In these posts, we continue our analysis of Statistics Canada data on immigrants across Ontario’s economic regions, with the next four articles focussing on self-employed immigrants. Today we focus on self-employed immigrants by sector.
- Self-employed businesses in professional services and in construction represent the biggest sectors for self-employed immigrants in Ontario.
- There are three regions of Ontario in which Agriculture is the largest sector for self-employed immigrants: London, Stratford-Bruce Peninsula, and the Northwest.
In more detail
Our research at REAPontario focuses on immigrant entrepreneurs. Research literature indicates that immigrants tend to be entrepreneurial than native-born populations, perhaps because the very act of migrating is risk-taking behaviour and reveals some appetite for change. Indeed, data from south of the border, including from the Kaufman Foundation, indicates that immigrants are almost twice as likely to start businesses in the United States as native-born Americans. In Canada, immigrants are only slightly more likely to be self-employed, as discussed in a previous blog post. In what sectors do immigrants operate businesses? Today’s post focuses on the sectors in which we find the most self-employed immigrants in Ontario. Why is this important?
“First, it is a measure of the opportunities that have been realized by immigrants. Second, it is a measure of the size of the network in each sector that would be available to new immigrants interested in establishing a self-employment enterprise.”
Across Ontario, the sector with the most businesses operated by a self-employed immigrant in 2011 was the sector of professional, scientific and technical services (Table 16a). The total number of self-employed immigrants in this sector was 48,185 individuals in 2011 (Table 16b). This represented 18% of all self-employed immigrants in Ontario (Table 16c). As shown in Table 16a, self-employment immigrant enterprises in professional services ranked 1st or 2nd in eight economic regions:
- Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula
- Northeast economic region
The second largest sector for businesses operated by self-employed immigrants was construction  with 35,360 business operators (13% of all self-employed immigrants in Ontario). Self-employment immigrant enterprises in construction ranked 1st or 2nd in five economic regions: Toronto; Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie; Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula; London; and the Windsor-Sarnia economic region.
Table 16b shows the number of self-employed immigrants in each industry sector within each of Ontario’s economic regions in 2011. The percent distribution across industry sectors with each economic region is shown in Table 16c.
 This sector comprises establishments engaged in activities where human capital is the major input. The industries within this sector are each defined by the expertise and training of the service provider. The sector includes such services such as lawyers, accountants, consultants, engineering services, architectural services, advertising agencies, interior design services, translators, etc. For details, see Statistics Canada. (2007) North American Industry Classification System: 2007 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 12-501)
 Construction includes the construction of buildings, the construction of utility systems (water services, pipelines and power and telephone lines), road and bridge construction and trade contractors (including concreate, framing, masonry, roofing, siding, electrical, plumbing, heating, drywall, painting, flooring, etc.) For details, see Statistics Canada. (2007) North American Industry Classification System: 2007 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 12-501)
- What factors contribute to immigrants having higher rates of self-employment than the Canadian-born population?
- In what sectors are immigrants most likely to be self-employed? Why?
Sarah Wayland, Principal Investigator
and Ray Bollman
Tables created by Ray Bollman