Employers in the booming Western provinces are still doing what they can to overcome labour pressures, including looking abroad to find the skilled workers they need to keep pace with the demand.
That is the case for Jim Nowakowski, owner of Saskatchewan-based welding company JNE Welding. Though there are skilled welders in Canada, Nowakowski says that few of them are willing to leave behind family and friends, despite the benefits and wages they are able to receive in booming economies like Saskatchewan.
In a recent piece for The Globe and Mail, Nowakowski describes his firm’s recent efforts to recruit and retain skilled workers from abroad – offering integration assistance and accommodation to newcomers with the intent to help them build permanent ties to the Saskatoon community.
Though recent government policies have recognized the hiring challenges faced by employers, there still are many obstacles, including relocation costs, which amount to thousands of dollars per worker, as well as processing times which can be upwards of one or two years.
“Despite the challenges, I have seen the benefits of hiring internationally beyond filling the skills gap within my company,” writes Nowakowski. “Our employees are from India, Iran, the Philippines, South Africa, Israel, Ukraine, Poland, Ireland, Germany and of course, people originally from Canada. The multicultural background of our employees adds to the working experience and contributes to a rich employee culture —something that is extremely valuable.”
Though JNE Welding is just one company among many, Nowakowski’s story surely rings true for many employers in Western Canada. Nowakowski says that he fully intends to continue to recruit internationally, as it currently is the only way he can keep up with demand.
Source: Globe and Mail
A new report from the Mining Association of Canada declares that Canada’s mining sector and related industries, witnessed an increase of 11,000 new mining-related jobs in Canada in 2012. The report mentioned that in 2011, the sector had about 407,000 jobs, which increased to 418,000 in 2012.
Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada, highlighted the roles played by the Canadian mining industry, as a major driver of economic growth and as a major employer. He mentioned that the mining industry is also the top paying industrial sector in the country, in addition to being the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal people on a proportional basis. Moreover, he added that the mining industry also supported thousands of indirect jobs.
The report easily corroborated Gratton’s words. It revealed that employees in Canada’s mining sector have the highest wages and salaries among all the industrial sectors in the country, with an average weekly pay of $1,559.
Further, government data showed that Canada’s mining sector contributed $52.6 billion to the national GDP in 2012. The data also revealed that mining industry exports contributed to 20.4 percent of the Canadian total (worth $92.5 billion).
According to government data, Canada’s mineral production remained high at $46.9 billion while its mineral exploration and deposit appraisal expenditures equalled the mark set in 2011 at $3.9 billion. Additionally, it stated that over 3,200 companies supplied goods and services to mining operations.
The report also mentioned that companies in the mining sector would need to hire about 145,000 people over the coming decade to replace retirees and to fill new positions that emerge during this period.
Gratton felt that Canada’s ability to attract the highly mobile global mining investment rested on the commodity prices prescribed by the global market, in addition to a number of other internal factors. He believed that by working in conjunction with each other, the mining industry and the Canadian government would be able to address key domestic challenges, support new mining growth and ensure that the country remained an attractive place for mining or listing.
Source: Northern Life
This month Canada officially welcomed its first immigrants through the new Federal Skilled Trades Program.
The new immigration stream, which opened to applications in January of this year, was introduced in hopes of streamlining the process for those whose skills are most desperately needed in Canada – skilled trade workers such as plumbers, electricians and welders.
Formerly, those workers had to apply either through the Canadian Experience Class or the provincial nominee programs, both of which entail requirements that many skilled trade workers may not fulfill, such as having experience working in Canada.
Workers wanting to apply under the new Skilled Trades Program do still have to meet minimum requirements such as having at least two years experience and basic language skills in either English or French. The new program will start off accepting 3,000 applicants per year, though that number may increase if the program is deemed a success.
“Canada is a great country and the people here have been exceptionally warm and welcoming,” said Eric Byrne, a plumber from Ireland who was one of the first successful applicants through the program. “I am very pleased that I qualified for the Federal Skilled Trades Program as it recognizes the value of my skill set and has allowed me to stay in Canada and integrate seamlessly into my new status as a permanent resident.”
Canadian employers are anticipating a shortage of hundreds of thousands of skilled trade workers in the coming years, particularly in the Alberta oil sands regions.