The Canadian Building Trades commends Minister Kenney for his announcement April 10th creating focus on skilled trades in the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). The skilled trades traditionally have not been able to access this program due to the complexities and rigidness of the 100 point grid system used by Citizenship and Immigration.
Robert Blakely, Director of Canadian Affairs, says “this is a landmark change for skilled trades professionals who want to apply to come to Canada on a permanent basis. Our economy is challenged with producing enough people domestically to meet industrial demand – it is a natural fit to realign, in a positive way, the rules to come to Canada to assist with this demand. Previously, prospective applicants to Canada who were proficient in a skilled trade had very little hope with the way the “Points” system was structured.
John Telford, Canadian Director of United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) says “this initiative will assist in the long term replenishing an aging workforce –it is part of the solution for the labour demand issue. The Building Trade unions spend more than $250 million dollars annually on training young Canadians – it is important the Government of Canada understand immigration alone can’t fix construction labour market issues. Training of underrepresented groups in construction like aboriginals and women need to be a policy focus.
Blakely says this is a good start to address the coming labour crunch and “we look forward to working with the Government of Canada on the other industry priorities. A “hive out” system for skilled trades short term immigration from the United States is widely supported by the energy industry, construction contractors and the Canadian Building Trades Unions. Given the current economic situation in the United States and Canada’s industrial demand, this would be a win-win. It was anticipated by industry in the Beyond the Border Working Group initiative and then the subsequent federal 2012 Budget.