Hyder: Canada’s immigration advantage – A survey of major employers

Of note:

Canada’s success in attracting newcomers from every corner of the globe is one of our country’s greatest competitive advantages. In addition to enriching the social and cultural fabric of our communities, immigrants bring valuable knowledge, skills and experience that contribute to economic growth.

This report sheds light on immigration’s importance to employers and the overall economy. It is based on a survey of 80 member companies of the Business Council of Canada in the first quarter of 2022. Collectively, these 80 companies employ nearly 1,650,000 Canadians in more than 20 industries, generating revenues of approximately $1.2 trillion in 2020. 

Close to two-thirds of the companies said they actively recruit workers through the immigration system. The rest hire immigrants who have already relocated to Canada. Among employers that use the immigration system, two-thirds expect to increase their usage over the next three years.

Employers look to the immigration system to help meet a variety of business needs, from enabling enterprise growth to increasing the diversity of their workforces. Above all, immigration helps them fill positions that would otherwise stay vacant. Of the employers that make direct use of the immigration system, four out of five say they do so to address labour shortages. 

Employers rely most on programs designed to attract highly skilled workers, such as the Global Talent Stream and the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Employers report that newcomers make important contributions to their businesses, adding that the immigrants they hire tend to possess strong technical as well as human skills.

Nevertheless, some immigrants face challenges adapting to their new environment. Employers recognize these challenges and say they are committed helping newcomers succeed. This includes investing in community settlement organizations, providing language and cultural training, and helping foreign-trained staff obtain recognition of their credentials.

Half of the employers that took part in the survey are in favour of raising Canada’s annual admission targets, in particular for economic-class immigrants. At the same time, employers note that higher levels of immigration should be accompanied by greater investments in the domestic workforce, as well as in childcare, housing, and public transportation.

Despite their overall support for the immigration system, survey respondents say there is room to make it more responsive to Canada’s economic needs. Frustrated by application processing delays, complex rules, and the cost of navigating the system, fewer than a quarter say the immigration system currently serves their business needs well.

These challenges are made more pressing by the accelerating race for international talent. Canadian employers overwhelmingly agree that global competition for skilled workers is likely to intensify as other countries step up their efforts to attract the best and brightest.

Source: https://thebusinesscouncil.ca/app/uploads/2022/06/Canadas-immigration-advantage-final.pdf

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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