Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says Ottawa is soon going to work with the provinces to cut red tape and help skilled immigrants more easily move from one province to another to find work.
In her 2023 Fall Economic Statement, the deputy prime minister explains the federal government will be taking these steps to bolster the construction of new homes and improve Canada’s healthcare system.
“Many businesses, especially homebuilders, are still struggling to hire the workers they need, which is slowing the construction of more homes and limiting economic growth opportunities across Canada,” she noted in that statement.
“For Canada’s universal public healthcare system, provincial barriers are also impeding the delivery of better healthcare for Canadians.”
The 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces that in the coming months, the federal government will undertake measures to remove the barriers to internal labour mobility.
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By leveraging federal transfers, and other funding, Ottawa is hoping to encourage provinces and territories to cut the red tape that impedes the movement of workers, particularly in construction, healthcare and childcare.
The measures are to include:
- working with provinces and territories towards full interprovincial labour mobility for construction and healthcare workers to meet labour market needs;
- expanding on the success of the Red Seal Program to improve the mobility of tradespeople and eliminate further barriers, such as duplicative credential recognition, and;
- ensuring provinces and territories welcome healthcare professionals from anywhere in Canada by leveraging the nearly $200 billion federal healthcare funding deal announced in February.
Earlier this year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced Canada’s Express Entry system would begin targeting 82 jobs in healthcare, technology, the trades, transport and agriculture. The flagship Express Entry selection system had previously only conducted draws based on immigration programs, not by targeting specific occupations.
Candidates hoping to immigrate through Express Entry occupation-targeted draws 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.
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) are now more responsive to labour market needs.
Express Entry Programs Opened Up To Occupation-Specific Draws This Summer
“Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labour shortages,” said then-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.