New Canadians flock to better life in suburbs
Immigrants in 905 more likely to be educated, own home, study finds
Mar 20, 2009 04:30 AM
Lesley Ciarula Taylor
Recent immigrants in smaller suburban communities are faring better than those setting roots in big cities when it comes to jobs, incomes and homeownership, says a new study that measures newcomers' life quality across Canada.
The report shows immigrants to the Greater Toronto Area are increasingly choosing the 905 regions as their destination over Toronto. Even those initially settling in the city are then moving on to the suburbs.
I must point out that the story is misleading. When I read the headline I was assuming they meant smaller communities like Orangeville, ON or Brantford, ON. That is not the case.
Jyoti Shukla, her lawyer husband, Kamen, and their 12-year-old daughter, Vishwa, were drawn to Mississauga to live their suburban dream – and for its relatively lower costs of living when the family moved here from India in 2004.
For starters I can't imagine law firms were tripping over themselves to hire an Indian trained lawyer. I don't know why Canada allows the immigration of foreign trained lawyers when Canadian schools are producing more legal professionals then needed, as is suggested by an articling shortage and the refusal by the government to allow the founding of more law schools.
That aside I can assure you that Missaussauga is not a small community. Compared to Toronto, or maybe New York city, then perhaps it is but boasting a population of over 700,000 individuals it is Canada's sixth most populous municipality. The city shares a border with Toronto, where one city bleeds into the other, and if you don't know where the city limits are you wouldn't know if you were in Missaussauga or not if you were not paying attention.
The suburbanization trends, partially a result of Ottawa's push to spread immigrants evenly across the country, have led to a lose-lose situation for large and small communities alike: While big cities are finding it harder to meet their labour needs with the exodus of well-educated and highly skilled immigrants, their smaller counterparts struggle to accommodate the influx.
This is another deceptive paragraph. What labour market needs are they talking about? I'm sure the people at NotCanada.com's forum would like to know. These kinds of contestable statements are thrown around unchallenged to create the impression that a labour market crisis exists mostly to convince Canadians to accept an immigration system they are growing weary of.
The article concentrates on the loss of immigrant skilled labour that's continuously being made superfluous anyway because of mass immigration, and therefore no real loss. But smaller communities outside of Canada's big cities should brace themselves for Canada's immigration over population problem as rapid population growth spills over into their neighbourhoods and with them the attendant ills.
The federation, which represents 1,775 communities covering 90 per cent of the population, said municipalities need federal funding to provide culturally sensitive services, such as translating garbage pickup schedules, more affordable housing, recreational programs, public health services and new ways to deliver services to newcomers.
According to the study:
• The proportion of recent immigrants living off social assistance in big cities was more than twice the rest of Canada.
• While the percentage of unemployed immigrants outnumbered non-immigrants in big cities, the gap was significantly smaller in the suburbs.
• The proportion of recent immigrants with university degrees was twice as high as that of Canadians, yet their unemployment rate was four times greater.
• Recent immigrants earned about 60 per cent of what native-born Canadians did in 2001, which dropped further to 51 per cent by 2006. The widest income gaps were generally found in larger municipalities.
• Forty-three per cent of newcomer families lived under Statistics Canada's low-income cut-off, three times the proportion among all Canadian households.
• Recent immigrants in small communities were more likely to own homes than their counterparts in the city.
Evelyn Myrie, director of the Peel Newcomer Strategy Group, said while newcomers in smaller communities may fare better than those in big cities, they still have settlement needs, such as language upgrading and employment counselling, to be met. Issues such as poverty and homelessness are also slowly emerging in the suburbs, too, she added.
"Some smaller communities like Caledon just don't have the resources in place to serve those needs," said Myrie, whose group was formed four years ago by the United Way of Peel to involve community players in immigration and settlement planning.
Like I said, it wouldn't be a problem if Canada didn't accept too many immigrants but who wants to hear that?