Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Ontario government is doubling the number of economic immigrants in 2025 to over 18,000, hoping to solve labour shortages in the skilled trades, technology and health care.
The new agreement will see Ontario go from 9,750 immigrants under the program in 2022 to welcoming 16,500 in 2023, more than 17,000 in 2024, and more than 18,000 in 2025.
“The history of residential construction is immigration. For decades, immigrants have developed our communities, supported our economy, and made Ontario what it is today,” RESCON vice-president Andrew Pariser said in a statement. “RESCON commends the provincial and federal governments for increasing the number of immigrants to Ontario through the Provincial Nomination Program.
“This will help fill critical labour shortages in the construction and reduce barriers for immigrants to gaining employment and making a living in Ontario. ”
In April 2021, provincial officials asked the federal government to double the number of immigrants allowed under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP).
“As we remain focused on addressing the acute labour market shortages and building a strong economy into the future, one thing remains certain: immigration is a key part of the solution,” said Sean Fraser, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship. “The increase will support the long-term well-being of communities in Ontario.”
To further attract the skilled workers, the province was the first in Canada to remove discriminatory barriers that prevent foreign-trained professionals from continuing their careers in sectors they trained in, such as engineering and skilled trades.
“Eastern Construction fully supports and commends the provincial government for their tireless efforts in solving the skilled trades shortage that plagues our industry,” said Eastern Construction Company Limited president and CEO Bryan G. Arnold. “One of the keys to solving this problem is increased immigration of skilled tradespeople.
“Once again, the provincial government has stepped up to address these issues.”
ONIP allows the province to nominate individuals for permanent residence who have the skills and experience to contribute to Ontario’s economy. In December 2022, there were nearly 300,000 jobs in Ontario going unfilled.
“EllisDon applauds the efforts of Minister McNaughton and the Government of Ontario to fight for immigration to be tailored to the nuanced needs of the labour market,” EllisDon president Geoffrey Smith.
“We know first-hand the challenges that the labour shortage poses to businesses and Ontario’s global competitiveness; this is a much needed step in the right-direction to addressing that.”
The Ford government says people brought in through last year’s allocation included 3,900 skilled trades workers, 2,200 software and IT workers, 1,000 truck drivers and more than 100 nurses and personal support workers.
McNaughton said Ontario has already put measures in place to prepare for a hoped influx under this program, including removing Canadian work experience requirements, giving newcomers more access to training programs and working to approve applications on average within 90 days.
“It’s about ensuring that we have all hands on deck to fill labour shortages, set people up for success and grow our economy.”