British Columbia to fast-track skilled trades workers from Europe

CIC News
Published: March 1, 2006

Potential European immigrants will be given access to Canada through British Columbia 's (BC) Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The initiative will expedite work permit processing as well as Permanent Resident applications.

B.C is currently undergoing a labour shortage that is affecting its booming construction industry. This month Vancouver 's Regional Construction Association (VRCA) president, Keith Sashaw will be promoting B.C immigration to Europeans in Germany , England , and Scotland . Sashaw's goal is to recruit journeymen-level employees who will fill the province's increasing job vacancies. "Right now, there's a demand for almost all trades in the construction industry," explains Sashaw.

CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, Peter Simpson wants the Province to do everything it can to increase "the pool of skilled labour," and says that BC "must look at all the options."

The Construction Sector Council (CSC), a national organization whose goal is to "help develop a highly skilled construction sector", estimates that B.C. will face a 50 per cent increase in demand for skilled trades workers by 2013; An astounding figure which translates into approximately 60,000 new workers.

The Canada West Foundation, an organization which makes recommendations on government policy, is promoting the use of the Provincial Nominee Program to help fill skill shortages. Executive Vice-President for the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C., Philip Hochstein, believes that immigration is part of the solution to B.C.'s skilled-labour shortage.

BC's construction projects include venue infrastructures in advance of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre expansion, the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion, and the Canada rapid transit line between Vancouver Airport and downtown. New-home construction is also expected to remain strong throughout the period.


Canada 's labour crunch has it facing one of the most serious shortages of skilled workers in the industrial world. A recent Manpower inc. poll of Canadian small and enterprise-level business highlights the growing trend. Second only to Mexico , sixty-six per cent of Canadian employers cannot find qualified staff. Well below the global average, Canada has its aging population and declining birth rate to blame.

One of the ways in which the Canadian government is addressing this burgeoning problem is by increasing federal immigration levels in both the Skilled-worker, and Temporary worker categories, respectively.The B.C. provincial nominee program allows provincial governments more leverage in determining their regional immigration needs. The "strategic occupations" categories of BC's PNP allow the Province's Government to select highly skilled immigrants to fill critical labour shortages.

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