International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 541–547 | Cite as

Chronic health conditions, labour market participation and resource consumption among immigrant and native-born residents of Canada

  • Morton BeiserEmail author
  • Feng Hou
Original Article



To compare chronic illnesses, economic dependence and health-care use by immigrants and native-born Canadians.


A secondary analysis of the Canada Community Health Survey national data (2009–2010) was conducted.


Recent and established immigrants were healthier than native-born Canadians. Healthy, established immigrants were more likely than native-born Canadians to be working, and no more likely to use transfer payments. Health-challenged recent immigrants had high employment rates, but low rates of health care. Health-challenged established immigrants and native born were equally likely to be working, depending on transfer payments and using health care. Regardless of nativity or health, education, male gender and linguistic fluency increased the probability of employment. Female gender and advancing age increased the likelihood of dependency. Residents of Canada’s most prosperous regions were the most likely to be employed and the least likely to receive transfer payments.


Immigrants with chronic illnesses do not inevitably dilute the economic benefits of immigration or create excessive burden. Timely programs to promote integration can help ensure a favourable balance between economic contribution and social cost. Neglecting the health of new immigrants may eventuate in long-term disability.


Immigrant Chronic illness Ableism Labour force participation Social dependence Immigrants with disabilities 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest with respect to this publication.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ryerson UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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