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SURVEY: Half of B.C. immigrants say they do not find jobs matching their training, skills and experience

Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) Summit 2019 in Vancouver to explore how banking can address migrants, #metoo and melting icecaps

February 19, 2019, Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – Newcomers with professional and trades skills feel welcomed in B.C. but most say their workplace credentials are undervalued, leading to economic difficulties and employment exclusion, according to a new survey by Vancity in partnership with Angus Reid Global.

Of 400 immigrants surveyed in B.C., 34% say they have amassed debt due to employment difficulties experienced here, and 44% say it has been difficult to provide for their families. The figures are even higher among those looking for work in their chosen field, in which they are trained or have previous work experience.

Among those seeking employment in their chosen field, only half (49%) say they are able to find work at levels that match their credentials. The rest say they take work in junior positions or find work in different fields. Most newcomers agree that their work experience (70%), professional qualifications (67%) and education (66%) from their countries of origin are less respected than the Canadian equivalents.

The survey was conducted in advance of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) Summit, a major international event hosted by Vancity on February 19 and 20 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Summit participants will explore how values-based banking can address social, environmental and economic challenges. Vancity, for example, supports the federal Foreign Credential Recognition Loans program for organizations helping new Canadians find work in their chosen fields.

The vast majority (90%) of newcomers surveyed say they are glad they immigrated to Canada, and 86% feel that Canadians are generally welcoming of them. But 62% believe they had to overcome racism in order to land a job.

“When newcomers don’t find work in their professions or trades, the effects are broadly felt. They include intergenerational poverty,” says Catherine Ludgate, Vancity’s senior manager of community investment. “By assigning fair value to international workplace credentials, we all stand to benefit.”

“New Canadians tell us that all the experience and education they’ve accumulated gives them only a 50/50 shot at being employed at an appropriate level in B.C.,” says Demetre Eliopoulos, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Angus Reid Public Affairs. “Those are low odds for credentials they’ve worked so hard to attain.”

A parallel survey of 800 B.C. residents—82% of them Canadian-born—reveals a high degree of sympathy for newcomers and a general understanding of the employment difficulties they face. Almost two-thirds (64%) of B.C. residents feel that local employers should consider foreign credentials as equivalent to Canadian credentials.

However, while most newcomers (53%) say education standards in their countries of origin are better than education standards in Canada, only 31% of B.C. residents agree that newcomers are better educated than Canadians. And 78% of B.C. residents say newcomers should get additional education when they come to Canada.


In partnership with Vancity, Angus Reid Global conducted two online surveys in parallel to better understand the climate surrounding B.C. immigrants and their experiences finding employment in Canada. The first survey was conducted January 14-19, 2019 among a randomized sample of 400 immigrants to B.C. who arrived after 15 years of age. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The second survey was conducted January 24-28, 2019 among a representative sample of 800 adult residents who reside in B.C. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The respondents are members of Angus Reid Forum.

Additional information

Summary of the surveys and results

Backgrounder: How Vancity supports advocacy, skill sharing and resource development for new Canadians

About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 525,000 member-owners and their communities in the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw territories, with 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. With $26.4 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

About Angus Reid Global

Angus Reid is Canada’s most well-known and respected name in opinion and market research data. Offering a variety of research solutions to businesses, brands, governments, not-for-profit organizations and more, the Angus Reid Global team connects technologies and people to derive powerful insights that inform your decisions. Data is collected through a suite of tools utilizing the latest technologies. Prime among that is the Angus Reid Forum, an opinion community consisting of engaged residents across the country who answer surveys on topical issues that matter to all Canadians.

About the Global Alliance for Banking on Values and the 2019 Summit

The Global Alliance for Banking on Values is an independent network of banking institutions using finance to deliver sustainable economic, social and environment development. GABV member banks are redefining banking to put its ecosystem in service of people and the planet. 2019 Summit participants will explore how banking can help solve the challenges of our time: Migrants; #metoo; Melting Icecaps

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For more information:
Brent Shearer | Vancity
T: 778-837-0394