Global Skills Strategy: Reflecting on a Year of Success
Ottawa —The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, issued the following statement:
“Canadian workers are among the most highly educated and skilled workers in the world, but for Canadian firms to stay competitive in the global marketplace, we must attract the best minds from other countries and sustain the prosperity of our businesses across Canada. That’s why the Government of Canada launched the Global Skills Strategy (GSS) one year ago, which gives Canadian employers fast and reliable access to top talent from around the world.
“The goals of the GSS are simple: to help get skilled temporary workers into our country faster, so that they can help propel businesses across Canada forward.
“The GSS has four pillars:
- First, we are processing work permit applications in two weeks for high-skilled workers, providing Canadian employers across the country an edge in recruitment. Gone are the days when a highly specialized expert chose a job opportunity elsewhere because of a slow and daunting process to get a work permit in Canada.
This policy has yielded very positive results: Between the launch last June, and the end of March 2018, we received more than 10,000 work permit applications, with an approval rate of 96 per cent. The top occupations of those approved for work permits under the GSS include computer analysts, software engineers, interactive media designers and university professors – precisely the type of talent we envisioned when the GSS was announced.
- Second, we have developed new work permit exemptions for highly skilled talent coming for 30 days or less and researchers coming for 120 days or less. This has reduced the administrative burden on employers and research institutions, and cleared the way for short-term collaboration on everything from scientific research to product launches.
- Third, we have implemented a dedicated service channel to help meet the needs of companies seeking to make a job-creating investment in Canada. This measure provides firms with tailored client service to navigate the immigration system. As of May 2018, nearly 100 companies across the country have been referred for immigration help as a result of this measure.
- Finally, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) facilitates the labour market impact assessment process for companies seeking unique talent using the Global Talent Stream. ESDC has committed to a 10 business day service standard for jobs in high demand, jobs offering high wages, and jobs with a short work duration – the types of workers we need to grow industries across the country.
“The impact of the GSS has been keenly felt by flourishing companies in Canada, such as Ubisoft, who have used these policies to help expand in both Toronto and Montreal. Ubisoft representatives noted that they “are now able to quickly bring top talents to [their] studio which allows [their] studio to remain a key player in [their] industry.”
“Similarly, up and coming tech firm Thalmic Labs has leveraged the fast visa processing times to secure 12 visas under the new program. CEO Stephen Lake has said that the GSS has helped Thalmic recruit PhD candidates across the world to help with a new highly specialized product for the consumer market.
“The speed and reliability of the GSS process helps “…reflect the pace of change and the need to cross borders quickly, instead of being stuck in a visa queue,” says Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada. Mr. Davidson also notes that the GSS has helped facilitate a global research infrastructure, by allowing inter-disciplinary, international and collaborative research to flourish, thanks to the speed at which short-term researchers can be brought into Canada.
“After only one year, the GSS is already filling a need in Canada’s economy. By helping highly skilled, experienced workers get work permits faster, and by helping Canadian companies grow, the GSS is creating more jobs for Canada’s middle-class and a stronger economy for all.
“Financial-tech company Wave, based in Toronto, is the perfect example of what the GSS aims to achieve. According to CEO Kirk Simpson, “[i]n the last 12 months, Wave created just shy of 100 brand-new jobs in technology, and hired three people through this program. Hiring specific, skilled workers doesn’t take jobs from Canadians. Rather, it keeps Wave growing quickly, so we can create a number of new jobs that employ even more Canadians.”
“With that sort of success to draw on, I am confident that the GSS will continue to help fuel economic growth in Canada.”