WholeCOMM working paper nº 4 Canada

Post-2014 migrant's access to housing, employment and other crucial resources in small- and medium-sized towns and rural areas in Canada

Publication date:
Kathryn Barber, Maissaa Almustafa, and Willem Maas, York University

Working Paper No. 4 - Canada

This report looks at migrants’ access to housing, employment, and other relevant resources in six different small and medium-sized towns and rural areas in Canada between 2016 and 2021.
Primarily based on interviews conducted in each of the six selected municipalities, secondary data analysis and a policy literature review, it provides an overview of the concrete barriers that migrants face in relation to housing and employment; the local actors who are involved in, and/or seen as responsible for, facilitating their access; any concrete local measures or practices that help or hinder this access; and the specific target groups of these measures, initiatives or practices. The report finds that the concrete barriers facing migrant access to housing are affordability, availability, and size. These factors were particularly acute in Ontario and B.C. where a housing crisis has driven up the average cost of a home and decreased availability. During the study period, Canada possessed low unemployment rates, however, one of the concrete barriers regarding economic integration was foreign credential recognition and language acquisition (English or French). The local actors who were involved included immigrant settlement service organizations, provincial employment ministries, faith organizations or groups of individuals (involved in private sponsorship), provincial/regional chambers of commerce and community service organizations. The measures and practices included employment matching and preparation services, language training programs, job banks, mentoring programs, paid internships, targeted migrant hiring initiatives by municipal and community-service organizations, skills upgrading programs and municipal integration policies. The specific target groups of these measures included immigrants (both economic and resettled refugees) as well as residents.