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Steam Whistle breweries in Toronto makes hiring immigrants a priority. Eighteen per cent of its entire staff is made up of immigrants.Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail

Canada has a history of attracting highly-skilled, talented workers from around the world who end up unemployed or working for minimum wage when they arrive here. According to new research by the Royal Bank of Canada, the economic cost of underutlizing this part of our work force is $30.7-billion, or 2.1 per cent of the country's GDP.

Diana MacKay of the Conference Board of Canada, and Elizabeth McIsaac, executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, answered reader questions on this topic in a live discussion Wednesday.

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