Conference Board Says Immigrants Will Be Crucial For Canada’s Labour Force Through To 2045

Better Jobs And More Pay For Recent Canada Immigrants
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The Conference Board of Canada saysiImmigrants need to be ensured they will be able to land jobs commensurate with their education and experience in the coming decades since these workers will form the bulk of any growth in the Canadian labour force.

“Between 2023 and 2026, the federal government is pursuing combined immigration targets that will see an addition of almost two million permanent residents,” notes the economic think-tank.

“As the share of immigrants in Canada’s labour force increases, it is key to ensure that immigrants obtain work commensurate with their skills and education.”

Canada’s population growth currently depends almost entirely on immigration.

In its report, Record-High Population Growth Continues, Fuelled By Strong Permanent And Temporary Immigration, Statistics Canada noted in mid-December  that Canada welcomed 107,972 new permanent residents in the third quarter of 2023 alone.

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“From January to September 2023, immigration reached 79.8 per cent, or 371,299 new permanent residents of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) target of 465,000 immigrants for the year,” noted the statistical and demographic services agency.

“From July 1 to October 1, the country saw the number of non-permanent residents continue to increase. The total non-permanent resident population increased from 2,198,679 to 2,511,437.

Tuesday, the Conference Board’s latest report, Retirements, Migration and New Frontiers: Canada’s Labour Markets Outlook to 2045, underscored the importance of immigration to Canadian employers.

“Yet challenges remain when it comes to overqualification,” notes the Conference Board. “Data from the 2021 census shows that immigrants with a foreign degree are twice as likely to be overqualified as those with a Canadian degree.

“Data reveal that elevated rates of overqualification persist among the second-generation children of immigrants and that the risk of overqualification is even higher among women and visible minorities.”


With labour shortages in many economic sectors across Canada, many employers are struggling and have both brought in foreign workers through the federal Express Entry system’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as well as the PNPs of the 10 Canadian provinces, and tried to hire temporary foreign workers.

“Temporary residents are helping to address labour shortages and make an important contribution across many sectors in the economy,” notes the Conference Board.

The economic think-tank does, however, caution that too much easing of the competitive pressure on companies through access to temporary foreign workers may slow down the adoption of automation and eventually result in a slower productivity growth in Canada.

“Labour scarcity … creates pressure on firms to improve working conditions and wages in order to attract and retain workers,” notes the Conference Board.

“Competition among firms, which promotes investment in physical and human capital, is a vital engine of productivity growth.

Ease Of Access To Temporary Foreign Workers Could Hamper Productivity Growth

“By increasing access to temporary foreign workers, however, firms are relieved of some of this competitive pressure. Canada has a long-standing productivity problem and persistent labour shortages. Increased access to temporary foreign workers may hamper the competitive process and weigh on productivity growth.”

With its record-breaking immigration levels in the past few years, Canada is quickly becoming a nation of immigrants.

“I think we’re increasingly becoming a country of immigrants,”  Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) CEO Jack Jedwab reportedly told the National Post.

“In terms of identity dimensions, we’re seeing across the board changes in terms of patterns of religious identification, less so of ethnicity, but more multiple identity.”

A new poll conducted by Leger for the ACS suggests Canada’s population will double in the next 25 years and nearly half of Canadians will by then identify as racialized or visible minorities.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.