Focus on employment: discrimination, skill under-utilization, and inequality

How significant is racial discrimination in blocking equal employment opportunity for racial minorities in Canada, and to what extent does such discrimination contribute to the economic struggles of immigrants?  As shifting immigrant source countries has produced increases in the Canada’s racial minority populations since the 1970s, such questions have emerged as being of major significance in the study of the success of immigrant and minority group integration.  Jeff’s research has examined these issues in a number of aspects detailed below, focusing both on immigrants and, where possible, on the second-generation offspring of immigrants.  In addition, his cross-national comparisons of minority group inequality (research theme #3, below) are directed toward putting the Canadian case in global perspective, and understanding how Canada may or may not be different from other immigration countries in the extent of immigrant discriminatory disadvantage.

Racial discrimination in Employment – The following studies have assessed discrimination in employment using statistical analyses of labour force data, using field trials testing discrimination by employers, and investigating “systemic discrimination” as a form of discrimination stemming from organizational structures and practices.

1993 Jeffrey G. Reitz, “Statistics on racial discrimination in Canada”, Policy Options 14,2: 32-36. Eliciting “A Reply to Reitz,” by A. de Silva and D.L. Palmer, Policy Options 15,2 (1994) 3-7.

1994 Jeffrey G. Reitz, “A Comment on de Silva and Palmer”, Policy Options 15,2: 7-9.

2002 J. H. Beck, Jeffrey G. Reitz, and N. Weiner, “Addressing Systemic Racial Discrimination in Employment: The Health Canada Case and Implications of Legislative Change,” Canadian Public Policy 28,3: 373-394.

2007 Jeffrey G. Reitz and Rupa Banerjee, “Racial Inequality, Social Cohesion, and Policy Issues in Canada,” pp. 489-545 in: Belonging? Diversity, Recognition and Shared Citizenship in Canada, edited by Keith Banting, Thomas J. Courchene, and F. Leslie Seidle. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy.

2018 Rupa Banerjee, Jeffrey G. Reitz and Phil Oreopoulos, “Do Large Employers Treat Racial Minorities More Fairly? An Analysis of Canadian Field Experiment Data,” Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de politiques, 44, 1 (March): 1-12. DOI: 10.3138/cpp.2017-033

Immigrant Skill Utilization – Immigrant skill under-utilization is a specific form of discrimination receiving increased attention since the 1990s, and Prof. Reitz contributed an analysis to identify the quantitative significance of such skill under-utilization and its impact on the Canadian economy over time.  He has also discussed policy measures to address immigrant skill under-utilization in these studies and also in other publications included under the theme of “Policies for Immigration and Immigrant Integration.”

2001 Jeffrey G. Reitz, “Immigrant Skill Utilization in the Canadian Labour Market: Implications of Human Capital Research,” Journal of International Migration and Integration, 2(3):347-378; followed in the same issue  by a French translation “Utilisation des compétences des immigrants sur le marché du travail au Canada: Répercussions de la recherche sur le capital humain,” 347-378; commentary by Richard A. Wanner, “Diagnosing and Preventing ‘Brain Waste’ in Canada’s Immigrant Population: A Synthesis of Comments on Reitz,” 417-428, and my own “Response and Further Discussion,” 429-433. This exchange was initiated by the Department of Canadian Heritage, as described by the journal editors, Baha Abu-Laban and Hans Vermeulen, “A Note on Jeffrey Reitz’ paper,” 343-344.

2014 Jeffrey G. Reitz, Josh Curtis & Jennifer Elrick, “Immigrant Skill Utilization: Trends and Policy Issues,” Journal of International Migration and Integration, 15,1: 1-26.

The Declining Earnings of Immigrants – The decline in the initial employment earnings of successive cohorts of immigrants in Canada has been a major concern regarding immigrant employment since the late 1990s. Jeff became interested when his comparative study Warmth of the Welcome (noted under theme #3) identified institutional sources of inequality which seemed to point toward the likelihood of such a decline in Canada.

1998 Jeffrey G. Reitz, “Measuring Down: The Economic Performance of New Canadians is Declining; If We Want to Change that, We Need to Rethink Immigration Policy,” Financial Post, November 8, 1997. Reprinted in Post 2000: Business Wisdom for the Next Century, edited by Charles Davies, Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1998, pp. 157-163.

2001 Jeffrey G. Reitz, “Immigrant Success in the Knowledge Economy: Institutional Change and the Immigrant Experience in Canada, 1970-1995,” Journal of Social Issues, 57,3: 579-613 (Special issue on ‘Immigrants and Immigration,’ edited by V.M. Esses, J.F. Dovidio, and K.L. Dion).

2003 Jeffrey G. Reitz, “Occupational Dimensions of Immigrant Credential Assessment: Trends in Professional, Managerial, and Other Occupations, 1970-1996.” Pp. 469-506 in Charles Beach, Alan Green, and Jeffrey G. Reitz (eds.), Canadian Immigration Policy for the 21st Century, Kingston, ON: John Deutsch Institute for the Study of Economic Policy.

2004 Jeffrey G. Reitz and Kara Somerville, “Institutional Change and Emerging Cohorts of the ‘New’ Immigrant Second Generation: Implications for the Integration of Racial Minorities in Canada.” Journal of International Migration and Integration 5,4 (Fall) 385-415.

Immigrants, Labour Unions and Inequality – Two studies address the impact that labour unions have had on immigrant inequality.

2004 Jeffrey G. Reitz and Anil Verma, “Immigration, Race and Labor: Unionization and Wages in the Canadian Labor Market,” Industrial Relations 43,4 (October): 835-854.

2016 Anil Verma, Jeffrey G. Reitz & Rupa Banerjee, “Unionization and Income Growth of Racial Minority5 Immigrants in Canada: A Longitudinal Study,” International Migration Review 50,3: 667-698.

‘State of the Art’ Overview and Synthesis

1982 Jeffrey G. Reitz, “Race relations in the contemporary Canadian labour market: a discussion of research and policy”. In: Vincent D’Oyley (ed.), Perspectives on Race, Education and Social Development: Emphasis on Canada. Vancouver, B.C.: University of British Columbia, Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction, pp. 17-27. Also submitted as a brief to the Special Parliamentary Committee on the Participation of Visible Minorities in Canadian Society, September 16, 1983.

2006 Jeffrey G. Reitz and Janet Lum, “Immigration and Diversity in a Changing Canadian City: Social Bases of Inter-group Relations in Toronto,” pp. 15-50 in Eric Fong (ed.), Inside the Mosaic, Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

2007 Jeffrey G. Reitz, “Immigrant Employment Success in Canada, Part I: Individual and Contextual Causes,”

Journal of International Migration and Integration 8, 1: 11-36.

2007 Jeffrey G. Reitz, “Immigrant Employment Success in Canada, Part II: Understanding the Decline,” Journal of International Migration and Integration 8, 1: 37-62.

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