The federal government of Canada has released a report on the workforce requirements of the Northern and Rural regions of the province of Ontario. According to the report, Ontario, being the most populated province in Canada may need a lot more immigrants to maintain its workforce strong.
It is to be noted that Northern Ontario in 1996 used to be the province with one of the strongest workforce with a decent number of working-age adults per capita but the recent statistics show otherwise. Canadian federal government believes that they can boost the workforce of Northern Ontario again with the help of immigrants, as the skilled worker immigration programs have greatly maintained the workforces in the rest of the province.
“By 2016, the province, through international immigration and national domestic migration, had surpassed all of Ontario’s northern regions,” states the report. “Nevertheless, the province’s own ratio continues to slip and will hit a concerning level by 2036 of roughly 1.5 dependents for every worker.”
“We continue to hear persistent reports from employers of challenges in finding needed employees with in-demand skills. Immigration to northern communities remains well below historical levels and emigration continues to be a challenge,” mentions the report. “International students, who represent a significant growth factor in our reported population levels do not tend to remain after graduation.”
“If we wished to maintain our historical, healthy, ratio of dependents to workers, Ontario’s northern regions would need to retain everyone who is currently here and attract some 8,100 additional people every year for the next 20 years”
“In order to just limit the fall in our ratio of dependents to working-age people to match the expected Ontario level by 2041, Northern Ontario needs some 1,700 new people a year for the next 20 years. That’s 34,000 new northerners to slow our decline, 162,000 to halt it.”
Come North – Population Growth in Ontario’s Northern Regions Conference Report.
More than 300 representatives of 100 different organizations were present in the Come North conferences held in Thunder Bay and Temiskaming Shores, in February 2020.
Immigrants are especially welcomed in the northern and rural communities of the province of Ontario. The province has a regional pilot especially for these regions, in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. Besides that, there’s a Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, operated under the federal government which also focuses on increasing the number of working immigrants in Rural and Northern regions of different provinces, including Ontario.
In November 2020, the federal government released its Fall Economic Statement, it was observed that travel restrictions due to COVID-19 had remarkably affected Canada’s labour market and the workforce, which is maintained by immigration programs. The federal government believes that these economic damages can be overcome by inviting more skilled immigrants, in its provinces with labour shortages.
It was announced in October 2020 that Canadian Government aims to issue around 1.2 million invites during the period between 2021 and 2023. Provinces such as Northern Ontario should benefit from the federal government’s decision to increase future immigration levels. This will increase the working-age adults per capita of these regions and boost the economy of Canada overall.
It was further suggested in the report that the Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) should increase the funding for Northeastern Ontario Immigration portal and keep its resources maintained for helping the candidates.
“If it’s difficult for people to find information or to be able to locate to an area, then they don’t come,” An economic development officer for the City of Temiskaming Shores stated. “We’re good at websites but (people) often have questions, they want to talk to somebody to get answers.”
It was further advised that all the immigration portals in Canada should develop strategies to grow their population of skilled workers and offer the immigrants, counselling for dealing with social issues racism.