Canada’s open for skilled labour

The feds have flicked on a big, bright “OPEN” sign with a new three-year immigration plan to get skilled workers into the country (and address that darn labour crunch). 

What happened: Canada announced plans to welcome 465K new immigrants in 2023, 485K in 2024, and a whopping 500K in 2025, emphasizing those looking for work. 

  • Highly-skilled workers account for the majority of desired newcomers, but the plan will also hike the number of immigrants coming to reunite with families.

  • Since new immigrants are often overly concentrated in urban areas, the plan also includes mechanisms to funnel people into different regions, including rural areas. 

Why it matters: Canada has one of the world’s lowest birth rates, a record number of workers gearing up for retirement, and over one million job vacancies, including in critical sectors. The country has no clear solution to address the gap beyond immigration.

Yes, but: The plan doesn’t outline how existing infrastructure will support almost 2 million new residents. “Our government knows we can't build homes fast enough for this growth,” one real estate analyst tweeted, adding that house prices and rents will remain unaffordable.

Zoom out: We love the ambition here, but the country might want to address its immigrant retention issue first—one survey found that 23% of new Canadians with a university education are planning to leave in the short term, with many citing the high cost of living.