As water transportation takes off in the post-COVID-19 world, shipping companies and ferry operators in Canada are already struggling to find enough mariners.
That means thousands of Canada jobs will likely go begging for a lack of qualified candidates unless immigrants fill them.
Job Bank, the federal job-hunting and career-planning website, is forecasting a shortage of 6,000 workers to fill these jobs in Canada over the coming nine years.
“For transportation officers and controllers, over the period 2022 – 2031, new job openings arising from expansion demand and replacement demand are expected to total 17,100, while 11,100 new job seekers arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility are expected to be available to fill them,” notes Job Bank.
“With the quick post-pandemic demand recovery for this occupational group, the projected number of job openings is expected to substantially surpass the projected number of job seekers, significantly enough to not only eliminate the temporary surplus situation seen over the 2019 – 2021 period, but to also turn it around to a shortage situation over the 2022 – 2031 period.”
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The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), a shipping industry organization, notes that most of the people who work on ships throughout the world already come from the Philippines, Russia, Indonesia, China and India.
“The forecast growth in the world merchant fleet over the next ten years, and its anticipated demand for seafarers, will likely continue the trend of an overall shortage in the supply of officers,” notes the ICS.
“This is despite improved recruitment and training levels and reductions in officer wastage rates over the past five years.
“Industry and relevant stakeholders should not expect there to be an abundant supply of qualified and competent seafarers without concerted efforts and measures to address key manpower issues, through promotion of careers at sea, enhancement of maritime education and training worldwide, addressing the retention of seafarers.”
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Job Bank is forecasting the job prospects for deck officers to be moderate to good in all provinces in Canada for which there is data – and that have oceanfront.
With Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announcing earlier this year that Canada’s Express Entry system will begin targeting 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture this summer – including deck officers – foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada are now looking at a new opportunity to get their permanent residence here.
The flagship Express Entry selection system has previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
British Columbia, Quebec Currently Have The Most Job Openings For Deck Officers
Candidates will need at least six months of continuous work experience in Canada or abroad within the past three years in one of these occupations to be eligible, experience that can have been gained while working in Canada as temporary foreign workers with a work permits or as an international student with a student visa.
The opportunities are there.
There were already 34 job listings for deck officers, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 72602, posted on the Indeed.ca job-hunting website in July, some of them from employers hoping to hire more than one employee.
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Most of the jobs for deck officers listed in July on Indeed were in British Columbia and Quebec.
In Canada, the median hourly wage for deck officers in the water transportation sector is $34.86 but that varies from a low of $21.25 right up to $54.95, reveals Job Bank.
Based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, that means acupuncturists and practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine could expect to earn a top median annual income of $107,152.
Under the changes announced at the end of May, the Express Entry streams, including the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program, Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program and Canadian Experience Class (CEC), as well as parts of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) will now be more responsive to labour market needs.
Immigration Minister Opened Up 82 Occupations To Targeted Express Entry Draws
“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labour shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities.”
Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration, Refugee and Protection Act to allow invitations based on occupations and other attributes, such as language ability.
The majority of Canada’s provinces have been issuing occupation-specific invitations for several years.
Under the changes to the act, the immigration minister is required to consult provinces and territories, members of industry, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners, before announcing new categories.
IRCC must also report to parliament each year on the categories that were chosen and the reason for the choices.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) says the number of occupations facing shortages doubled between 2019 and 2021. From 2018 to 2022, federal high skilled admissions accounted for between 34 and 40 per cent of overall French-speaking admissions outside Quebec, which manages its own immigration intake.