Transcript of the chat session on Immigration, Business Ownership and Employment in Canada, which occurred on Monday, March 21, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST

Note: This was a bilingual chat session, which means that the participants were able to submit their questions in English or French. Statistics Canada respects the Official Languages Act and is committed to ensuring that information products of equal quality are available in both English and French. For that reason, all the questions and answers have been translated in the other official language.

 Moderator at 14:00:09
Welcome everyone! This is a bilingual chat session, which means that you can submit your questions in English or French. Our experts will respond in a timely manner and in the official language in which the question was asked.

 pcain at 14:00:50
Did you look at whether immigrants from different countries had patterns of starting businesses in different industries? In the GTA, for example, immigrants from south Asia seem to be involved in trucking, and historically many Italian- and Portugese-Canadians have worked in construction.

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:05:54
Thank you for that question. In this study, we did not examine the intersection between source region and industry of business ownership. However, we are currently investigating that issue and will be publishing a research paper later in 2016.

 bhanunischal at 14:04:08
Hello, Presently I am living in India and I've applied for immigration under Express Entry but my CRS score is 365. Is there any possibility to improve this score or get offer?

 Moderator at 14:09:44
bhanunischal, thank you for your question. Unfortunately, this question is not relevant to the topic of this chat. We will follow up with you by email in the following business days.

 Susan Noakes at 14:05:35
How specific might this data be to the period studied (2000-2010). Is there any earlier data to compare it to?

 Danny Leung at 14:13:14
The administrative data we used for this analysis only covers the period from 2000 to 2010. Comparable information from earlier periods have not be integrated to facilitate this type of analysis. Hence, we cannot compare the results from the 2000s to the 1990s. However, the data file will be updated on an ongoing basis, providing scope to examine changes over time and across the business cycle.

 pcain at 14:00:34
The immigrant group you studied had a different pattern of business ownership from Canadian-born businesspeople. For instance, twice as many owned business related to accommodation and food services, or transportation and warehousing. Why do we see these patterns?

 Danny Leung at 14:13:51
The study did not look specifically at this dimension. However, it is possible that the barriers to entry related to these industries (for example, capital costs) are lower here than in other industries, such as manufacturing.

 gpeters at 14:04:56
You report earnings for unincorporated self-employed which show the average total earnings are higher for non-immigrants than immigrants in the top quartile only. Did you find similar trends in the data for incorporated businesses?

 Danny Leung at 14:15:18
We showed in the paper that non-immigrants have higher average earnings over all quintiles. Please see Table 23 in the paper.

 viragomova at 14:05:22
HI, although I didn't have too much time to look over the tables in this report, I was wondering if provincial data is available?

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:15:27
Our analysis is done at the national level. In principle, our data allow for a more detailed breakdown of ownership rates by province. Our future research may provide an answer to your question.

 isans_business at 14:11:22
comment: will just be following along on the questions submitted by others. Just received invitation to participate this afternoon and have not had opportunity, as yet, to read the findings. Look forward to it though as we have been working with immigrant entrepreneurs since 1992 and from the little bit gleaned from the abstract concur with the findings. Sherry, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia

 Moderator at 14:17:29
isans_business, thank you for following along!

 Pierre Bisson at 14:11:49
Were the trends observed at the Canada level also seen at the provincial level?

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:19:08
Thank you for your question. The purpose of this study was to paint an initial portrait of the trends of entrepreneurship and job creation among immigrants. This portrait is for the national level. The question on whether the national trends are also observed in most provinces is interesting but was not examined. It may be examined in future studies.

 pcain at 14:08:52
Did you study the possibility that immigrants start businesses, or are self-employed, because other ways of making a living require Canadian credentials and are closed to them?

 Danny Leung at 14:19:56
A study that examines that issue in detail is
"Choice or necessity Do Immigrants and Their Children Choose Self-employment for the Same Reasons?" //www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11f0019m/11f0019m2012342-eng.htm

 Jake at 14:06:30
Is there any indication as to what types of businesses may fall under the unknown category, even if only anecdotal? Especially since this is a large % of the total?

