Ontario looks to double economic immigration
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Province says historic increase in skilled immigrants will help fill jobs in the skilled trades as labour shortage persists.
The Ontario government has negotiated a doubling of the number of economic immigrants it selects in 2025 as part of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) agreement it has with the federal government.
The program, which allows the province to nominate individuals for permanent residence who have the skills and experience needed to fill gaps in critical industries like the skilled trades, technology and healthcare, had an allocation of 9,000 spots in 2021. Last year, 9,750 immigrants came to the province through the OINP, including 3,900 skilled trades workers, 2,200 software and IT workers, and nearly 100 nurses and personal support workers. As of 2025, the province will be able to extend the program to more than 18,361 workers. Ontario will be able to nominate 16,500 immigrants this year.
“From 9,000 immigration spots in 2021 to over 18,000 in 2025, today’s announcement is a significant win for the people of Ontario and will help us control our economic destiny by selecting more of the skilled immigrants we know are well-placed to succeed and build stronger communities for all of us,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “On behalf of Premier Ford and the people of Ontario, I want to thank Minister Fraser and the federal government for their commitment to meet us at the table and land this historic immigration increase.”
In April 2021, Minister McNaughton called on the federal government to double the number of immigrants allowed under OINP to help tackle the labour shortage.
“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, Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “As Canada’s flagship regional economic immigration program, the Provincial Nominee Program’s increasing growth will support the long-term well-being of communities in Ontario.”
Ontario’s 2023 allocation represents 36 per cent of the national allocation of provincial nominees.
“For decades, immigrants have developed our communities, supported our economy, and made Ontario what it is today,” stated Andrew Pariser, vice-president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario. “This will help fill critical labour shortages in the construction and reduce barriers for immigrants to gaining employment and making a living in Ontario.”
“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. We know first-hand the challenges that the labour shortage poses to businesses and Ontario’s global competitiveness,” added Geoffrey Smith, president of EllisDon. “This is a much needed step in the right-direction to addressing that.”