Small businesses struggling to find workers are hailing a government pledge to pump $85 million to reduce backlogs in the immigration system and welcome people who can help address Canada’s labour shortages.
The investment, announced as part of the latest economic update on Canada’s finances by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, will also be used to speed up the processing of permanent and temporary resident and citizenship applications, even as Ottawa pushes forward to bring in a record high 832,000 immigrants over the next two years.
Immigration is another important driver of economic growth and a Canadian competitive advantage. Our government is committed to bringing in 411,000 immigrants in 2022, the highest number in Canadian history,
Freeland friend in the announcement.
The visa backlog currently stands at almost 1.8 million immigration applications while Statistics Canada reported that there were 1,014,600 job vacancies in September, triggering calls for a more streamlined process to get workers that small businesses need into Canada faster.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said it is pleased that several of its key recommendations were addressed by today’s economic update from the federal government, but cautions that small businesses will need other support as they face new uncertainty with the rise of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
It’s a step in the right direction and it will provide some relief for small businesses across the country that are struggling to find workers,
CFIB vice-president of national research, Simon Gaudreault, told New Canadian Media.
The economic update comes on the heels of a new CFIB report that found more than half of small businesses (55 per cent) cannot get all the staff they need for current operations or to meet new demand, while another 16 per cent were able to face the challenge, but at a significant additional cost.
Small businesses were already experiencing a very significant shortage of labour at the beginning of 2020, and the pandemic has made the situation only more complex,