New Jobless Figures Should Drive The Last Nail Into Immigration’s Coffin


On Friday, February 6, Statistics Canada reported that Canada had lost 129,000 jobs in January. The big question all Canadians should be asking is this: What sense does it make for Canada to continue to bring in 250,000 regular immigrants each year and to allow an additional 200,000 temporary foreign workers to work here when unemployment in our own population continues to rise? As some Canadians know, Canada has the highest net per capita immigration intake of any country in the world. If Ottawa applies the most elementary logic, the Stats Can news should be all the evidence that MP's of all stripes need to drive the last nail into high immigration's coffin.

Undoubtedly, Canada's immigration industry will find excuses to maintain Canada's high immigration levels. But even the most gullible Canadians should now be demanding a dramatic cut to immigration. If politicians at all levels do nothing to fulfill their moral responsibility to this country's unemployed, then those politicians are abdicating their primary responsibility and deserve immediate censure from Canada's unemployed and the rest of the population.

Engineers Canada, the national organization of provincial and territorial associations of engineers, has recently completed one phase of a labour market study which adds further evidence to the argument that Canada can satisfy most of its labour needs within the country. Engineers Canada partnered with the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists to do this study.

Here is a summary of findings of recent labour market research entitled “Engineering And Technology Labour Market Study” . The research was done by Engineers Canada. We have provided “Editor's Notes”. Paul Martin, a professional engineer and a former board member of the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, an engineering advocacy group, has contributed substantially to these notes.

The following three points are findings which Engineers Canada has extracted from Canada's 2006 Census.

(1) “Two thirds of persons with a Canadian university degree in engineering were employed outside engineering occupations. For those who obtained their degree outside of Canada, the proportion was over 80%.”

EDITOR'S NOTE : These startling figures indicate a serious over-supply problem. As of 2008, Canada had more than 160,000 licensed professional engineers, and a great many more engineers without licenses. Here is an example of how over-supply occurred:

The Engineers Canada study cites Stats Can figures which show that in 2001, 15,863 immigrant engineers entered Canada. In the same year, Canadian universities graduated 8733 engineers.

This total of 24,596 engineers could not be absorbed by the labour market. The Engineers Canada study comments: “It is not surprising that in these circumstances both recent immigrants and many recent graduates in Ontario experienced considerable difficulty in finding employment commensurate with their training.” Furthermore, 2006 Census data indicate that there was already a surplus of Canadian-educated engineers relative to the needs of the labour market! This surplus, not “credential recognition”, is the issue that the federal and provincial governments should be dealing with. Canada's primary responsibility is to the engineers it has educated, yet Ottawa and the provinces act as if their duty is to supply employment for engineers and other skilled workers from everywhere.

(2) “Individuals who obtained their engineering degrees outside Canada accounted for approximately 20% of all employment in engineering occupations. For technicians and technologists, the proportion was 6%, although this excludes persons in technology occupations who have non-Canadian educational qualifications in a field other than engineering or technology (e.g. general science).”

EDITOR'S NOTE : This quotation may shock many. They will be further shocked to read another part of the report which says that around 45% of all of the engineers in Canada are immigrant engineers. The Engineers Canada report further states that “The (2006) Census data also strongly suggest that a significant number of persons with a university degree in engineering were working in occupations for which they were over-qualified.”

Again, the point to be made is that federal immigration policy has created a situation where Canada has imported a large number of engineers (and other skilled workers) that it does not need. This has occurred because MP's and others have assumed that Canada should collect all the engineers it can find and that it can find employment for them. The point is that there are limits to the ability of Canada's economy to absorb engineers or any other skilled group. In the desperate search for immigrant votes and in the face of threats from Canada's immigration industry to maintain high immigration, MP's have blamed this surplus problem on provincial certification agencies. The truth is that MP's are the ones who created this problem and it is high time that they take responsibility for their actions.

(3) “Approximately 30% of persons classified by the Census as working in engineering occupations were not university engineering graduates. The proportion is high and warrants consideration by regulatory bodies.”

