A systematic review and thematic synthesis of Canada’s LGBTQ2S+ employment, labour market and earnings literature

Autoři: Sean Waite aff001;  John Ecker aff002;  Lori E. Ross aff003
Působiště autorů: Department of Sociology, the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada aff001;  Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, Toronto, Ontario, Canada aff002;  Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0223372



The last two decades have witnessed a considerable growth in the literature focusing on LGBTQ2S+ employment, labour market inequality, and income. During the same period, Canada has emerged as a trailblazer in employment protections for both sexual and gender minorities. Unfortunately, the Canadian literature on LGBTQ2S+ employment outcomes and experiences is disperse and underdeveloped.


This paper brings together this disperse research and provides the first systematic review of Canada’s LGBTQ2S+ employment and earnings literature.


We start with a systematic review and thematic synthesis of the broadly defined literature on LGBTQ2S+ poverty in Canada. We use a thematic synthesis to isolate the LGBTQ2S+ literature on employment, labour market inequality, and earnings. Our search of electronic databases took place in April 2018 and was updated in January 2019.


A total of 532 abstracts and full texts were screened by reviewers, which resulted in 84 articles included in our final sample. These articles were then sorted by keywords and those pertaining to employment, labour market inequality, and income (n = 31) were included in this analysis. While estimates of sexual minority wage gaps vary depending on the data and methods used, most studies have found wage penalties for gay men and wage premiums for lesbians, relative to their heterosexual counterparts. The literature on bisexual employment is particularly scant but finds that bisexual men and women also earn less than their heterosexual counterparts. Research on the subjective workplace experiences of LGBTQ2S+ individuals find unique challenges, barriers and, at times, exclusion from the Canadian labour market.

Conclusions and implications

While the literature on LGBTQ2S+ employment outcomes and experiences in Canada is growing, much is left unknown. The principal limitation for researchers continues to be the dearth of population-based surveys that include questions on sexual orientation, gender identity, and relevant employment characteristics. To date, few studies have explored employment outcomes or the subjective workplace experiences of bisexuals, transgender, two-spirit or other gender minority peoples.

Klíčová slova:

Canada – Census – Employment – Heterosexuals – Salaries – Homosexuals – Bisexuals – Labor markets


1. Jacobs S-E, Thomas W, Lang S, editors. Two-Sprit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality. Chicago: University of Illinois Press; 1997.

2. Smith M. Political institutions and lesbian and gay rights in the United States and Canada. New York: Routledge; 2009.

3. Altemeyer B. Changes in Attitudes Toward Homosexuals. J Homosex. 2002;42: 63–75. doi: 10.1300/J082v42n02_04

4. Andersen R, Fetner T. Cohort Differences in Tolerance of Homosexuality: Attitudinal Change in Canada and the United States, 1981–2000. Public Opin Q. 2008;72: 311–330. doi: 10.1093/poq/nfn017

5. Jackle S, Wenzelburger G. Religion, Religiosity, and the Attitudes Toward Homosexuality—A Multilevel Analysis of 79 Countries. J Homosex. 2015;62: 207–241. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2014.969071 25256802

6. Brady D, Burton LM, editors. The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Poverty. New York: Oxford University Press; 2017.

7. Haughton J, Khandker SR. The Handbook on Poverty and Inequality. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank; 2009.

8. Kakwani N, Silber J, editors. The Many Dimensions of Poverty. New York: Palgrave Macmillan; 1988.

9. Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, Group TP. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement. PLOS Med. 2009;6: 1549–1676. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000097

10. Adam BD. Stigma and employ ability: discrimination by sex and sexual orientation in the Ontario legal profession*. Can Rev Sociol Can Sociol. 1981;18: 216–221. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-618X.1981.tb01234.x

11. Adam BD, Rangel JC. The post-migration sexual citizenship of Latino gay men in Canada. Citizsh Stud. 2015;19: 682–695. doi: 10.1080/13621025.2015.1053797

12. Allen DW. Household production and sexual orientation. Econ Inq. 2015;53: 406–418. doi: 10.1111/ecin.12095

13. Bauer GR, Scheim AI. Transgender People in Ontario, Canada: Statistics from the Trans PULSE Project to Inform Human Rights Policy [Internet]. London Ontario; 2015. Available: http://transpulseproject.ca/research/statistics-from-trans-pulse-to-inform-human-rights-policy/

14. Bowring MA, Brewis J. Truth and consequences: Managing lesbian and gay identity in the Canadian workplace. Equal Oppor Int. 2009;28: 361–377. doi: 10.1108/02610150910964231

15. Brennan DJ, Emlet CA, Brennenstuhl S, Rueda S. Socio-demographic profile of older adults with HIV/AIDS: gender and sexual orientation differences. Can J Aging. 2013;32: 31–43. doi: 10.1017/S0714980813000068 23521923

16. Brown CL. Sexual Orientation and Labor Economics. Fem Econ. 1998;4: 89–95. doi: 10.1080/135457098338482

17. Card KG, Armstrong HL, Carter A, Cui Z, Wang L, Zhu J, et al. A latent class analysis of substance use and culture among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. Cult Health Sex. 2018; 1–16. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2018.1439186 29589798

18. Carpenter CS. Sexual orientation, work, and income in Canada: Sexual orientation, work, and income. Can J Econ. 2008;41: 1239–1261. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5982.2008.00502.x

19. Cerf B. Sexual Orientation, Income, and Stress at Work. Ind Relat J Econ Soc. 2016;55: 546–575. doi: 10.1111/irel.12151

20. Cotter A, Statistics Canada. Sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces, 2016 [Internet]. 2016. Available: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2016/statcan/85-603-x2016001-eng.pdf

