Mapping a better path to employment for immigrant women


Immigrants come to Canada to improve their lives. However, some immigrant professional women have found securing a job a tough challenge. Frédéric Dejean wants to find out why, and to help. He is a researcher at the Institut de recherche sur l’intégration professionnelle des immigrants at Collège Maisonneuve in Montréal. He is also the director of a Community and College Social Innovation Fund project funded through SSHRC.

“What’s really exciting about this project is that most research looks at immigrant employment in general and doesn’t consider particular problems or barriers women face,” he says.

Instead of focusing on newly arrived immigrants, Dejean’s team will study immigrant women who have been in Quebec for three or more years, as these women often put their job hunt aside for several years to take care of their family.

The research institute focuses on economic immigrants rather than refugees. Dejean’s study will  therefore work with educated women who have impressive professional qualifications, yet still struggle to get a job in line with their training and abilities.

Many of these women also face language and certification barriers. Some feel they have not been able to find jobs because of their appearance. Many have expressed frustration that agencies that secure jobs for immigrants concentrate on finding jobs quickly, rather than finding the right kind of work. Another concern some have is that they are given retraining, but there is no follow-up help to them in their job search.

Dejean, his colleagues and their community partners say they will not be satisfied with merely producing another list of social agencies. “We want to learn about the path to employment and what barriers are on it,” he says. They hope to help develop plans for agencies and policy for government that will help immigrant women thrive.



Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes