Canada Needs Skilled Workers | Top Skills in Demand

Published on : July 13, 2022


A survey on the importance of the Canadian immigration system to the employers as well as the overall economy. 80 Canadian companies surveyed in Q1 2022. Between themselves, these 80 companies employ around 1,650,000 Canadians in 20+ industries. 

The Business Council of Canada (BCC) came out with the latest findings - “Canada’s immigration advantage: A survey of major employers” - published on June 24, 2022. A source of insightful, constructive thought leadership in the national interest, the BCC was founded in 1976 as a group of business leaders in Canada. Today, the BCC has 150+ members. 

As per President and CEO Goldy Hyder in the Foreword to the latest BCC Report, “Canada’s success in attracting newcomers from every corner of the globe is one of our country’s greatest competitive advantages.”

The Report is based on a survey of 80 member companies of the Business Council of Canada conducted in the first quarter of 2022. These companies employ around 16,50,000 Canadians in 20+ industries. 

How was the BCC survey conducted?

Around 170 member companies of the BCC were invited to participate in the survey. Of these, 80 companies submitted their responses through an online questionnaire. Respondents to the survey included, among others - Managers of Human Resources, Vice Presidents, Directors, Chief Human Resources Officers, Chief Executive Officers etc. 

Surveyed employers represented the following sectors, with the number of companies surveyed in each of the sectors - 

  • Financial (13)
  • Information Technology (10)
  • Energy / Utilities (8)
  • Engineering / Construction / Offshore Services (7) 
  • High Technology Manufacturing (5)
  • Industrial / Consumer Manufacturing (4)
  • Automotive (3)
  • Chemicals / Fertilizer (3)
  • Holding Companies / Diversified Financials (3)
  • Real Estate / Property / Land Development (3)
  • Services (3) 
  • Telecom / Media (3)
  • Transportation / Couriers (3)
  • Consultants / Accounting (2)
  • Food and Beverage Manufacturing (2)
  • Insurance (2)
  • Metals / Mining (2)
  • Agriculture (1)
  • Food and Drug Retailers (1)
  • Merchandisers (1)
  • Paper / Forestry (1) 

As per the findings of the survey, almost two-thirds, that is, 53 out of the 80 surveyed, said that they actively recruit skilled foreign workers through the Canadian immigration system. The other companies claim to hire immigrants that are in Canada, having already relocated to the country. 

Why do Canadian companies hire immigrants?

There are many reasons for a Canadian employer to take an immigrant onboard. 

Canada’s Immigration Advantage | Top reasons for recruiting workers through the immigration system 

Reason to recruit

Proportion of employers using the immigration system

Addressing labour shortages 


Leveraging the newcomers’ global experience, knowledge and networks 


Accommodating business growth 


Increasing workforce diversity 


To better serve diverse clients 


For replacing the retiring employees 



Among the companies that presently recruit through the immigration system, 63% employers expect to increase their usage of Canada immigration up to 25% across the next three years. 

Source: Business Council of Canada

What are the top Canada immigration programs used to source skilled workers?

As per the BCC survey, the programs most in use for hiring newcomers were the Global Talent Stream, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Canadian Experience Class. Almost 50% of survey respondents reported hiring international students that pursued their study abroad in Canada.  

Canada’s Immigration Advantage | Top immigration programs used by Canadian employers

Immigration program 

Proportion of employers using the immigration system

Global Talent Stream 


Express Entry: Federal Skilled Worker Program 


Express Entry: Canadian Experience Class 


Free Trade Agreements 


High Wage Worker Stream 


Provincial Nominee Programs 


Express Entry: Federal Skilled Trades Program


Low wage worker stream 


Source: Business Council of Canada

Employers reported an overwhelming satisfaction with their international recruits. Newcomers have been found to make important contributions to businesses in Canada. The employers surveyed added that immigrants hired by them tended to have stronger technical expertise along with commendable human skills (also known as soft skills). 

Employers in favour of raising Canada’s annual admission targets

Half of the employers surveyed by the BCC in Q1 2022 said that they were in favour of raising the annual admissions target, specifically for economic immigration. While stating an overall support for the existing Canadian immigration systems, survey respondents said that there is nevertheless room for making it more responsive to the economic requirements of Canada.  

The global competition for skilled workers - to attract the best and the brightest - will likely increase as other countries step up their efforts. 

Which provinces are facing skill shortages in Canada?

The skills shortages are widespread in Canada, leading to a clear crunch in the Canadian labour market. While skills shortages exist throughout Canada, the situation is most pronounced in certain provinces and territories. Skills shortages are highest in - 

  • British Columbia, 
  • Ontario, and 
  • Quebec. 

80% of the surveyed employers in Canada stated that they were facing problems in finding skilled workers. 

What are the skills in demand in Canada?

Employers in Canada are finding it the hardest to fill technical roles. Skills shortages are mostly seen in - Information Technology, Engineering, and Computer Science.

Canada’s Immigration Advantage | Top skills in short supply 

Skill / Sector 

Proportion of employers that reported short supply 

Information Technology 


Computer Science 






Cognitive Computing 




Software Services 


Skilled Trades (plumbers, construction workers, electricians, etc.)



Source: Business Council of Canada

Canadian immigration system is a vital source of skilled talent 

Two out of three employers surveyed by the BCC recruit workers through the immigration system of Canada. The rest hire immigrants that have already come to Canada. 

Canada’s Immigration Advantage |Newcomers Hired Annually by Canadian Employers 

Number of immigrants hired in a year

Proportion of employers 

51 to 100 


26 to 50 


1 to 25 


Less than 100 


35% employers don’t use the immigration system

Source: Business Council of Canada

How many Canada PR visas in 2022?

431,645 Canada PR visas are to be granted in 2022 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) under the Canadian Government’s present 3-year immigration plan, 2022-2024 Immigration Levels Plan

50% of the employers surveyed for “Canada’s immigration advantage: A survey of major employers” by the Business Council of Canada in Q1 2022 were of the opinion that Canada’s annual intake of permanent residents should be increased.

Topics: Migrate, Canada




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