There has been a high demand for skilled workers in Canada and the shortages are expected to only get worse, specifically in British Columbia. There have been over 30,000 construction jobs unfilled in 2012. The Vice-President of the B.C Construction Association, Abigail Fulton, stated that even if one in five high school graduates in B.C were to pursue the trade, there would still be a shortage. She is seeking to look abroad to countries like Ireland to recruit skill tradespeople to accommodate the lack of construction workers in Western Canada. Fulton expressed that the Irish apprenticeship is one of the best and that skilled trade workers would be able to transition into Canada and potentially earn their Red Seal, an interprovincial standard of excellence in trades. This would also be beneficial to those in Ireland, especially due to the Irish economic crash in 2008 that left thousands of people unemployed.
Not everyone is for the idea of recruiting skilled workers outside of Canada. Some provincial labour leaders like Tom Sigurdson, an executive director of the British Columbia and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trade Council stated going abroad is unnecessary, “There are British Columbians and Canadians that probably could do those jobs,” he said.
Immigration Program to recruit skilled workers:
There is a new immigration program in which skilled workers ranging from welders, to heavy equipment mechanics, to electricians and pipefitters will have a chance to immigrate as skilled workers. The requirements are that they must have a minimum two years’ experience in the field and must meet the language requirements. They must also be offered a job position or pre-qualified. This new immigration program is seeking to recruit nearly 3,000 skilled workers, to meet the labour shortages. The federal government is working with provinces, territories and groups to recruit skilled workers. “The government’s number one priority remains jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “Our changes ensure not only that Canada can select the immigrants most needed by our economy, but that they are best positioned for success.”
It seems that the real challenge is to convince the youths and parents that pursuing a career in trade is the way to go. Anita Huberman, CEO of Surrey Board of Trade suggested that “We need to tie industry needs with curriculum development at the post-secondary level and change the culture of our K-12 kids to: wanting to enter these quality professions.” This would help students integrate and be able to enter into the labour force.