Dire need seen for building trades
Canada will require 250,000 workers over next decade, report says
Jun 03, 2008 04:30 AM
Canada needs at least an additional 250,000 construction workers over the next eight years to keep pace with new projects and replenish an aging workforce, an industry report says.
Canada-wide, employment in the industry has increased by a record 39 per cent over the last five years, but that influx won't be enough, said the report.
Undoubtedly the concern is over rising labour costs due to the diminished supply of available labour. So, if you want to control rising labour costs you flood the market. Such is the motive behind private sector support for mass immigration. The trades and other unionized work want to restrict labour market access to maintain high wage regimes. This is one of the reasons why getting a unionized job and even a job in the trades is made all the more difficult. It is also one of the reasons why professional organizations throw around the vacuous "Canadian experience" requirement for all immigrants. It's meant to protect them from the negative financial consequences of mass immigration without having to vocally oppose mass immigration and suffer equally vacuous accusations of racism.
Be that as it may, if Canada needs to fill 250,000 construction jobs how much help can Canada get from its number 1 and number 2 source countries for immigrants: India and China respectively? I say little to none. My answer is based primarily on observation and exposure to the cultural snobbery these two immigrant groups have for the trades and other "working class" jobs. A recent CTV report offers further insight.
Toronto police have tough time recruiting Asians
Updated Sun. May. 25 2008 8:51 AM ET
Sandie Benitah, ctvtoronto.ca
Since the 1980s, Toronto police have been making a concerted effort to reach out to the city's ethnic communities by forming relationships with residents and by trying to get them involved with the police service.
More than 20 years after he joined the force, Yuen said he still sees how hard it is to engage members of the Asian community.
The police have a less than honourable reputation in China. The stereotype is that the profession tends to attract people who are uneducated and unmotivated to move past their working class stature.
Moreover, police officers are often seen as being corrupt, taking advantage of a stringent regime to exert excessive power over the people.
Despite the advancements the police have made in reaching out, a lot of the old stereotypes about police still hold true for traditional Chinese families living in Toronto.
Karen Sun, the executive director of the Toronto chapter of the Chinese Canadian National Council, said for some parents, becoming a police officer is as prestigious a job as becoming a plumber.
"It's a class issue," she said. "Not that policing is bad but we want our children to have good professional jobs. (Policing) is seen more as being a lower status kind of job."
In China, education equals stature in society said Sun.
"It could be a very well paying job and police officers can have a good career but there is a perception that you don't have to have a university education," she said. "You won't encourage your kid to become a plumber, even though they can make a good living."
Instead, most Chinese parents will push their children into professions in medicine, law or engineering.
Am I the only one who finds it funny that the Chinese community here has the audacity to accuse the police of corruption? I guess getting arrested and charged with piracy and counterfeiting does leave a bad taste in one's mouth.
Many of the looming job shortages Canada faces in the future may be considered a "lower class kinda job" as if plumbers and police officers do not make good money. If Chinese immigrants are averse to these kinds of "lower class jobs" then why do we allow so many Chinese immigrants into the country? There is a doctor shortage but mass immigration is partially to blame for that. As for engineers and lawyers, well, Canada does have enough of those.
It is not only the Chinese, I have found, who harbour this kind of class prejudice. I have encountered much the same in the South Asian community as well where much of the immigrants are upper caste Indians, which is to say upper class Indians. If you need visual proof then visit any construction job site at random and see how many Asian or South Asian construction workers you can find. Better still, just look for a plumber in the phone book. To their credit South Asian immigrants are more accepting of "blue collar" work as opposed to their Asian counter parts but not so much as to allow in so many immigrants from India.
The point I am trying to make here is that Canada is accepting too many of the wrong kinds of immigrants aside from accepting too many immigrants in general. If Chinese immigrants and, to a lesser extent, South Asian immigrants are averse to filling the "lower class kinda jobs" that Canada imported them to fill in the first place then we shouldn't be importing so many of them. There should be a shift to nations that do produce the immigrants who will take these jobs. Of course this will inevitably shift focus away from Asia and we can't have that. Canada belongs to Asia after all.
The more appropriate and just solution is to look domestically for a solution and the Star article suggests this.
The construction council said retaining older employees while encouraging new people to join trades is one way to stem the flow.
The council also wants to see an increase in the number of temporary foreign workers, as well as a focus on recruiting Canadian women and aboriginal people.
"Attracting young people to start their careers in construction will be an increasingly hard sell" as the population gets older, said the report.
When the building industry started to recover in 1996, it drew workers largely from the unemployed ranks and from veteran workers who had left the industry during the early '90s, said the council.
There are plenty of unemployed Ontarians due to the decline in the provinces manufacturing sector providing a ready pool of labour that can be trained right now, not tomorrow regardless of age. This is the right thing to do. We need to look to ourselves before we turn to immigration. Otherwise immigration just becomes an attack on Canadian livelihoods.
Besides, why show favouritism to a community of nationals who will most likely leave the country after obtaining citizenship. Given the Asian community's insincere commitment to this country Canada needs to rethink Asian immigration altogether.
This is probably why the Chinese community opposed Bill C-50. It's a communal acknowledgment that Canada doesn't need so much Chinese immigration and such immigration only serves the needs of the Chinese community and not the needs of Canada as a whole. If Canada adopted a pragmatic approach, an approach Bill C-50 has to potential of adopting, then I am certain Asian immigration would decline.