Recession hit newcomers hardest in job market

Immigrants, particularly recent newcomers, have borne the brunt of unemployment as a result of the recent recession, wrote the Toronto Star July 15, citing a new study.

The gap between immigrant and Canadian-born workers has grown since the global economic meltdown began, and Greater Toronto newcomers were hit hardest, says the study being released Friday.

It is part of a project by the Toronto Immigrant Employment Data Initiative, made up of researchers from York University, the University of Toronto and Ryerson University who study the integration of immigrants in the labour force.

"Recent newcomers already experience significant marginalization in the labour market. What is surprising is they are more badly affected than the other groups and the gap has kept widening," said York University geography Professor Philip Kelly [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and research associate in the York Centre for Asian Research], the report’s lead investigator.

Using Statistics Canada survey data, researchers found the unemployment rate for Canadian-born and established immigrants (those in Canada for more than five years) was around 5 per cent at the onset of the recession in November 2008.

The jobless rate for newcomers – those in Canada for less than five years – was 10 per cent.

By March 2011, a gap had emerged in the first group, with the established immigrants’ unemployment rate 2 to 2.5 per cent above that of Canadian-born workers. The jobless rate for recent immigrants shot up to almost 15 per cent.

The gap was more pronounced in Greater Toronto, where Canadian-born workers had a 5 per cent unemployment rate in March 2011 – almost 4 per cent lower than that of established immigrants and 10 per cent below the newcomers’ rate.

Kelly attributed the widening gap in the GTA to job losses in the goods-producing sector, including manufacturing and construction, where employment fell by 14 per cent from its 2006 level. Across Canada, job loss in the sector averaged 5 to 6 per cent.

Kelly said what is most worrisome, as an impact of the economic downturn, is the erosion of Canada’s overall full-time employment.

While there has been a longer-term trend toward a slightly lower rate of full-time employment for Canadian-born and established immigrants in the last five years, the percentage of recent newcomers working 30 or more hours a week fell from 86.1 to 82.9 per cent.

This suggests new immigrants have found themselves with precarious part-time employment in larger numbers, the report says.

Binbrook native canvasses for other emerging artists

Amanda McIntyre [BFA Spec. Hons. ’11] likes to dabble in all art forms, wrote the Stoney Creek News July 14, in a story about an upcoming exhibit of emerging artists. The 22-year-old Binbrook resident’s medium of choice is painting and print using a variety of techniques, including intaglio, linoleum and woodcut.

"I love art," she said. "Making art does not seem like work and it’s a place that I can put myself into, leaving bits and pieces of myself through each brushstroke."

Last spring, McIntyre decided to jump into the art scene to gain experience needed to apply for graduate studies in visual arts.  During that time, she participated in nine group shows and hosted five solo exhibits of her work in Hamilton, Ancaster, Caledonia, Oakville and Toronto.

Community members will have an opportunity to view the products of McIntyre’s talents, along with that of 10 other emerging artists from Hamilton and the surrounding areas, during the Loose Ends art exhibit on Saturday, July 23 at the Pearl Company, 16 Steven St., Hamilton.  The exhibit will run from 1 to 8pm. Admission is free.

"I have always wanted to be involved in a themed-group exhibit and, since I could not find one that emerging artists could be involved in, I decided to organize one," McIntyre said. "The theme I chose was Loose Ends; it was broad enough to allow the artists free range of their subject, but specific enough to still be tied together with the other artists’ work. The exhibit is free because we want the community to come out and see the talents that these artists possess."

Alma Rumball: The automatic hand that drew spirit

The unique work of a Huntsville artist will be exhibited at the restored Portage Inn this weekend, wrote July 13.

Alma Rumball lived her life in Huntsville. She was part of one of Port Sydney’s pioneer families, a recluse and an artist.

The late Michael Greenwood, former curator of the Art Gallery of York University [1968-1984], called her work one of the purest examples of automatic art he had seen. Much of her work is now housed in the University’s gallery.

On air

  • Airline economist Fred Lazar, professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about the dispute between Air Canada and the United Arab Emirates airline as the reason behind Canada’s announcement that it will establish a new military base in Kuwait, on SUN-TV July 14.