Too few students are graduating with degrees in veterinary medicine in Canada and not enough immigrants are arriving to fill the Canada jobs going begging for a lack of qualified candidates.
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) describes the labour shortage in the field as already severe.
“In Canada, clinic owners and other veterinary employers struggle to hire and retain veterinary professionals while maintaining the highest levels of quality care for their clients,” notes the CVMA on its website.
“Canadian veterinary colleges’ annual graduation rates for veterinarians barely meet the rate of attrition from the profession.”
The Job Bank job-hunting and career-planning website of the federal government is forecasting an additional shortfall of 700 veterinarians, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 31103, by the year 2031.
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“For veterinarians, over the period 2022 – 2031, new job openings rising from expansion demand and replacement demand are expected to total 5,000, while 4,300 new job seekers arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility are expected to be available to fill them,” notes Job Bank.
“The labour shortage conditions seen in recent years is expected to persist into the 2022 – 2031 period.”
Foreign nationals with the qualifications and experience to be veterinarians are facing an ideal situation to gain their permanent residence in Canada as the demand for these workers is expected to outstrip the supply.
In late July, the Indeed.ca job-hunting website, had 835 job listings for a “veterinarian” job search.
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Job Bank is forecasting the job prospects for veterinarians to be very good, its highest rating, in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia over the next three years and good in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec during that same time period.
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 veterinarians – foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada are now looking at a new opportunity to immigrate to Canada.
The flagship Express Entry selection system has previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
Veterinarians can earn up to $139,667 annually in Canada, reports Job Bank
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.
In Canada, the median annual wage for veterinarians is $85,074 but that varies from a low of $30,229 right up to $139,667, reveals Job Bank.
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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 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.
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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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