Ottawa, November 7, 2018: The Ottawa Board of Trade released a new report on Skilled Labour Shortages and Immigrants based on the 2018 Ottawa Business Growth Survey report. The findings reveal a key – yet overlooked – opportunity for Ottawa businesses to address skilled labour needs with immigrant talent.

According to the findings 63% of Ottawa Businesses stated that talent acquisition and retention is a top issue. However, only 46% of Ottawa businesses view immigrants as a valuable to their company versus 77% to the economy, suggesting a disparity of perception on the importance of immigrants to the local economy, versus their own businesses.

Of the employers who reported that immigrants are not important as a source of skilled labour for their company, 45% stated they don’t have a hiring requirement whilst 21% shared that immigrants are not part of their pool of applicants and 11% are unsure about how to evaluate international education.

Compared to any other Canadian city, a greater per capita percentage of highly educated immigrants live in Ottawa, where 36% of the population with a master’s degree and 55% with a doctorate are immigrants, reflecting Ottawa as a magnet for well-educated and highly-skilled international talent.

“It’s evident that immigrants bring valuable resources to businesses and there is a global talent war to attract the best” said Ian Faris, President and CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade. “With a highly educated immigrant workforce already in Ottawa, we have an added advantage and SME’s need to tap into this important talent pool not only for the benefit of their company but also to place Ottawa on the map. We cannot afford to miss this golden opportunity.”

Of the Ottawa employers who hired at least one immigrant in the past year, 54% mentioned that diversity enhanced innovation, productivity and profits for their business, whilst 45% said immigrants provide access to new customers and markets.

The 2018 Ottawa Business Growth Survey is the most in-depth and independent study of the local economy of its kind.

This new report is presented by the Ottawa Board of Trade subcommittee on Immigration that includes Hire Immigrants Ottawa, Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership, Ottawa Employment Hub, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall, and Royal Bank of Canada.

Click here to view the report on Skilled Labour Shortages, Immigrants and Hidden Talent