Canada has among the best educational and economic outcomes for children of immigrants in the western world  


“The children of immigrants from many Asian countries such as China and India register remarkably high educational outcomes”


Richard Kurland

LEXBASE, Canada’s leading immigration publication under well-known lawyer Richard Kurland, has obtained under Access to Information a very revealing internal report authored by Garnett Picot, Research and Evaluation, CIC [Citizenship and Immigration Canada] – “The Educational and Labour Market Outcomes of the Children of Immigrants: A Success to be Preserved.”

Lexbase calls it “a candid analytical summary of empirical data” that “discloses Canada’s successes to date, and some challenges ahead.” It states that the report evaluates the performance of Canada’s immigration system over the long term, in terms of the educational and economic outcomes of children of immigrants. It says that a key disclosure is: “Within the second generation visible minority population, Blacks fared the worst in terms of economic outcomes, and the Chinese the best.”

The VOICE feels that this report is a slap in the face of white racists who are always spreading false propaganda – often carried in mainstream media – against immigration. Immigration to these white racists nowadays means “non-white immigration.”


The following are selected extracts by Lexbase from this internal IRCC [Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada] report:


“Educational Outcomes in Canada”: “Canada fortunately has among the best educational and economic outcomes for the children of immigrants in the western world. This success sets Canada apart from most European nations, and to some extent, the U.S. But there is tremendous variation by country of origin. The children of immigrants from many Asian countries such as China and India register remarkably high educational outcomes.”

“As a very general statement, the children from Asian families tend to have the highest educational outcomes, those from American and European families tend to look somewhat more like Canadians, although they still register higher educational outcomes than Canadian families on average, and those from Latin America and the Caribbean tend to display lower levels of educational attainment, but still roughly on par with children with Canadian-born parents (from 23% to 28% completed university).”

“[E]ducational attainment may work through a number of other factors. Parents, expectations regarding education matters, and immigrant families, particularly Asian families, tend to have higher educational expectations for their children, on average, than families with Canadian-born parents. Immigrants’ place of residence also matters. They are more likely to live in large cities than Canadian-born families, where educational attainment is higher. The factors mentioned so far refer to the family, but the group to which the child belongs also play a role. The tendency of young members of an ethnic group to have the advantages associated with more highly educated role models in their group and strong networks also plays a role. And the school system itself no doubt plays a role. The quality of education received depends less on the socio-economic background or place of residence of the family in Canada than in other countries such as the U.S.” “Family income does not seem to play a role; the likelihood of going to university does not depend upon family income in the immigrant community. This is important because many immigrant families struggle economically.”

“Labour Market Outcomes in Canada”: “visible minority groups tend not to do as well in terms of economic outcomes as one might expect given their higher average levels of education.”

“Within the second generation visible minority population, Blacks fared the worst in terms of economic outcomes, and the Chinese the best.”

“However, the gaps in economic outcomes between the second generation visible minority groups (relative to Whites with Canadian-born parents) are not large when compared to the much larger economic deficit experienced by their immigrant parents. It may be that for some, economic integration is a multi-generational process. The earnings gap for visible minorities relative to Whites is reduced across generations; it is greatest among the arriving generation. And it remains true that on average the children of immigrants do as well or better economically than their counterparts with Canadian-born parents. This success is not evident in most other western nations, notably in Europe.”


“WHY are Outcomes Better in Canada than in Europe? In general the data required to answer this question are not available. There is one exception, Switzerland. And this is a reasonable comparison. Immigration plays a major role in Swiss society as it does in Canada, since immigration rates are comparable. And until recently, many Swiss immigrants tended to have low skill levels and come from poorer countries, as is traditionally true for many European nations. But in general the educational outcomes (and hence economic outcomes) of the children of immigrants in Switzerland are much poorer than those of students with Swiss parents, whereas in Canada the opposite is true. Why? Recent research focusing on the 2000s found a few answers.”

