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Latin Americans face a stubborn pay gap in Canada, data shows

August 7, 2021

Latinos constitute a mosaic of nationalities and cultures, and there are one million of them living in Canada.

Just over 92,000 Latinos were admitted as permanent residents to Canada between January 2007 and April 2021 — with Brazilians, Mexicans, Colombians and Venezuelans topping the list.

Because of limited research on this ethnic group, we know little about Latin Americans’ experiences with economic integration in Canada. Economic integration, in this context, refers to the extent and degree that immigrants and refugees integrate into the workforce, stimulating the local economy.

Through our most recent exploratory research and drawing from 2016 census data, we analyzed how well Latinos are doing in terms of economic integration.

We found that while they are present across all Canadian labour markets, they are lagging behind the Canadian median total income ($68,100). This is because their field of employment, location and income are strongly shaped by their nationality, time spent (or having been born) in Canada and their gender.

Latinos and the labour market

Our research found that Latinos’ participation across the Canadian labour market varies. For example, 22 per cent of Latinos work in sales and services while five per cent work in health-related fields.

Among Latinos working in health, half of males (50.4 per cent) and 44.1 per cent of females are employed as nurse aides, and 8.5 per cent of men and 15.1 per cent of women are employed as registered nurses.

Their significant participation in front-line jobs has increased their health-related risks during the pandemic. Latinos are seven times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than any other ethno-racial group in Toronto. They also have the second highest mortality rate among immigrant communities affected by COVID-19 in Canada.

Gender, nationality and time spent in Canada

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