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Differential risk of employment in more physically demanding jobs among a recent cohort of immigrants to Canada


Objective: To examine the proportion of a recent cohort of immigrants to Canada who were working in jobs that were more physically demanding than those in which they worked before migration to Canada.

Design: Longitudinal cohort of immigrants to Canada with occupational position measured before and 2 and 4 years after arrival in Canada.

Subjects: Respondents to Statistics Canada’s Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC). The LSIC surveyed a representative sample of immigrants, aged 15 and older, who arrived in Canada between November 2000 and December 2001. For the purpose of this study, the sample was restricted to respondents who had worked before immigrating and were working when re-interviewed 2 (n = 4331) or 4 (n = 4238) years after arrival in Canada.

Main outcome: Employment in an occupation with higher physical demands than that employed in before arrival in Canada.

Results: Respondents with less proficiency at speaking English and family class or refugee applicants were the most likely to be employed in occupations with higher physical demands both 2 and 4 years after arrival in Canada.

Conclusions: Employment in a more physically demanding occupation may pose particular risks of workplace injury. In this sample of immigrants to Canada, respondents with poorer English skills and refugees (factors that may increase this risk) were more likely to be employed in more physically demanding occupations. Greater attention to the prevention of workplace injuries among particular groups of new immigrants to Canada is required.

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