Reaction continued Wednesday to news the Ontario government is investing in a program to bring more skilled immigrants to the province.
“Immigrants are keen to come to Canada, and Canada needs immigrants,” Usha George of Toronto Metropolitan University Centre told Humber News.
The province’s plan announced on Tuesday is to invest $25 million over three years in its flagship immigration program to increase the number of skilled immigrants the province can welcome to build the labour shortage industry.
“Our government is ready to welcome more skilled newcomers to Ontario to help build the highways, transit, schools, homes and hospitals our growing population needs,” said Premier Doug Ford.
“As we continue to tackle historic labour shortages, we’re doing everything we can to ensure we have the workforce to help build Ontario. It’s all hands on deck,” said Premier Doug Ford at the investment announcement which was held at Pearson Airport.
The flagship immigration program, known as the “Ontario Immigration Nominee Program,” allows the province to nominate individuals for permanent residence who can contribute to Ontario’s economy in the skilled trades and health care industry.
This plan builds on the province’s recent Working for Workers Act 3, which brings forward further measures to remove barriers facing internationally trained professionals who wish to work in regulated professions.
George agreed that the market is in need of people.
“The labour market needs workers, and fast” said George, the Academic Director of TMU’s Centre for Immigration and Settlement.
George told Humber News the new government money could also be used to expand apprenticeship opportunities, or expand opportunities for people to even learn new skills in the industry.
“This can enhance the immigration process because the province can use their own discretion to bring in the kind of workers they need,” said George.
George also applauded an act passed in 2021 that is now going to help this new investment plan.
“In 2021 the province passed the “Building Opportunities in The Skilled Trades Act,” which basically organizes the practice of trades in Ontario, which can now enhance the skilled trades immigration process,” she said.
In 2022, Canada reached its goal of 431,645 new permanent residents. The number of immigrants was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the creation of many new and open jobs, as according to the Government of Canada.
“Every year, more immigrants come to Ontario than any other province,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development at the investment announcement on Tuesday.
In 2016, only one-quarter of internationally-trained immigrants in Ontario were working in the profession they trained or studied for, regardless of having high levels of education.
“It is critical to ensure we have the resources to select and welcome those best placed to succeed, and building stronger communities for everyone,” said McNaughton.