Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Discrimination at Work: Comparing the Experiences of Foreign-Trained and Locally-Trained Engineers in Canada

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Discrimination at Work: Comparing the Experiences of Foreign-Trained and Locally-Trained Engineers in Canada

Article excerpt


This paper reports on the findings of a study of the experiences of discrimination faced by internationally-trained engineers in Canada. Three hundred foreign-trained and two hundred locally-trained engineers were surveyed in order to identify the relationship of race, language proficiency, and location of training in finding work in the engineering field. In addition to measuring whether the applicants found work in the engineering field, this paper also sought to understand the perception of discrimination of internationally-trained engineers. Our findings demonstrate the relationship of race/ethnicity and its related marker--foreign training--with both ability to secure work in the engineering field and perceptions of discrimination. In the case of new immigrants, location of training was found to be a significant predictor of ability to find work in the engineering field, where locally-trained engineers were far more likely to acquire a job in the engineering field than foreign-trained engineers. Race/ethnicity was also found to be significantly associated with getting an engineering job among the locally-trained engineers.


Cet article presente un compte-rendu des resultats d'une etude sur la discrimination que les ingenieurs formes a l'international subissent au Canada. Trois cents de ces derniers et deux cents diplomes au Canada ont participe a une enquete pour identifier la relation entre la race, la competence linguistique et le lieu de formation d'une part, et l'acces a l'emploi dans le genie d'autre part. En plus d'evaluer les cas ou les candidats ont trouve un emploi dans leur domaine de qualification, nous avons cherche a comprendre comment ceux formes a l'international percoivent la discrimination. Nos resultats montrent qu'il y a bel et bien une relation entre, d'une part, race, ethnicite et ce qui les trahit--la formation a l'etranger--et, d'autre part, la capacite de s'assurer un emploi en tant qu'ingenieur, ainsi que ce qui est percu comme une discrimination. Dans le cas des nouveaux immigrants, nous avons constate a quel point la ou ils ont etudie permet de predire s'ils pourront trouver du travail dans leur domaine du genie, quand des etudes au pays donnent considerablement plus de chances d'en obtenir un que des diplomes etrangers. L'evidence montre aussi que la race et l'ethnicite jouent un grand role quand un ingenieur postule un emploi en meme temps que d'autres qui ont recu leur formation au Canada.


The Supreme Court of Canada describes discrimination as an intentional or non-intentional distinction based on the personal characteristics of the individual or group that imposes some kind of disadvantage or which limits access to some members of society. Discrimination includes harassment, racial slurs or jokes pertaining to race, colour or ethnic origin even if they are not specifically targeted at an individual (Canadian Human Rights Commission 2010, 2). Discrimination in employment includes lack of access to employment, differential rewards and outcomes in the labour market, as well as perceptions of discrimination (Banerjee 2008). Henry and Tator (2006) view employment discrimination as a form of systemic discrimination that is the result of seemingly value neutral and unbiased established procedures for hiring, selection and promotion. A few authors distinguish between discrimination at the pre-employment stage--"access discrimination"; and discrimination in treatment while on the job (Levitin et al. quoted in Forstenlechner and Al-Waqfi 2010). Discrimination can be viewed from two perspectives--objective and subjective (Naff 1995; Hopkins 1980; Banerjee 2008). The objective fact of discrimination is one that is observed by an impartial outsider according to predetermined criteria while the subjective perception of discrimination is one that a person experiences or perceives. Both perspectives "deal with the same phenomenon from different points of reference" (Hopkins 1980, 131). …

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