Immigration backlog barrier to economic growth and business investment, survey finds 

At a time when over a million job openings remain unfilled in Canada and more than two million future Canadians are waiting for their immigration applications to be processed, a new survey of Canada’s largest employers underscores the critical importance of attracting skilled workers to business investment and economic growth.

“Canada is in a global competition for talent, and we risk losing out to countries with more effective and efficient immigration systems,” says Goldy Hyder, President & CEO of the Business Council of Canada (BCC). “Nobody can afford to wait a year or more to have an application processed, not the deserving candidates themselves nor the companies hiring them.”

Eighty members of the BCC responded to this immigration survey. Collectively, the respondent companies employ more than 1,650,000 Canadians across 20 different industries, generating combined annual revenues of $1.2 trillion. Of those who recruit workers through the immigration system, more than 80% said they do so to address labour shortages.

Among the survey’s key findings were:

  • Labour shortages are forcing more than two-thirds of respondents to cancel or delay projects, followed by foregone revenue (60 per cent), the relocation of work outside Canada (30 per cent), and loss of market share (26 per cent).
  • Employers overwhelmingly draw from the immigration system’s economic class to help fill skilled and technical positions with the Global Talent Stream (55 per cent) and the Federal Skilled Worker Program (50 per cent) as the top two programs.
  • Two-thirds of those who use the system want to increase their usage, but they are limited by barriers in the immigration system including processing delays (67 per cent) and complex administrative requirements (58 per cent).

“Given the growing backlog has been identified as a major barrier to economic growth and business investment, it’s imperative Canada take an all-hands-on-deck approach to secure a competitive advantage and for the federal government to accelerate the much-needed Budget 2022 commitments to modernize the immigration system,” added Hyder. 

Founded in 1976, the Business Council of Canada is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization representing business leaders in every region and sector of the country. The Council’s member companies employ 1.7 million Canadians, contribute the largest share of federal corporate taxes, and are responsible for most of Canada’s exports, corporate philanthropy, and private-sector investments in research and development. Through supply chain partnerships, service contracts and mentoring programs, Business Council members support many hundreds of thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs in communities of all sizes, in every part of Canada.

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