work experience, human resource planning, person with disabilities mentorship
The ministry accepts CEP applications for project funding on a continuous basis. For more details about CEP and ministry contact information, please visit http://www.WorkBC.ca/CEP.
Programs for Persons with Disabilities are also funded by MSDPR in partnership with other ministries and agencies. British Columbia and Canada have a shared commitment to improving employment prospects for people with disabilities and helping businesses benefit from their skills and talent.
Funding provided through the Workforce Development Agreement (WDA) supports British Columbians with disabilities to access a wide range of programs, including:
  • Employment services – delivered through Community Living British Columbia — Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
  • Mental Health and Substance Use – pre-employment supports, supported education and supported employment — Ministry of Health / Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
  • Adult Special Education (ASE) — Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training
Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training
Under the Workforce Development Agreement (WDA), the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training has developed a multi-pronged program approach to skills training and employment supports delivered under the BC-Canada WDA agreement. Three streams of programming, valued at up to $104.5 million, include:
Skills Training for Employment (STE): Funding for client-focused skills training and employment support services focused on six specific population groups:
  • Young Adults
  • Young Adults at Risk (including former youth in care)
  • Older workers
  • Survivors of violence and/or abuse
  • Individuals who face multiple barriers such as mental health, homelessness, etc. and
  • Indigenous persons
Community Workforce Response Grant (CWRG): Funding for communities and industries to support in-demand skills training leading to secure and sustainable employment for unemployed or underemployed (part-time, seasonal or casual) British Columbians. Funding streams focus on: emerging priorities, Indigenous communities and workforce shortages.
BC Employer Training Grant (BCETG): Funding assists employers to provide training to new or current employees for: skills development and certification, upgrading skills needed due to automation and enhancing productivity. The BCETG replaces the Canada-BC Job Grant.
MAEST also provides funding for the Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program (SLMP). Funding assists industry and employers to understand and respond to changing labour market demands. The Program provides funding for partnership-led projects that address broader sector and regional labour market issues within B.C.’s diverse economy.
While the Government of Canada provides a significant block of funding through the Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) Program, MAEST is also responsible for the Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund, valued at $10 million per year. This fund supports Indigenous community members (on and off reserve) in B.C.’s North and Lower Mainland to acquire the skills needed to respond to emerging resource-based opportunities. Designed for and with Indigenous communities to meet their needs and provide transferable skills.
The Ministry has also designated $2.4 million to support the Community Adult Literacy Program (CALP), funding to support the delivery of adult literacy programs to meet labour market demand. The program focuses on increasing the level of literacy and numeracy proficiency among adults 19 years and older.
Detailed information can be found regarding all of the programs funded by the Province of British Columbia by visiting: WorkBC.ca

By Christian Saint Cyr

Publisher, BC Labour Market Report


ASTTBC distributing up to $2.2 million to support increased participation in the labour market

Technology / Engineering
The Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC) will receive up to $2.2 million in funding to support pilot projects to see under-represented groups pursue careers in the tech sector. The Province hopes, people under-represented in B.C.’s growing technology and engineering sectors, including women, Indigenous peoples, immigrants and people with disabilities, will have better opportunities and advancement through these new initiatives.
Provincial funding, over two years, will break down barriers through pilot projects, such as mentorship for employees and resources and training for employers.
“An inclusive and respectful workplace will cultivate ambitions in people and allow employees to advance their career,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “The rapidly growing tech sector has thousands of job openings that it needs to fill, but it needs to be more inclusive of people who are all too often ignored. We’re working hard to give people the skills to succeed in the tech sector so together, we can build the best B.C.”
B.C.’s tech sector continues to grow rapidly but has a projected talent shortfall and low levels of diversity and representation from key groups, including women, people with disabilities and Indigenous peoples, a 2017 report, Diversity & Inclusion in the BC Tech Sector, found.
The pilot projects will be managed by ASTTBC and HR Tech Group. The projects will look at how best to attract, retain and support career advancement of equity-seeking groups in B.C.’s technology workforce.
Support for the projects is through the Sector Labour Market Partnership (SLMP) program. SLMP projects are funded through the Canada-BC Labour Market Development Agreement and help industry and employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands.

