Media Release: FAO releases report on labour market outcomes of immigrants in Ontario


TORONTO, November 8, 2023  Today, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) released a report that provides details on long-term trends of international immigrants in Ontario's labour market. The report focusses on international immigrants with permanent resident status and does not include temporary foreign workers or international students.

International immigration has become a significant source of Ontario’s labour force growth, contributing to nearly two-thirds of the increase in the province’s workforce since the mid 2010s. With international immigration to Ontario reaching a record 227,424 in 2022 and expected to remain high in the near term, the employment outcomes of new permanent residents will play a significant role in the province’s economic growth.

The composition and labour market characteristics of immigrants in Ontario has shifted significantly over the past four decades. The age composition of immigrants is younger than the total Ontario population, with 92.0 per cent of immigrants who arrived in 2016 to 2022 under 54 years compared to 69.0 per cent for the total population. Policy changes have contributed to a larger share of recent core working age immigrants (aged 25-54) having postsecondary education credentials (80.0 per cent) and Canadian pre-admission work and/or study experience (38.5 per cent) compared to long-established immigrants (66.7 per cent and 5.4 per cent, respectively).

Recent immigrants are faring better in the labour market. The labour participation rate of core working age recent immigrants was 13.0 percentage points below non-immigrants in 2006, but the gap narrowed to 3.5 percentage points in 2022. As well, the median wage of new immigrants was $10,700 (in constant dollars) lower than the total population in 1982, with the difference narrowing to $6,200 in 2019. These improvements reflect policy changes in the selection of immigrants that improved their employment outcomes. In particular, immigrants with a bachelor’s degree or higher and both pre-admission work and study experience in Canada earned the highest median wage among all immigrants.

Despite these improvements, challenges remain for immigrants in the labour market, and many are overqualified for their job. For example, 15.9 per cent of core working age immigrants with a university degree were employed in a position requiring no more than a high school education, higher than the 9.6 per cent of non-immigrants.

To learn more, read the full report here.

Quick Facts:

  • Among core working age immigrants (aged 25 to 54), only established immigrants who arrived in the 1980s had higher wages in 2020 ($61,600) compared to non-immigrants ($56,000). Core working age immigrants who landed after 1990 had lower median wages compared to non-immigrants.
  • In 2021, 67.0 per cent of immigrants to Ontario who arrived in 2016-2021 lived in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), far larger than the 32.1 per cent share of the province’s total non-immigrant population residing in the area.
  • Out of all CMAs in Ontario, core working age immigrants in Ottawa-Gatineau earned the highest median wage in 2020 ($55,600 vs. $67,000 for non-immigrants), followed by Oshawa ($54,000 vs. $57,600 for non-immigrants) and Greater Sudbury ($51,600 vs. $57,600 for non-immigrants).
  • Immigrants in St. Catharines-Niagara earned the lowest median wage ($36,800 vs. $44,800 for non-immigrants), followed by Windsor ($39,200 vs. $50,000 for non-immigrants) and London ($43,200 vs. $50,800 for non-immigrants).

About the FAO

Under the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013, the Officer provides independent analysis on the state of the Province's finances, trends in the provincial economy, and related matters important to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Visit our website and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


For further information, please contact:
Jessica Martin l 647.527.2385 l l