Immigration ministers from all of Canada’s provinces and territories are calling on Ottawa to speed up the processing of applications before Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and boost provincial and territorial immigration allocations so businesses across the country can hire more immigrants.
“Newcomers are crucial to filling in-demand jobs, growing our economy, and building a stronger Canada,” tweeted Ontario Immigration Minister Monte McNaughton. “Our job sites and factory floors need more boots on the ground.
“That’s why we’re calling on the federal government for a better deal.”
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The immigration minister of Canada’s most populous province met with his counterparts from other provinces and territories to discuss the future of the country’s immigration system in Saint John, New Brunswick on Thursday last week.
As the IRCC struggles to process a growing pile of applications that hit 2.62 million in mid-July, the provincial and territorial immigration ministers are calling for even more immigration than is now allowed under Canada’s record-breaking immigration levels plan.
The immigration ministers say that’s needed to meet the country’s massive labour shortages.
Under Ottawa’s latest immigration levels plan, Canada plans to welcome 431,645 permanent residents this year, 447,055 next year, and 451,000 in 2024.
Provincial and territorial ministers, though, say more needs to be done to meet economic and regional needs and they want a greater say in the selection of immigrants and more input into any modernization of the Express Entry system.
They also want their allotments under Provincial and Territorial Nominee Programs (PNPs) increased and to have the benefit of multi-year allocation forecasts by March 31 next year.
“Across Canada, jobs are going unfilled and paycheques unclaimed. Ottawa must let provinces select more of the skilled newcomers their communities need,” tweeted McNaughton.
“It’s time to stop holding Canada back.”
Job Vacancies In Canada Are Still At A Record High
In its latest job vacancies report, Payroll Employment, Earnings and Hours, and Job Vacancies, May 2022, Statistics Canada notes there were just over one million vacant jobs for the second month in a row in May.
“Across all sectors, employers in Canada were actively seeking to fill just over one million, 1,005,700, vacant positions at the beginning of May, little changed from the record high of the previous month, and up 42.5 per cent, or 300,100 jobs, from May 2021,” notes the statistical and demographic services agency.
Although the number of employees receiving pay or benefits from their employer did drop by 26,100 in May, that’s only a 0.1 per cent drop and job vacancies actually increased in several occupations.
British Columbia added 7,000 jobs in May, even though Ontario lost 30,000 and Manitoba another 2,500.
Those are the jobs that are filled. The number of jobs going begging for a want of workers to fill them, though, held steady in May.
“In accommodation and food services, employers were actively seeking to fill 161,100 vacant positions in May, little changed from the previous month,” reports Statistics Canada.
“The job vacancy rate was 11.9 per cent, the highest of any sector for the thirteenth consecutive month. The high level of job vacancies in this sector reflects the difficulties faced by employers seeking to attract and retain workers.
Almost a quarter of the businesses in the accommodations and food services industry were then also expecting to have even more difficulty filling jobs in the coming months as they headed into summer, notes the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions.
In May, there were still 99,200 job vacancies in the retail trade, 86,800 in the manufacturing sector, 84,600 in construction and another 51,100 in transportation and warehousing, all unchanged from the previous month.
Nova Scotia And Manitoba Seeing Record-High Job Vacancies
“Job vacancies reached record highs in Nova Scotia, up 22.1 per cent to 24,600, and Manitoba, up 15.3 per cent to 32,200, in May,” notes Statistics Canada.
Manitoba Immigration Minister Jon Reyes, the son of Filipino immigrants, noted after the provincial and territorial immigration ministers’ meeting that more still needs to be done to ensure newcomers can put their foreign educations to good use in Canada.
“The struggle was real and now our province, our country, faces a labour shortage,” said Reyes. “There are barriers to entry such as recognizing foreign credentials from internationally-educated professionals and providing as much newcomer support as we can to non-profit organizations.”
Alberta Immigration Minister Kaycee Madu, himself a Nigerian immigrant, echoed those sentiments.
“Albertans deserve an immigration system that is fair to our province and has the flexibility that honours our uniqueness and economic needs,” tweeted Madu.
During their meeting in Saint John, the immigration ministers also discussed the progress made under the now two-year-old FPT Strategic Plan for Immigration 2020-2023 (SPI).
“Ensuring Canada’s economic growth through immigration is our top priority. We’ll continue to attract top global talent and meet our labour needs,” pledged federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser after the meeting.
“Alongside our provincial and territories partners, we will build a better economy – together.”
TFWP, IMP Are Two Top Ways For Canadian Businesses To Hire Workers From Abroad
Employers hoping to hire a foreign national can avail themselves of this international talent and labour through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and; the International Mobility Program (IMP).
The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a part of the (TFWP), can under normal processing situations lead to the granting of Canadian work permits and processing of visa applications within two weeks.
Employers can also bring in foreign nationals to fill available positions through the Express Entry system, which receives immigration applications online.
Applicants who meet eligibility criteria submit an online profile known as an Expression of interest (EOI), under one of three federal immigration programs or a participating provincial immigration program, to the Express Entry Pool.
The candidates’ profiles then are ranked against each other according to a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranked candidates are considered for ITAs for permanent residence. Those receiving an ITA must quickly submit a full application and pay processing fees within a delay of 90 days.