This benchmark pan-Canadian study uses qualitative and participatory approaches to examine the work finding experiences of highly-skilled immigrant women as a way to deconstruct mainstream ‘explanations’ and rhetorics informing the increasingly narrow economic focus of Canada’s immigration policies. Along the way, the impact of austerity-led devolution of publicly-funded supports that facilitate occupational and social integration of “ideal immigrants” are also explored. The findings suggest that the challenges outlined in this report are directly or indirectly tethered to factors impacting everyday Canadian workers, except that they are experienced much more blisteringly by our participants at the intersection of gender, race, ability, and immigration status. Indeed; unlike their Canadian-born and non-visible-minority peers, many of our participants have neither established professional networks nor the requisite social capital to open doors or provide shortcuts, while also struggling with the lack of access to intergenerational family support to alleviate their day-to-day challenges. The results of the study challenge many persistent stereotypes of how Canadian institutions and the general cultural imaginary perceive immigrant women, and serve to illustrate the necessity of linking Canada’s goals to establish a sustainable and competitive innovation economy, the workfinding experiences of STEM-trained women, and the general state of workers’ well-being and resilience across the country.
Credit: Pan-Canadian Report by TechGirls Canada