Ontario Immigration Minister Monte McNaughton says the province is going to double economic immigration through its Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) over the next few years.
“From 9,000 immigration spots in 2021 to over 18,000 in 2025, today’s announcement is a significant win for the people of Ontario and will help us control our economic destiny by selecting more of the skilled immigrants we know are well-placed to succeed and build stronger communities for all of us,” said McNaughton.
The OINP’s allocation from the federal government for 2023 is 16,500 nominations.
The announcement over the weekend, on March 18, came barely a week after the Forum of Ministers Responsible for Immigration (FMRI) at the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax.
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But Ontario’s lobbying to be allowed to welcome more economic immigrants goes back at least two years.
In April 2021, McNaughton called on the federal government to double the number of immigrants allowed under the OINP to tackle the province’s labour shortages.
Ontario reached its allocation of 9,750 immigrants through the OINP in 2022, including 3,900 skilled trades workers, 2,200 software and IT workers, and nearly 100 nurses and personal support workers.
“As we remain focused on addressing the acute labour market shortages and building a strong economy into the future, one thing remains certain: immigration is a key part of the solution,” said federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.
“As Canada’s flagship regional economic immigration program, the Provincial Nominee Program’s (PNP) increasing growth will support the long-term well-being of communities in Ontario.”
Business leaders in Ontario were quick to praise the move to boost economic immigration to the province.
“Ontario’s new car dealers are in dire need of automotive technicians and auto body repairers and this announcement will help attract workers for these well-paying careers that are waiting for them today,” said Frank Notte, director of government relations for the Trillium Automobile Dealers’ Association.
Trucking industry reps agreed.
“Since gaining access to the OINP in 2019, the Ontario trucking industry has continued to welcome newcomers to our sector to help fill key job vacancies,” said Jonathan Blackham, the director of policy and public affairs for the Ontario Trucking Association.
OINP Allows Province To Nominate Skilled, Experienced Applicants For Permanent Residency
“As the past few years have shown, bolstering the trucking sector’s labour market is one of the surest ways we can help strengthen the supply chain and keep the economy moving. Today’s announcement is not only positive for our sector, but it’s also positive for all businesses and Ontarians who rely on the trucking industry to deliver the essential goods and products they need every day.”
Under the OINP, the province nominates applicants for permanent residence who have the skills and experience to contribute to Ontario’s economy. This provides a much-needed source of labour to fill the 300,000 jobs that were going begging for a lack of workers in December last year.
“For decades, immigrants have developed our communities, supported our economy, and made Ontario what it is today,” said Andrew Pariser, vice president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario.
“This will help fill critical labour shortages in the construction and reduce barriers for immigrants to gaining employment and making a living in Ontario.”
Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry, the province’s biggest manufacturing sector by employment, provides jobs for more than 125,000 people working for more than 4,000 companies. That sector has been hurting due to a lack of workers.
“Labour is our top challenge,” said Chris Conway, chief executive officer of Food and Beverage Ontario.
“The changes announced today to the OINP will permit increased recruitment of foreign workers for good jobs in addition to contributing to a strong and sustainable workforce for our industry. This is a win for Ontario and our sector.”