A recent report from Statistics Canada shows that the construction sector in Canada is grappling with a severe labour shortage that outpaces other sectors, contradicting claims made by Liberal Immigration Minister Marc Miller that record-level immigration targets are helping alleviate the housing crisis.
The study, released on October 25, 2023, titled “A toolkit for understanding housing supply” by analysts Florian Mayneris and Radu Andrei Pârvulescu, reveals that the construction industry has witnessed a more rapid increase in job vacancy rates compared to the rest of the economy.
“Overall, these variations in the number of workers and apprentices have been insufficient to meet labour demand in the construction industry: the job vacancy rates for the building trades have rapidly increased in all the provinces since the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend that started even sooner in Quebec,” wrote the authors.
“While labour shortages affect all sectors, the job vacancy rates rose more in the construction sector than in the rest of the economy.”
In August, Miller asserted that new skilled immigrants are essential for addressing Canada’s housing crisis and that the federal government would not revise its immigration targets despite public pushback.
“The federal government is making housing more affordable and bringing in the skilled workers required to build more homes,” Miller said at the time.
“Without those skilled workers coming from outside Canada, we absolutely cannot build the homes and meet the demand that exists currently today.”
Officially, Canada is set to let in nearly 530,000 new permanent residents in 2023. Additionally, the Liberal government expects 900,000 international students in Canada this year and is expected to let in more foreign workers than the 135,000 it let in last year.
Support for immigration in Canada is at an all time low, as Canadians are increasingly priced out of the housing market.
A new survey found that 44% of Canadians agree that there is “too much immigration to Canada” – an increase from 27% in 2022.
The Fraser Institute conducted its own study into the matter earlier this year finding that over the last five years, population growth has far exceeded housing completions, resulting in soaring housing costs and affordability issues for many Canadians.
Analyzing annual population growth and housing completions in Canada from 1972 to 2022, the Fraser Institute found that from 2018 to 2022, Canada added an average of 553,568 people per year, with 321,065 being immigrants. In this period, immigrants accounted for 58% of Canada’s population growth. However, only an average of 205,762 new homes were completed each year in Canada, resulting in a striking ratio of 2.7 new people for every new home.