Canada’s economic immigration system focuses on highly educated immigrants, but this does not always correspond with the labour demand in essential sectors. This impact paper suggests several possible solutions.
The following questions guided the research:
- In which sectors and subsectors are immigrant and temporary residents currently overrepresented?
- Which essential sectors and occupations are immigrant-intensive?
- Over the next five years, are the sectors and occupations we have identified expected to face increased job vacancies?
- To what extent are immigrants and temporary residents in essential work overqualified?
- What immigration and temporary work streams are currently being used to recruit workers in essential sectors?
- Are current immigration policies/programs adequate to address current and future labour market demands?
- Immigrants are an integral part of the essential workforce. They are over-represented in food manufacturing (34.9 per cent), truck transportation (29.7 per cent), and nursing and residential care facilities (29.2 per cent), compared with their overall share of the workforce (23.8 per cent).
- Temporary residents are an increasing source of labour in the farm and food manufacturing subsectors.
- Essential work is often difficult and undervalued, with low compensation and lack of job mobility, discouraging the domestic workforce. As a result, Canada relies on newcomers and temporary residents to fill jobs.
- Overqualification is frequent in essential work. Even though many immigrants are filling essential jobs, these are often not the opportunities that make the best use of their education and skills.
- Many economic immigration programs and pathways to permanent residency focus on highly educated immigrants, but as the pandemic has shown, essential work usually requires other skill levels.
Recommendations for Fair and Empowering Jobs
- Bring Essential Workers as Permanent Residents
- Turn Essential Jobs Into Quality Opportunities
- Improve Recognition of Credentials and Work Experience
- Analyze the International Mobility Program and Its Economic Impact
- Adopt an Intersectional Policy Lens
- Expand Career Advancement and Mobility Pathways
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