Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the members of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. I thank everyone here for the opportunity to discuss this motion, M-190, and I thank you again for the unanimous support that this motion received on second reading.
Chair, I'd like to set the stage for motion M-190 today. Our government is proud of the $180 billion we're investing in infrastructure. Both our residential construction sector and our ICI—the industrial, commercial, and institutional sector—are experiencing tremendous growth. We have an economy that has created 900,000 net new jobs since we took office. Our unemployment rate is at a 40-year low.
Our government is seizing the moment and seizing the opportunities for everyone: all Canadians, women and girls, men and boys, indigenous, everyone, no matter the colour of your skin, your sexual orientation, the place you came from or when you arrived, whether many generations ago or just yesterday.
Members, we need all Canadians at their best, so that they—we—can take advantage of these tremendous opportunities and contribute as a collective and personally to this prosperity, all the while growing our middle class and those working hard to join it.
M-190 is aimed at addressing the ongoing challenges that the construction industry is facing due to a lack of skilled labour in the sector within the greater Toronto and Hamilton area, the GTHA. I'd like to see recommendations that can be put forward, along with an analysis of M-39, the Atlantic immigration pilot project, as a template, and the use of permanent immigration to assist in addressing this huge challenge.
The homes we live in, the businesses where we work, our hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, underground sewers and pipes, all of those places are built by construction workers. It's hard work, as temperatures on a work site can be as much as 30° below or 30° above. In many cases, it's back-breaking work for the men and women who build up our cities, towns and villages. Brick by brick, block by block and stone by stone, these mid-level skilled construction trades—bricklayers, form workers, framers and carpenters—are the backbone of the construction industry, and they're in short supply across the country.
The shortage is exacerbated, especially in the high-growth greater Toronto and Hamilton area. These are good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, but Canadian parents and schools are just not encouraging our kids to get into the mud-on-your-boots, dirt-in-your-fingernails type of work, as I always like to say. I've listened to stakeholders, labour leaders, workers, contractors and industry advocates together, who express major concerns in regard to a “severe”—in their words—labour shortage of qualified employees. With increased labour shortages, businesses not only are hampered momentarily, but also have significant planning and future growth challenges.
This motion is geared toward providing residents of the greater Toronto and Hamilton area, and all of Canada, with a plan for sustainable economic growth in the construction sector. The GTHA is home to a thriving construction industry. The construction sector has become Canada's biggest job generator, in percentage terms, consistently expanding and currently accounting for almost 5% of the entire Canadian labour market.
StatsCan projects that the population will grow and will reach an estimated 51 million by 2063. This projected increase in population will continue to drive construction demand for years to come. However, there is a critical shortage of skilled labour that is currently happening. Across Canada, it's expected that a quarter of the entire construction work force will retire in the next 10 years.
Just in Ontario, this mismatch of skills is projected at a $24.3-billion loss in forgone gross domestic product, and a $3.7-billion loss in provincial tax. Besides this forgone revenue, the labour shortage has far-reaching consequences for an industry that accounts for 6% of Ontario's GDP. As the Canadian population ages and more people are set to retire, it's estimated that 87,000 construction workers will retire within the next 10 years. That's nearly 20% of the Ontario construction workforce.
Looking forward, we see that an aging workforce and retirements will account for a higher share of new job openings over the next decade. While the age profile of the Ontario population shows that it is growing older, natural population growth plus immigration to the province should help sustain overall population growth across this scenario period.
Nevertheless, the pool of available local youth entering the workforce is in decline, while retirements are on the rise. Construction employment in Ontario has increased by approximately 200,000 workers since 1997 and now accounts for 6.9% of total Ontario employment. However, at the pace the industry is growing, it will not only need to replace this retiring personnel, but it will need to attract additional workers, with estimates ranging from 20,000 to 80,000 new recruits needed by 2027 to keep up with demand in Ontario alone.
