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CIPS Response – 2014 Immigration Levels CIC Call for stakeholder input

 

  1. What is the appropriate level of immigration for Canada?

CIPS agrees with the current rate of immigration (approximately .8%)

While the Information and Communications Technology Council predicts a shortage of ICT workers to the year 2016, those shortages are for certain skills and with an amount of experience.This same report identifies the need for re-skilling of some current Canadian ICT practitioners which if successfully completed will fill some of the jobs, but immigration in ICT is still required.1

Canada’s graduation rate at the tertiary level for degrees leading to jobs in ICT2 appears to be adequate, but people graduating don’t have the experience that some employers require. Further not all people graduating with degrees that could lead to a career in ICT follow that career path.

Canada’s ICT workforce is aging.  According to figures from Statistics Canada (2011), 9% was over 55 years old, more than double the percentage in 2001.

The OECD report, The Economic Impact of IC:  Measurements, Evidence and Implications shows that ICT is having substantial impacts on economic performance and the success of individual firms, in particular when it is combined with investment in skills, organisational change and innovation. The Conference Board of Canada determined that government revenues could have been 66 billion dollars higher if Canada matched the USA rate of productivity (www.conferenceboard.ca/e-Library/abstract.aspx?did=3396)

To achieve this level of productivity, immigrants are needed to augment the current number of ICT practitioners.  Immigration needs to respond to the needs of the provinces and territories.

In order to obtain the benefits of immigration, immigrants have to have appropriate skills and experience and to be able to integrate into the Canadian community and economy with those skills and experience.  CIPS can assist with assessment of ICT competencies prior to immigration (Expression of Interest program) and with the integration of immigrants, foreign temporary workers and students across the country.

CIPS believes that some immigration of ICT practitioners is required and beneficial to the Canadian economy, however, we also strongly support the re-skilling or skills upgrading of Canadian ICT practitioners.

 

2     What is the appropriate mix between the number of economic immigrants, family class immigrants, and refugee/humanitarian class?

CIPS, as Canada Association of IT Professionals, would suggest that the percentages suggested:  62% economic; 27% family and 11% refugee/humanitarian might be slightly higher for the economic ICT immigrant at 64%.  We cannot knowledgably speak to the refuge/humanitarian class.

We recognize that the salaries of ICT practitioners could allow for the immigration of family class immigrants and could contribute to the Canadian economy and integration of immigrants.  If the economic class was raised to 64% that would suggest a corresponding decrease of 2% in the family class.

The rational for the suggested increase is the economic benefit of these immigrants to the Canadian economy – directly or, as is also the case with ICT, indirectly through productivity in the Canadian economy.    

 

3     What role can immigration play to support Canada’s economy?

ICT is a high growth area of the Canadian economy.  The ICT sector outgrew the overall (Canadian) economy in 2011. The sector increased by 3.2% from 2010 compared to a 2.6% increase for the total Canadian economy. On average, annual growth in this sector has been 1.6% since 2007, compared to 0.9% for the overall economy. This faster growth also means that the ICT industries have accounted for 7.5% of the Canadian GDP growth since 2007 (Canadian ICT Sector Profile, March 2013, Industry Canada)

As mentioned above, there are significant skill shortages for certain ICT occupations.  Also, as mentioned above, the ICT workforce is aging.

CIPS believes that immigration should play a role in providing people with the necessary skills and experience needed in Canada, BUT that should be done in concert with other Government of Canada ministry programs aimed at education (graduation from tertiary institutes in appropriate disciplines), upgrading and re-skilling the capabilities of Canadians working in ICT.

The Government of Canada should ensure (with support from appropriate professional organizations, like CIPS) that the immigrants coming to Canada have the appropriate skills and experience.  It is also important that skill and experience descriptors used by potential employers and immigrants or temporary foreign workers are essentially the same.   Immigrants or skilled workers that can describe skills and be assessed prior to coming to Canada might obtain, if not a job offer, an offer for interviews.

Labour market needs can only be met if they are identified.  There needs to be an effective mechanism in place, which is not onerous, for employers, associations, sector councils, human resource companies, etc. to provide input to provincial/territorial governments for roll-up to the national number of immigrants required.  The mechanism should work for all sizes of business.  Employers and others need to be prepared to assist.

ICT is currently not listed in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, except for 2174: computer programmers and interactive media developers where the cap has been reached. (There is an exception for software engineers/designers under computer engineers (2147))    CIPS would suggest that to meet current and future shortages of ICT workers that we have a broader category that encompasses more subsectors of IC.

CIPS believes that a stronger ICT sector in Canada would be beneficial to Canada.  A stronger ICT sector can be developed through a program such as the Start-up Visa program.  Experience ICT entrepreneurs could develop and grow ICT companies in Canada.  It is our understanding that the program is based on investment.  For this to be effective for the ICT sector, there needs to be a pool of investors willing to invest in ICT companies.

As mentioned before ICT is a benefit to the Canadian economy.  Making Canada an attractive place for ICT immigrants is important.  Ensuring rapid processing of immigrant and skilled foreign worker applications is essential.  The Expression of Interest – with pre-application assessment would be an effective means of accomplishing this.    

1.    Outlook for Human Resources in the ICT Labour Market, 2011–2016. (published in March 2011by the Information and Communications Technology Council)

2.    Canada’s population is 34,880,500 (Stats Canada 2012).  51% of Canadian graduate from a tertiary institute (OECD:  Education at a Glance 2012) and 21% of graduates in 2010 were from science, math, computer science or engineering disciplines (Percentage of Graduates in Science, Math, Computer Science, and Engineering, The Conference Board of Canada, 2013)

 

 

CIPS Corporate Partners

The following organizations support CIPS' commitment to professionalism, ethics, and high standards for the I.T. profession. CIPS thanks all its partners for their contribution. Become a CIPS Corporate Partner Today! - Send an email to info@cips.ca.


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