On June 28, 2023, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced the first invitations under Express Entry for skilled newcomers with work experience in health care fields.
- Health occupations are experiencing the most severe labour market shortages of any sector in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, in the third quarter of 2022, job vacancies in health and social assistance increased to an all-time high of 150,100 vacancies, which follows three years of labour shortages in most health occupations. Although the sector generally experiences a low unemployment rate due to its public nature, the current unemployment rate reached particularly low level in recent years (below 2%), illustrating clearly the important labour shortage in many health occupations.
- According to Employment and Social Development Canada’s Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS), health care will become the largest employing sector in Canada, with more than 2.5 million workers by 2031 (up from 2.2 million in 2021).
- 38 of the 58 occupational groupings that faced shortages between 2019 and 2021 were structural (long-lasting) and concentrated in health—37 of 38 of these will continue to experience long-lasting shortages into 2031.
- The demand for health care services, stimulated by population aging, recovery from the backlog in “non-essential” treatments caused by the pandemic and the universal dental care program will further support labour demand in the health care sector.
Background information related to category-based selection for Express Entry:
- The 2023 categories prioritize the selection of candidates with strong French proficiency, to help address labour market needs for Francophone and bilingual workers, and workers with experience in occupations expected to face structural shortages over the period of 2022 to 2031, as identified in Canadian Occupation Projection System (COPS) data prepared by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). This data was also supported by stakeholder input, which identified many of the same occupations in shortage.
- The COPS projections take into account existing openings (vacancies) and labour supply (unemployment) as well as new labour demand (stemming from retirements and economic growth) and supply (such as new graduates and new immigrants).