Employers across Ontario, but particularly in small cities of under 200,000 population and rural areas, are experiencing a shortage of qualified employees and a shrinking labour market. This challenge will continue to grow as existing workers retire. One part of the solution to the skills shortage challenge is through progressive immigration policies and processes. The current Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is one area where Ontario’s policies put us at a disadvantage in attracting migrants to meet our labour market needs. The list of eligible professions is narrow and does not include many of the professions that are experiencing shortages (plumbers, personal support workers, truck drivers, etc). To add further challenges, the OINP requires employers to obtain a labour market impact assessment prior to offering a job to a recent migrant and the OINP does not allocate any of its 6,600 nominated spots to support regional immigration.
Your Chamber is continuing to advocate to the Ontario Government to address these shortfalls in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program and will be advocating for the support of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in this regard. We believe that the expansion of the list of in-demand jobs to include NOC skill level C, the elimination of the need for a labour market impact assessment for small and rural communities, and the allocation of a percentage of nominee spots by region would improve the ability of small and rural communities to address labour shortages through the OINP.