Published in September, the final report of the panel of experts on immigration in Ontario advocates the establishment of an official strategy to attract workers to the province through 32 recommendations. Summary.
Comprised of specialists in the fields of business, immigration, employers and universities, the panel on immigration in Ontario was tasked with studying the role of immigration in Ontario's economic development, at the provincial government’s request.
Based on historical and economic contexts, the experts noted that no formal strategy has really been established in the province, which attracts immigrants naturally. However, even though Ontario has always been a destination of choice for foreign workers, the number of economic immigrants steadily declined between 2001 and 2011 from 89,079 to 36,939. The major consequence is a shortage of qualified workers in key industries in the province, in a context of an aging population and shrinking workforce.
The panel therefore advises a strategy aimed at strengthening the economy, attracting and retaining immigrants, increasing the proportion of skilled manpower, improving integration and development of new arrivals and their families.
Quantitative and qualitative recommendations
The first recommendation is the most vigorous, being to reach a level of immigration of at least 1% of the population of Ontario, or 135,000 people per year. Between 65 and 70% of immigrants should be selected on economic criteria, being the level of education, skills and experience, fluency in English or French and the ability to integrate into the labour market.
Other recommendations include: strengthening recruitment of highly qualified temporary foreign workers, retaining persons who have acquired experience in Ontario under the Canadian Experience Class and attracting and retaining international entrepreneurs.
To access the 32 recommendations: www.citizenship.gov.on.ca