Labour Shortages Costing Canadian Business $38bn Each Year

Canada Job Vacancies Dropped Further In Previous Quarter
Canada immigration free assessment

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says Canadian businesses are losing out on up to $38 billion in contracts and sales because of labour shortages plaguing the country.

In its latest report, Small Businesses in Canada Hit Hard: The Big Financial Toll of Labour Shortages, the 97,000-strong organization representing small and medium-sized businesses in Canada claims a lack of workers is hitting business hard – and warns the situation could get even worse in the future.

“Challenging demographics and a failure to truly rise to the moment from governments also mean the current situation could deteriorate further in the future,” notes the CFIB in that report.

In Canada, employers can hire foreign nationals who can gain their permanent residency in the country through Express Entry system’s three federal immigration programs, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST), and Canada Experience Class Program (CEC),  or a participating provincial immigration program.

Through a network of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), almost all of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories can nominate skilled worker candidates for admission to Canada when they have the specific skills required by local economies.

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Successful candidates who receive a provincial or territorial nomination can then apply for Canadian permanent residence through federal immigration authorities.

Canadian employers can also recruit and hire foreign nationals through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).

The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a part of the TFWP, can under normal processing situations lead to the granting of Canadian work permits and processing of visa applications within two weeks.

Despite record-breaking immigration to Canada, though, many employers are still struggling to find workers, one of the reasons Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has recently upped the immigration targets for the coming years.

Under its newly-released 2024-2026 Immigration Levels Plan, Canada is planning to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024, 500,000 in 2025 and then hold the line on immigration in 2026 with another 500,000 new permanent residents.

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That’s a total of 1.485 million immigrants to Canada over those three years.

The Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI) is bullish on boosting immigration to resolve labour challenges throughout the country.

“Immigration is critical to addressing labour shortages, attracting new investment, and supporting Canada’s economic growth,” said FMRI provincial-territorial co-chair Jeremy Harrison, the minister of immigration and career training, in November.

Without Enough Staff, Employers Are Forced To Work Longer Hours Themselves

“Provinces and territories play a key role in ensuring that immigration is responsive to employers’ labour needs and benefits all regions of the country. Several provinces and territories are also taking steps to improve foreign qualification recognition to ensure newcomers can work in occupations aligned with their skills and experience.”

The money lost in potential sales and contracts due to labour shortages is something the CFIB considers to be “ a significant amount that could have been a major boon for small businesses, helping them address staffing issues through investments in automation or the still challenging post-COVID recovery on Main Street.”

In a presentation before a standing committee of the Nova Scotia government, CFIB senior policy analyst Duncan Robertson said business owners are working long hours to compensate for labour shortages that amount to 59 hours a week per business.

“There is no doubt based on our data and the lived experiences of our members that over the last two years, inflation and labour challenges have been at the forefront of most business owners’ realities,” Robertson said.

Canada immigration free assessment
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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.