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Canada Certified Skilled Trades Workers Out-Earn Other Immigrants, Study Says

By cvf, 08/30/2023


Immigrants who get certified in a skilled trade within a few years of arriving in Canada make more money than other newcomers, including those who go and get a college or university education, a Statistics Canada study reveals.

“Seven years after admission in Canada, these certified journeypersons had the lowest rates of low-income status,” noted the researchers.

“They earned almost $20,000 more than those who did not complete Canadian post-secondary education and $13,200 more than those who completed other post-secondary education.

In an Education, Learning And Training: Research Paper Series report entitled Post-Migration Education Of Immigrants Admitted In 2010 And 2011: The Impact Of Completing Skilled Trades Training In Canada On Economic Outcomes, Statistics Canada’s Hyeongsuk Jin and Amanda Kopp examined the work and earning outcomes of 1,180 immigrant journeymen.

“Most economic principal applicants who certified in the skilled trades received one certificate of qualification, certified within the first three years of admission and certified as trade qualifiers,” noted the researchers.


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“Construction and industrial electricians were the most popular trades for these certified journeypersons, and more than 30 per cent certified in these trades.”

These immigrants in the skilled trades were overwhelmingly men, 91.9 per cent, and they tended to get certified and live in Quebec, Ontario or Alberta.

In Canada, the skilled trades workforce is aging with 23.1 per cent of these workers aged 55 or older in 2021 and so immigration is likely to play a key role in addressing some of these labour shortages.

In its entirety, the study examined 77,425 principal applicants of Canada’s economic immigration streams who became permanent residents in 2010 and 2011.


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Seven years after admission, 16.7 per cent had completed post-secondary education in Canada, while only 1.4 per cent, the 1,180, had received a certificate of qualification in the skilled trades. Women represented just 12.1 per cent of certificates for the skilled trades among these immigrants in 2019.

In their study, the researchers found the immigrants who pursued careers in the trades tended to be four years older than the average Canadian doing the same thing and much more likely to simply challenge the qualification exam to get certified rather than take a formal vocational training, apprenticeship program.

Jin and Kopp suggest in their report that this is most likely because these immigrant workers already have experience as skilled tradespeople prior to their arrival in Canada.

Challenging The Qualification Exam Is The Most Likely Route To Trades Certification For Immigrants

“There are two pathways to becoming a journeyperson in the skilled trades in Canada,” the researchers explain. “The first pathway is the completion of formal vocational training through apprenticeship programs. The second pathway is by challenging the qualification exam without completing formal training.

“Each year, about one-quarter of newly-certified journeypersons in Canada are trade qualifiers.”

Not so for these immigrant journeymen. Roughly two-thirds of them, 66.5 per cent, were trade qualifiers who became journeymen within the first two years of their arrival in the country.

Through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) operated Express Entry system’s Federal Skilled Trades (FST) immigration program, skilled tradespeople from other countries can get permanent residence here.

Under the FST, the following jobs, as categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system, qualify:

  • Major Group 72, technical trades and transportation officers and controllers, excluding Sub-Major Group 726, transportation officers and controllers;
  • Major Group 73, general trades;
  • Major Group 82, supervisors in natural resources, agriculture and related production;
  • Major Group 83, occupations in natural resources and related production;
  • Major Group 92, processing, manufacturing and utilities supervisors, and utilities operators and controllers;
  • Major Group 93, central control and process operators and aircraft assembly assemblers and inspectors, excluding Sub-Major Group 932, aircraft assemblers and aircraft assembly inspectors;
  • Minor Group 6320, cooks, butchers and bakers, and;
  • Unit Group 62200, chefs.

Candidates under the FST are required to have Canadian Language Benchmark 5 for speaking and listening, and level 4 for reading and writing in either English or French.

They must also have at least two years or full-time work experience, or an equal amount of part-time work experience, in a skilled trade within the last five years. That work experience only counts after the candidate is qualified to independently practice the occupation.

A valid job offer of full-time employment lasting at least one year, or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority is a key part of the eligibility requirements but there is no formal educational requirement under the FST.

Candidates must show they have the required funds to settle in Canada.

The post Canada Certified Skilled Trades Workers Out-Earn Other Immigrants, Study Says appeared first on Canada Immigration and Visa Information. Canadian Immigration Services and Free Online Evaluation..

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