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Part-Time and Full-Time Employment Among Immigrants: A Tale of Two Recoveries

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, LMIC has been analyzing the emerging data on job loss and recovery. Previous LMIC blogs have shown, for example, that immigrants have experienced greater employment losses than Canadian-born workers, and that the recovery has been slowest for female immigrants.

Building on that work, we now examine employment recovery among full-time and part-time workers by immigration status. Data shows that the recovery in full-time employment has lagged significantly for immigrants. Only 60% of the full-time jobs lost by Canadian immigrants have been recovered versus 86% for their Canadian-born counterparts.

Sluggish Full-time Employment Recovery Rates for Immigrants

Between February and April 2020, full-time and part-time employment decreased sharply for both immigrants and Canadian-born workers. However, the job recovery rate for the two groups — calculated as the ratio of employment gains between April and August to losses between February and April (the peak of the economic lockdown) — has been uneven.

As shown in Figure 1, Canadian-born workers have recovered 86% of the full-time jobs lost (923,000 lost; 792,000 gained), whereas immigrant workers have recovered only 60% (566,000 lost; 340,000 gained). In contrast, part-time employment shows the opposite pattern, with a more rapid recovery among immigrant workers than Canadian-born ones. Immigrants regained 64% of part-time jobs (135,000 lost; 87,000 gained) compared to 44% for Canadian-born workers (325,000 lost; 143,000 gained).

Figure 1: Employment recovery rates (both full-time and part-time) for Canadian-born and immigrant workers. 

Full-time and Part-time Employment Recovery Rates by Sector

Two of the sectors most severely impacted by the pandemic are 1) retail trade and 2) accommodation and food services (see Table 1). Between April and August 2020, full-time and part-time employment picked up significantly for both immigrants and Canadian-born workers in both sectors.

Table 1: Employment Recovery Rates for Immigrants and Canadian-born Workers, Full-time and Part-time, by Sector








Immigration Status


Part-time employment


Full-time employment

Level in Feb. Recovery rate from Apr. to Aug. Level in Feb. Recovery rate from Apr. to Aug.
Accommodation and food services Canadian-born 108,678 81% 521,428 85%
Immigrant 66,161 86% 278,251 48%
Retail trade Canadian-born 200,247 66% 867,569 81%
Immigrant 86,265 17% 336,494 35%


In accommodation and food services, immigrants had a higher recovery rate in part-time employment than Canadian-born workers (86% versus 81%, respectively). However, the full-time employment recovery in this sector has been much faster for Canadian-born individuals than for immigrants (85% versus 48%, respectively).

In the retail sector, recovery has been even slower. Immigrant workers have recovered only 17% of the 23,000 part-time jobs and 35% of the 64,000 full-time jobs lost between February and April. By contrast, the recovery rates were 66% of the part-time jobs and 81% of the full-time jobs for their Canadian-born counterparts.

The Way Forward

Data from the Labour Force Survey show that between April and August 2020, Canadian-born workers recovered full-time employment at a significantly higher pace than immigrant workers. It also revealed that immigrants recovered significantly more part-time jobs than those born in Canada. Lastly, among the two key sectors most heavily impacted by the pandemic, the retail sector shows particularly slow job recovery rates among immigrants in both part-time and full-time employment.

LMIC will continue to analyze data as they become available. Delivering more insights about how Canadians are faring in the labour market, especially as we enter the second wave of the pandemic, will be critical. Stay tuned for more timely, granular insights from LMIC in the coming weeks and months.

Behnoush Amery

Behnoush Amery is a Senior Economist with LMIC. Her work currently focuses on labour market information research related to the future of work, the relationship between education and labour market outcomes, as well as the estimation of granular labour data.


Bolanle Alake-Apata is an Economist with LMIC. Her work currently focuses on conducting research on labour market information for recent immigrants and students.

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