Mental Health Status of Canadian Immigrants during the COVID-19 Pandemic

AUTHORS    Rose Evra and Eric Mograin

LOCATION   National


In 2016, at the time of the most recent Census, immigrants represented 22% of the overall Canadian population. The April 2020 Labor Force Survey data (Statistics Canada, 2020A) showed that employment among recent immigrants (5 years or less since admission to Canada) and established immigrants (6 or more years since admission to Canada) fell more sharply from February to April (-23% and -17%, respectively) than it did for those born in Canada (-14%). Higher levels of anxiety have been reported among those who have been financially affected by COVID-19, in part due to the impact of the pandemic on their employment situation (Statistics Canada, 2020B). This article examines the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of immigrants to Canada and is a part of series on the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of vulnerable groups. The article uses data from the Statistics Canada Crowdsourcing Survey collected from April 24 to May 11, 2020 “Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians: Your mental health”. Readers should note that, unlike other surveys conducted by Statistics Canada, crowdsourcing data are not collected using probability-based sampling. Caution should be exercised when interpreting the findings, and no inferences about the overall Canadian population should be made based on these results.

How does this research apply to my work?

By outlining the unique impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on immigrants and refugees, and particular sub-groups of this population, resources, programs and services can be tailored to meet these needs.

What should I take away from this research?

The main findings from this study indicate that:

  • recent immigrants reported fair or poor mental health more often than other Canadians
  • mental health of more than half of recent immigrant participants has worsened since the implementation of physical distancing
  • recent immigrant participants are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety than other Canadians
  • female recent immigrant participants are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety
  • recent immigrant participants financially affected by the pandemic exhibit higher levels of anxiety

What’s the next step?

Over the coming weeks, Statistics Canada will continue to report on impacts of the current pandemic among vulnerable populations, including using data from “Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians: Data Collection Series”, a series of timely crowdsourcing surveys designed to collect information on an ongoing basis on topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more here

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