Canada sees great opportunities for economic immigrants, but headaches for business owners due to the unprecedented wave of baby boomer retirements from the labor force.
“The working-age population (those aged 15 to 64) has never been older,” says Statistics Canada.
“More than one person in five, 21.8%, in this population is close to retirement, that is to say aged 55 to 64 years. This proportion represents an unprecedented peak in the history of Canadian censuses.
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In the five years ending in 2021, the number of people over the age of 65 has increased by 18.3% to seven million in Canada.
“This is the second largest increase in 75 years, after that (of 20%) observed from 2011 to 2016”, indicates Statistics Canada.
Employers scrambling to find people to fill vacancies left by retiring employees are raising wages in a desperate attempt to outbid each other for the limited supply of workers.
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“Average weekly earnings of non-farm payroll employees in Canada increased 3.5% year-over-year to $1,159.01 in June 2022, exceeding a 2.5% increase seen in May” , says the Trading Economics website.
“It was the thirteenth consecutive month of growth in average weekly earnings, led by the goods-producing sector, where wages rose 6.1% to $1,437), primarily manufacturing, which increased salaries by 6.9% to $1,273.
“The services sector also posted gains of 3% to $1,102, led by the professional, scientific and technical services sector where wages climbed 10.8% to $1,657.
Canada’s working age population has never been older.
“The aging of many cohorts of baby boomers, the youngest of whom are between 56 and 64 today, is accelerating the aging of the population,” says Statistics Canada.
“There are challenges associated with an older workforce, including knowledge transfer, retention of experienced employees and workforce renewal.”
The wave of retirements has increased by a third this year alone
As of August of this year, approximately 307,000 Canadians have retired this year. That’s an increase of almost a third, 31.8%, from the same number last year and 12.5% more than in August 2019, the last full year before the pandemic, the figures reveal. from Statistics Canada.
In some sectors, Canada’s labor shortage has reached crisis point.
Nurses are among the most in-demand workers in the country. In his Job Vacancy and Salary SurveyStatistics Canada reported earlier this year that there were 23,620 nursing vacancies in the first quarter of 2022.
“Nursing vacancies at the start of 2022 more than tripled, increasing by 219.8%, the level five years earlier, illustrating how longer-term trends can contribute to the current challenges facing nurses. hospitals and other employers in the health sector.”
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Statistics Canada noted that 11.2% of nurses who were employed in July were on sick leave for at least part of the week.
“One of the ways hospitals and clinics can address absences and unmet labor demand is to schedule more employees to work overtime. In July 2022, the proportion of nurses working paid overtime was at its highest level for the month of July since comparable data became available in 1997,” Statistics Canada noted.
More than one in five working nurses worked overtime in July just to keep hospitals running. In many cases, emergency rooms or other departments in hospitals have had to experience reduced opening hours due to the lack of nurses.
Truckers and nurses in high demand as retiring workers shrink labor pool
Cathryn Hoy, president of the Ontario Nurses Association, says the big challenge is finding younger workers to replace retirees.
“It’s a huge problem right now because we’ve had so many people retiring unexpectedly,” she said, citing the pandemic, working conditions and a pay dispute with the most great province of Canada.
Truckers, too, are a sought-after commodity in Canada.
The transportation industry is grappling with this severe shortage of workers, both due to the pandemic-induced frenzy for more freight and due to retirements.
“More and more drivers are aging and therefore retiring or considering a different lifestyle,” said Tony Reeder, owner of Trans-Canada College, a career college that trains haul truck drivers.
At the same time, demand is booming from trucking companies, many of whom hire learner drivers for on-the-job training courses and then hire them as soon as they get their full license, a Reeder said.
Faced with this shortage of people to fill positions, companies are increasingly turning to immigration as a solution to their labor shortage problems.
Economic Immigration Offers Hope to Foreign Nationals and Canadian Employers
Employers looking to hire a foreign national can take advantage of this international talent and workforce through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).
Under normal circumstances, the Global Talent Stream (GTS), which is part of the (TFWP), can lead to the granting of Canadian work permits and the processing of visa applications within two weeks.
Employers can also bring in foreign nationals to fill available positions through the Express Entry system, which receives immigration applications online.
Candidates who meet the eligibility criteria and have a job offer submit an online profile known as an Expression of Interest (EOI), under one of the three federal immigration programs or from a participating provincial immigration program, to the Express Entry pool.
Candidate profiles are then ranked against each other using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Top ranked applicants are considered for ITAs for permanent residency. Those who receive an ITA must promptly submit a complete application and pay the processing fee within 90 days.