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New immigration plan must be changed to avoid housing supply overload

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Canada’s immigration minister has said immigration could help fill nearly a million job openings across the country, including in the housing sector. Reuters/Carlos Osorio

As Canada prepares for an even greater influx of new arrivals in the coming years, experts say if the federal government focuses on the right kind of skilled workers, it could go a long way towards alleviating the country’s labor shortage, including in the housing sector. can help.

“Housing is a big challenge. We want to build more homes, but we don’t have the construction workers to do that,” Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, said in a telephone interview. Yahoo Finance Canada,

“So we’re kind of stuck in this problem situation, you know, maybe immigration can help fill that gap, but building a house takes time and in the meantime we have to make sure people have a place to live — Canadians, new immigrants and non-permanent residents.”

The Fed announced an increase in its immigration targets earlier this month to address the country’s labor shortage. Canada is now aiming to welcome 500,000 new permanent residents by 2025. The targets for 2023 and 2024 have also been increased to 465,000 and 485,000 respectively.

This is an ambitious plan. As a percentage of the population, Canada will welcome four times more permanent residents than the United States annually.

Immigration Secretary Sean Fraser has said higher immigration will help fill nearly a million job openings in Canada’s economy and even facilitate the construction of more homes by filling construction-related jobs.

However, a recent survey by Leger and the Canadian Study Association found that 75 percent of respondents expressed some concern about how population growth could put additional pressure on the housing market and social services.

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“It is clear that we are in dire need of workers in various sectors. And I think what I want to emphasize here is that we have job openings in the job market with different skill levels in different industries and there is a labor shortage.” Dr. Rupa Banerjee, assistant professor at Toronto Metropolitan University and Canada Research Chair for Economic Inclusion, Employment and Entrepreneurship of Canadian Immigrants, over the phone.

But the current immigration system favors those with high tech skills and those already studying or working in Canada. She says this type of system does not lend itself to meeting the need for workers in sectors such as healthcare or skilled trades.

A recent report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation states that Canada does not have the labor capacity to build the 3.5 million homes the country is estimated to need to meet its housing affordability target by 2030.

“One of the problems we have with building more homes is a shortage of professionals. So if we are better able to select newcomers to Canada and get more electricians, plumbers and roofers, then immigration can really solve the housing crisis.” Perhaps, and not necessarily a contributor, Mike Moffett, an assistant professor at Ivey Business School, said in a phone interview.

“I think we need to do a better job in this country by aligning our housing policies with any policies that affect population growth.”

Banerjee also suggested closer cooperation between different levels of government would help meet the needs of each province. As it stands, immigration is a federal mandate, while labor and education are under provincial jurisdiction.

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In addition to bringing in more skilled tradespeople, Moffett says counties can address the housing shortage with better zoning and working with industry to find new ways to improve housing efficiency.

“We are building houses today, especially detached houses, just like 60 years ago. But we don’t do that with cars or anything else in our economy. So I There seems to be room for the federal government or asking the provinces to do pilot projects and work with industry to find new manufacturing technologies,” Moffett said.

He said the provinces might be better served by spending significantly more time on their immigration plans to give them time to adjust their housing policies and staffing needs. .

“That gives them time to react. Right now, the federal government is announcing these things almost without notice and not giving the system time to adjust,” he said.

Michelle Zadikian is a Senior Reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. follow him on twitter @m_zadikian,

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