ICC mints a digital coin to show the cost of inequality

The "Disparity Coin" gains value as the earning gap between immigrants and their Canadian-born peers narrows.


The Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) is not playing coy with its latest initiative aimed at showcasing the impact of employment discrepancies on Canadian newcomers. In fact, the effort – called “The Disparity Coin” – is right on the money. Literally.

Created to mark the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Citizenship Act, the new campaign is designed to showcase the upsides of immigration, which two thirds of Canadians acknowledge as beneficial to the country, even though newcomers to the country are systemically underemployed relative to Canadian-born peers. This fact causes many immigrants to opt not to stay in Canada – which has a negative impact on a country that relies on immigration to maintain its economic strength.

COIN BACKThe crux of the campaign is a digital coin that is powered by Statistics Canada data on immigration and employment. As the country becomes more diverse and immigrants’ earning power nears that of their Canadian-born peers, the coin becomes more valuable. It loses value when the opposite is true. The design of the coin intentionally nods to the Canadian desire for and pride in multiculturalism and diversity, featuring a depiction of the Monument to Multiculturalism by Italian sculptor Francesco Perilli on one side, and the ocean liner SS Nieuw Amsterdam, which was the first ship to bring immigrants to the country through Pier 21 in Halifax, on the opposite face.

“Canada’s cross-partisan embrace of immigration is unique in the world, but too often, we forget that our good intentions don’t always become reality,” says Daniel Bernhard, CEO of the ICC. “This is our way of reminding Canadians that newcomers’ experience of Canada may not be as positive as we would like.”

Agency Wunderman Thompson Canada developed the initiative for the ICC.

This is not the first initiative from the ICC to showcase the importance of immigration to Canada, nor to drive efforts that encourage immigrants to remain here. The Institute also worked with the Creative Business Company to rebrand its Canoo app, which provides perks to Canadian newcomers.

Both efforts ladder up to a very simple, guiding ethos for the ICC, as stated by Bernhard: “If we want immigrants to stay in Canada, become citizens, and build their futures here, we must first acknowledge that their true value is much greater than what they’re currently being paid compared to equally qualified Canadian peers.”