In a recent statement to the Toronto Star, Ontario Premier Doug Ford expressed the need for more skilled workers to fill the province's current labour shortage. While newcomers to Canada could help address this issue, it is not likely to be a quick fix. It currently takes approximately 26 months for workers' applications to be processed and 18 months for those using the Express Entry process.
So far, in 2022, Ontario has brought in 9,700 workers through immigration. While this is a decent sum within only seven months, Ontario had hoped to receive 18,000 workers. There are 378,000 jobs vacant in the province, with many in health care and construction.
The immigration system can help Canadian employers
Increasingly, Canadian employers are looking to the immigration system to help fill the gaps in labour. Canada's labour force grows thanks to the many new Canadians who come to start a better life and, in turn, contribute to the Canadian economy.
According to a report prepared by the Business Council of Canada, nearly two-thirds of companies surveyed report recruiting workers through Canada's immigration system. Others hire immigrants who already reside in Canada. Immigration can not only help enhance diversity in the workplace, but it can also help provide the expertise that cannot be attained in Canada but is essential to an enterprise's growth. Half of the employers surveyed by the Business Council of Canada support increasing admission targets for immigrants in the economic class in particular.
Immigration programs that support economic growth in Ontario
The following programs may be helpful to foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Ontario and support the local economy through their labour:
Provincial Nominee Program
The Provincial Nominee Program is created for workers with the requisite skills, experience, and education to contribute to a Canadian province's economy. The workers must want to live in the particular province and become permanent residents of Canada. Each province or territory has its own stream that reflects its unique needs.
Ontario's program is called the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. Unlike some other provincial programs, Ontario's economic immigration program operates in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program nominates applicants for permanent residents, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada makes the final decision. There are nine streams prospective immigrants can choose from:
- Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker Stream: For foreign workers who have a job offer in Ontario.
- Employer Job Offer: International Student Stream: For recent graduates who have a job offer in Ontario.
- Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills Stream: For foreign workers who have a job offer in Ontario in an in-demand profession.
- Masters Graduate Stream: For foreign nationals who possess a master's degree from an Ontario university.
- Ph.D. Graduate Stream: For foreign nationals who have a Ph.D. degree from an Ontario university.
- Human Capital Priorities Stream: For foreign nationals who have required language abilities, work experience, and education.
- Skilled Trades Stream: For foreign workers with work experience in Ontario in eligible skilled trades.
- French-Speaking Skilled Worker: For foreign nationals who speak French that are proficient in English.
- Entrepreneur Stream: For foreign nationals who want to establish a new business or grow an existing Ontario business in the province.
Federal Skilled Worker Program
The Federal Skilled Worker Program is available to those with the required language ability, education, and skilled work experience. If these requirements are met, a foreign national's application will be assessed in a points system with regard to the following:
- Work experience;
- Valid job offer;
- Language skills (English and/or French); and
- Ability to settle and adapt in Canada.
Federal Skilled Trades Program
The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for foreign nationals who want to become permanent residents of Canada for being qualified in a skilled trade. At a minimum, applicants to this stream must:
- Meet requisite language skill levels;
- Have two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade within the last five years;
- Meet the job requirements for that skilled trade; and
- Have either a valid full-time offer of employment for at least one year or a certificate of qualification in the skilled trade from a Canadian authority.
Canadian Experience Class
- Meeting certain language requirements;
- Having at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada; and
- Having obtained that experience in Canada under a temporary resident status with work authorization.
Garson Immigration Law Can Help You Assess Your Canadian Immigration Options
At Garson Immigration Law, we are exclusively dedicated to the practice of immigration law and provide reliable advice on the Canadian immigration process. Our immigration lawyers work to find practical solutions for our clients in all kinds of immigration matters, including citizenship, inadmissibility, and US immigration.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.