Canada will need to accelerate its immigration goals to address long-term labour and productivity problems, says a report released Monday by RSM Canada, a leading global provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on middle market businesses.
The 2022 edition of ‘The Real Economy, Canada‘ said the country must rely on immigration, rather than natural growth, to replenish the labour pool as labour force participation rates have declined amid an environment as well of declining fertility rates and an aging population.
“Despite a robust recovery from the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian economic growth will continue slowing down due to persistent inflation and an historically tight labour market,” said Tu Nguyen, economist and ESG director with RSM Canada. “But the real long-term challenge will be the labour shortage, with declining worker participation hitting the health care, hospitality and food services industries particularly hard.
“There’s also a fundamental shift in the demographic of Canada’s labour force, causing policymakers to explore ambitious immigration goals to address the labour gap. But government, industry associations and organizations will actually need to go further and streamline the accreditation process so that workers educated abroad can fill much-needed roles in Canada. Only then can Canada hope to have more meaningful growth in labour supply and productivity.”
The report said Canadian policymakers are aiming to bring in more than 400,000 immigrants per year between 2022 and 2024 following the growth immigration has spurred in the millennial and Gen-Z workforce.
“Immigrants are also shown to increase productivity rates, something Canada cannot afford to ignore as labour productivity in Canada might fall to last among countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in just a decade,” said the report.
“However, Canada must streamline the accreditation process if it wishes for skilled immigrants to fill the labour gaps that are most glaring, such as in the health care industry.”
(Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran of the media industry for more than 40 years and named in 2021 a Top Ten Business Journalist in the world and only Canadian)
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