In light of the escalating demand for skilled workers across diverse sectors in Canada, the nation’s government has put forth a novel strategy to meet this growing need through immigration reform. Understanding the integral role of immigration in economic growth, the government aims to transform the immigration system into a dynamic vehicle for expansion, capable of addressing labor deficits, bolstering businesses, and fortifying French communities, which ultimately promises long-term societal and economic prosperity.
Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, has recently made a groundbreaking announcement. For the first time, Canada’s primary economic immigration mechanism, Express Entry, will be implementing a category-based selection procedure. This new approach will facilitate invitations for prospective permanent residents who possess particular skills, training, or language proficiency. In the near future, additional information about the application process and the schedule for individual category invitations will be made public.
In 2023, invitations sent out through the category-based selection method will target candidates who display a high level of French language proficiency or have previous work experience in crucial sectors including healthcare, STEM professions, trades like carpentry, plumbing, and contracting, transport, agriculture, and agri-food. This strategic focus on these professions aims to usher in a surge of highly skilled workers in demand across Canadian communities. Additionally, by emphasizing Francophone immigration, the Canadian government ensures the endurance of French-speaking communities and respects their linguistic preferences.
This innovative approach to selection will make Express Entry more adaptable to the evolving economic and labor market landscape in Canada, while staying true to the fundamental philosophy of prioritizing high human capital that underpins the country’s successful economic immigration system. The system is designed to attract skilled workers who can seamlessly integrate and add value to Canada’s future.
Sean Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, highlights the transformative nature of the changes to the Express Entry system. “This reform will not only enable our economy to flourish and businesses to overcome chronic labor shortages but also augment the number of French-speaking candidates, thereby ensuring the vibrancy of French-speaking communities,” Fraser explained. He emphasized the unprecedented responsiveness of the updated immigration system to the country’s socio-economic requirements.
Express Entry is Canada’s principal system for managing applications for permanent immigration through several key programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, the Canadian Experience Class, and a part of the Provincial Nominee Program.
Amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in June 2022 gave way to a new paradigm of selecting immigrants based on crucial qualities like specific work experience or proficiency in French, to foster economic growth.
To establish a new category, legislative prerequisites mandate public consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, including provinces and territories, industry members, unions, employers, workers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners. IRCC is also required to submit an annual report to Parliament outlining the chosen categories and selection process from the preceding year.
The selection of categories followed an exhaustive consultation process and a thorough analysis of labor market needs. The first invitations based on category-based selection are anticipated to be dispatched this summer. Immigration currently contributes to almost all of Canada’s labour force growth, mitigating labour shortages in key sectors. As per the statistics from Employment and Social Development Canada, the number of jobs experiencing shortages has seen a two-fold increase between 2019 and 2021.
Under the Canada–Québec Accord, Quebec independently determines its immigration levels. Between 2018 and 2022, the Federal High-Skilled program accounted for 34%-40% of total French-speaking admissions outside Quebec.