Strong Immigration Helps Canada Meet Labour Needs

Strong Immigration Helps Canada Meet Labour Needs

As huge oil construction projects soak up labour, Canada records another year of strong levels of immigration.

As huge oil and resource construction projects continue to soak up labour, immigrants continue to pour into Canada as the nation recorded its highest sustained level of immigration on record for the seventh consecutive year last year.

Last month, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced the nation had welcomed 257,515 permanent residents in 2012, well within the government’s target of 240,000 to 265,000 new Canadians for the year.

Each year since 2006, the nation has admitted an average of around a quarter of a million immigrants, with the country averaging around 30,250 more admissions per year in the seven-year period from 2006 to 2012 than in the previous decade (1996 until 2005.)

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said Canada’s immigration rates are among the highest of any country.

Migrant Construction Worker

“Canada has been welcoming not only the highest sustained level of immigrants in Canadian history, we also have, on a per-capita basis, among the highest immigration rates in the world,” Kenney said, adding that the government is moving toward a more effective immigration system. “Immigration is a key part of the government’s plan to grow our economy, spur job creation, and ensure long-term prosperity for all Canadians.”

In many sectors in the nation’s economy, immigration has been highlighted as one of the strategies needed to ease help ease domestic labour shortages in construction, engineering and other areas. These shortages are typically caused by the retirements of those in the baby boomer generation and the mass volume of resource development projects on the horizon.

Shortages are particularly acute in construction, where the Construction Sector Council says the industry will need an extra 319,000 workers by 2020 – 100,000 to meet increased demand and 219,000 to replace those expected to retire.

Furthermore, in the resource industry alone, a report from the Conference Board of Canada predicts investment in oil sands alone will create demand for 880,000 person years of construction labour over the next 25 years.

By Andrew Heaton
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