Currently, a distortion exists among youth, skills and skilled trades. The nature of employment is currently changing. However, the skilled trades will continue having a strong labour demand in the foreseeable future. Skills Canada has stated that it estimates that in the next 10 years, 40% of new jobs will be in the skilled trades, but only 26% of young people aged 13 to 24 are considering pursuing a career in the skilled trades. This information is consistent with trades not appealing to those aged 13 to 24. Skilled trades tend to be a second choice for most, with routes to university or college seen as the preferred path. There has to be a concerted effort in demonstrating that trades are an equal route to personal success and satisfaction, an equal first choice.
Demand in the construction industry is expected to grow in the foreseeable future. Polls indicate that 32% of contractors expected more business in 2018 as compared to 2017, while 51%, when asked, stated they expected the same level of business and activity. These studies all point to a very confident and healthy construction sector.
Additionally, there will be a continued demand due to immigration growth, government affordable housing programs, climate change mitigation, maintenance and renovations. It's imperative to study the labour shortage in order to create policies that will enable that construction sector to thrive and continue to provide good, well-paying jobs for Canadians.
The incentive towards having young people pursue careers in the skilled trades may take time to catch on and be implemented. There needs to be a policy implemented that will ensure continuity between a generation of retiring skilled labourers and the construction industry's increased demand for skilled labour. Just four years from now, there will be more seniors than there will be children enrolled in high school, while by 2030, there will be just two people in the workforce for every one who is retired. This demographic shift that is beginning to take place will have a drastic impact upon the labour market, especially in the construction sector.
Critics argue that the skills shortage is exaggerated, as there remains youth unemployment within Canada. Yet professional associations, along with the industry professionals, all agree that there is a shortage within the workforce that will only continue to grow. Unemployment among older and experienced workers is at an all-time low, with the numbers dipping under 3%. This trend indicates that older workers are staying in the job longer, while younger workers lack the necessary skills to fill those vacancies. From a policy-making perspective, collaboration with all involved stakeholders is required—employers, apprentices, journeypersons, employees and unions. The entire scope of the phenomenon needs to be studied.
Private member's motion 39, about immigration as a means of growth in Atlantic Canada, commissioned a study of the ways to increase and retain immigrants to Atlantic Canada, with an objective of implementing policies that will strengthen the workforce and provide economic growth. Although there are differences between the construction sector and the entire economy of Atlantic Canada, valuable information is available from the implementation of M-39.
As the construction industry continues to grow, it's also subject to a dramatic demographic shift. Construction has provided opportunities for success for generations of immigrants and Canadians alike. The industry has provided skill-building opportunities while serving as a launching pad for so many immigrants coming to Canada in hopes of building a better future, helping to construct homes and building what is now the primary capital asset for most Canadians.
M-190 hopes to address the current challenges that are associated with the lack of skilled labour in the GTHA construction sector. I would like to see recommendations put forward to assist the industry and to look at the Atlantic model as a template for providing the industry with the skilled construction workers it needs.
Again, I want to thank the committee for this opportunity.
Chair, I look forward to answering the members' questions.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Thanks, Mr. Fonseca, for bringing this forward. You and I had some conversations when this was being debated in the House, and I want to reiterate the concerns I had at that point.
Even though we voted to support the motion, I would have rather seen something with a larger scope. The fact that this has a pinpoint focus on the GTA and Hamilton area, and only in the construction industry, I think does a disservice. As you said in your presentation, this is an issue that impacts the entire economy. We in rural communities certainly hear about it in the agriculture sector, especially in food processing and large greenhouse operations, just to name a couple. I think this would have been a better motion had we been able to expand it to include other industries, but we are here and will deal with what's in front of us.
I found it interesting to hear you in your presentation speaking very proudly of the $180 billion that the Liberal government has committed for infrastructure spending. I think it's worth noting for the record, however, that only 6% of that $180 billion has actually been earmarked for any new project. That's well behind the pace you should reach.
I have had ministers in my neck of the woods multiple times announcing projects over and over again, including ones that were done by the previous Conservative government, such as the Green Line in Calgary. I would rather see resources put to addressing some of the concerns you have than pay for ministers to travel across the country re-announcing projects.
