The demand for healthcare workers has reached an all-time high in Canada. There have been labor shortages in the Canadian health service sector for a long time and the coronavirus pandemic has only aggravated the issue.
As per the data released by Statistics Canada, there were at least 100,300 vacant positions for health care workers by the end of 2020.
Canada might face challenges to fill vacancies in the health care industry as the demand continues to grow while a majority of the labor force is on the verge of retirement. This has increased an enormous pressure on the country and it depends on immigrants now to fill the labor gaps.
Also, Canada has low birth rates which have further intensified because of the pandemic. For instance, British Columbia has experienced a significant drop in birth rates in 2020 compared to the data of 2019. And there has been a major drop in the number of births in May this year.
Credential recognition for immigrants
Young and first-generation immigrants comprise a quarter of the Canadian labor force. Still, few of them are employed in the Canadian health care industry as they face challenges associated with credential recognition.
Those immigrants who have completed their formal training overseas found it hard to get a job in the Canadian healthcare sector as their credentials were not recognized.
Representation of Immigrants in the health service sector
In 2016, around 28 percent of workers who were employed in health care occupations such as nursing were immigrants. And they made up at least 24 percent of the entire employed population.
Nearly one-third of the immigrants working in Canada as health care workers have arrived from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Philippines.
Most of the immigrants who wanted to work in the health service sector in Canada came through an economic class program. And those who wanted to be employed in nursing and caregiver positions entered the country through a specific PR program for caregivers.
However, most people who were admitted through an economy class program did not wish to work in health care jobs. And those who got jobs in nursing and support were highly overqualified for those positions.
Most of the immigrants who came from the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa completed their highest education level while staying in Canada.
There has been an increased migration from the Philippines and Sub-Saharan Africa and therefore, we have an overrepresentation of immigrants in the Canadian healthcare industry.