Visible minorities in the Canadian Labour Market: Disentangling the effect of religion and ethnicity

Nabil Khattab, Sami Miaari, Marwan Mohamed-Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies on labour-market disadvantages of ethnic and visible minorities in Canada have focused, primarily, on earning differentials leaving other important socioeconomic indicators such as employment and occupational distribution insufficiently examined. These studies have rarely included religion as one of the explanatory variables, despite the presence of sizable religious communities and considerable religious diversity in Canada. Given the rise in anti-Muslim sentiment and the increase in Islamophobia, religion becomes an important factor. In this study, we argue that the Canadian labour market excludes/includes individuals based on their physical visibility and religious affiliation. We analyse data obtained from the Canadian 2011 National Household Survey. The analysis supports the existence of a hierarchy of labour market outcomes predicated on both visibility and religious affiliation. It is suggested that the existing labour market inequality among the various ethno-religious groups is shaped largely by physical visibility and cultural proximity to the dominant group. The results provide evidence for a ‘Muslim penalty’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1218-1245
Number of pages28
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Canada
  • Islam
  • ethnic penalties
  • labour market inequality
  • religion
  • whiteness

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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