Canada’s Worker Shortage Opens Doors for International Students

If you have ever wanted to work and study in Canada, there has never been a better time!  Canada’s worker shortage means there are help wanted signs everywhere!  Learn more about what’s happening, why Canada needs workers, and how the government is planning to get them filled.  We’ll also share how Greystone College can help you find and secure jobs in Canada while you study at one of our beautiful campuses in Montréal, Toronto or Vancouver.

Help Wanted

Over the past year and a half, businesses, schools, cultural events, and other activities have mostly returned to normal. However, one critical thing has been missing, workers! For months, news stories have highlighted the struggle many businesses are having to find enough staff. The most recent update from Statistics Canada paints a picture of increasing job vacancies.

While this trend has been difficult for businesses, it’s great news for job seekers who are benefitting from a wider variety of opportunities and a competitive job market that could mean better wages and other incentives and job perks.  Many employers are pulling out all the stops to attract good staff.

For our Greystone College students, Canada’s worker shortage is fantastic news as it means they have an easier time finding both off-campus work and co-op and practicum placements related to their studies!

Young worker sits in front of a computer with his headphones around his neck. A colleague is beside him.

Canada’s Job Futures

So, what’s behind Canada’s worker shortage? During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers were temporarily laid off. During that time, some people re-trained for different jobs; they left gaps in specific industries like restaurant and hospitality jobs, retail and more.  You might think that this is where Canada’s job vacancies are coming from, but actually, there’s more to it than that. 

Canada has an aging population and almost 22% of its current working-age population is between the ages of 55-64 years old.  This group, known as the “Baby-boomers,” were born after World War II, and are starting to retire, leaving major gaps in many companies.

This trend is expected to continue for years.  At the same time, the number of babies born in Canada is not high enough to replace the existing population.  That’s why Canada has made immigration a top priority. To ensure that Canadian jobs get filled, Canada is planning to welcome a lot of immigrants in the coming years. As of 2021 about 23% of Canada’s population were or had ever been a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada.  By 2041, that number is projected to increase to between 29-34%!

Working in Canada as an international student is a great opportunity right now, but it also has the potential to be part of a long-term path to immigration to Canada through a post-graduate work permit-eligible learning pathway or other route.

Server in a high end restaurant sets one of the tables. Restaurants are struggling to find workers during Canada's worker shortage

Off-Campus Work Rights for International Students

In Canada, international students who take a college program that is 6 months or longer are usually granted the right to work off campus up to 20 hours per week during their studies and full-time during scheduled breaks.  The majority of our international students at Greystone College get to enjoy these work rights. Working off campus helps them pay for their living expenses or entertainment while they’re a student. For students who take a co-op or practicum program, they have the right to work 20 hours per week during both their academic studies, and during their co-op or practicum placement. In many cases, the co-op or practicum placement is also paid.

In very exciting news, the Canadian government recently announced a temporary change to off-campus work rights. The change allows international students to work over the 20-hour limit (and up to full-time) during their studies!  This change is in place from November 15, 2022 until December 31, 2023, for students who applied for a study permit on or before October 7, 2022, and is another measure designed to help fill Canada’s worker shortage.

Female student talks to potential employer at Greystone College Canada career fair - career fairs help students quickly get hired during Canada's Worker Shortage

Support from the Greystone College Team

So, now you know all about Canada’s current need for workers.  It’s easier than ever to find work, but for an international student, it’s still important to have support. International students have the extra challenge of integrating into a new city and learning the local Canadian work culture. 

That’s where our Greystone College Career Support Team come in.  Our knowledgeable team can help you refine your resume (otherwise known as curriculum vitae), give you interview practice, and point you in the direction of job opportunities.  We also provide a job board which is regularly updated with new job postings. Our career fairs, which happen twice a year, can connect you to a variety of employers and sometimes result in on-the-spot hiring!  We’re here to make your job search a success!

Are you interested in starting your work and study journey in Canada with Greystone College? Check out our Greystone College career programs on our website and reach out to us or to your local education agent to learn more or to apply – we’d love to see you here!


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