World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. The weekly roundup includes research, stories, and events of interest to the Canadian immigration and settlement community. This content has been created by WES and is reproduced here with their permission, in partnership.
Canada leads the G7 for the most educated workforce, thanks to immigrants, young adults and a strong college sector, but is experiencing significant losses in apprenticeship certificate holders in key trades (Stats Canada)
While Canada remains in top place for the most educated workforce (aged 25-64), the country still faces several challenges to addressing the growing labour shortages and aging population. Recent analysis from the 2021 Census has revealed that despite these strong academic merits, immigrants make up nearly half of the growth in the share of Canadians with bachelor’s degrees or higher. When compared to other G7 nations, immigrants in Canada account for the largest share of the population and recent immigrants were more educated than previous censuses with 59.4% holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, many immigrant talents still remain underutilized in Canada. Over a quarter of all immigrants with international degrees were working in jobs that require a high-school diploma indicating that the overqualification rate of immigrants remains a major concern. Even for internationally trained professionals with credentials in high-demand sectors such as healthcare face a job mismatch with approximately 40% of internationally trained doctors actually working as doctors, and 36% of internationally trained nurses working as registered nurses or in related occupations in Canada. Another sector with growing concern is the trades. Today there are fewer working-aged people with apprenticeships in the key trades than five years ago. As labour shortages and retirement rates increase, this trend is expected to continue and the report stresses that the underrepresentation of women, racialized groups and immigrants in this sector has contributed to this outcome. Finally, this research stresses that during the pandemic, higher education provided better economic security and protection from job loss where those with lower levels of education experienced more precarity in employment and financial stability.
Shifts in labour force participation and an aging population have placed increased attention on the Canadian market over the past few years. Additionally, with increased immigration targets, the effects of the global pandemic and the changing nature of work, this report analyzes Canada's labour market and how various groups of workers are impacted by these dynamics. In 2021, the labour market participation rate fell to 63.7% from 65.2% (in 2016) as more baby boomers near and enter retirement age, and while a record number 1.3 million new immigrants arrived in Canada at the same time. The healthcare sector saw an uptick in workers growing to 1.5 million between 2016-2021. The information and communication technology sector – a key employer in Canada – has also seen growth of more than 600,000 workers nationally in 2021. The construction industry is a major source of employment for many Canadians across varying education levels and has over 1.3 million workers in a range of skilled trades. The sales and service sector comprised of four million workers (1.4 million in retail trade and 783,000 in accommodations and food services) was the hardest hit from the pandemic due to closures, reduced hours and the inability to offer services remotely. This had particular effects on young people as it represents the largest share of employment among youth (aged 15-24). The census data also revealed that more than a third of recent immigrants to Canada came temporarily before applying for permanent residency. Seventy-seven per cent (77.3%) with this pre-admission experience had a temporary work permit supporting the growing trend of migrants choosing to arrive temporarily before settling permanent in Canada.
Canada is currently facing severe labour shortages and economic strain across a range of industries, including the agricultural sector. Findings from recent CFIB surveys highlight that nearly two-thirds of agri-businesses do not have the staffing they need and find it increasingly difficult to recruit staff. Although many workers have resorted to working longer hours, this is not a sustainable solution, as analysts project that this will lead to pessimism about the industry and exacerbate current levels of stress and burnout amongst staff and employers alike. Currently, an estimated 78 percent of agri-business owners say they rely heavily on migrant workers to operate, with temporary work permit holders making up nearly one-quarter of the workforce - more than any other sector. As a National Agricultural Labour Strategy (NALS) is on the horizon, policy makers must ensure that they focus on underlying issues that contribute to chronic labour shortages in agriculture. Solutions may include:
Streamlining and simplifying the Temporary Foreign Worker program applications and immigration process to support seasonally dependent agri-business; expand support programs for temporary work permit holders in rural communities.
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