Last Updated on August 13, 2021
The demand for immigrants to fill jobs is expected to skyrocket this year as companies resume operations and their employees start retiring and quitting their jobs in much greater numbers than they did last year, says a senior economist.
In his latest report, Will A Return To Pre-Pandemic Retirement And Job Quitting Levels Worsen Emerging Labour Shortages In Canada?, Bank of Canada senior economist Andrew Agopsowicz reveals fewer people were ready to leave their jobs during the height of the pandemic.
“Labour market uncertainty during the pandemic led to a significant decline in voluntary job departures,” writes Agopsowicz.
“Retirements fell 20 per cent compared to the pre-pandemic period (March 2019 to February 2020) while the number of people quitting jobs due to dissatisfaction dropped 40 per cent over the same time frame.”
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With the economy now bouncing back, many people are re-thinking their options and choosing to retire or quit their jobs.
“As the job market recovers, these measures are beginning to climb back to pre-crisis levels,” writes the economist.
Three Times More Workers Quit Their Jobs
In June alone, nearly three times as many workers quit their jobs, a total of 16,700, compared to the same month a year earlier.
In the second half of this year, the Bank of Canada senior economist figures 125,000 workers in Canada are likely to retire.
Add to that the growing number of job vacancies – about 550,000 in the first quarter of this year – and it all spells opportunity for foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada under economic programs.
A quick solution for employers facing labour shortages to may be the Global Talent Stream (GTS) of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) under which Canadian work permits and visa applications are processed within two weeks.
“Significant pressure (on the labour market) may be felt in industries already back at previous employment levels,” notes Agopsowicz.
“The vacancy rate in the professional, scientific, and technical services industry, for example, has already reached serious highs. And the Bank of Canada’s Business Outlook Survey indicates that while we are still in a period of labour market slack, availability of skilled workers is tightening.”
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Canada’s border is set to re-open to non-essential international travel on Sept. 7 provided COVID-19 cases remain low. Until that border is fully re-opened, immigration is unlikely to result in a quick fix for employers facing a shortage of workers, says Agopsowicz.
“As shortages grow, so will the urgency for Canada to turn to new and under-utilized sources of labour force growth, including immigration, women, and visible minorities,” he says.
“However, these will not provide much relief in the short-run.
“While the government has lifted the number of new permanent residents to pre-pandemic levels, most of this only reflects a change of status from temporary to permanent. It won’t increase the population overall. Still, with the border now open to more immigrants we can expect the flow of newcomers to reduce the pressure on labour markets.”
In Ottawa, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino remains confident Canada will be able to hit its immigration target of 401,000 new permanent residents this year.
“Against all odds, Canada continues to lead the world in immigration,” Mendicino reportedly told The Globe and Mail in July. “We are going to make good on our commitment to land 401,000 new permanent residents.”
Ottawa’s own figures, though, show the country only welcomed 108,730 new permanent residents in the first five months of this year. According to the national daily newspaper, Canada welcomed another 35,600 into the country in June, bringing the total for the first half of the year to 144,330.
The country’s 2021‒2023 Immigration Levels Plan set immigration targets of about one per cent of the Canadian population for three years starting this year. Next year, Canada is hoping to welcome 411,000 new permanent residents and another 421,000 in 2023.
The federal government’s previous plan set targets of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.
The Bank of Canada’s Business Outlook Survey indicates that while Canada is still in a period of labour market slack, the availability of skilled workers is tightening.