Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery must be immigrant-focused

Mohanad Moetaz
Published: September 8, 2020

An immigrant-focused financial recovery plan should be at the forefront of Canada’s post-pandemic goals.

This need is highlighted in a recent study conducted by the World Education Services (WES). In June, WES surveyed 1,800 permanent residents, international students, and temporary foreign workers in Canada to understand COVID's impact on their economic health.

WES is one of the main providers for Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs). ECAs are used to verify that foreign credentials are equivalent to Canadian ones. They are often required by immigration candidates when they submit economic class applications to the federal government or a province or territory.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

Loss of income

According to the study, 15 per cent of all respondents lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them also found it difficult to afford rent or make mortgage payments.

Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of permanent residents had lost their main source of income. For temporary workers, that percentage was 22 per cent.

For international students, 34 per cent found it difficult to afford rent or utilities.

As such, eligible permanent residents, temporary foreign workers and international students, applied to receive emergency benefits that were aimed to offset loss of income due to the pandemic. This includes the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and Employment Insurance (EI).

The CERB was accessible for employed as well as self-employed Canadians and permanent residents. The CERB was introduced after the start of the pandemic.

On the other hand, EI offers temporary benefits for eligible individuals who lost their jobs. EI is not bound by the pandemic, and some form of employment-related benefit has been available for 80 years.

In addition, many permanent residents who are also students were eligible for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), an emergency benefit specific to Canadian and permanent resident students.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

In June, around a third of those who claimed to have been eligible for EI had received the benefit. This is a significant increase from April, when it was only 13 per cent. 

Around a half (48 per cent) of those who claimed to have been eligible for the CERB had received the benefit in June. This also spells a significant increase. In April, this was just 19 per cent.

The WES survey found that those receiving EI or CERB were largely made up of permanent residents and temporary workers (90 per cent). 

Few international students were likely to receive either benefit. This is because of the eligibility requirements of these programs. To be eligible for the CERB, international students must have earned more than CAD$5,000 in 2019.

The CERB is scheduled to end in October and eligible individuals will receive EI instead. 

This means that many freelancers and “gig economy” workers will not be able to receive benefits. This is because many of these workers do not qualify for EI.

To address this, the Canadian government will be introducing a transitional benefit. This is good news for immigrants and students, many of whom had unstable employment and therefore do not qualify for EI.

Canada's economy has rebounded in recent months with some 2 million jobs lost by the pandemic since recovered.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at media@canadavisa.com
Related articles
Faster employment growth for new immigrants
Two women in an office look at a tablet while working
Which Canadian industries may require a criminal record check for employment?
Close-up Of Human Hand Filling Criminal Background Check Application Form With Pen
What you need to know before moving to Manitoba
A picture of a bridge in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Newcomers who came to Canada in second year of COVID-19 pandemic had better median entry wages than pre-pandemic: Statistics Canada
Young happy executive manager holding business meeting with her coworkers in the office and looking at camera
Top Stories
Canada’s immigration minister proposes new legislation for Canadian citizenship by descent
IRCC now accepting community applications for two new pilot programs
How to be considered for jobs in Canada while still in the Express Entry pool
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe
More in Express Entry
How to be considered for jobs in Canada while still in the Express Entry pool
A person having an online interview with a recruiter
Can I count student work experience towards the Express Entry work requirement?
Two people sitting at a table looking at a tablet working on a project.
The state of the Express Entry pool: April 2024
A collage of a group of people preforming various actions in a single photo
Will my job offer get me Comprehensive Ranking System points as an Express Entry candidate?
Multiracial group of colleagues working on business reports during the meeting
Link copied to clipboard