Home » 2013 » October

Monthly Archives: October 2013

Canada’s skills gap continues to widen

The concerns of skill shortage still loom large in Canada.

According to the findings of the study conducted by Hays PLC, a global recruiting firm, Canada ranks ninth in the developed world for the shortage of skilled workers, a drop from the scores posted last year.
Japan, the United States, Germany and Sweden are other countries that face the problem of skilled worker shortage, the report highlighted.
With no changes in the immigration polices and the aging Canadian work force, the situation in Canada is sure to get worse, Hays chief executive Alistair Cox, said.
“Sadly … there is a lot of friction in the system, which will make [the jobs mismatch] worse as the economy improves,” Mr. Cox said. “Jobs are being created, but we simply don’t have enough skills in the right place at the right time.”
“Canada is starting to show some worrying trends that there is a gap between the skills available versus what industries are looking for,” he said.
While on one hand the educational institutions have failed to produce to right skilled workers to address the country’s future job requirement, on the other hand immigration rules are also being “tuned to mass and unskilled migration issues, as opposed to highly skilled migration,” Mr. Cox said.
Cox recommended a more flexible immigration system as an answer to the problem. He said that countries should effectively differentiate between highly skilled workers, and lower- and middle-level skills.
He further added that countries should tend to work with business to develop targets. “[Immigration policy] has to be designed and developed by government in conjunction with what business wants. That link-age [needs to be] an absolutely iron bond,” he said.
Cox appreciated Australia’s flexible points system that encouraged immigration targeted to specific professional job sectors. However, the country has recently tightened immigration rules, he pointed.
Immigration Canada making changes
While it’s not official, but Canada is working on some changes in its immigration system that are expected to come into effect from late 2014.
The new system will be called the Expression of Interest (EOI). The process will require to person seeking immigration to file in a simplified application.
From that pool of applications, the most promising candidates, based on the immigration department’s selection criteria, will be short listed.
These short-listed candidates will then be invited to submit a full application, including documentation to prove their claimed qualifications.
Enhanced by Zemanta

BC Trucking Association Seeks 25 Immigrant Truck Drivers For Pilot Project

Veronica538 at work as truckdriver
Veronica538 at work as truckdriver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LANGLEY -The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) has developed a new skills assessment tool called IDRIVE and is looking for 25 recent immigrants with professional truck-driving experience to participate in a pilot test to be scheduled in November or December 2013.

BCTA is working with BC motor carriers to find ways to address a shortage of professional drivers that could run as high as 33,000 across Canada by 2020,according to a Conference Board of Canada study.”Immigrants to Canada are a valuable source of labour for the industry but may need help representing their skills to employers here,” says Louise Yako,BCTA President & CEO. “And BC employers need to know how driving experience from outside Canada rates in BC, where regulations, equipment, and geography may be quite different.”To assist, BCTA has partnered with the Asia Pacific Gateway Skills Table to develop a truck driver skill and experience assessment tool with input from motor carriers.

IDRIVE stands for “Immigrant Driver Readiness – Industry Validation and Engagement,” and it reviews the professiona lexperience of drivers who are new to Canada, to provide them with a verified report on their readiness for employmentin BC. IDRIVE tests industry knowledge, essential skills, employability characteristics (including customer service skills) and driving skills.

IDRIVE is made possible by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC.Funding is provided by the Governmentof Canada and the Province of BritishColumbia.”We are pleased to support the BCTA’s immigrant driver readiness tool that will help employers understand and benefit from the experience and skills of BC’s immigrant labour pool,” says Kelly Pollack, Executive Director of the Immigrant Employment Council of BC.IDRIVE is now ready for a pilot test, and BCTA invites 25 immigrant drivers to participate, to make sure that both drivers and trucking industry employers can depend on its results.

Assessments can take place throughout the province depending on where drivers are located.Participants must not be employed currentlyin the trucking industry, but must live in BC and have a BC Class 1 commercial driver’s licence – or be willing to obtain one within the timeframe of the pilot project, which includes a road test.They must have at least one year of professional driving experience, here or in another country, read and write basic English, and be eligible to work in Canada, among a few other requirements.In return, participants receive a copy of their IDRIVE assessment, and BCTA will work to connect them with motorcarriers interested in the pilot and looking for drivers to hire

Enhanced by Zemanta

Canadian Immigration presents agri-food opportunity.

Agriculture
Agriculture (Photo credit: thegreenpages)
Changing needs in the domestic market won’t be enough, however, to meet premier’s agri-business challenge says economist
Enhanced by Zemanta

Alberta at forefront of seeking Americans to work on resource projects

English: Saint Joseph's College on the north c...
English: Saint Joseph’s College on the north campus of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald

CALGARY — Labour-starved employers should take a short look south to American workers, according to a new study by The Conference Board of Canada released on Friday.
The report said Alberta, which faces the most severe skills shortage in Canada, launched a pilot project last year that brought nearly 1,000 highly-skilled U.S. workers into the province.
“Alberta has been at the forefront of a strategy to recruit U.S. workers, particularly for resource projects, but Saskatchewan and Manitoba are also increasingly facing labour shortages,” said the conference board’s Global Commerce Centre.
The study said: there is no simple mechanism to bring in U.S. workers; resource projects require different approaches to workforce planning because they involve short, intense bursts of activity in geographically dispersed regions; and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program is a band-aid for skills shortages, but it is not a panacea or a long-term solution.
“With 50,000 unfilled vacancies and more than double that number expected within a decade, the labour and skills shortage has a direct impact on Alberta’s ability to develop its resource and energy sector. That is not just a regional problem, it affects our national economic prospects as well,” said Laura Dawson, author of Skills in Motion: U.S. Workers May Hold the Key to Canada’s Skills Shortage.
“Alberta has been a real role model in finding innovative ways to solve or to mitigate the short-term labour crunch. I think that there is no doubt that in certain regions and certain sectors of Canada there is a skills shortage.”
Education and training programs to grow those skills is a good idea but that takes time, she added.
“In the meantime, Alberta has this short-term demand and workers from the United States are particularly well-suited for filling demand in certain sectors,” said Dawson. “I’m impressed with the fact that both the government of Alberta as well as the employers and the unions have actually pulled together to find some innovative solutions. I think Alberta’s much further ahead than other provinces in tackling this issue.”
The report said many Alberta employers consider U.S. workers to be ideal to fill Canadian vacancies because they have comparable training and experience. They also understand the language and work culture, can enter Canada without a visa, and live nearby.
But the report said there is no simple mechanism for Canada to bring in U.S. workers in skilled trades. For example, the North American Free Trade Agreement does not allow mutual recognition between Canada and U.S. for regulated trades and professions.
The Alberta Occupation-Specific Pilot was launched in 2012, and has already allowed nearly 1,000 highly-skilled U.S. workers to enter the province, said the conference board report. It allows employers to hire foreign workers certified in certain occupations without needing a Labour Market Opinion from the federal government.
“Alberta’s Department of Apprenticeship and Industry Training has stepped in to provide its own evaluation of workers’ foreign credentials and experience. The province has launched a recruitment campaign in the United States. Alberta employers are also targeting Canadian and American veterans of the armed forces,” it said.
“Alberta’s experience with U.S. worker recruitment provides a number of lessons for employers and policy-makers elsewhere in Canada.”
Geraldine Anderson, spokesperson for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said the industry is generally supportive of this initiative.
She said the industry believes in hiring Canadians first and building that workforce.
“However, there is a shortage of skilled labour in the industry and this is an important tool to sort of fill a gap in the labour market.”
Alberta deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk said the Alberta response to the skilled labour shortage is a practical one for the situation.
“We know in Alberta right now that our government and our employers are doing what they possibly can to hire local, Canadian workers because it simply makes sense. It’s cheaper to do so and it’s more practical to do so and frankly most importantly it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
“But the fact is that at a time right now where we have about 4.6 per cent unemployment rate and we have 70,000 temporary foreign workers, that speaks to the fact that there’s simply a shortage of labour and it will continue to grow. We expect that we will have a shortage of somewhere around 120,000 workers within the next 10 years.”
He said that for the last 10 years or so the province has on an ongoing basis about 70,000 to 75,000 temporary workers.
Lukaszuk said the Alberta response makes sense and it allows employers to get workers here faster “because they need these workers now. Not in six months or nine months.”
According to the Alberta government, total work permits issued under the Occupation-Specific Pilot program between July 2012 and August 2013 were: Steamfitter-pipefitter, 721 (320 from U.S.); Welder, 967 (U.S. 177); Ironworker, 453 (U.S. 355); Carpenter, 154 (U.S. 12); Estimator, 81 (U.S. 22); and Heavy-duty equipment mechanic, 92 (U.S. 8).

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com
Twitter.com/MTone123

– See more at: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/workers+could+help+plug+skills+Canada/8997431/story.html#sthash.xRdOYpnq.dpuf

Enhanced by Zemanta

For Canada, immigration is a key to prosperity

Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Canada.
Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Special to The Globe and Mail
Canada has become an attractive pole for immigrants from around the world who are looking for a host country that will give them good opportunities. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada’s annual immigration flow is now proportionately one of the highest among OECD members, at 0.7 per cent of its population.

In 2011, there were 249,000 new permanent residents, after a record year of 281,000 in 2010. (The official planned admission range is between 240,000 and 265,000 new permanent residents a year.) That is not counting the 190,800 temporary foreign workers that were admitted in 2011 as well as the 98,400 foreign students who came to benefit from our universities and may decide to stay and put their skills to use in Canada’s industries.
There are many myths floating around about immigrants, ranging from them being low-skilled workers to them having difficulty integrating into the labour force. A quick read through the OECD’s 2013 International Migration Outlook debunks all of those myths – and makes the reader realize just how well Canada is faring on the immigration front.
Time to address unfounded myths about immigrants
The OECD finds that employment for foreign-born Canadian citizens has gone up since 2008, while it has stalled for native-born citizens (see p.71 here). The employment rate for Canadian immigrants in 2012 was the third highest in the OECD. This shows that immigrants are quickly integrating into the labour force and putting their skills to work.
For that matter, it is worth noting that more than 50 per cent of Canadian immigrants are highly educated, putting Canada at the top among the OECD countries. As well, a significant number of the almost 100,000 foreign students visiting Canada each year decide to stay after getting a degree from one of our world-class universities (McGill, University of Toronto, UBC, etc.). Many other immigrants are also looking in Canada’s direction, attracted by job prospects and the open-arm culture for which Canadians are known.
One reason why foreign immigrants favour Canada as a destination is the labour mobility it offers. According to its latest Global Competitiveness Report published last month, the World Economic Forum ranks Canada as the world’s seventh most efficient labour market.
High labour-market efficiency means that workers are more likely to be allocated to their most effective use and provided with an environment where they are encouraged to give their best effort. On a macroeconomic level, this also means that the country’s work force is flexible enough to shift workers from one economic activity to another – for example, from factories in Quebec and Ontario to oil sands in Alberta – rapidly and at low cost. It also means that there are strong incentives in place for employees, promoting meritocracy and providing equity in the business environment.
Canada has gone to great lengths to liberalize its labour market, and it is paying off. Canada’s labour market now offers a great deal of mobility to its workers; it is quite easy for anyone to move from Montreal to Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver (and vice versa). As a former Quebec minister responsible for economic development and trade, let me tell you that I am proud to have had the opportunity to work with my provincial counterparts on internal trade agreements, fostering Canada’s economic ties, and ultimately strengthening the federation.
Positive implication on Canadian economic growth – and real estate
Canada’s strong economic performance since 2008 is explained by many factors, including well-capitalized banks, massive public infrastructure spending – and a strong influx of immigrants. Immigration last year explained two-thirds of Canada’s population growth of 1.2 per cent, well ahead of the 0.7 per cent and 0.3 per cent seen in the United States and the euro zone, respectively.
Why is this so important? Because without this immigration flow, Canada’s population aged between 20 and 44 years old would be declining. That cohort, which constitutes most of the labour force, is the one that creates new households, buys new houses, has children and pays the greater part of taxation revenue. Without immigration, Canada’s natural population growth would not be enough to sustain economic growth and welfare. Quebec, given its demographic structure, especially needs immigration to increase its labour force in the short term so as to sustain the costs of its social programs.
We also note that a large percentage of every province’s immigrants are in the 20-to-44 age group, meaning that the benefits of household formation are spread all across Canada. This helps explain why the housing market in Canada has been so resilient during the past five years.
I am happy to see that one of Canada’s strengths is clearly working in its favour. As Canadians, we need foreign talent to sustain the country’s demographic and economic growth, and we have just the labour market to attract it. Canadians need immigration just as much as immigrants need a destination such as Canada. Immigration, as it turns out, is most likely the key to Canada’s prosperity.
Clément Gignac is senior vice-president and chief economist at Industrial Alliance Inc., vice-chairman of the World Economic Forum Council on Competitiveness and a former cabinet minister in the Quebec government.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Canada immigration alert: Alberta offers immigration on federal level to its employees

