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Future of Work

A curated resource of recent research on trends shaping Canada's labor market.

Labour market implications for racialized youth

Key Takeaway
While many programs offer skills and employment services for racialized youth, patchwork efforts, gaps in the system, and a lack of mentors and role models leave many underserved.


This report identifies significant challenges faced by racialized youth in education and employment due to societal, organizational and community-level barriers. It highlights gaps and inefficiencies in existing programs, such as a lack of industry-led initiatives and limited outreach.

There has been an increase in the number of youth-focused employment programs at the national, provincial and local levels. Yet, the authors point out that these programs are fragmented and lack coordination, leading to uneven impacts and evaluation data, and leaving marginalized youth underserved. They also note a shortage of accessible mentors and role models. In addition, community-level initiatives, which are often more resonant with racialized youth, receive less funding and recognition than their national and provincial counterparts.

The report also recognizes a need for employer-driven programs that address discrimination and harassment. It recommends developing a national strategy to better design and evaluate policies and programs that support employment for racialized youth. The strategy should aim to better understand the nuanced experiences of racialized youth by considering the entire skills and employment ecosystem through a disaggregated and standardized data lens. It should emphasize valuing employment outcomes, rewarding effective programs, applying wraparound supports, incorporating equity, diversity and inclusion principles in policy-making, and programming design and delivery to address embedded bias and discrimination.

The report concludes with recommendations for governments and organizations involved in initiating and funding programs for racialized youth employment.

September, 2023 | Finlayson, J. Globerman, S.
Key Takeaway: Public policies that promote higher employment rates and increased labour productivity of immigrants would strengthen the linkages between rising numbers of immigrants and real economic growth.
September, 2023 | Marwah, S., Omidvar, R., Yussuff, H., Woo, Y. P
Key Takeaway: Canada’s International Student Program requires careful policy attention to maintain its integrity and the well-being of students.
July, 2023 | Bartlett, R.
Key Takeaway: Labour market trends must be considered when making decisions about immigration levels.
May, 2023 | Frenette, M.
Key Takeaway: The realities of market supply and demand, not cognitive skills, represent the most likely explanation for earnings disparities among post-secondary graduates in different fields.
October, 2023 | Lee, J., Brown, O., & Zon, N.
Key Takeaway: The long-term impacts of economic shock disproportionately affect young people who already face barriers to entering the workforce.
September, 2023 | Lockhart, A.
Key Takeaway: Despite being a leader in AI research, Canada is lagging in adopting the technology.
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