“Massage therapy is a rapidly growing profession in Canada that offers a fulfilling career with endless opportunities for growth and development. And it’s easy to see why,” says Brandy John, a massage therapy instructor and president of the Canadian Council of Massage Therapy Schools.
“With a population that is becoming more health-conscious, the demand for massage therapists is steadily increasing.”
Fuelling that demand is the aging of the labour force.
“Never before has the number of people nearing retirement been so high. More than one in five … persons of working age are aged 55 to 64,” Statistics Canada noted last year.
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“This is an all-time high in the history of Canadian censuses and one of the factors behind the labour shortages facing some industries across the country. The aging of many baby boom cohorts, the youngest of whom are between 56 and 64 years today, is accelerating population aging in general.”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is responding to these labour shortages by boosting immigration with occupation-targeted draws.
Earlier this year, the IRCC announced that Canada’s Express Entry system will begin targeting 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, trades, transport and agriculture this summer – including massage therapists.
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Foreign nationals educated as massage therapists will now be able to immigrate to Canada under these occupation-targeted draws. The flagship Express Entry selection system has previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser is hoping this new approach will help Canadian employers resolve labour shortages.
“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said 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.”
Massage Therapists In Canada Had Their Pick Of 1,826 Jobs In Late July
Job Bank, the federal job-hunting and career-planning website, is forecasting the job prospects for massage therapists to be very good, its highest rating, in Alberta, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan over the coming three years.
Massage therapists’ job prospects are deemed to be good in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba and British Columbia over the same time period with job prospects rated as moderate elsewhere in the country.
Certainly, there are plenty of jobs out there for qualified massage therapists.
There were already 1,826 job listings for massage therapists, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 32201, 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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In Canada, the median hourly wage for massage therapists is $31.30 but that varies from a low of $17 right up to $55, reveals Job Bank.
Based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, that means massage therapists could expect to earn a top median annual income of $107,250.
Candidates applying for Express Entry occupation-targeted draws 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.
Occupation-Targeted Draws Will Make Immigration For Responsive To Market Needs
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.
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.
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