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5 Myths and Misconceptions About Immigrants in Canada

By Michael Niren December 5, 2011 (Updated December 14, 2022) 4 min. read
canada

There is still unfortunately plenty of anti-immigration sentiment all across Canada, but the statistics don’t lie. In fact, the reality is often the exact opposite of some of the biggest and untrue myths about immigration in Canada. Only by truly examining statistics about everyday situations, we can really begin to understand the most common myths about immigration to Canada.

Common Myths About Immigration to Canada

Myth #1: Immigrants are a burden on the Canadian economy

Canada’s immigration policies are designed to attract more skilled workers than any other class of immigrants which is an effective tool for improving the Canadian economy. Most of Canada’s immigrants are educated in diverse fields bringing experiences and languages from all over the world. They are an invaluable resource that will give Canada an edge in a highly competitive global market.

In fact, according to the Canada West Foundation, for every 10% increase in immigration, there is a 1% increase in exports. In 2014, 12% of immigrant-owned businesses exported goods and services to markets beyond the U.S., which supports Canada’s trade agenda (versus 7% for businesses owned by non-immigrants). Exporters with a recent immigrant as majority owners are among the fastest-growing Canadian small-medium enterprises.

Myth #2: Immigrants take jobs from Canadians

Many people question why immigrants are brought to Canada during times of economic uncertainty, job shortages, or all-time unemployment highs. However, immigrants can be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to competing with Canadians for the same jobs because of their lack of experience living in Canada. In addition, extremely high work credentials earned in their home countries (such as medical or legal degrees) may not translate over to Canadian equivalents and these people may have to take lower-end jobs.

Between 1993 and 2001, it was found that immigrants who had been in Canada for 10 years or less had a higher rate of over-qualification than their Canada-born counter- parts. Although many immigrants come to Canada as highly skilled professionals, their qualifications may not be recognized as equivalent to the qualifications of Canadian-born
workers trained in the same fields. Such immigrants do not have the opportunity to compete for jobs with Canadians who have the same levels of qualification.

Myth #3: Immigrants bring crime to Canada

While some are inviting immigrant newcomers, others have stuck to a stigma that immigrants bring crime to Canada which facts show isn’t true! According to the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy, immigrants are “much less involved in criminal activity than are those who were born in Canada.”

Immigrants looking to start their lives in Canada pose very little risk to Canada’s security and sovereignty. When arriving in Canada, newcomers are looking to find security for themselves and their families. Seeking protection from atrocities and hardship experienced by the threats from their homeland, it is a highly unfounded and nonevidential statement to suggest they are responsible for a crime in our country.

Myth #4: Internationally trained professionals are not as qualified as Canadian professionals

Approximately 40% of professionals who have trained abroad in a particular field and then immigrated to Canada are working in that same field in Canada. These professionals have to undergo rigorous training and additional accreditation before they can work in their chosen profession in Canada, including additional training and strict testing to make sure they are just as qualified as Canadian professionals.

It’s important to know that foreign-trained professionals must have credentials reviewed by accredited Canadian assessment bodies to be employed in their field. Even more than 26% of all physicians practicing in Ontario in 2011 were foreign-trained.

Myth #5: Illegal immigrants do not pay taxes

Illegal immigrants cannot work legitimately and therefore cannot pay income taxes. However, they may pay property taxes as well as all applicable sales taxes – while still being ineligible for all of the services and benefits these taxes actually pay for.

Non-status immigrants pay HST, property taxes, contribute to the CPP, and may also have social insurance numbers. Temporary foreign workers, refugee claimants, and permanent residents pay all taxes but can’t access many services based on their status!

Learn more about your first year in the Canadian tax system as a newcomer!

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