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WES Weekly Roundup June 20, 2024

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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.

EMBRACING IMMIGRANT TALENT: Perspectives and Practices of Toronto Region Employers (TRIEC)

Employers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) face challenges in hiring and retaining skilled immigrants, despite their critical role in the labour market. According to a recent TRIEC report, businesses in the GTA have been experiencing losses due to a general shortage of qualified employees. Immigrants now make up 22 percent of the workforce, and their representation has increased by 40 percent over the past five years. Employers often cite diversity and work ethic as key drivers to support heir focus on hiring immigrants, while barriers like understanding foreign credentials and verifying references persist. Language proficiency and understanding Canadian workplace culture are reported to be significant post-hiring challenges. To ease transitions, many employers accommodate cultural practices and offer job shadowing, while retention strategies focus on career advancement pathways and inclusive leadership training. However, formal diversity initiatives are uncommon, and many employers are unaware of immigrant-serving organizations that could help. Recommendations include supporting employers in assessing transferable skills, improving outreach to aid recruitment and retention, and removing bias in HR practices. While progress has been made, further improvements are needed to create an inclusive labour market that fully utilizes immigrant talent.

Ottawa pledges $750M for Quebec immigration costs, sets no clear reduction targets (CBC)

Quebec Premier François Legault attributed the province's housing problems to non-permanent residents during a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Quebec City, where immigration was a key topic. Legault requested $1 billion from Ottawa for social services spent on temporary immigrants, but the federal government offered $750 million instead. Legault expressed disappointment over the lack of federal commitment to reducing temporary immigration levels and aims to cut the number of asylum seekers in Quebec by 50 percent within a year. He also requested shorter wait times for refugee work permits to reduce social assistance dependency. Despite Ottawa's openness to imposing French language requirements on non-permanent residents and other measures, Trudeau argued that issues in housing, education, and social services cannot solely be blamed on immigrants. Legault also established a committee to explore ways to maximize Quebec's autonomy within the Canadian Constitution.

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Government immigration survey asks how many permanent residents Canada wants (Toronto Star)

As IRCC prepares to unveil the latest annual targets through the Immigration Levels Plan, stakeholders - including long-time residents and newcomers, are voicing their concerns through public consultation and polling. Immigration has become a hot topic for many while Canada confronts social and economic challenges including affordability, housing, labour market shortages, and strained public resources. Rapid population growth continues to shift public opinion on immigration levels, prompting IRCC to include survey questions on temporary resident targets that will be announced in the levels plan. The survey seeks input to decide if the next two years’ intake should be adjusted, and to inform new targets for 2027. A recent poll conducted by Research Co. highlights that nearly half of residents in Canada believe that immigration should be significantly cut. Researchers and advocates are calling for the federal government to establish a Royal Commission into immigration planning to better analyse the country’s needs through a non-partisan lens – independent from politicians and civil servants, also reviewing objectives of international education and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The new levels plan will be released this November.

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