Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) welcomes the announcement of the Immigration Levels Plan by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Minister Sean Fraser which aims to bring in 465,000 immigrants next year.
However, CME believes that the plan’s objectives are still insufficient to meet the country’s significant workforce needs, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Previously set targets were aiming to bring in 431,645 new immigrants in 2022, and another 447,055 in 2023.
“CME has been calling for an increase of immigration levels. While the government’s plan sets us on a positive trajectory, our sector still requires more economic-class immigrants,” said Dennis Darby, CME President and CEO. “Manufacturers are increasingly using immigration to supplement their workforce, but there are not enough immigrants to meet the demand.”
CME’s 2022 Labour and Skills Survey collected data from 563 manufacturers across the country and revealed that, in the last year alone, the deepening labour and skills shortages have resulted in economic losses totalling nearly $13 billion. Additionally, these shortages also constrain future growth prospects, as 15 per cent of manufacturers are considering moving some or all their production outside of Canada, citing a lack of workers.
“Labour and skills shortages are a chronic and persistent issue for manufacturers, and they continue to limit the growth of the industry. Labor shortages have cost over $13 billion to manufacturers last year. We need more immigration to grow our sector,” added Darby.
CME is asking the federal government to increase the intake of economic-class immigrants to 500,000 per year by 2025, to address application backlogs, to speed up the Temporary Foreign Worker Program by adopting a trusted employer system and streamlining the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application.