Immigration policies could prevent labour shortages, negative economic impacts
A new report from the Conference Board of Canada recommends that Canadian immigration policies should continue to evolve to prevent labour shortages that could stunt future economic growth. To accomplish this, the report states that Canadian immigration policy should place more importance on the skills of prospective immigrants and whether they match Canada's labour needs. This will be increasingly important because steady job growth tends to be the norm in Canada and Canada’s large baby-boomer generation is approaching retirement age.
Without appropriate immigration policies, Canada will not be able to maintain its workforce. The current birth rate in Canada is 1.66 children per woman, but the rate needed to sustain a population is 2.1. Canada's population now exceeds 34 million, with British Columbia showing the strongest growth rate of all provinces, according to Statistics Canada.
Recommendations include streamlining of immigration processes and policies between levels of government, improving the recognition of foreign professional credentials, involving employers more in the immigration decision-making, and also streamlining the process by which temporary foreign workers and foreign students become permanent residents.
The report also recommends provincial governments
remain very engaged in immigration processes and policy since provincial governments tend to be more in tune with what is happening with business and economy at the regional level.
Countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore are strategic in linking immigration to long-term economic development. Canada reserves 55% of visas for employment-related purposes, while the United States only allocates 6.5% of visas for highly skilled workers.
Canada very recently amended its Federal Skilled Worker (Professional)
category of immigration to better reflect and respond to the current needs of Canada’s labour market.