Research reveals the prevailing wage of career professionals in BC

Editorial by Christian Saint Cyr / Publisher
BC Labour Market Report
In the weeks since the launch of the new WorkBC program, there’s been extensive conversation about the “prevailing wage” of career professionals. The concept of a prevailing wage originated in federal immigration policy to ensure employers would pay immigrants and temporary foreign workers the prevailing wage and not undercut Canadians in the labour market.
The prevailing wage is determined based on Canada Job Bank data and there are a few flaws in this approach that ensure the stated prevailing wage is often lower than the actual wages paid to workers.
For instance, the salary posted in a job advertisement doesn’t reflect the final salary which could only increase based on negotiation and would never decease. It also reflects the entry-level wage for someone who is new to the organization and perhaps even to the profession. This doesn’t factor in that existing employees with an organization are typically earning higher salaries based on performance and skills development.
Job Bank data also struggles with a lack of data. Depending on the profession, many employers don’t list a salary, preferring to leave it open to negotiation. This is particularly true of occupations where skilled workers are in short-supply or where salary information could be deemed as proprietary, particularly in sectors where local employers are entering into competitive bids to win contracts. These are significant factors in the career development sector.
Since the launch of the WorkBC program in April, I’ve received numerous requests for informed data on the prevailing salaries in the career development sector. Given that WorkBC and the Canada Job Bank are the primary sources for this information, I wanted to be able to gather data which better reflects the actual wages workers are earning.
Two weeks ago, I distributed a survey to the career development sector to gather salary data, as well as typical levels of education, training, experience and areas of employment. In conducting this survey, we received 384 responses, of which 276 provided a salary and identified themselves as an Employment Counsellor, NOC 4156, including employment counsellors / case managers; facilitators; resource room coordinators; job developers / customized employment; and job coaches. This response represents an astounding 12.5% of all career professionals across British Columbia, providing an extremely valid sample from which to draw conclusions.
In all summaries, we eliminated 10% of the outlying salaries (the very lowest and the very highest) to ensure the remaining salaries are an accurate range of what professionals are receiving as employment counsellors.
Across the Province, the average salary for an Employment Counsellor (NOC 4156) was $27.20 per hour. This would amount to $56,576 per year at 40 hours per week and $49,504 per year at 35 hours per week. Salaries reported for employment counsellors ranged from a low of $21.00 per hour to a high of $42.00 per hour.
We extrapolated the salaries to identify the salaries most often reported based on the type of role. These average salaries included:
  • Employment Counsellor / Case Manager: $26.19 /hr (Range: $22.00 – $45.00 /hr)
  • Facilitator: $27.86 /hr (Range: $23.65 – 45.88 /hr)
  • Job Developer / Customized Employment: 26.85 /hr (Range: $21.00 – $33.09 / hr)
  • Resource Room Coordinator: $23.32 / hr (Range: $16.81 – $29.70 /hr)
We only had two responses for ‘Job Coach’, providing a salary of $27 and $28 per hour respectively. We also received a large number of responses from individuals claiming the category of ‘Other’ and the salary ranged from $26 to $50 per hour, with an average salary of $32.50 per hour.
Under the designation of Employment Counsellor (NOC 4152), we also looked at the typical salaries for various parts of British Columbia. These salaries included:
  • Cariboo: $23.89 /hr (Range: $20.00 – $28.00 /hr)
  • Fraser Valley: $27.47 /hr (Range: $23.00 – $35.00 /hr)
  • Lower Mainland: $27.56 /hr (Range: $22.00 – $45.00 /hr)
  • Northwest BC: $26.62 /hr (Range: 23.82 – $30.77 /hr)
  • Okanagan: $26.81 /hr (Range: $24.86 – $32.00 /hr)
  • Peace Region: $23.81 /hr (Range: $20.00 – $29.00 /hr)
  • Thompson Region: $25.73 /hr (Range: $18.75 – 45.88 /hr)
  • Vancouver Island: $28.36 /hr  (Range: $23.00 – $40.00 /hr)
In the Kootenay Region, we did receive five responses but only one identified as an employment counsellor and provided a salary. Therefore, we’re unable to provide informed data on this region.
We also looked at Employment Counsellors based on the funding source creating their employment. These included:
  • WorkBC: $26.01 /hr (Range: $23.00 – $28.75 /hr)
  • Non-WorkBC Program (Prov / Fed Funding): $26.11 /hr (Range: $23.45 – $33.00 /hr)
  • Indigenous Employment Program (ASETS): $26.69 /hr (Range: 21.63 – $25.00 /hr)
  • Immigrant Employment Program: $25.54 /hr (Range: $22.49 – $29.75 /hr)
  •  Vocational Rehabilitation: $37.68 /hr (Range: $25.00 – $54.07 /hr)
  • Secondary School: $37.17 /hr (Range : $24.00 – $60.00 /hr)
  • Post-Secondary College / University: $32.72 /hr (Range: 21.73 – $50.00 /hr)
We also had a category of ‘Other’ for area of employment. The typical salary reported was $32.50 per hour with a range of $26.00 to $50.00 per hour.
We looked at the typical salaries of Employment Counsellors based on years of experience. In all cases, workers with more experience earned higher salaries. Workers with 20+ years of experience, earned a 33% higher salary than workers who had less than a year of experience. The following is the typical salaries based on years of experience:
  • Less than 1 year of experience: $23.84 /hr (Range: $20.00 – $27.74 /hr)
  • 1-5 years: $25.00 /hr (Range: $16.81 – $33.00 /hr)
  • 6-10 years: $27.50 /hr (Range: $21.63 – $27.50 /hr)
  • 11-20 years: $27.53 /hr (Range: $23.00 – $27.53 /hr)
  • 20+ years: $31.86 /hr (Range: $24.00 – $50.00 /hr)
In conducting this research, we didn’t confine our research to Employment Counsellors. We also looked at Administrators and Employment Program Managers.
The average salary for an administrator in the employment services sector in British Columbia was $27.61 per hour with a range of $17.75 to $58.24 per hour. This is after we eliminated 10% of responses, reflecting the highest and lowest outliers. This is a tremendous range, but we found the most common responses were between $22 and $26 per hour.
The typical salary for an Employment Program Manager across British Columbia was $32.86 per hour, with a range from $26.00 to $45.00 per hour. This average salary would amount to $68,348.80 for a 40-hour week or $59,805.20 for a 35-hour work week. Those on the low end of the range are earning $54,080 per year while those on the high end earn salaries up to and exceeding $93,600.
While outliers, we had a few responses from employment program managers reporting an annual salary of $120,000 per year. It is important to remember that when considering salaries for managers, the level of responsibility could range from a case management supervisor to the director of a large organization, responsible for more than 100 career professionals.
Thank you to all of you who completed the online survey. Efforts such as these demonstrate how crowd sourcing can be a tremendous tool in developing excellent labour market information.
Would you enjoy expanding the conversation? During this year’s Summer Labour Market Conference, in Vancouver on August 1st and 2nd, we plan to showcase the career development profession. We will be discussing this report but also the current state of the career development sector, the value of certification, skills development and opportunities for individuals to further their career in the sector. I hope you can join us for this year’s conference. Participants who register today will benefit from a 25% discount on their registration fee. If you are unable to join us in Vancouver, we plan to livestream the conference for organizations wanting to build their own professional development days around the material. For more information, please visit: www.LabourMarketConference.ca.

