Ottawa, September 25, 2019 – Yesterday, at the Talent Summit organized by the Ottawa Board of Trade (OBoT) and the Ottawa Business Journal (OBJ), was released e new report on Skilled Labour Shortage and Internationally Trained Talent based on the 2019 Ottawa Business Growth Survey (OBGS) Report – in collaboration with Ottawa Employment Hub and Magnet.

The findings reveal key – still yet overlooked – data and value for the businesses in Ottawa to address skilled labour needs with immigrant talent. The OBGS reveals that overall business confidence is steady from last year but that access to skilled labour continues to worsen. In other words, skilled labour is a growing concern for local businesses. 49% of businesses say they plan to recruit new employees in the next 12 months, a 5% increase over 2018. Also, 20% of those surveyed reported that a skilled workforce – talent acquisition/retention would be the top issue for Ottawa businesses over the next five years. The demographic changes facing Canada’s labour market in the coming decades point to an important contributing role for immigration.

“A skilled and flexible workforce is key to continued prosperity and growth in our economy, as a city but also as a Nation. As the number of native-born Canadians plateaus immigrants are playing an increasingly vital role in filling our labour force needs, sustaining Canada’s economic strength and high quality of life” said James Baker, Managing Partner at Keynote Group, also Chair of the Immigration and Talent Committee.

On a better note, Ottawa has a highly trained, talented immigrant population. The population in the National Capital Region continues to grow faster than that of Ontario or Canada largely because of immigration. Between 2011 and 2016, almost 37,890 new immigrants arrived in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, making the immigrant population a quarter of the total population.

Another majorly important trait coming out of this report is that immigrants in Ottawa are typically more educated than immigrants who settle in other cities. Over 20% have graduate degrees, compared to a maximum of 14% elsewhere in Canada. Having an educated community doesn’t mean employers will leverage that talent. Although the statistics demonstrate that Ottawa’s immigrant labour pool has a lower participation rate in the labour force compared to non-immigrants. Most businesses recognize the importance of immigrant talent. While Ottawa businesses, in 2019, 85% consistently recognize that immigrants are an important source of skilled labour for the local economy; they are less likely to report that immigrants are an important source for their own companies.

“Considering Ottawa has a highly-educated immigrant workforce already, we definitely have an asset here and SME’s should be digging in this relevant talent pool, for the benefit of their company but also to push Ottawa on the map” mentioned M. Baker. The number of businesses that reported hiring immigrants over the past year has increased slightly to 54% from the 51% that was reported in the previous two years.

To read the full report on Skilled Labour Shortages and Internationally Trained Talent, click here.