July 21, 2006
Canada’s Construction Association is asking the Canadian government to increase the level of immigration in order to fill some 190,000 unfilled construction jobs across the country. “There are not enough people today domestically attracted to our industry,” said an Association board member. “To find the skills that we need, we need to have our immigration policies changed.” That sentiment matches exactly that of every U.S. construction employer with whom I meet. A commercial tile contractor told me earlier this week, “They don’t have any idea what would happen to construction if they made all of them [Hispanics] leave.” Most interesting in this story, however, is the Canadian Immigration Minister’s response to the call for increased immigrant labor: “Countries around the world are increasingly looking to immigration as a primary source of talent and innovation to help them generate wealth and prosperity. This is also Canada’s time to explore proactive immigration policies. I believe that this is a key to our country’s success.” A striking contrast to the gloom and doom portrayals of immigration south of the (northern) border.