 Danny Leung at 14:21:22
The unknown category refers to the businesses whose industry codes have not been assigned yet. This is more related to the nature of administrative data and will be investigated in the near future.

 lzhang_cmhc at 14:08:31
Hi Danny and Grant, I am Lin Zhang from CMHC. Thank you for your tremendous efforts and contribution on this important project that you have undertaken. Your research report contains some interesting findings and open the possibilities of further studies. For instance, 1) what are the main factors affecting immigrant entrepreneurship? 2) how immigrants affect labor productivity? As far as CMHC concerned, from your report "One-half of the secondary self-employment jobs are in real estate, either as rental providers or managers, or as brokers." Because Canadian housing price experienced only a few major price declines, it would be interesting to further explore how and to what extent the secondary self-employment jobs in real estate would be affected by housing price adjustments. Thanks a lot.

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:21:28
Thanks, Lin. In terms of factors affecting immigrant entrepreneurship, Feng Hou published a couple of papers a few years ago examining push/pull factors associated with immigrants' entry into self-employment. The paper is on the StatCan website: "Choice or necessity: Do immigrants and their children choose self-employment for the same reasons?" Your suggestion regarding the implications of housing price adjustments on secondary self-employment in real estate is a good one. It would also be interesting to examine this from a regional perspective.

 gpeters at 14:20:10
Thank you for the correction - I meant to ask what the distribution of average net self-employment income looks like for immigrants and non-immigrants who are incorporated.

 Danny Leung at 14:27:41
The earnings for incorporated owners are not net self-employment income. They include wage/salaries, dividends and other income from their corporations. We did not produce the numbers in the paper. However, based on some follow-up analysis, non-immigrant incorporated business owners also earn higher than immigrant incorporated business owners.

 Susan Noakes at 14:18:45
Can you estimate from this data how much the Canadian economy is dependent on immigrant entrepreneurship? Is there a way to say how much it is making a difference?

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:29:52
Assessing how much the Canadian economy is dependent on immigrant entrepreneurship is a difficult question because it involves: a) estimating the number of start-ups initiated by immigrants, and b) assessing the number of jobs directly and indirectly created by immigrants. The study computed neither the number of start-ups initiated by immigrants nor the number of jobs indirectly created by their businesses. The focus of the study was to estimate a) the percentage of business owners among immigrants and b) the number of people employed by their businesses.

 viragomova at 14:20:40
is provincial data not available because the sample size is too low? I am from Ontario, and you would think that there would be enough observations. Is it possible to request special tables for the province?

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:30:43
It is certainly possible to produce provincial-level results with these data, and there is clearly considerable interest in such information. We will look into this as a follow-up article.

 Diane Dyson at 14:31:16
Were you able to do any longitudinal tracking to observe whether immigrants (or other entrepreneurs) moved from unincorporated self-employment into business ownership?

 Danny Leung at 14:38:30
Thank you. This is an interesting question. We did not examine the source of entry in this paper. However, in a current research project, we are examining the source of entry into business ownership. The transition from unincorporated to incorporated does exist, however, it is not as high as that from paid employment to incorporated business ownership.

 ainnie at 14:35:46
what are the chances of employment in Canada, I am currently seeking an employment opportunity here, what should I do as I am possessing a graduation degree in Statistics.

 Moderator at 14:40:58
ainnie, thank you for your question. Unfortunately, that subject is outside the experts' area of expertise.

 Pierre Bisson at 14:34:57
Are there any employers in your group of self-employed workers who are not incorporated?

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:42:20
A very low proportion of unincorporated self-employed workers have employees. This is the case for only 2.5% of them.

 malr87 at 14:33:29
Are you aware of any study that compares underground economy participation rates for immigrants versus non-immigrants? And also, out of curiosity, in your study do you account for the possibility of different levels of income underreporting for the self-employed or do you assume that the underreporting level is likely the same for the different population groups? Thank you.

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:45:07
On April 29, 2015, Statistics Canada published a methodological paper on measuring the size of the underground economy. However, the paper does not disaggregate the results by immigration status. Herb Schuetze from the University of Victoria has published several papers on under-reporting of self-employment income, but he was not able to disaggregate the results by immigration status. In this study, we did not account for the possibility of different levels of income under-reporting.