“First, in Switzerland the children of immigrants did much poorer academically in high school than did students with Swiss parents. This difference in secondary school academic achievement accounted for virtually all of the gap in college and university attendance. The children of immigrants were less likely to go on to post-secondary education because they did not have the marks to do so. In Canada, there was no difference in the high school performance of the children of immigrants and students with Canadian-born parents, so high school achievement played no role in Canada.”

“Why did the children of immigrants in Switzerland do poorly in high school whereas in Canada they did fine? Socio-economic background, including parental educational attainment, source country and ethnic group of the parents, played a major role. In Switzerland, from 50% to 75% of the difference in high school performance between the children of immigrants and those with Swiss-born parents was related to differences in socio-economic background. This factor is of course driven to a great extent by the immigration system, since it relates to the types of immigrants who enter the country. Switzerland has recently altered its immigration policy to focus on more highly skilled immigrants, in part to confront this issue. Part of the reason for poorer secondary outcomes in Switzerland also related to the ‘streaming’ process in secondary school and the fact that children with an immigrant background tended to be streamed into the less academic streams which do not lead to post-secondary education, even if their academic performance was comparable to that of the students with purely Swiss backgrounds.”

“In Canada there is no such streaming process. In fact, as noted earlier, among students with poorer secondary school outcomes in Canada, those with immigrant backgrounds are much more likely to obtain post-secondary education than students with a purely Canadian background. Differences between Switzerland and Canada in the source country of immigrant families no doubt play a role here.”

“In Canada, if differences in secondary school performance do not explain the higher university attendance rates among the children of immigrants, what does?” “It relates to higher parental expectations among immigrant families, the higher educational attainment of immigrant parents, where they live, and ‘ethnic group’ effects related to networks, role models and expectations. Canada obtains a larger share of its immigrants from countries that place a very high premium on education, such as China and India, than does Switzerland (or most European countries).

“…couple of very important successes are often overlooked. The first is the success of the children of immigrants, and this is somewhat unique to Canada. It is not observed in most European nations, and to a lesser extent in the U.S. The second is Canadians’ positive perception of immigrants and the need for immigration. This too is somewhat unique to Canada, as negative reactions toward immigration are more evident in many European countries, the U.S. and Australia.”


“HOW do we ensure that the success regarding second generation outcomes continues in the future? The first step is to recognize that changes in immigration policy -particularly immigrant selection -can influence the educational economic and social outcomes of the children of immigrants. Immigration policy has a number of objectives, of which the outcomes of the second generation should be one.”

“Continued focus on more highly skilled immigrants will also help ensure future success, as since this is an important determinant of second generation outcomes. Cultural differences among immigrants from different countries are also important, but typically are not considered in immigrant selection for obvious reasons.”

“Taking steps to maintain the positive attitude of Canadians towards immigration can also help, since a population backlash can negatively affect second generation outcomes. These steps might include continuing to ensure that immigrants are selected such that they contribute positively to the social and economic development of the country (and are perceived to be doing so, and avoiding events that weaken Canadians’ belief that immigration does not have significant negative social or economic effects. For example, Canada is one of the few western nations where researchers, policy developers and the public are little concerned about immigrants ‘stealing’ the jobs of Canadians. This is a prominent issue in most western nations. But a few highly publicized events demonstrating that employers are selecting immigrants (temporary or permanent) in the place of Canadian workers could change this perception. This would negatively affect the populations view of immigration and hence of immigrants (and their children). But European research has shown that it is more a concern regarding the effect of immigration on social structures, religion and social outcomes, rather than negative economic effects, that fuels a negative view of immigration. Avoiding such concerns in Canada will also assist in maintaining the positive outcomes of the children of immigrants and the very positive view of immigration that is currently held by Canadians.”


  1. One could loosely argue that “children of immigrants from…China and India register remarkably high educational outcomes”, higher than White Canadians. But by itself this statistical fact hides more than it reveals; it is true that some Indian and Chinese immigrants do better because their parents are more traditional and demanding, whereas White parents have become easygoing, but another key fact is that the Indians and Chinese leaving their lands tend to have a higher average IQ than the ones who stay. Canada is essentially enticing the higher IQ members of India and China to leave their homelands.

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