In a report released on labour shortages faced by small and medium sized firms across Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) called for changes to the immigration system to better meet their needs.
The study, entitled "Immigration and Small Business: Ideas to Better Respond to Canada's Skills and Labour Shortage," found that the labour crunch being felt by small enterprises was particularly strong in non-professional categories. According to the report, while 65 percent of economic class immigrants are categorized as professional, 91 percent of the shortages reported by small businesses were for non-professional employees.
The report included a number of policy recommendations aimed at attracting foreign workers with the appropriate skilled set, and removing obstacles for those who choose to come to work in Canada. Among the recommendations is to make it easier for individuals who come to Canada on a Temporary Work Permit to become permanent residents. Another suggestion listed in the report is to extend open work permits, currently available to the spouses/common law partners of skilled workers and foreign students, available to the spouses of workers outside of these categories.
As a national lobby organization for small and medium-sized businesses, the CFIB represents over 100 000 member companies.