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Immigration, langues et performance économique : le Québec et l’Ontario entre 1970 et 1995


  • Grenier, Gilles

    (Département de science économique, Université d’Ottawa)


This study contributes to two relatively distinct streams of literature: the economic integration of immigrants and the links between language attributes and earnings in Canada. The analysis is done with two Canadian provinces, Québec and Ontario, and uses micro-data from the five Canadian censuses of 1971, 1981, 1986, 1991 and 1996. The sample is divided between the non-immigrants and the immigrants (and among the latter between those originating from Europe and the United States and those originating from the rest of the world) and between the individuals speaking French, English or another language at home. In a first stage of the analysis, comparisons of mean wages and salaries are done in relation to immigration and language attributes. It is observed that the relative wages of immigrants have decreased over time. Francophones have improved their economic position, both among immigrants and non-immigrants, but without catching up completely with Anglophones. People who speak at home another language than French or English have in general relatively low incomes. In a second stage of the analysis, earnings regressions are estimated to see the net effects of immigration and language attributes. Earnings gaps between Anglophones and Francophones are lower when only net effects are considered, and in Ontario they are even null or in favour of Francophones. An interesting question concerns the economic performance of immigrants in Québec in relation to their language choices. The results show that immigrants who speak French do as well as those who speak English. In spite of that, not enough immigrants assimilate to the Francophone community to maintain the demographic weight of the French language. The author suggests that the Canadian immigration policy take into account the linguistic balance between French and English. Cette étude contribue à deux courants de littérature relativement distincts : l’intégration économique des immigrants et les liens entre les attributs linguistiques et les revenus au Canada. L’analyse porte sur deux provinces canadiennes, le Québec et l’Ontario, et utilise les microdonnées des cinq recensements canadiens de 1971, 1981, 1986, 1991 et 1996. L’échantillon est divisé entre les non-immigrants et les immigrants (et parmi ces derniers entre ceux originaires de l’Europe et des États-Unis et ceux originaires du reste du monde) et entre les personnes parlant le français, l’anglais ou une autre langue à la maison. Dans un premier temps, on fait des comparaisons de traitements et salaires moyens en fonction des attributs de langue et d’immigration. On constate que les revenus relatifs des immigrants ont diminué dans le temps. Par ailleurs, les francophones ont amélioré leur situation économique, à la fois chez les immigrants et les non-immigrants, mais sans rattraper totalement les anglophones. Les personnes parlant des langues autres que l’anglais ou le français ont en général des revenus assez faibles. Dans un deuxième temps, on estime des régressions de gains pour voir les effets nets des attributs d’immigration et de langue. Les écarts entre francophones et anglophones sont plus faibles quand on ne considère que les effets nets, et en Ontario, ils sont même nuls ou en faveur des francophones. Une question intéressante concerne la performance économique des immigrants au Québec en fonction de leurs choix linguistiques. Les résultats montrent que les immigrants qui parlent français s’intègrent aussi bien que ceux qui parlent anglais. Malgré cela, il n’y a pas suffisamment d’immigrants qui s’intègrent à la communauté francophone pour assurer le maintien du poids démographique du français. L’auteur suggère que la politique canadienne d’immigration tienne compte de l’équilibre linguistique entre le français et l’anglais.

Suggested Citation

  • Grenier, Gilles, 2001. "Immigration, langues et performance économique : le Québec et l’Ontario entre 1970 et 1995," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 77(3), pages 305-338, septembre.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:v:77:y:2001:i:3:p:305-338

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan G. Green & David A. Green, 1999. "The Economic Goals of Canada's Immigration Policy, Past and Present," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 25(4), pages 425-451, December.
    2. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
    3. David E. Bloom & Gilles Grenier & Morley Gunderson, 1995. "The Changing Labour Market Position of Canadian Immigrants," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(4b), pages 987-1005, November.
    4. Mary L. Grant, 1999. "Evidence of New Immigrant Assimilation in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(4), pages 930-955, August.
    5. Duleep, Harriet & Regets, Mark, 2002. "The Elusive Concept of Immigrant Quality: Evidence from 1970-1990," IZA Discussion Papers 631, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1994. "The Performance of Immigrants in the Canadian Labor Market," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 369-405, July.
    7. Wright, Robert E & Maxim, Paul S, 1993. "Immigration Policy and Immigrant Quality: Empirical Evidence from Canada," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 6(4), pages 337-352, November.
    8. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1994. "Language Choice among Immigrants in a Multi-lingual Destination," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(2), pages 119-131.
    9. Grenier, G, 1996. "Linguistic and Economic Characteristics of Francophone Minorities in Canada: A Comparison of Ontario and New Brunswick," Working Papers 96010e, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilles Grenier & Serge Nadeau, 2010. "Why is Immigrants’ Access to Employment lower in Montreal than in Toronto?," Working Papers 1005E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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