That being said, there is one thing I would like to ask you, and I would hope we get some resolution to it. We were trying to get the minister here to talk about the supplementary estimates.
One thing in the supplementary estimates that I find interesting is that $35 million has been set aside for a program about worker protections, which is basically an audit system whereby Service Canada auditors will go into businesses. They don't have to give notice; they can just walk onto the business premises, walk into the office and start going through computers and files.
The audits that are done on some of these businesses that are using the temporary foreign worker program specifically, or maybe even express entry, are very stressful. Some of our stakeholders have gone through this process, and the audit can take up to two years in some cases, which many times can bring a business to a screeching halt. If we are looking at ways to improve the temporary foreign worker program.... This is scaring some businesses off from even applying for it.
I would like your opinion on this $35 million that is in the supplementary estimates for this worker protection program, to increase the audits and inspections of businesses that use the temporary foreign worker program.
Thank you very much for the questions, Mr. Barlow.
What I can speak to is that, being on the road and speaking to the construction sector—that's the employers, the contractors, organized labour, non-union shops—I hear from them that they are growing and expanding. The one thing that is holding them back is the need for a labour supply.
There are homes on hold because they can't find the next bricklayer. For projects in municipal infrastructure, whether affordable housing or pipes or bridges, it's the same concern that continues to come up.
That's why I've brought this motion forward. I know you speak to all of Canada, and I've spoken to members from coast to coast to coast. I agree with you that there are labour shortages and there are gaps. Why is my focus on the GTHA? That's probably where the demand is greatest. If you look at the construction sector, in particular in the greater Toronto and Hamilton area, you see that it's growing at about double the rate for the province and the country, at about 8% growth.
What we've learned from the Atlantic model—and I'd hoped the committee would be able to look into the Atlantic model and what has come out of that—I would like to then be able to have that applied to the GTHA. That's why you want it contained. If it works there, it could be rolled out to your riding and to many of the members' ridings from coast to coast to coast.
I do understand that it is a challenge. In a way, it's one of the good challenges that we can have, with the amount of growth that we've had—900,000 net new jobs in the country—and the amount of investment that is going into infrastructure. I believe this is the right time to fill that gap and get away from these temporary foreign workers and the LMIAs, etc. What we're talking about here, just like in the Atlantic, is immigrants coming in and setting down roots, being able to have a bricklayer coming from another country—
Thank you very much, Mr. Sangha.
I've heard the same concerns from Brampton, Mississauga, and across the country, but in no way is this limited to any size of company: small, medium-sized or large companies. We have heard from everybody, from small contractors all the way to our largest builder, Mattamy Homes.
You're right. It's a multipronged approach, and that's what I'm hearing from all the members. What the industry has said is, “Yes, we continue to recruit, but we're not getting enough people into this labour market”—especially, again, for these types of skilled trades or the ones that I've spoken about, the bricklayers and carpenters and so on.
What's not working is what we have in place today. We try to fill that gap just through temporary foreign workers and so on, but why would we want to do that when we know that this gap, as has been studied, will exist for decades to come? Why do that? Why not look at a way to fill the gap with people who are in their twenties or thirties, and continue, and then with Canadians...?
I know we also want young people to be able to get into the trades and not have the stigma that the trades may sometimes have. These are high-paying jobs. Yes, at times you do get, as I said, mud on your boots and you get your fingernails dirty, but these are the types of jobs that can help you build a family and build a community.
For a job where you get to see, at the end of the day, something you've built, or know that you're driving on the road you constructed, or see that building that people are living in, that you've put together, that's amazing.
I don't have those stats with me. Anecdotally, I've read some reports. I know that getting the program up and started was a little challenging at first, but in the second year there has been a great deal of success. It's been region to region, or province to province, in terms of the success they've had in being able to fill some of those labour gaps.