Immigration will shape the trajectory of Canada’s economy

Canada Immigration

Immigration / Economic Growth
Immigration is the central solution to counter the impending labour market crunch. By 2030, all 9.2 million of Canada’s baby boomers will have reached retirement age-placing Canada under economic and fiscal pressure.
“Immigration really does matter to Canada and the report ‘Can’t Go It Alone’ highlights that our economy depends on immigration and that we continue to make a concerted effort to attract the best talent from around the world to fill labour shortages today and for the future,” said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
“Can’t Go it Alone quantifies how immigration is the most powerful fuel to replenish our workforce numbers,” said Pedro Antunes, Chief Economist at The Conference Board of Canada, adding that “These solutions, including better labour market integration for underrepresented groups, identify how to maintain a growing labour force to stimulate economic activity, as well as the tax revenues required to fund vital social expenditures such as rising health care costs.”
  • Between 2018 and 2040, 13.4 million workers will exit the labour force, far greater than the 11.8 million that will leave Canadian schools to replace them.
  • Due to its aging population and low fertility rate, Canada needs new sources of talent to enter the labour force to maintain its high living standards.
  • Improved participation rates could add 2.2 million workers to the labour force by 2040, including more women, Indigenous people, and persons with disabilities, as well as $101 billion to the economy.
  • Immigration will remain a formative solution, accounting for all of Canada’s net labour force growth – 3.7 million workers – and one-third of the economic growth rate between 2018 and 2040.