EDITOR'S NOTE : This should be even more shocking. Ottawa and the provinces should take careful note of this point. Employers are working under exemptions to the licensure rules and are hiring non-engineers because they are cheaper. For far too long, both Ottawa and the provinces have acted as if their duty is to pressure regulatory bodies to approve the credentials of immigrant engineers as quickly as possible. Often, this is done primarily so that Ottawa and others can dress themselves in superior moral status as the saviours of downtrodden immigrants. The point is that neither Ottawa nor the provinces give adequate consideration to whether immigrants who claim to be qualified are truly qualified. Which of these self-appointed “moral giants” will accept responsibility when innocent Canadians lose their lives as a result of the mistakes made by newly-certified immigrants?

The following are projections made by Engineers Canada :


(1) “DEMAND : Overall employment demand for engineers, technologists and technicians was expected to increase by 3.6% per year between now and 2010. The down-turn in the U.S. and its spill-over effects in Ontario and Quebec will bring this projection down. Survey data suggest that hiring will be weighted to technologists/technicians.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: When the down-turn prediction was made, the extent of the down-turn had not been anticipated. The additional large question that has
to be asked is this: With the loss of additional engineering jobs, can the supply of Canadian graduates satisfy most future demand for engineers?

(2) “SUPPLY” :

(a) “Graduates–Since 2002, new enrolments in engineering and technology have declined. ”

EDITOR'S NOTE: It is no co-incidence that the huge inflow of immigrant engineers in 2001 had a significant effect on engineer enrolments after 2001. As other countries such as Australia have noted, unnecessary high immigration of skilled workers often brings dim employment prospects to young people and discourages them from entering professions they have dreamed of entering. Once again, it should not have to be said that Canada's primary responsibility is to its own people and its immigration
policies should clearly state the government's commitment to that.

(b) “Immigration : Immigration of engineers peaked in 2001. In 2001 and 2002, more than two thirds of increases to supply in Ontario were derived from immigration and less than one-third from new graduates. Since 2001, owing to crowding in the Ontario labour market, there has been a decline of almost 70% in immigration of qualified engineers.”

(3) “Outlook” : Western Canada: significant excess demand ; Ontario: excess supply ; Quebec : better than Ontario, but will drift into excess supply ;
Atlantic : Excess demand conditions will abate by 2010.

EDITOR'S NOTE : Recent developments in the entire labour market have probably significantly diminished demand all across Canada.

(4) “Skill Requirements And The Nature Of Shortages” : “A serious skills shortage can, and often does, co-exist with serious unemployment.”

EDITOR'S NOTE : This statement may not seem to make sense. However, employers regard “skill shortages” and “labour shortages” as 2 different things. To employers, the word “skills” means both technical university training and non-technical qualities such as business/communication attributes. Therefore, the phrase “skills shortages” means the absence of people with this combination of qualities.

The phrase, “labour shortages” means an actual insufficiency of potential skilled workers. Employers may declare that “skills shortages” exist, but there may be no real shortage of job applicants with the formal educational qualifications needed. Therefore, employers mean that they are unable to recruit employees with the requisite combination of technical and non-technical qualities. Often, what employers really mean is that they are addicted to not having to train, develop and mentor their employees to the extent that they once did. It also means that employers hope the public will pick up the costs of educating Canadian engineers and also of permitting the immigration of vastly more engineers than the economy could possibly use!

Paul Martin's final Comment on the engineering labour issue will provide even more shock:

“While sitting on the steering committee for Engineers Canada's “From Consideration to Integration” project, I was appalled to repeatedly hear engineering referred to as “the new liberal arts education” by senior members of the engineering regulatory and university educational community. It would appear that these people no longer see engineering education as training for a profession, and hence feel no responsibility to ensure that we educate numbers of engineers even approximately matched to our labour market needs. While it is true that some people go into engineering in university with no intention of ever pursuing engineering as a career, I'm sure that a great many would turn tail and run to other programs if their dean came out with such a statement to them in their first year! The fact that less than 30% of Canadian graduates currently bother to go on to professional licensure, and that Ontario has for many years granted more licenses to foreign-trained engineers than to engineers who gained their education in Canada, should give any prospective student of engineering serious reason to reconsider their choice of the educational program they have enrolled in.”


The Engineers Canada report is entitled : Engineering and Technology Labour Market Study–The Results So Far : An Interim Report, November 2008

The report was funded by Human Resources and Development Canada (HRDC) as a part of phase III of Engineers Canada's “From Consideration to Integration” (FC2I) project.

It is available at the following link :>


Paul Martin has extensively researched the labour market for engineers. His work provides many valuable insights and is available at the following link