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Immigrant youth in the labour force less likely to be in school: new report

Latest data from LMIC and CCYP finds that the increasing labour force participation of immigrant youth has corresponded to a drop in school attendance.

OTTAWA, ON, February 8, 2023 — Today the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) and the Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity (CCYP) released new research that finds the increasing labour force participation of immigrant youth has corresponded to a drop in school attendance.   

The numbers indicate that immigrant youth aged 15-24 may be leaving school to participate in the labour force. The same was not observed for Canadian-born youth.  

The report — Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrant Youth: Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic — found that, while immigrant youth are increasingly joining the labour force, only about half of those in the labour force were also enrolled in school. 

Pre-pandemic, 69.1% of immigrant youth were in school. By January 2022, the percentage of immigrant youth in school had dropped 4.8 percentage points to 64.3%; in the same period, labour force participation for immigrant youth increased by 1.6 percentage points. 

This is concerning: school attendance is associated with improved labour market outcomes and improved language proficiency. Children whose parents have a higher level of education also tend to have a high education level, so the trend could point to future generational impact.  

In the context of Canada’s persistently low birth rates and ageing population, immigration is a key solution for sustaining and raising labour force growth. In the 2010s, 84% of Canada’s labour force growth came from immigration.

Media Contact

Anne Patterson
Labour Market Information Council

About LMIC

The Labour Market Information Council (LMIC) is a non-profit research institute dedicated to ensuring Canadians have the necessary information and insights to navigate the changing world of work. LMIC’s mission is to empower Canadians with timely and reliable labour market information to support their decision-making process.

About CCYP

The Canadian Council for Youth Prosperity (CCYP) is an NGO funded under the Youth Employment Skills Strategy (YESS) of the federal government dedicated to workforce development of all young people living in Canada. CCYP’s mission is working with different stakeholders of the workforce ecosystem to improve youth development towards purpose-filled, gainful and sustainable employment.


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