Labour market training of new Canadians and limitations to the intersectionality framework

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Authors: Derek Hum and Wayne Simpson
Date: Fall 2003
From: Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal(Vol. 35, Issue 3)
Publisher: Canadian Ethnic Studies Association
Document Type: Article
Length: 5,818 words

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This essay considers the labour market integration of immigrants while distinguishing and assessing the importance of other identity markers including gender, visible minority status, and disability. Since much literature on the intersectionality of diversity markers is within a multiculturalism framework, we "map" the commonly mentioned diversity markers to mainstream economic research practices, pointing out limitations associated with the small case study as well as quantitative approaches. We sketch current economic understanding about labour market integration of Canadian immigrants and summarise recent research on their work-related training activities. We suggest an expanded framework to accommodate policy complications that result from Canada's federal-provincial division of powers. We conclude with remarks on the limitations as well as opportunities afforded by the intersectionality framework.

L'essai traite l'integration des immigrants dans le marche du travail tout en reconnaissant et en evaluant l'importance des autres marqueurs de l'identite, incluant le sexe, l'appartenance a une minorite visible et l'incapacite. Puisque la litterature sur l'intersectionalite des marqueurs de la diversite se situe dans un cadre de multiculturalisme, nous traons les marqueurs de la diversite les plus souvent mentionnes dans un contexte des pratiques de recherche economique traditionnelles, en soulignant les limites associees a une petite etude de cas ainsi qu'aux approches quantitatives. Nous dressons un portrait de la comprehension de la situation economique actuelle relative a l'integration des immigrants dans le marche du travail au Canada et resumons la recherche recente portant sur leurs activites de formation professionnelle. Nous proposons un cadre elargi pour composer avec les complications d'ordre politique resultant de la division des pouvoirs entre l'administration federale et les provinces du Canada. Nous concluons avec des commentaires sur les limites ainsi que les possibilites decoulant du cadre d'intersectionalite.


Canada enjoys an advanced economy with progressive social programs, and it takes pride in welcoming immigrants. It is also a society that extols its multicultural character, even as it contends with its image of an officially bilingual country of two founding peoples and the perennial tensions that exist between English and French, East and West, the have and have-nots, and Ottawa and the provinces. Canada, then, is nothing if not diverse, and for this reason, it faces a daunting challenge to forge social cohesion and to promote inclusion, both civic and economic. Lambertus (2002:4) neatly summarises the policy evolution:

Multiculturalism grew out of objections to the dualistic view of Canada in the 1969 Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. The resultant 1971 multicultural policy acknowledged Canada's ethnic diversity by recognising equal status of all cultures, and by protecting individual rights. In the 1980s, the focus shifted to managing diversity through institutional multiculturalism to provide employment equity and deal with systemic discrimination. Multiculturalism was incorporated into the 1985 Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, and the Multicultural Act [sic] was passed in 1988. For the past decade, multiculturalism remains committed to managing diversity through institutions, and more recently emphasizing citizenship participation of minority members, with an eye to enhancing society at large.


Source Citation

Source Citation
Hum, Derek, and Wayne Simpson. "Labour market training of new Canadians and limitations to the intersectionality framework." Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, vol. 35, no. 3, fall 2003, pp. 56+. Accessed 3 June 2023.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A116860851