Occupational Niche Locations of Canada’s Latin American Workforce: Explorations Using Census Data


Alejandro Hernandez, Concordia University; Fernando Mata, University of Ottawa

Although the Latin American workforce in Canada has been steadily growing in the last couple of decades, we still know little about this population. Using a sample of ethnic classifications from the 2016 Census, this paper explores Latin American first- and second-generation workers’ location in occupational niches who reported some employment income in Canada in 2015. This sub-population, who self-identified under one of 21 Latin American ethnicities, represents approximately 360,700 male and female workers aged 25-64, with different periods of residence in Canada and birthplace status. By crisscrossing this data with the NOC 2016, we identified the clustering of Latin Americans in ten occupational niches, which range from management and sciences to services and manufacturing. We found that the Canadian Latin American workforce consists of a highly stratified arrangement of workers, with significant variability in their occupational location in terms of ethnicity, gender, and time spent in Canada. Furthermore, an examination of occupational and employment earnings data suggests that many Latinas/os are typically inserted into low-paying niches. This condition is strongly exacerbated by gender, since even women located in the white-collar-oriented primary labour market experience significant income discrepancies vis-à-vis men, indicating strong disadvantages for many Latin American women. Some qualitative cases coming from a previous research on Latin American youth in Canada are added to enrich the findings.

This paper will be presented at the following session: