With almost a million jobs going begging for a lack of workers to fill them in Canada, employers are desperate for qualified candidates and many are turning to foreign nationals through immigration.
“In nearly every Canadian industry and across every sector, a historic labour shortage is hitting companies hard,” noted RBC in a report earlier this year.
In Proof Point: Canada’s Labour Shortages Will Outlive A Recession, economists Claire Fen and Nathan Janzen and economics writer Naomi Powell outlined the grim reality for Canadian employers in late July.
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“As of June 2022, businesses posted almost 70 per cent more job openings in Canada than pre-pandemic,” they noted. “But these firms were competing for 13 per cent fewer unemployed workers than were available in February 2020.
“The impact is severe: more than half of Canadian businesses say labour shortages are limiting their ability to increase production – up from 40 per cent before the pandemic and 30 per cent a decade ago.”
On the streets in Canada, it seems like business as usual – except for the plethora of help wanted signs which are seemingly everywhere and the number of entrepreneurs who are limiting their company’s hours for a lack of qualified labour.
In its latest quarterly job vacancies report, Statistics Canada reports Canadian companies were trying to fill 997,000 vacant positions during the second quarter of this year.
That is the highest number of job vacancies in any quarter of any year on record in Canada.
“Vacancies were up 4.7 per cent, with 45,000 more vacancies, from the first quarter, and 42.3 per cent, 296,500 jobs, higher than in the second quarter of 2021,” notes Statistics Canada.
Those figures are seasonally adjusted.
“The job vacancy rate, which corresponds to the number of vacant positions as a proportion of total labour demand (the sum of filled and vacant positions), was 5.7 per cent in the second quarter, also an all-time high,” notes Statistics Canada.
Employers Are Offering Higher Wages To Lure Workers But Inflation Is Working Against Them
“Since the first quarter of 2020, growth in labour demand, up 4.2 per cent, has exceeded growth in payroll employment, which is up 1.7 per cent, resulting in record high job vacancies.
It’s a bidding war out there in many sectors with employers trying to outbid one another for the best employees.
Despite those sweeter salaries, though, employees are still falling behind this year as inflation takes a bigger bite out of their purchasing power.
Hourly wages rose 5.3 per cent during the second quarter of this year in Canada but inflation rose to 7.5 per cent during the same period.
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There are winners, though.
Employees in the five sectors saw their wages go up faster than inflation, including those in professional, scientific and technical services who received average pay hikes of 11.3 per cent, to $37.05 per hour, and those in the wholesale trades who saw their average pay jump by 10.6 per cent to $26.10.
Workers in other sectors weren’t so lucky. Wages were lower than inflation in the remaining sectors, including retail trade, construction, and healthcare and social assistance.
The vast majority of jobs employers are struggling to fill are those where the pay increases have only just kept pace with inflation. No better and no worse.
Across the country, six provinces saw job vacancies go up during the second quarter from the previous one.
Ontario, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Manitoba, Alberta And Quebec All See Rises In Job Vacancies
Ontario saw job vacancies rise by 6.6 per cent to 379,700. Nova Scotia’s job vacancies climbed by six per cent to 22,400, British Columbia’s by 5.6 per cent to 163,600, and Manitoba added 5.2 per cent to hit 29,300 while Alberta’s job vacancies grew by 4.4 per cent to 100,900. In La Belle Province of Quebec, job vacancies climbed by 2.4 per cent to 248,100.
“The number of vacancies decreased in New Brunswick by 6.1 per cent to 15,200 and was little changed in the remaining provinces,” notes Statistics Canada.
Employers hoping to hire a foreign national can avail themselves of this international talent and labour through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and; the International Mobility Program (IMP).
The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a part of the TFWP, can under normal processing situations lead to the granting of Canadian work permits and processing of visa applications within two weeks.
Employers can also bring in foreign nationals to fill available positions through the Express Entry system, which receives immigration applications online.
Applicants who meet eligibility criteria submit an online profile known as an Expression of interest (EOI), under one of three federal immigration programs or a participating provincial immigration program, to the Express Entry Pool.
The candidates’ profiles then are ranked against each other according to a points-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranked candidates are considered for Invitations to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence. Those receiving an ITA must quickly submit a full application and pay processing fees within a delay of 90 days.