Canadian Business Council Calls on Federal Government to Increase its Budget for Immigration

Business Owners Make Economic Recommendations in Open Letter to Deputy Prime Minister

A group of Canadian business owners is asking the federal government to support Canada’s economic recovery post-pandemic by facilitating immigration for skilled foreign workers.

In an open letter addressed to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Goldy Hyder, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, outlined seven recommendations for promoting Canada’s economic recovery, including improvements to Canada’s immigration system.

“We need to cultivate and enhance our human capital by developing a more agile and adaptable workforce, doing more to help young Canadians build rewarding careers, and enhancing our immigration system to make our country an even more powerful magnet for international talent,” Hyder wrote.

One of the key recommendations related to immigration is for the government to eliminate barriers to labour market integration.

The letter specifically references foreign credential recognition, which prevents many highly educated and skilled foreign workers from obtaining work in their field.

The letter goes on to explain that many immigrants have been disproportionately affected and displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hyder recommends that the government develop initiatives to help displaced workers.

“The federal government should work with employers, provinces and territories to develop a comprehensive skills agenda that prepares displaced workers for new careers in sectors where talent is in high demand,” Hyder said.

The full list of recommendations related to immigration are as follows:

  • Increase immigration inflows to build a stronger labour force,
  • Enhance Canada’s immigration system to attract more international talent,
  • Facilitate the entry of skilled immigrants, and
  • Remove barriers to labour market integration.

Katherine Cuplinskas, spokesperson for Deputy Minister Freeland, responded to the letter by citing a recent commitment from the federal government to invest $15 million over the next two years to support the labour market integration of skilled newcomers. The funding would specifically go towards in-demand sectors like healthcare, IT, and various skilled trades.

In July, Canada also committed $72.1 million to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to modernize their processing system and eliminate paper-based applications.

“Attracting talented workers from around the world is an essential part of growing our economy and supporting Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 recession,” Cuplinskas told CIC News. “Canada will continue to welcome newcomers with skills to help grow our economy.”