Federal government data reveals thousands of school counsellor Canada jobs are expected to be left unfilled over the coming decade unless more foreign nationals immigrate to Canada and apply for them.
“For educational counsellors, over the period 2022 – 2031, new job openings arising from expansion demand and replacement demand are expected to total 17,300, notes Job Bank, a job-hunting and career-planning website.
“Although this occupational group has had a balanced market in recent years, projected job openings are expected to be substantially higher to job seekers, creating a shortage of workers over the 2022 – 2031 period.”
That means the government is expecting 4,600 positions for school counsellors to go begging for a want of qualified people to fill them over the next nine years.
Reports of the paucity of school counsellors have regularly appeared in the past few years in news outlets throughout Canada.
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In late March of this year, a Nova Scotia school counsellor reportedly told Global News there just aren’t enough counsellors to meet the demand.
“There’s not enough and I would argue most counsellors would feel spread too thin,” Andrew Gosney, a counsellor at Hammonds Plains Consolidated Elementary, reportedly told the news outlet.
“The demand is very high. It’s quite varied. You have a variety of mental health needs ranging from anxiety, depression, grief, gender and sexuality concerns, anything having to do with cultural relations.”
Experts have been warning governments and school boards about the growing scarcity of qualified school counsellors for years.
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Back in 2021, Terri MacAdam, the director of student services with the Public Schools Branch (PSB) on Prince Edward Island, reportedly told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that the shortage of school counsellors was a nationwide phenomena and schools were struggling to find eligible candidates for the available positions.
“We did find this year we were having difficulty filling positions and some positions did remain vacant for a long period of time,” MacAdam reportedly said.
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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 school counsellors – foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada now have 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.
Applicants Under Occupation-Specific Express Entry Draws Need At Least Six Months Of Work Experience
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 52 job listings for school counsellors, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 41320, posted on the Indeed.ca job-hunting website in July, some of them from employers hoping to hire more than one employee .
Most of the jobs for school counsellors listed in July on Indeed were in British Columbia, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
In Canada, the median hourly wage for school counsellors is $40.76 but that varies from a low of $24.62 right up to $49.52, reveals Job Bank.
Based on a standard, 37.5-hour work week, that means school counsellors could expect to earn a top median annual income of $96,564.
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 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.
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