As for what this would do, when you look at the Atlantic model, it was just getting back to the ability to be nimble enough to bring in a workforce that would help a company expand. What we would see in the GTHA, as well as the entire country, is that ability for organized labour—I've heard this from employers, contractors and associations—to bring in that labour through a stream in working with the provinces, as in the Atlantic model. Of course, if you're bringing that labour into your region to help it expand in your region or to help with the gap you have in labour, you wouldn't want it moving elsewhere. I don't see that happening.
What I've seen is a need for more of these workers. You can go to any job site in the greater Toronto area—it may be the same in Vancouver—and you will see that many of the workers are in their fifties and even their sixties now. They're going to retire. This is not easy work. They continue to do the work, and I have employers who continue to beg them to come back and will pay a lot more for their services because they can't find others to address their shortage.
Again, I go back to how many times bureaucrats and others see this as no-skill or low-skill work. Try to frame a house or try to frame a business or do some formwork. You've done bricklaying. It's not something that you just pick up in one day and start doing. You need the training to be able to do it as a skilled craftsperson, but also as somebody who wants to invest in that trade.
I don't think we're doing it really well here in Canada. Look at other places, at Europe, at Austria and Germany, etc. They will start you in the trades in your teens, at 17 and 18 and even earlier. You have kids who are 16 years old and already learning how to do this stuff, and they become artists. They are artists. Look at the work that's done here on Parliament Hill.
I just want to address something. When you were talking to Mr. Morrissey, you mentioned how sometimes we need to be on the ground with constituents or stakeholders or that type of thing, and I would actually argue that we should be doing that all the time, every time we are in our riding.
I think if we did a lot more of that, or more members of Parliament did that, we would see how legislation like Bill is actually very detrimental to a lot of the ridings in Canada, coast to coast; it doesn't matter where. I think being able to see the work that is done and what Canadians are doing and how they're putting food on their table.... For example, the oil industry uses tons of different trades.
It's interesting for me...and we've discussed this before in this committee, when we studied youth employment. Being younger, I do fall in the millennial generation, and where I'm from, going into the trades is encouraged, because they are high-paying jobs. Kids are encouraged to get a job at a shop sweeping floors, which turns into something else, whether it's mechanics or welding or carpentry, whatever it is. That's encouraged where I am, in my part and region of Canada.
The second thing I want to touch on is that you made mention of destigmatizing the trades, and it's been talked about a couple of times. How do we change the perception and destigmatize the trades, when your leader, the , makes a comment about a gender-based analysis for rural construction workers? How does that help promote women, promote men, young boys, whoever it is, into those trades, when they hear comments like that from the top of the country, the leader of the country saying things like that? I've had many constituents contact me, very upset and offended by that statement, because that's not who they are. These are construction workers who are going into places like rural Saskatchewan or Manitoba and working on roads, or doing infrastructure on bridges or ferries or whatever it is.
I'm just wondering how we destigmatize that, when it's coming from the top of the top in Ottawa.
Welcome back, everybody.
To continue today, we've been joined by department officials. First, from the Department of Employment and Social Development we have Elisha Ram, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Skills and Employment Branch. Welcome.
We also have Stephen Johnson, Director General, Labour Market Information Directorate. Welcome, sir.
And we have Steven West, Director, Sector Policy Division. Welcome.
Also, from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, we have Natasha Kim, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy; and David Cashaback, Director General, Immigration Branch.
Welcome to all of you. Each department will get 10 minutes for opening remarks. We'll start with ESDC.
Who is going to take the lead?
Mr. Ram, go ahead, it's all yours.
Good morning, everyone.
I would like to begin by thanking the members of the standing committee for inviting me to speak today.
I would also like to acknowledge that we are gathered here today on traditional, unceded Algonquin territory.
As the associate assistant deputy minister at Employment and Social Development Canada, I welcome the opportunity to participate in your study of the challenges facing the construction industry in the Greater Toronto Area and in Hamilton, in accessing skilled labour.
The study comes at a significant time for the Canadian labour market. As you've heard, unemployment is at an all-time low in many regions in the country. This has led many sectors, including the construction industry in the greater Toronto area and in Hamilton, as well as in other regions, such as northeastern Alberta and the Lower Mainland in British Columbia, to experience a variety of labour market challenges.
