Federal announcement to boost immigration ‘a step in the right direction’: Winnipeg organization

A Winnipeg organization says last week’s federal government announcement to boost immigration levels in provinces is a step in the right direction when it comes to addressing nationwide labour shortages.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction, because we are facing unprecedented labour shortage,” said Shereen Denetto, the executive director of the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba.

“I think the rate of job vacancies in the country and Manitoba is at an all time high, and we work with immigrants and refugees and they are ready and willing to work.”

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In 2021, 405,000 new permanent residents were accepted to Canada, with 16,560 choosing Manitoba as their new home. Elisabeth Saftiuk, the vice-president of policy and government relations at the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, says this will be welcome news for Manitoba businesses strugggling with staffing shortages after the pandemic.

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“From a workforce perspective and speaking with our business leaders across the province we know they are experiencing a labour shortage and a workforce challenges that they haven’t experienced in years,” Saftiuk told Global News.

“It’s been an ongoing challenge for them, but the pandemic had made these challenges even more acute throughout the entire province.”

Read more: Saskatchewan wants greater control over selection of immigrants

Denetto says the province needs to ensure proper supports and resources are in place for newcomers.

“There are a number of things that I think the government is going to need to support. One, there is an incredible backlog of applications, the express entry program, I think they really need to work on expediting those federal systems,” Denetto said, adding employment programs and housing is also key.

“The outcomes are so much better when you provide some front end supports for newcomers so they can understand the labour market quickly, they can find the right match in terms of employment, and just be support in those initial months and then they’re good to go.”

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