Mining sector will need 100,000 more workers in the coming decade

Mining Jobs

Natural Resources / Labour Market Outlook
The Canadian mining sector needs to act now or it could face a serious labor shortage as it struggles to find new talent to replace an aging workforce. The industry’s labor challenges have been an important topic among mining executives during the CIM Convention 2019, with many saying that the industry needs to do a better job reaching out to youth, women, indigenous people and visible minorities.
In a discussion group during the conference, the Mining Human Resource Council (MiHR) said its baseline scenario predicts that the Canadian mining sector will need to hire around 97,000 workers within the next 10 years. If there is an expansionary boom in the commodity space, the sector would need to fill more than 135,000 positions.
The new hiring initiative comes after the sector saw its longest period of high unemployment in recent history. From early 2015 to late 2016 the industry unemployment rate was well above the national average, hovering between 10% and 12%.
Ryan Montpellier, executive director at MiHR, said that the labor crunch is coming at a time when enrollment in post-secondary mining programs has dropped significantly in the last few years. MiHR data showed enrollment in undergraduate mining programs has fallen nearly 50% from 2015 to 2017.
And it’s not just young people that the industry needs to reach out to. The sector significantly lacks diversity compared to the general Canadian workforce.
According to one statistic presented at the conferences opening plenary meeting, the mining sector is the worst for gender diversity with only 5% of women sitting on boards of the top 500 mining companies. Within the workforce, women represent 18%, well below the national average.
The MiHR stats shows that immigrants make up only 13% of the mining labor market, visible minorities make up 9% and indigenous people make up only 7.4% of the workforce.
One program that is making a difference is work-integrated learning where students can work for a mining company through co-ops, internships, and other projects to provide them with career experience. MiHR also provides companies with a wage subsidy of $5,000 or 50% of wages for second-year students. The organization will cover up to $7,000 for 70% of wages for under-represented students like women, immigrants and indigenous people as well as first-year students.

Research projects the labour market in 2030 will be strange and unrecognizable by today’s standards

Labour Market 2030

Projections / Research
A new study from the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University in Toronto delves into the important factors that will come into play in the growth and elimination of jobs between now and 2030. The report is called, ‘Turn and Face the Strange: Changes impacting the future of employment in Canada‘ suggests that technology and AI will threaten vast numbers of typical job categories we know today.
According to Jessica Thornton, lead author of the study, “There’s technology of course which could possibly replace vast numbers of traditional jobs ranging from taxi drivers, cashiers, and barristas to some unexpected ones like legal assistants, even sports and financial reporters. But what about the fact that older workers are not leaving, or are returning to the job market, or a resource industry that dries up, or careers in an emerging sector like the cannabis industry?”
The report notes several things are affecting the job market and explores future scenarios for the job market and skills requirements in Canada. The changes include the obvious technological changes but the Institute is also looking at other factors including:
  • globalization
  • demographic change
  • environmental sustainability
  • urbanization
  • increasing inequality
  • political uncertainty
Artificial intelligence is a cornerstone factor explored in the report. Some of the projections include:
  • Canadians become more accustomed to AI throughout work and daily life, interacting with AI lawyers, A.I doctors, and other AI assisted services.
  • Today’s high demand for employees trained in computer science, data science, math, statistics, and economics will continue to increase and may result in a talent gap.
  • Digital skills will be critical for all Canadians as a foundational skill, to be complemented by broader content knowledge.
  • Types of AI will be combined (such as natural language processing and computer vision to learn language).
  • More educational programs will be created to support AI learning and training.
One of the trends they notice is that the stresses of the changing market and job conditions seems to be increasing the amount of sick leave. An increasing category may be in the area of mental health care. While technology is resulting in losses in traditional manufacturing jobs, Thornton notes that some jobs may take on slightly different roles and skill sets than in the past, while new and previously unimagined careers open up thanks to technology such as in 3-D printing, the cannabis industry or even that of social media influencer.
Thornton says this report is an initial look at the changing job market and factors driving the changes. The Brookfield Institutesays it will be delving more deeply into these issues towards creating a clearer picture of jobs and categories that will fade and those that appear within a little more than a decade.