The purpose of this paper is to analyse the labour market exclusion of the groups in Canada that have been defined as vulnerable in that they were persistently in poverty over a defined period of time. The vulnerable groups were: unattached individuals age 45-64, disabled persons, recent immigrants, lone parents, Aboriginal persons and youth not in school.
Five panels of data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics are used over the period from 1993 to 2010 to compare the vulnerable groups with a benchmark non-vulnerable in various dimensions: a descriptive profile of their labour market exclusion and characteristics; a portrayal of their trends in labour market exclusion; an analysis of the persistence of being excluded from the labour force; and an econometric analysis of the determinants of their probability of transitioning into the labour force and out of the labour force.
The vulnerable groups tend to be disproportionately excluded from the labour force and to be persistently excluded for longer periods of time. They are generally more likely to be female, lower educated, in poorer health and to find their life to be stressful and to have recently experienced a negative life event. Exclusion from the labour market tends to trend downward over time for both the non-vulnerable benchmark group and the various vulnerable groups. There is considerable variability in the patterns across the different groups with respect to transitions into and out of the labour market.
The labour market is a first line of defense against social and economic exclusion. While labour market exclusion is trending downward it remains stubbornly high for the vulnerable groups. Their diversity of experiences suggest a one-size-fits all solution to exclusion is not appropriate for the different vulnerable groups. Different policy initiatives are appropriate and they are discussed for each vulnerable group.
The paper is the first to systematically examine a wide range of dimensions of the labour market exclusion of the vulnerable groups in Canada and to highlight their similarities and differences. It also highlights the various policy initiatives that are appropriate for the different groups.
Financial assistance from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the National Natural Science Funds of China (NSFC, Number: 71203143) is gratefully acknowledged. We thank statistics Canada for granting us access to the confidential SLID data.
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