Alberta Launches Skilled Trades Recruitment Drive in Atlantic Canada, Ontario


The Alberta government is planning to recruit more skilled workers from Ontario and the Maritimes, with a second “Alberta Is Calling” campaign launched on March 13.

In a news release, the government said labour shortages in the province are affecting skilled trades, health care, food service and hospitality, accounting, engineering, and technology.

The government said it wants to attract skilled workers who will “appreciate the high earnings, low taxes, and affordable lifestyle of Alberta.” Government ads, with a $4.95 million budget for 2022–23, also highlight the province’s lifestyle attractions, the Rocky Mountains, parks, hiking, skiing, and biking, as well as a “booming technology and innovation sector.”

The first campaign ran from Aug. 15 to Oct. 17, 2022, and was geared toward Toronto and Vancouver. The new phase of the campaign will run from March 13 to April 9 and target southern Ontario and Atlantic Canada with various ads via radio, audio streaming, billboards, online display, social media, and paid search engine marketing.

According to Brian Jean, minister of Alberta jobs, economy, and northern development who spoke at a press conference on March 13 in Canmore, the province has 100,000 vacancies for skilled workers.

“Almost every sector in Alberta needs people to fill jobs,” said Jean, adding Alberta has “no sales tax” and “the highest wages in the country.”

The restaurant industry in particular has close to 18,000 vacancies, according to the news release.

In the press release, Adam Legge, president of the Business Council of Alberta, said that since the summer of 2022, almost 70,000 new residents have moved to Alberta, “the largest inflow of people we have seen in two decades.”

The Alberta government indicated the province had the highest net interprovincial migration in Canada in the third quarter of 2022, at 19,285 individuals.

Ontario Labour Shortage

Ontario, meanwhile, may not appreciate the recruitment efforts, given that the province has stated it is suffering its own labour shortage with roughly 100,000 vacancies and more anticipated as an older population retires.

In an effort to attract more young people into skilled trades, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced March 10 that Ontario students will have to pass a course in technology or trades to graduate high school.

Effective for students entering grade nine in September 2024, a mandatory course in construction, transportation, manufacturing, computer technology, hospitality, or communication will be required.

The Ontario government stated it needs more workers, especially young women, in skilled trades. The majority of high school students graduating with a technological education course are male, according to the government.

The country’s labour force has been shrinking as baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 grow older and retire. According to Statistics Canada, more than 1.4 million Canadians were 55 or older at some point between 2016 and 2021, the Canadian Press reported on Dec. 12, 2022.

In 2021, one in five Canadians of working age were in the 55 to 64 age range, a record high in the history of the Canadian census.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.


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