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New Federal Skilled Trades Program will address labour shortages in Canadian construction, says CCA

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The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) says the new Federal Skilled Trades Program to be launched on Jan. 2, 2013 will build the foundation to address labour shortages in the Canadian construction industry and support increased growth for the Canadian economy.

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) says the new Federal Skilled Trades Program to be launched on Jan. 2, 2013 will build the foundation to address labour shortages in the Canadian construction industry and support increased growth for the Canadian economy.

“The introduction of a dedicated and streamlined program for skilled trades addresses many of the shortcomings from the current Federal Skilled Worker Program,” said CCA president Michael Atkinson at the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announcement on Dec. 10. “The new program ensures greater consideration is given to the needs of industry when processing eligible immigration applications.”

The current Federal Skilled Worker Program is not well oriented to the needs of trades and industry, placing significant emphasis on post-secondary education, and high proficiency levels in Canada’s official languages, says the CCA. Under the new program, the old 100-point system is being scrapped in favour of four basic criteria, which give much more weight to practical training, work experience, basic proficiency in English or French, and the level of demand for a specific trade.

Current projections from the Construction Sector Council indicate that the Canadian construction industry will need 320,000 new workers by 2020. This, coupled with projected growth for the Canadian construction industry, is putting increased strain on industry.

While skilled training in Canada has remained very important, the domestic population growth will not provide an adequate supply of labour to fulfill industry needs. The CCA has long supported the need for a flexible immigration system as a means to address these labour shortages, and help support overall economic competitiveness.

“Ensuring Canada’s immigration system works for small employers in need of skilled trades’ people has been a concern for some time,” said Dan Kelly, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “With the shortage of qualified labour in many parts of Canada growing once again, the launch of the Skilled Trades immigration stream is very welcome news.”

In order to manage intake, avoid backlogs and ensure fast processing times, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will accept up to a maximum of 3,000 applications in the first year of the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Eligible occupations will include electricians, welders, heavy-duty equipment mechanics, and pipefitters, among others. CIC is currently working with the provinces, territories and federal government partners on the list of skilled trades’ occupations that are experiencing acute labour shortages and which will qualify under the program. This list will be announced prior to the program opening on Jan. 2, 2013.

The Federal Skilled Trades Program will complement other avenues already in place for skilled tradespersons to immigrate to Canada, such as the Canadian Experience Class and Provincial Nominee Programs.

DCN NEWS SERVICES

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