The Department of Employment and Social Development Canada has a wide array of programs and other supports available to address workforce shortages and other skills challenges and ensure the development of a strong and inclusive labour force. These resources support Canadian workers to gain the skills and experience they need to succeed, while also supporting employers who are seeking to access, develop and retain the labour force they require to grow their businesses.
One key area of skills development programming is apprenticeships. This is a proven model for transitioning workers into well-paying jobs in the skilled trades, including in the construction industry in the GTA and in Hamilton.
In recent years, the Department of Employment and Social Development has introduced several new apprenticeship programs to encourage Canadians to explore training and apprenticeship opportunities and to support innovation and training for the skilled trades.
As an example, ESDC supports union-based apprenticeship training innovation and enhanced partnerships in Red Seal trades through the union training and innovation program. The program provides funding to unions to share the cost of training equipment. The key component to the program is to support under-represented groups, with a goal of helping more Canadians to find rewarding and well-paying careers in the skilled trades.
As well, a new pre-apprenticeship program was introduced recently to encourage Canadians to explore and prepare for careers in the skilled trades. The program includes support for individuals from under-represented groups who are interested in attaining careers in the skilled trades. It can include young people, people from indigenous communities, new immigrants, women, and other under-represented groups.
Mr. Chair, a strong labour force depends on a job market where both men and women have a real and fair chance of success. Advancing gender equality and diversity in workplaces is not just good for women; it's good for all Canadians. While the share of women in the skilled trades has almost doubled over the past 40 years, there is more that can be done to close the gender gaps, and in turn help increase the supply of qualified labour, including in the trades.
The new women in construction fund supports projects building on existing models that have proven to be effective in attracting women to the trades. These models provide aid such as mentoring, coaching and tailored supports that help women progress through the training and find and retain jobs in the trades.
The quality of labour market opportunities for women is as important as the quantity. The apprenticeship incentive grant for women is a new grant that supports women to enter, progress and complete their training in Red Seal trades where women are traditionally under-represented and which are typically higher-paying.
Providing opportunities for workplace experience is an important part of our efforts, as work experience is critical to a successful transition for youth from school to work.
In addition to the programs designed to attract new workers, the Government of Canada provides a variety of supports to apprentices in the skilled trades along the way. Apprentices, for example, can receive grants and loans during a four-year apprenticeship program in Red Seal trades. They are eligible for various tax credits, and they can receive employment insurance benefits during the in-school training portion of the apprenticeship.
The Government of Canada recognizes also that employers are a crucial part of the equation. The apprenticeship job creation tax credit gives employers a credit for each apprentice they hire in eligible trades in the first two years of their apprenticeship programs.
Newcomers to Canada are another source of potential labour for the construction industry, and we are working with partners to facilitate the integration of skilled newcomers into the Canadian labour market. For example, in the GTA, we work with organizations such as the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council and the Centre for Education & Training. In collaboration with these stakeholders, we help simplify the foreign credential recognition process, provide direct service supports and micro-loans to cover the foreign credential recognition expenses of newcomers, and support them in gaining their first Canadian work experience.
I'd also like to say a few words about temporary workers, about whom we've already heard a little bit today. In situations where qualified Canadians and permanent residents are not available to fill jobs and labour shortages persist, the temporary foreign worker program is also available as a program of last resort to help employers, including in the construction sector, to address their genuine labour requirements.
Through this program, employers can seek to hire qualified foreign workers on a short-term basis when Canadians and permanent residents are not available.
Members of the committee may recall that as part of the government's response to the committee's 2016 report on the temporary foreign worker program, ESDC announced in April 2017 that it would work with industries that are heavy users of the temporary foreign worker program to review labour needs and identify appropriate workforce development strategies. One of the industries identified for this review was the construction industry.
