Canada needs skilled immigrants and refugees to leap into the future

Published September 1, 2021.

New industries are emerging in Canada and internationally. Can Canada harness this new, exciting future? Some worry that Canada’s aging population and low birth rates cannot support the opportunities to come. By 2036, it is estimated that the worker-to-retiree ratio will be 2 to 1. One answer seems clear: If there are too few Canadians, we need internationally-trained, skilled immigrants and refugees to push forward industries like these:

Clean technologies

Climate concerns and consumer demand are driving the change to alternative, clean, renewable energy sources. Clean technology will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support cleaner practices in mining and agriculture. Canada’s economic strategists are aiming high: they want clean technology to be among Canada’s top five exporting industries in 2025. The federal government agrees and this past February, announced an investment of $55 million to support research and development in clean technology.

There are already 155 “cleantech” enterprises operating in Alberta, and the traditional oil and gas sector is shifting to clean technology. A labour market analysis is now underway to understand the needs of employers and job seekers during this change. We await results, but we know this growing industry will need biochemists, biomedical engineers, civil engineers, environmental specialists, geoscientists and technicians.

Artificial intelligence and IT

Consumers demand the latest technologies, but the day-to-day solutions we depend on like facial recognition and virtual assistants – and the ones we dream about, like self-driving cars – require critical infrastructure and further research and development.

Canada is a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and is home to world-renowned researchers and AI centres in Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton. Toronto has the highest concentration of AI startups in the world, and Microsoft, Google and Uber are investing in the Canadian AI industry. It is expected that this market will grow by 24 to 26% by 2028. Specific expertise is needed to propel this promising work forward. Software engineers, researchers, UX specialists and data analysts are essential.

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Health care services

Over the next forty years, the number of seniors in Canada will reach 12 million. This means that health care will remain a critical service for the foreseeable future.

The call for trained healthcare workers is urgent. A large wave of retirements in the next decade will result in shortages. Nearly 500,000 health workers are now over age 55. Canada needs skilled immigrants to maintain the quality of its health care services. Already, one out of four health-care sector workers are immigrants. Over one-third of them are doctors and one-quarter are nurses. Career opportunities in traditional health care professions will continue to grow, but aging baby boomers are demanding better home health care options and high-quality complementary health care from other trained professionals such as optometrists, physio and mental health therapists.

The good news is that almost half a million immigrants working in Canada are trained in STEM fields - science, technology, engineering and math. Although immigrants make up only 20% of Canada’s population, 50% of STEM degree-holders are economic class immigrants. Canadian companies are competing globally in these new industries. They need people who have in-depth knowledge of new markets and who can network, internationally, in multiple languages.

The challenge will be getting the training and credentials of new immigrants recognized. Windmill Microlending can help. If you want to launch or advance your career in one of these exciting industries and need an affordable loan to upgrade your credentials or re-train, Windmill provides loans to help you do so.

Read more about how Windmill’s low-interest loans can help, here.

Categorized in: A Newcomer's Journey, In-demand Jobs,