Canada’s Government and Manufacturers Partner in Fund for Skilled Immigrants

Canada’s federal government is partnering with the nation’s manufacturers to reach out to underemployed skilled immigrants who’ve received their training outside the country.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney recently announced funding for a series of initiatives that will partner the government with the Canadian Manufacturers And Exporters (CME) in an outreach to skilled immigrants whose training abroad may help alleviate Canada’s skilled labor shortage.

Kenney said he was “frustrated” at seeing a considerable number of skilled and intelligent immigrants who “left behind a high standard of living” in their home countries, only to arrive in Canada and remain underemployed because their education abroad is not recognized.

The government partnership with CME will include a number of initiatives designed to both assist skilled immigrants find employment, as well as meet Canada’s shortage of skilled workers. Four million dollars in funding will be provided to the CME to develop occupational standards designed to help colleges in their development of curriculum that meets manufacturing needs; an additional $1 million is being set aside to establish regional committees that will give employers and educators an opportunity to discuss regional labor shortages.

The partnership between the government and CME will also result in a skills lab forum, designed to provide Canadian employers, educators and legislators an opportunity to discuss how best to solve the skilled worker shortage in the manufacturing sector; there is a general agreement that skilled immigrant labor will play a key role in that solution.

According to CME President Jason Myers, the lack of skilled workers in Canada’s manufacturing industries is widespread, with as many as half of all Canadian manufacturers facing a labor shortage.

“Over 50 percent of companies across Canada say they can’t find the people with the skills that they require to grow their business,” Myers said.

“The challenge is too big for the government to handle on their own, and it’s too big for businesses to handle on their own. It requires a partnership (between both parties).”