Making the Move Happen to Attract Immigrants to New Brunswick
New Brunswick has an ageing population. That’s creating a situation in which there are more jobs than people. We need workers. “Some of the fastest growing job categories, such as home health assistance, food preparation, sanitation services, and so forth, require little or no education but make life more convenient for the rest of society, especially the elderly and the middle class”.
So, where do we find these workers? Canada is multi-cultural country with a reputation of tolerance and respect for all newcomers. The federal government has embraced an aggressive public policy to recruit 425,000 primarily high skilled immigrants per year to Canada over the next five years help fill the gap in the high tech, professional and skill trades sectors. Universities and colleges are partnering with the government to recruit immigrants for education programs that are linked with fast track work permits that lead to permanent residency and citizenship.
This is all well and good. It will position Canada as a desirable location for immigrants looking for professional careers and new economy employers interested in setting up shop in a country with a highly skilled workforce. “But some of the most crucial areas facing labor shortages, such as construction and healthcare, from building and installing modular homes to providing physical therapy for the elderly, don’t even require a high school degree”
So, where do we find workers who are prepared to come to Canada to take on these fast- growing jobs? The world is at the beginning stages of a global migration. A combination of political upheaval that includes war even in places like the Ukraine in Europe and global warming are displacing populations. For those not displaced many of the new generation in good health just want out. Nightly news casts now contain harrowing tales of desperate political and climate refugees risking their lives to escape the carnage in their homeland and seek a new life in a better world.
Canada is well-known constituent of the better world. But unlike Europe which Asians and Africans can be access by land or boat, or the U.S. which is connected by a land bridge to Central and South America via Mexico, you need a plane ticket, passport and, if you’re from an unstable country a visa to get into Canada. The Afghan backlog in processing what are supposedly preferred status refugees illustrates the difficulties in administering this process through what is touted as an antiquated system.
New Brunswick needs to follow Quebec’s lead. That province has negotiated a designated status relationship with the federal government which allows it to grant preferred immigrant status to classes of persons it deems will add value to the provincial economy. I know from having taught hundreds of immigrant students in my tenure as a college law professor that when they or their parents visit immigration offices abroad to inquire about immigration all the counselling from immigration officials is focused on opportunities in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) of Vancouver. There’s nary a mention of New Brunswick. This province has got to get itself on the Canadian immigration map if it wants to become a serious contender.
Quebec also has a designated temporary worker immigration niche that enables it to cherry pick unskilled immigrants to work in the service sectors. It retains the option to grant them permanent residency status if they demonstrate the ability to assimilate and contribute to Quebec culture. New Brunswick needs to look to what Quebec is doing in the temporary worker recruitment market and get on the move with a comparable program.
Now let’s talk a bit about applicants with foreign professional qualifications; specifically doctors, nurse practitioners and nurses of which there is a critical shortage in New Brunswick. Why not bring foreign trained health professionals into the province to fill this gap? There are hundreds of EU qualified health care providers with equivalent qualifications to Canadians interested in coming to Canada. I know because I founded and ran Canada Law from Abroad (www.canadalawfromabroad.com) that sent more than a thousand Canadians to world class UK law schools. I was frequently in the UK and became conversant with the accreditation system for foreign trained doctors. Canada has a notorious reputation for making it extremely difficult for foreign trained health professionals to become accredited in Canada. The domestic cadre of regulated health professionals run a closed shop. At professional recruitment fairs I would routinely encounter Australians counselling doctors against the Canadian barriers in place requiring highly skilled doctors to work in hospitals for low wages for three to five years to get accredited while if they came to Australia they could be accredited in one to two years. Guess where they chose to emigrate? Until provinces are prepared to take a stand on foreign degree professional accreditation for health care professionals the doctor shortage will continue as provinces restrict placement numbers at Canadian medical schools.
 Parag Khanna, Move – The Forces Uprooting Us. New York. Scribner (2021) at P.39
 Supra P.87
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John G. Kelly
Mentoring & Counselling