 Diane Dyson at 14:34:13
I am also interested in the phenomenon where de facto employees are treated as contractors and so then may be rolled into "self-employment." My supposition is that this may explain why so many of the self-employed reported property management/real estate, that they are in fact night cleaners. Any insight?

 Danny Leung at 14:48:10
In this paper, the definition of self-employment refers to those who report non-zero net self-employment income based on the CRA's definition of self-employment income, including professional, business, farming, fishing, rental and commission income. The CRA also has a clear rule to distinguish between paid employees and the self-employed. Please consult RC4110 on the CRA's website.

 Jake at 14:40:53
As is mentioned in the report, immigrants in the economic class accounted for the biggest share of business ownership. Is there any way to further break down economic to the level of provincial nominee program landings and, even further, to the level of nominee program landings who came in under their respective entrepreneurial streams? I don't believe the IMDB actually disaggregates nominee program landings by stream.

 viragomova at 14:43:39
I second the question from Jake.

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:50:11
Although the Provincial Nominee Program was first initiated in the late 1990s, it was not until the later 2000s that the number of immigrants admitted through the program was substantial. As we update the analytical data file beyond 2010, it will be possible to examine business ownership among immigrants in the PNP category. That being said, we do not have the information needed to disaggregate PNPs further into provincial entrepreneurial programs specifically.

 Patrice at 14:35:06
Hello, what are the specific characteristics of immigrants who are primarily self-employed? Thank you!

 Grant Schellenberg at 14:51:37
Immigrants who are mainly self-employed are younger than their Canadian-born counterparts. Approximately half of them (48.3%) are 45 years or older. The corresponding percentage for Canadian-born self-employed workers is 61%. Roughly half of immigrants who are primarily self-employed have a secondary school diploma or lower level of education. Finally, close to one-third (35.1%) of immigrants who are mainly self-employed work in real estate services, a proportion similar to the proportion of their Canadian-born counterparts (32.9%).

 JIONGTU at 14:40:33
Hi Danny and Grant. Nice to meet you online. I'm Jiong Tu from the Labour Program of ESDC. I have a question about "Business Ownership and Employment in Immigrant-owned Firms in Canada" Table 1 shows that, in the construction industry, the share of private incorporated businesses is only 7.3% for immigrants, compared with 14.0% for native born Canadians. I wonder if the data allow you to investigate the reason for the gap: licence or network? And why the gap is particularly wide in construction? (Since there is little immigrant/native difference among the primarily self-employed in construction, skills does not seem to be the major reason.)

 Danny Leung at 14:53:42
Hi! Nice to hear from you. The data used in this paper alone cannot address your question about whether the gap is due to differences in individual networks or some kind of regulatory barrier related to qualifications. There may also be other factors involved like differences in capital start up costs across industries.

 Moderator at 14:27:24
Our experts are ready for more questions. Keep them coming!

 ekwan at 14:51:13
Do you have information on the distribution of businesses for (1) private incorpated (2) unincorp. self-employed immigrants and non-immigrants by industry, by SOURCE COUNTRY for 2010?

 Danny Leung at 14:56:22
We did not produce the distribution by industry and by source country in the paper. However, this is an interesting question that could be investigated in future research.

 Diane Dyson at 14:52:09
What were the industries immigrants were most likely to be in the bottom income quartile?

 Grant Schellenberg at 15:01:03
Thanks, Diane. We did not examine the intersection between industry and income quintiles. This could be an interesting avenue for further research.

 JIONGTU at 14:53:53
Since the database is longitudinal, is it possible to compare and plot the industrial distribution over time? Doing so will help us better understand the dynamics of business ownership and self-employment for immigrants. This might be useful for CIC to take industry and self-employment into consideration when adjusting the immigration policies.

 Danny Leung at 15:01:13
Yes, it definitely would be feasible to produce distributions of that nature. The one caveat that I can think of is that it is sometimes difficult to find the industry for the smallest firms. An indication of this issue in the current paper is the size of the other category in, for example, Table 1.

 Moderator at 15:02:25
The chat session is now over. Thank you for your questions and comments! If our experts did not have a chance to respond to your question, we will follow-up with you by email in the next few business days. The full transcript of this chat session will be made available on our website shortly. Have a great day!

Date modified: