Ontario pushes for more immigration amid labour crunch


TORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford is planning to raise immigration and skilled labour shortage issues as premiers from across the country are set to meet next week in Victoria, B.C.

The meeting is set to largely focus on health-care issues, with premiers hoping to press the government for increased Canada Health Transfer Funding.

But Ford is also highlighting labour issues in a statement about his priorities for the meeting, saying more skilled workers are needed to address a “historic labour shortage,” and premiers can’t do it alone.

Ontario’s immigration agreement with the federal government expires in the fall and the province is pushing for a higher number of skilled workers and more flexibility on the types of workers it can attract.

Monte McNaughton, the provincial minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development, says in an interview that hundreds of thousands of jobs are going unfilled in Ontario and it is costing the economy a lot of money.

The province had asked the federal government to double the number of immigrants under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program from 9,000, but McNaughton says he recently received notice that the allocation would rise to 9,700.



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