Shortages of skilled labour in Canada

Canada is in the midst of a national labour shortage, with businesses struggling to find enough qualified workers to fill jobs. Meanwhile Toronto, and Ontario as a whole, continues to add jobs in 2018, with the province's unemployment level sitting at a 20-year low.

Pierre Cleroux, chief economist for the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), said workers shortages are the "new norm" for Canada and such conditions will likely remain in place for at least a decade.

While that's not a great development for employers, it's a significant opportunity for workers, both domestic and international. Labour shortages are typically favourable for workers, creating higher wages and greater job security.

Thanks to some exciting new government initiatives, these opportunities are especially ripe for skilled foreign workers who wish to fill jobs in Toronto's booming technology sector.

How Canada Helps Businesses Recruit Global Talent

The Canadian government has a variety of structures in place designed to match Canadian employers with global workers. The most prominent and largest of these is the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). The program, which is jointly administered by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), is designed to help ease labour shortages through international hiring.

Because the process of hiring overseas talent isn't always a quick one, the Canadian government recently started a new two year pilot program to help expedite hiring in the technology sector. This program, called the Global Talent Stream (GTS), allows workers applying through the TFWP to secure work permits in as little as two weeks. There are, however, eligibility qualifications to meet. In order to be GTS-approved, workers must fall into one of two categories:

  • Category A. This eligibility is granted if the worker is referred by a GTS designated partner (such as BDC) and the worker has advanced industry knowledge and an advanced degree (or five years of high level experience). The worker must also earn at least $80,000 annually.

  • Category B. To be eligible here, a worker must simply fill one of 13 designated in-demand tech roles. These roles include software engineers, web designers, computer programmers etc. Most GTS workers will fall under Category B.

Workers who meet these eligibility requirements can file for priority processing status with IRCC, which means they can secure work permits in as little as two weeks with GTS status.

If you're a tech worker who meets one of these eligibility requirements, you can begin the process of securing a work permit by filling out a comprehensive application on the Canadian government's website. During the application process, you will be prompted to self identify as eligible for the GTS program.

The Benefits of Working in Canada

We've mentioned the economic benefits workers typically reap in tight labour markets. When qualified workers are scarce -- and jobs are plenty -- workers have the necessary leverage to ask for higher compensation and better conditions.

Canada's labour market is projected to experience shortages for at least the next decade, with Toronto and Ontario being two of the job markets most affected. Given Toronto's status as one of the world's fastest-growing technology and innovation hubs, conditions for global workers interested in working in Ontario are highly favourable.

Additionally, Canada is recognized worldwide for its forward-thinking approach to skilled immigration and its embrace of diversity. Canadian employers are eager to recruit international talent and deeply respectful of individual cultures. Toronto, specifically, also offers the lifestyle benefits and amenities associated with a world class city. The city's tech sector is booming to such a degree that it created more total jobs than San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. combined in 2017.

Are You an International Tech Worker Interested in Coming to Toronto?

We're interested in expanding our global recruiting efforts. If you're a foreign technology worker interested in moving to Ontario, please contact us for more information.