Living in Toronto doesn’t come cheap. The Toronto Community Foundation’s annual report, Vital Signs, identifies Toronto as the fifth least affordable housing market in Canada. The city also ranked 215th least affordable of the 272 international locations surveyed. Vancouver was the most expensive.
According to the report, the average rent for a bachelor apartment in Toronto is $742. A bedroom apartment rents for $902, and a two-bedroom unit for $1,072. The average monthly income for a carpenter is $2,862; for a data clerk, $2120; a salesperson, $1,979; a cook, $1,750. And a minimum wage earner makes about $1,532.
Yet, almost half of all newcomers to Canada choose to settle in Ontario – and most of them in Toronto. Canada welcomed nearly 250,000 new immigrants in 2008. Of these, 87,000 came to Toronto.
In his book Arrival City, The Globe and Mail journalist Doug Saunders writes: “Los Angeles stands out as the premier arrival-city cluster of the United States, with almost half its population born in other countries, a position equalled in North America only by Toronto, which plays a similar role in Canada.”
“Toronto is a city of immigrants – we always have been,” said mayoral candidate George Smitherman. “Newcomers have made our city prosper and grow. Toronto is a beacon around the world for people fleeing from persecution, poverty and hopelessness and perhaps more than any other city on the planet, Toronto finds strength in our diversity. So much so, it is our city’s motto.”
The successful integration of immigrants into the Canadian labour market is of interest to Canadian public policy and to current and potential immigrants alike.
A report entitled Characteristics and labour market outcomes of internationally-educated immigrants was released last month. Using data from the 2006 census, the report aims to develop a better understanding of the integration of internationally-trained immigrants into the Canadian labour market compared to those (Canadian-born or other immigrants) who completed their education in Canada. Are they working in an occupation related to their field of study or in an equivalent occupation? What are their working conditions and earnings? In doing so, this report presents a socio-demographic profile of internationally-educated immigrants upon their arrival in Canada and examines their labour market outcomes by time elapsed since landing. For more details, log on to www12.statcan.ca.