MISSISSAUGA — The Ontario government is investing an additional $25 million over three years in its flagship immigration program to support doubling the number of skilled immigrants the province can welcome to tackle the labour shortage and help build Ontario.
“Our government is ready to welcome more skilled newcomers to Ontario, to help build the highways, transit, schools, homes and hospitals our growing population needs,” said Premier Doug Ford. “As we continue to tackle historic labour shortages, we’re doing everything we can to ensure we have the workforce to help build Ontario. It’s all hands on deck.”
The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program allows the province to nominate individuals for permanent residence who have the skills and experience to contribute to Ontario’s economy in industries like the skilled trades and health care. Earlier this month, the province and federal government announced a doubling of the number of economic immigrants the province selects to a historic high of 18,000 by 2025. The new investment in Budget 2023 will speed up processing and ensure those coming to Ontario can start working in their professions quickly. The funding increase supports enhancing security and other IT updates to ensure the system can handle increased demand now and in the future.
"Every year, more immigrants come to Ontario than any other province," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “It is critical to ensure we have the resources to select and welcome those best placed to succeed, building stronger communities for everyone.”
This action builds on the province’s recent Working for Workers Act 3, which introduced further measures to remove barriers facing internationally trained professionals who wish to work in regulated professions. The legislation also builds on Ontario becoming the first province in Canada in 2021 to remove discriminatory barriers that prevent foreign-trained professionals from continuing their careers in sectors they trained in, such as engineering, law, accounting and skilled trades.
“Our government is continuing with our responsible, targeted approach that is training workers for the jobs of tomorrow and building an Ontario the people of this province can be proud of, not only today but in the future,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “We have the right plan to navigate the ongoing challenging economic times, by supporting families, workers and businesses, while building a strong fiscal foundation for the future.”
The Ontario government’s 2023 budget, Building a Strong Ontario, is helping to drive economic growth, attract jobs and investments, and build key infrastructure projects faster. The government’s plan is also training skilled workers to fill in-demand jobs, keeping costs down for those that need it the most, and providing better health and public services for Ontario families.
- Budget 2023’s funding of an additional $25 million over three years is in addition to the $15 million over three years that was announced in Budget 2022.
- The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) allows the province to nominate individuals for permanent residence who have the skills and experience to contribute to Ontario’s economy.
- In December 2022, there were nearly 300,000 jobs in Ontario going unfilled.
- The OINP’s allocation from the federal government has more than doubled from 9,000 in 2021 to 18,361 in 2025. In 2023, Ontario will be able to nominate 16,500 immigrants.
- Ontario’s 2023 allocation represents 36% of the national allocation of provincial nominees.
- Despite having high levels of education, in 2016, only one-quarter of internationally-trained immigrants in Ontario were working in the regulated profession they trained or studied for.
- This investment builds on the government’s efforts to attract top talent and investment to the province by:
- launching an entrepreneur pilot to attract 100 international entrepreneurs to start or grow businesses in regions outside of the Greater Toronto Area
- improving the nomination process for applicants to the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program with an expression of interest system
- helping businesses in small and rural communities attract and retain skilled workers
"Ontario needs more skilled trades and construction workers to build our growing province. RCCAO welcomes today’s funding announcement to increase application processing capacity to get more workers to Ontario through immigration. When coupled with the government’s focus on domestic recruitment and training, these measures will help ensure that industry has the necessary workforce to build critical infrastructure."
- Nadia Todorova
Executive Director, Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario
"We applaud Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton for this important investment in Ontario’s immigrant nominee program, which will help bring many more skilled newcomers to our great province. Immigration is essential to addressing our long-term labour shortages and we are pleased to see continued measures prioritizing this important issue."
- Tonie Chaltas
"We applaud the Government of Ontario and Minister McNaughton's leadership for their recent efforts and investments in immigration programs that will attract top talent to the province of Ontario to tackle labour shortages in key sectors. These efforts and investments go beyond just attracting talent. Recent Government efforts also included measures to eliminate discriminatory barriers facing internationally trained professionals. We look forward to continuing working with the Government of Ontario in supporting labour market inclusion for all immigrants coming to Ontario."
- Sara Asalya
Executive Director, Newcomer Women's Services Toronto
"On behalf of LiUNA, we applaud the commitment of the provincial government to invest an additional $25M over three years to support the doubling of skilled immigrants under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. This work builds on the government's efforts to attract talent and investment to the province and complements the collaborative advocacy of labour and industry to strengthen our skilled workforce through training, outreach and apprenticeship programs. As our members respond to growing infrastructure demands including housing and transit, we must continue to remove barriers in attracting and promoting careers in skilled trades, strengthening opportunities for a productive workforce who remain at the forefront of building a resilient and inclusive path forward for our economy, industry and province."
- Joseph Mancinelli
LiUNA International Vice President and Canadian Director
"The Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) applauds the Government’s decision to prioritize immigration as an immediate solution to the labour shortage Ontario is experiencing in the skilled trades. Opening the doors to skilled immigrants will rectify the current, and future, workforce deficit construction is facing and allow for more projects to move forward exponentially."
- Giovanni Cautillo
President, Ontario General Contractors Association
"Today’s announcement demonstrates the Ontario government’s commitment to attracting more skilled newcomers to support economic growth and address the labour shortage crisis. At Windmill Microlending, we look forward to supporting this much-needed investment in Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Program by empowering even more skilled newcomers to resume their professions and fill jobs that are urgently needed. When skilled immigrants are given the opportunity to utilize their skills and experience, we all benefit."
- Claudia Hepburn
CEO, Windmill Microlending
"The Minister's flagship investment in immigration and his efforts to reduce barriers to employment for the marginalized, and internationally trained professionals are the kinds of initiatives we need to meet the labour and skills shortage and build prosperity for all Ontarians."
- Samina Sami
"HVACR Local 787 is pleased to support Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton as they strengthen investment in Ontario’s immigration flagship program. These investments will bring on the needed resources to welcome more highly skilled immigrants into Ontario’s skilled trades. We look forward to building on this partnership with the Government of Ontario."
- Andrew Tarr
Business Manager, HVACR 787