In following up on the commitment, ESDC held a series of round tables with the construction sector in February and March of last year. Through these discussions, the participants identified several key challenges for the industry, including the recruitment of workers, the image of the industry, a lack of labour mobility, and the inability to share scheduling and planning of projects within the industry.
There are also opportunities for employers to enhance their efforts to recruit workers from traditionally under-represented groups, including women, indigenous people, youth and recent immigrants, among others. Many employers in the GTA and surrounding areas have been working to modernize their recruitment techniques to capture the attention of young people. They have also implemented sensitivity training to make their workplaces more attractive to women and other under-represented groups. This is a great start, but even more can be done and should be done. This is a win-win scenario. Employers will be able to access workers and grow their businesses, while more Canadians will gain well-paid jobs and experience that will serve them well in their working lives.
In addition to apprenticeships and temporary solutions, the department also works with parties, such as provinces, territories and industry, to make investment in skills training so that more Canadians are able to participate in the labour market. Each year, the government invests over $2 billion through the labour market development agreements with the provinces and territories to support Canadians with skills training and employment support that is funded through employment insurance. Under these agreements, employment benefits enable eligible participants to gain skills and work experience. These agreements also support the provision of employment services assistance for all Canadians, which helps them in searching and preparing for jobs so that they can fulfill their potential.
The government has negotiated new workforce development agreements with most provinces and territories that enable them to provide employment assistance and skills training to respond to the diverse needs of their respective clients.
Having access to timely and accurate labour market information is another tool to help industries, including the construction sector in the Greater Toronto Area and in Hamilton, address labour shortages.
Through the sectorial initiatives program, Employment and Social Development Canada has supported sectoral organizations to produce industry-validated labour market information, including labour forecasts in the construction industry.
These forecasts help the construction industry identify the nature and scope of labour shortages. They consider factors such as the current labour supply and demand, the gender gap and population growth. This information has been used widely by employers, unions, sector organizations and various levels of government to help tailor programming and develop strategies.
In conclusion, ESDC is taking the labour issue in the construction industry very seriously and welcomes the study. Real change requires partnership between governments, businesses, unions, non-governmental organizations and civil society. There remains an opportunity for all of us to continue to work in partnerships to support Canadian industries and workers.
Thank you again for the opportunity to appear with you today. I and my colleagues will be pleased to answer your questions.
Thank you, Mr. Chair, for inviting IRCC to speak to the committee as part of the committee's study.
With an aging population that is contributing to more workers leaving the workforce every year than entering it, immigration will be a key source for population and labour force growth in the coming years. It will account for up to 80% of labour force growth by 2031.
At IRCC, we've certainly heard from many sectors about the challenges they're facing in terms of meeting the need for skilled labour to grow their businesses, improve exports and create more jobs. In addition to strategies for enhancing the participation of the domestic workforce, IRCC does recognize that new immigration will be an important component to meeting this need.
This is why the government's multi-year levels plan, which sets the number of permanent residents that Canada will accept every year, plans for year-over-year growth, with up to 350,000 new permanent resident admissions by 2021.
In addition to meeting Canada's commitments to family reunification and our humanitarian obligations, a key part of our levels plan is the emphasis it places on economic immigration. Nearly 60% of the 2019-21 multi-year levels plan is devoted to immigrants in the economic stream. The number of planned economic immigrants has grown almost 20% over the last three years.
Ontario, and in particular the GTA and the GTHA, receives the greatest share of permanent immigration overall, across all of these categories. In 2018, Toronto alone received over 106,000 new permanent residents, or about one third of all permanent resident admissions last year. Over 61,000—or about 60%—of these were permanent residents in the economic category. In addition to permanent residents, over 70,000 work permits were issued to migrant workers destined to Toronto in 2018 to work on a temporary basis.
Against that backdrop, I'd like to turn to an overview of some of our permanent economic immigration programs that may be of interest to this committee.
First, I understand the committee is interested in the Atlantic immigration pilot or, as we call it, AIP, and whether the lessons we're learning there could be applied to the greater Toronto and Hamilton area.
