The Need for Continued Reform of the Canadian Immigration System
Chambers of Commerce have been the leading voice calling on government and business to
realize the scale of the challenge facing the province through a looming skills shortage in every
sector, every industry and in many region of the Canada.
Until recently this call has been unheard.
Scope of the challenge
The Conference Board of Canada predicts that by 2020, Canada will experience a labour
shortage of nearly one million people. Quebec could face a shortfall of 292,000 workers by
2025, rising to 363,000 by 2030. Alberta could be short of 332,000 workers by 2025. Ontario
could be short of 360,000 workers by 2025 and over 564,000 by 2030. In the case of BC
estimates suggest that the province will create one million new job openings by 2017 while only
graduating 350,000 students through the K12 system.
Immigration will play a key role in addressing these short- and long-term labour market needs.
Between 2011 and 2016, growth in Canada’s working-age population will virtually stagnate and
post 2016 it will decline. At the same time, baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964)
will begin reaching retirement. Innovative responses are needed so that Canada can attract
people from around the world with the right mix of skills and talents to support economic growth
now and in the future and meet global competition head-on. Other industrialized countries are
confronted with similar challenges and will be increasingly competing with Canada for this global
pool of skilled workers. We must remain ahead of the competition.
While The Chamber will continue to work with government and business on enhancing
businesses ability to access under-represented groups such as aboriginals, youth at risk, and
the disabled, the key to addressing this challenge is immigration. The challenge is the fact that
the current immigration system is simply not ensuring that the immigrants we attract are being
used to their full capacity.
Quite simply the