Canada has a growing demand for dietitians and nutritionists, providing opportunities for foreign nationals to immigrate here to take Canada jobs going begging for a want of qualified candidates.
Even with more job applicants ready to enter the field, the federal job-hunting and career-planning website Job Bank is forecasting the current shortage of dietitians and nutritionists will persist for the coming nine years.
“For dietitians and nutritionists, over the period 2022 – 2031, new job openings arising from expansion demand and replacement demand are expected to total 4,000, while 4,100 new job seekers arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility are expected to be available to fill them,” forecasts Job Bank.
“The labour shortage conditions seen in recent years is expected to persist into the 2022 – 2031 period.”
The Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) explains this surge in demand for dietitians and nutritionists is largely being driven by government’s efforts to get Canadians to get trimmer and fitter.
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“Over the last decade, the accelerated growth stemmed from the active promotion of healthy living habits aimed towards improving overall health and preventing illnesses such as diabetes,” notes the COPS website.
“Furthermore, the combat against obesity and the stronger desire to improve physical performance and appearance had a positive impact on the demand for nutritionists and dietitians. As a larger share of the population continue being educated into healthy living, growth is expected to continue, although at a slower pace than during the 2012-2021 period.
“Retirements are expected to account for just over 30 per cent of all new job openings.”
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Categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 31121, dietitian and nutritionist is one of 82 occupations in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced earlier this year would now be eligible for Express Entry system draws.
That means foreign nationals with the qualifications and experience to be dietitians and nutritionists now have the opportunity to gain their permanent residence in Canada through Express Entry draws.
Immigration Seen As Critical To Resolving Canada’s Labour Shortages
The flagship Express Entry selection system has previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
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.
“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said then-Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
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“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.”
Indeed.ca, another job-hunting website, had 446 job listings for dietitians and 282 jobs for nutritionists at the start of August.
Job Bank is forecasting the job prospects for dietitians and nutritionists to be good in every province and territory in Canada for which there is data, with the exception of Nova Scotia where those job prospects are rated as moderate.
In Canada, the median hourly wage for dietitians and nutritionists is $38 but that varies from a low of $21.83 right up to $46, reveals Job Bank.
Based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, that means these workers could expect to earn a top median annual income of $89,700.
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.
Immigration And Refugee Protection Act Changed To Allow Occupation-Targeted Draws
Canada first signalled its intention to start occupation-specific draws through Express Entry in June last year, when changes were made to the Immigration and Refugee 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.
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