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In order to address the labor shortage, Ontario needs a new immigration agreement.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) issued a press release on November 17, 2022, urging the federal and provincial governments to come to a new immigration agreement that can genuinely support the social and economic development of Ontario’s current immigration agreement.

The current deal between the province and the federal government expires on November 24. For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been a vital, impartial, and independent partner for Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support Ontario’s economic growth and uphold its corporate priorities.

Therefore, in their media release and their 2022 Ontario Economic report, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce highlighted Ontario’s continued labor shortfall. It highlights the fact that the majority of industries—roughly 62%—are suffering a labor shortage and expect it to continue in the upcoming year.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce put the issue of a labor shortage front and center in its proposals to help the province’s economy flourish.

Ontario OCC Recommendations

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is aware that the provincial government is in the greatest position to comprehend the requirements of its various labor markets. As a result of the continued labor scarcity, OCC issued the suggestions below.

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program should be expanded to accept twice as many economic immigrants, according to OCC. Early this year, Ontario also asked for an increase in the province’s allotment of economic immigrants.

The second suggestion was to increase the eligibility for work permits and post-graduate work permits in order to retain more foreign workers in the crafts and in healthcare.

Additionally, OCC advised making a long-term commitment to educating immigrants and acting quickly to cut down on the immigration backlog, particularly for newly arriving and graduating international students, business owners, and workers who want to settle in Ontario.

However, OCC is also aware that bringing in more immigrants will not address the province’s labor issues. It is a significant aspect that must be taken into account together with strategies for workforce development and essential infrastructure, such as housing.

Ontario’s economic report for 2022 emphasizes a labor deficit.

The OCC conducts a member poll every year to better understand the perspectives of Ontario’s business community. The 2022 Ontario Economic report’s survey results from Ontario firms are included below.

These companies perceive a long-term problem with the workforce shortage. Nearly 54% of those surveyed say that their companies expect a labor shortage in the future year (and 62 percent agree their sectors will).

Transportation and warehousing (87%), followed by mining, quarrying, oil, and gas (87%), and building (86%), as well as lodging and food services, were the industries with the biggest labor shortages (85 percent).

Finding qualified workers has long been a challenge for industries that depend on specialized trades, such as construction. Immigration and recent government attempt to promote more training and pull workers into the industries may have helped to alleviate some of those shortages.

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