Government of Canada addresses nation’s labour shortage

The Canadian economy has made a strong and rapid recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada has recovered 114% of the jobs lost compared to before the pandemic, and the unemployment rate now sits at just 4.9%, the lowest in five decades.

As Canada continues to recover from the pandemic, employers are actively looking to fill hundreds of thousands of vacant positions in all sectors across the country.

Job creation and economic growth

The federal government is making investments to create more jobs and spur economic growth.

Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance stated that “Our government is committed to growing Canada’s economy and to creating good jobs for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. That is why, including in this year’s budget, we are implementing a series of measures to create jobs and prosperity today, and build a stronger and more resilient economy for all Canadians for years to come by making key investments in clean technologies, rural economic development, and housing” in a press release.

One of these measure includes a $3 million investment to establish the Canadian Bio-Cleantech Applied Research Network (CBARN).

The CBARN will provide research, technical and commercialization support to 65 southern Ontario-based early-stage Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the bio-cleantech sector, leading to the development of 80 technologies, processes or products and supporting more than 110 jobs.

An additional investment of over $7.7 million was established for Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (NCFDC) to deliver thriveFORWARD, an initiative to help Canadian businesses in the tech sector scale-up and support the transition of businesses in the industrial sector to greener business processes.

As a commitment to investing in innovation and entrepreneurship, the Government of Canada also announced a total of $950,000 in funding for four small businesses under the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program to help safeguard Canada’s food, plants and animals. The funding will help develop new or improved tools, technology, methods and processes for the benefit of Canadians, the environment and our economy.

Labour shortages

Canada is already facing a huge shortage of skilled workers and that trend is expected to continue. It is anticipated that by 2031 the country will be short one million skilled workers. In addition, 77% of jobs in Canada will require some form of post-secondary education.

Canada’s deteriorating labour force is the result of the aging population and related declining labour force participation, which started more than 20 years ago.

New investments in Canada’s economy and additional jobs being created amplifies the labour shortage by destabilizing an already-precarious situation.

New immigration measures

The Government of Canada has implemented new immigration measures to address current and future labour shortages.

The government acknowledges the vital role international students play in addressing our labour shortage, and that those nearing the end of their post-graduation work permit are already well-integrated into Canada’s labour market and work in key industries across the country.

A new, temporary policy will give recent international graduates with expiring temporary status an opportunity to stay in Canada longer. It is being implemented so that they can continue to gain work experience and have a better chance at qualifying for permanent residency.

In summer 2022, former international students who are in Canada and have a Post-Graduation Work Permit expiring between January and December 2022 will qualify for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months.

Tens of thousands international students are able to successfully transition to permanent residence each year, including more than 157,000 former students who became permanent residents in 2021. More than 88,000 of them transitioned directly from a Post-Graduation Work Permit to permanent status.

Additional policy changes that support immigration to Canada include that:

  • Applicants will no longer be required to remain in Canada while their application is being processed.
  • Applicants who apply for an open work permit while waiting for their permanent residence application to be finalized will be able to get work permits valid until the end of 2024. This will ensure that all permanent residence applications will be finalized before applicants will need to apply to extend their temporary status again.
  • Immediate family members who are outside Canada and who were included in a principal applicant’s permanent residence application will be eligible for their own open work permit.
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