TORONTO - Ontario is set to double the number of economic immigrants it welcomes to the province under an agreement with the federal government to boost the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.
The federal and provincial immigration ministers are announcing today that the province will have more than 18,000 spots under the program in 2025.
Ontario Labour and Immigration Minister Monte McNaughton called for the doubling in 2021 when the province was allowed to bring in 9,000 people under that program.
The new agreement will see Ontario go from 9,750 immigrants under the program in 2022 to welcoming 16,500 in 2023, more than 17,000 in 2024, and more than 18,000 in 2025.
The Ford government says people brought in through last year's allocation included 3,900 skilled trades workers, 2,200 software and IT workers, 1,000 truck drivers and more than 100 nurses and personal support workers.
McNaughton says the number of health-care workers in particular will change drastically.
"It's no secret that we're faced with historic labour shortages," he said in an interview.
"I'm going to prioritize, going forward, health-care workers and skilled trades workers as the two groups that we're really going to work to recruit to Ontario to fill labour shortages."
McNaughton said Ontario has already put measures in place to prepare for a hoped influx under this program, including removing Canadian work experience requirements, giving newcomers more access to training programs and working to approve applications on average within 90 days.
"It's about ensuring that we have all hands on deck to fill labour shortages, set people up for success and grow our economy."
Federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said this year's annual immigration levels plan was the "most ambitious" in Canada's history.
"The need to attract talent that will both meet the demands of the labour market in the short term and attract the talent to position Canada for success in the long term was a top priority," he said in a statement.
"This increase will help ensure Ontario's growth in key sectors like home building and health care, while also distributing the benefits of immigration to every region of the country."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2023.