Working on the West Coast

'Working on the West Coast'

NEW TIME: Wednesdays at 3:45pm

with Christian Saint Cyr

Publisher of the BC Labour Market Report

Lynda Steele Show

CKNW 980

September 16, 2020 Segment:

Recognizing the Problem: Workplace credentials and the newcomer experience in B.C.

June 2019


Highlights: Foreign credentials recognition is a common problem for many newcomers to Canada. A Vancity and Angus Reid Global survey of 400 new Canadians in B.C. found that:

  • Most say their work experience (70%), professional qualifications (67%) and education (66%) from their countries of origin are less respected than the Canadian equivalents, leading to economic difficulties and employment exclusion.

  • Less than half (49%) of those seeking employment in their chosen field found work at levels that matched their workplace credentials, while the rest took work in junior positions or in different fields.

  • The vast majority (90%) say they are glad they immigrated to Canada, and 86% feel that Canadians are generally welcoming of them. But 62% believe they had to overcome racism in order to land a job.


A parallel Vancity and Angus Reid Global general population survey of 800 B.C. residents found that:

  • Almost two-thirds (65%) say it is urgent that employers treat foreign credentials the same as Canadian credentials for professional work, and 59% say it is urgent that employers treat foreign credentials the same for trades and semi-skilled work.


And a third-party analysis of Canadian census data conducted for Vancity by an independent, professional economist found that:

  • In B.C., newcomers earn 8% less than workers who are at least third generation Canadian (third-plus generation), while nationally, newcomers earn 4% less than third-plus generation Canadians.

  • Newcomers in B.C. with the same credentials and language abilities as third-plus generation Canadians earn 9% less (“the credentials devaluation rate”) on average. Nationally, the credentials devaluation rate is 18%.

  • In Metro Vancouver, immigrants earn 18% less than third-plus generation Canadians.

  • The children of immigrants – second generation Canadians – earn 2% more than third-plus generation Canadians in B.C.

  • Immigrants in B.C. with manual labour jobs are five times more likely than their third-plus generation Canadian counterparts to have university degrees.

  • B.C.’s immigrant wage gap represented $4.8 billion of unachieved potential income in 2016, with a corresponding income tax value of $1.3 billion.

Looking for work? Click the WorkBC icon below to access a local WorkBC office or for valuable online career planning tools. 


Job Maker of the Week

The has committed to hiring as many as 7,000 people, many of whom might be displaced hospitality workers, to pursue jobs as ‘health care support workers’ in preparation for the fall. While they will start at $20 per hour, and they may not be long-term career opportunities, this can be a great opportunity to break into the health care sector.

  • BC Labour Market Report

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