English: Alberta Province within Canada. Españ...
English: Alberta Province within Canada. Español: Provincia de Alberta en Canadá. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When looking for opportunities to immigrate to Canada, the federal immigration policy might not always look as welcoming as one had hoped. On the provincial level, chances may increase from time to time. At the moment, this is the case in Alberta.

On September 13, the Province of Alberta announced a number of changes to its Provincial Nominee Program. The changes offer some temporary workers nomination for immigration on the federal level.

Alberta is a province located in the south-west of Canada, bordering the US state Montana in the South, while bordering Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and British Colombia in Canada.

It is the fourth-largest populated province of Canada, and has one of the strongest economies in Canada thriving on the flourishing petroleum industry and to a lesser extent, agriculture and technology.

Recruitment to the province is possible though four programs, being the Employer-Driven Stream, the Strategic Recruitment Stream, the Family Stream and the Self-Employment Farmer Stream.

For some of these categories, Alberta is offering the opportunity to obtain a Canadian residency.

As part of the Employer-Driven Stream, workers in the food services industry are offered the opportunity to be nominated for immigration on the federal level.

Until November 28, 2013, Alberta employers with eligible workers may nominate up to 20 per cent of their total workforce per restaurant location, for Canadian Permanent Residency.

In the same stream, graduates from a Canadian educational institution currently working in Alberta may be nominated for immigration on the federal level without an employer-supported application.

Required is that the employee has a valid post-graduation work permit, the occupation is considered either skilled or semi-skilled, and the certificate, diploma, degree or graduate-level degree is obtained from a publically funded community college, trade/technical school, or university in Alberta or another province of Canada, or from a private institution in Alberta authorized by the province to confer degrees.

Apart from post-graduate employees, some work permit holders under the Strategic Recruitment Stream are now eligible for federal immigration.

This applies to individuals who are working in most skilled and semi-skilled occupations.

For some low-skilled workers a limited number of applications will be accepted until November 28, 2013. These include workers in the following fields: Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers, Other Trades Helpers and Labourers, Light Duty Cleaners, Specialized Cleaners, and Janitors, Caretakers and Building Superintendents.

In order to work in Alberta and be eligible to one of the nomination programs, applicants can apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) giving preference to the province of Alberta.

In order to qualify for the 2013 FSWP applicants without a Canadian job offer or PHD must have one year of work experience in one of 24 eligible occupations in the last 10 years, demonstrate acceptable language proficiency through a language test, and obtain 67 points on the FSWP selection grid. Occupations on the FSWP have a cap and might be closed at this point.

Enhanced by Zemanta
%d bloggers like this: