Closed sign on shop window

Immigrants and visible minorities suffered greater financial hardships due to the pandemic, according to a new study from Statistics Canada.

The national statistical agency reported that while the pandemic has negatively affected the financial situation of many households, it has had a particularly serious impact on the financial well-being of visible minorities and immigrants.

StatsCan said that its new survey series (which was carried out over the past year) found that immigrants and visible minorities “were significantly more likely than other Canadians to state that Covid-19 had a major impact on their ability to meet financial obligations or essential needs, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities and groceries.”

In particular, it found that 51% of visible minorities and 47% of immigrants reported a “major or moderate financial impact” from the pandemic, compared with 29% of other Canadians.

StatsCan said that these differences remained significantly large after adjusting the results by gender, age group, education and geography.

It also reported that while almost half of non-minority Canadians (48%) said the pandemic had no impact on their financial situation, only 27% of visible minorities and 34% of immigrants said the same.

“The financial hardships of these and other Canadians resulted from the rise of unemployment and job losses associated with the pandemic, and tested the financial resilience of their households,” it said.

“These Canadians, many of whom work in the industries and essential services most often affected by the pandemic, have experienced unemployment, job change and economic uncertainty,” it said.

In particular, StatsCan reported that unemployment rates for visible minorities have remained higher than for other Canadians throughout the pandemic.

It also said that immigrants and visible minorities, “like other groups with higher levels of poverty and economic vulnerability, were also more likely to rely on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).”

The study also found that the pandemic has been more likely to negatively affect the financial situation of working age Canadians, and those with lower levels of education.

For instance, it found that 43% of those in the 30-to-44 age group reported major or moderate financial impacts, compared with just 21% of those over age 65.