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About Us

We are a research project studying the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic had on newcomer women in the region of Northwestern Ontario.

The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in women’s employment and well-being disproportionately affected (Hupkau &Petrongolo, 2020, Alon et al., 2020), with immigrant women suffering the most. In fact,  44.9 percent of immigrant women are unemployed compared to 40.1 percent of their Canadian counterparts (Atputharajah et al., 2020)


Our research aims to build knowledge, and provide recommendations for skills innovation, recovery, and new ways forward for newcomer women in the face of economic shock due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will address the desperate needs of the hardest hit population, in one of the hardest hit regions, who provide services in some of the most demanding sectors in Canada. By examining both the rural and urban effects of COVID-19 on newcomer women, this project will produce meaningful results that can be applied across the country.


This project will identify opportunities and barriers to full labour participation by newcomer women in light of COVID-19. Newcomer women were already severely disadvantaged regarding employment; COVID-19 exacerbated this situation. Our comparative, longitudinal study in Northwestern Ontario will allow us to re-conceptualize how employment supports are delivered. This project encompasses three levels of the skills ecosystem: it will identify opportunities for increasing labour participation by developing pandemic-resistant skills; it will recommend organizational supports to help close the inequality gaps related to gender, and immigrant and racialized minorities; and it will suggest policy changes to increase the labour force participation of newcomer women, with a focus on COVID-19 impacts.

Conceptual Framework

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Project Overview

Phase 1: Qualitative Data Collection


Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with newcomer women. 

These interviews will capture the opportunities and barriers related to
being female, being a newcomer, intersectionality, and skills and qualification requirements

Phase 2: Quantitative Data Collection


Online and in-person surveys will be conducted in two phases to determine longer-term effects. Survey respondents will come from rural and urban areas.

Results from phase 1 will guide the question development for the survey. More details will be given as we approach this phase.

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