Canada’s shortage of paramedics became more apparent when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and it still has hundreds of these healthcare Canada jobs available, creating an opportunity for potential new immigrants.
In Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, the union representing most paramedics is calling the situation a crisis and has gone so far as to call on the provincial government for a comprehensive staffing strategy for the emergency medical services sector.
“In nearly every region of Ontario, paramedic services are in crisis and unable to meet growing demand for (emergency medical services),” says Niko Georgiadis, a frontline paramedic and chair of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) ambulance committee of Ontario.
“There are tragic consequences every day, patients in cardiac arrest not getting care in time. Elderly people lying for hours on the floor, suffering as they wait for an ambulance to arrive.”
Georgiadis says paramedic services are unable to retain or recruit staff as chronic understaffing has created a vicious cycle of heavy workloads, high injury rates and further depletion in staffing levels.
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In Montreal, the biggest city in the francophone province of Quebec, a CBC news report late last year described the paramedic labour shortage at Urgences-Santé, public emergency medical service for the islands of Montreal and Laval, as dire.
“It’s just demoralizing more than anything else,” a paramedic reportedly told the CBC. “People are leaving, there’s less and less staff, call volume is going up and up.”
Job Bank, the federal job-hunting and career-planning website, is forecasting that job prospects for paramedics, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 32102, will be “good” or “very good” in provinces and territories across Canada over the coming nine years despite more people entering that line of work.
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“The labour shortage conditions seen in recent years is expected to persist into the 2022 – 2031 period,” notes Job Bank
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 paramedics – foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada are now looking at a new opportunity to get their permanent residence here.
Paramedics In Canada Can Earn Up To $87,750
The flagship Express Entry selection system has previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
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.
There were already 315 job listings for paramedics on Indeed.ca, another job-hunting website, in mid-July.
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In Canada, the median hourly wage for paramedics is $35.30 but that varies from a low of $23 right up to $45, reveals Job Bank.
Based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, that means pilots could expect to earn a top median annual income of $87,750.
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.
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“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said former 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.