21. Couto JL. Covered in Blue: Police Culture and LGBT Police Officers in the Province of Ontario [Internet]. Royal Roads University. 2014. Available: http://hdl.handle.net/10170/736

22. Denier N, Waite S. Sexual Orientation Wage Gaps across Local Labour Market Contexts: Evidence from Canada. Relat Ind. 2017;72: 734. doi: 10.7202/1043174ar

23. Denier N, Waite S. Data and Discrimination: A research note on sexual orientation in the Canadian labour market. Can Stud Popul. 2016; 8. https://doi.org/10.25336/P6XP4S

24. Dilmaghani M. Sexual Orientation, Labour Earnings, and Household Income in Canada. J Labor Res. 2018;39: 41–55. doi: 10.1007/s12122-017-9249-4

25. Dilmaghani M. Sexual orientation, labour supply and occupational sorting in Canada. Ind Relat J. 2018;49: 298–318. doi: 10.1111/irj.12223

26. Ferlatte O, Salway T, Samji H, Dove N, Gesink D, Gilbert M, et al. An Application of Syndemic Theory to Identify Drivers of the Syphilis Epidemic Among Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex With Men. Sex Transm Dis. 2018;45: 163–168. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000713 29420444

27. Fournier M. Homosexuality in the Army and Police: Progress Achieved and Experiments Lived by Gay Soldiers, Police Officers, and Gay Police According to their Own Point of View [Internet]. 2005. Available: http://myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/login?url = https://search.proquest.com/docview/61656084?accountid=14771

28. Harris B. Essays in Applied Econometrics [Internet]. Simon Fraser University. 2013. Available: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ecn&AN=1404841&site=ehost-live

29. Lafrance A, Warman C, Woolley F. Sexual identity and the marriage premium. Queen Econ Dep Work Pap. 2009;1219: 32. https://ideas.repec.org/p/car/carecp/09-08.html

30. Lewis NM. Remapping disclosure: gay men’s segmented journeys of moving out and coming out. Soc Cult Geogr. 2012;13: 211–231. doi: 10.1080/14649365.2012.677469

31. Lewis NM, Mills S. Seeking security: Gay labour migration and uneven landscapes of work. Environ Plan Econ Space. 2016;48: 2484–2503. doi: 10.1177/0308518X16659773

32. Macdonnell JA, Grigorovich A. Gender, work, and health for trans health providers: a focus on transmen. ISRN Nurs. 2012;2012: 1–11. doi: 10.5402/2012/161097 23316387

33. Mallon GP. Oh, Canada: The experience of working-class gay men in Toronto. J Gay Lesbian Soc Serv Issues Pract Policy Res. 2001;12: 103–117. doi: 10.1300/J041v12n03_08

34. Mueller R. Wage Differentials of Males and Females in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples in Canada. Can Stud Popul. 2014;41.3–4: 105–116. https://doi.org/10.25336/P60602

35. Nazaretian Z. Social status, opportunity and repeat victimization: The unequal distribution of safety. [Internet]. Dissertation, Wayne University. Available: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/oa_dissertations/993/

36. Ross LE, Gibson MF, Daley A, Steele LS, Williams CC. In spite of the system: A qualitatively-driven mixed methods analysis of the mental health services experiences of LGBTQ people living in poverty in Ontario, Canada. PLOS ONE. 2018;13: e0201437. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0201437 30110350

37. Waite S, Denier N. Gay Pay for Straight Work: Mechanisms Generating Disadvantage. Gend Soc. 2015;29: 561–588. doi: 10.1177/0891243215584761

38. Waite S. Does it get better? A quasi-cohort analysis of sexual minority wage gaps. Soc Sci Res. 2015;54: 113–130. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2015.06.024 26463538

39. Waite S, Denier N. Self-Employment among Same-Sex and Opposite-Sex Couples in Canada: Sexual Orientation and Self-Employment in Canada. Can Rev Sociol Can Sociol. 2016;53: 143–175. doi: 10.1111/cars.12103 27183963

40. Wells K. Transgender Teachers: The Personal, Pedagogical, and Political. J Homosex. 2018;65: 1543–1581. doi: 10.1080/00918369.2017.1380989 28915089

41. Waite S, Denier N. A Research Note on Canada’s LGBT Data Landscape: Where We Are and What the Future Holds. Can Rev Sociol Can Sociol. 2019;56: 93–117. doi: 10.1111/cars.12232 30793865

42. Government of Canada TB of C. 2017 Public Service Employee Survey Results for the Public Service by Question 114. What is your gender?—Canada.ca [Internet]. 27 Mar 2018 [cited 17 Apr 2018]. Available: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pses-saff/2017-2/results-resultats/bq-pq/00/dem114-eng.aspx

43. Carpenter C. The Prevalence of Gay Men and Lesbians. In: Baumle AK, editor. International Handbook on the Demography of Sexuality. New York: Springer; 2013. pp. 217–228.

44. Flores AR, Herman JL, Gates GJ, Brown TNT. How many adults identify as transgender in the United States? Los Angeles, CA: The Williams Institute; 2016.

45. Canada Statistics. Canadian Community Health Survey, 2003. The Daily. 2004;June 15.

46. Vizard T. Measuring Sexual Identity in the United Kingdom. J Bisexuality. 2014;14: 524–543. doi: 10.1080/15299716.2014.931830

47. Pendakur K, Pendakur R. Aboriginal Income Disparity in Canada. Can Public Policy. 2011;37: 61–83. doi: 10.1353/cpp.2011.0007

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 10
Nejčtenější tento týden