The AIP was launched in 2017 and seeks to address particular demographic challenges that have been faced in the Atlantic region. This included the challenge of attracting and retaining immigrants to that region. Prior to the launch of the pilot, retention of immigrants in the Atlantic provinces was the lowest nationwide. It ranged from 16% to 68%, compared to the national average of 86% or the 91% retention rate in Ontario.
Therefore, a key focus of the pilot has been how to integrate newcomers early on in the process. This includes requiring every applicant to have, in addition to a job offer, an individualized settlement plan and the endorsement of their province. While the pilot is employer-driven, in the sense of employers being the ones to identify and recruit candidates who can permanently fill jobs in the region, employers are also required to play a stronger role in the settlement and integration of recruited workers and their families in the Atlantic region.
It's important to note that, in comparison, Ontario does not face the same challenges in attracting and retaining immigrants as the Atlantic region. As noted earlier, it receives the most new immigrants on a yearly basis, has a retention rate of over 90%, and also receives secondary migration from other provinces.
However, there are other existing economic immigration programs that can help respond to labour needs and may be of interest to the committee. In the brief time I have available, I'll talk about just two.
First, there are our federal express entry programs, which can meet the need for skilled workers in the construction industry at the national occupational code or NOC levels O, A and B. This includes construction managers and supervisors, carpenters, masonry workers and welders, as well as those in the electrical trades. Under our federal skilled trades program, we have targeted draws for skilled trade workers under express entry. Using express entry, we provide points. Points are given for job offers where they are available, as well as for Canadian work or study experience. That allows more temporary foreign workers who are already here to then transition to permanent residents.
The second program I'll highlight is the provincial nominee program, which allows provinces and territories to address labour market needs, such as those in construction, that are more regional than national in nature. While our federal programs often seek to balance needs across the country and in different parts of our economy, the provincial nominee program enables provinces and territories to develop their own streams that are more employer-driven in order to address needs in the in-demand sectors and occupations.
For example, in 2017, Ontario introduced an in-demand skills stream to allow workers with permanent job offers in high-demand occupations, including those in the construction sector, to become permanent residents. Ontario also has a skilled worker stream that is available to workers with at least one year of cumulative paid full-time work experience in a skilled trade. This includes those in the industrial, electrical and construction trades, as well as in the maintenance and equipment operations trades.
In closing, Mr. Chair, I think it's important to note that unlike the temporary foreign worker program or temporary immigration, which are focused primarily on filling a certain job vacancy, permanent economic immigration does take a broader perspective. This means that, in addition to responding to labour market needs that may be present, we also look at indicators of an economic immigrant's ability to establish and adapt to a changing economy in the longer term. This often means looking at such attributes as language ability, education and work experience, and it often also includes their ability to have full-time year-long employment rather than seasonal work.
Those are some considerations that we take into account when we think about permanent economic immigration as opposed to filling job vacancies on a temporary basis.
Thank you, Mr. Chair. If there are any questions, we're happy to answer them.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I appreciate the department's being here to address some of these issues. Certainly your comments have highlighted many of the things we have seen over the last several years. We've undervalued a lot of these trades or jobs that are actually viable careers, well-paying careers, and this is something that not only impacts the GTA but goes across Canada.
I was surprised by that number, that one third of immigrants end up in Toronto. Obviously, they haven't seen the other beautiful parts of the country where their chances of getting a good job are even better. We'll address attracting some of those people to rural constituencies at another time, but I was surprised by the scope of that number. That's substantial, for sure.
I have a quick question before I get into some of the other issues you brought up. I am just curious. I know that in 2013 or 2014, when we were in government, there was a study done at this committee, I believe, showing that more than half of Canadians who go through an apprenticeship program don't actually finish it, for various reasons. We did put in some programs, including the apprenticeship loan program. I think it was $4,000 per term of study, and I know there are some other programs there as well.
Have some of those programs had an impact? I haven't seen updated numbers. Have they helped address some of the shortfall that we saw in Canadians finishing their apprenticeship programs?