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Canada expands residency program to construction workers

To help address Canada's housing crisis, the federal government is expanding a small-scale pilot project that offers permanent residency for out-of-status construction workers already working in the sector here.

On Friday, the government said it will double the annual number of spots available in the program from 500 workers, plus their family members, to 1,000, as part of its plan to ease labor shortages in skilled trades.

Prospective applicants must first identify themselves to the Canadian Labour Congress, which shortlists and refers qualified candidates for final assessment by the immigration department. Eligible candidates have until January 2, 2024 to apply.

"This pilot program is an important step forward in addressing critical labour shortages in the Greater Toronto Area by supporting stability in the construction industry and bringing workers out of the underground economy," Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said in a statement.

"By providing regular pathways for immigrants without status, we are not only protecting workers and their families, but also safeguarding Canada's labour market and ensuring we can retain the skilled workers we need to grow our economy and build our communities."

In Ontario, the construction sector had 28,360 jobs waiting to be filled in the second quarter of last year, up from 20,895 in the same period in 2021.

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