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Labor shortages in the Canadian residential construction sector can be addressed through changes in the nation’s immigration programs, according to new research from The Conference Board of Canada done in collaboration with the Canadian Real Estate Association, British Columbia Real Estate Association and Ontario Real Estate Association.

According to the Canadian government, 3.5 million units need to be added to the country’s housing supply by 2030. The new research report observed that Canada’s immigration system gives privileges to immigrants with high levels of education and excellent skills in Canada’s official languages, while many people skilled in the residential construction are not prioritized for permanent residence.

“Construction of new homes is critical to addressing housing affordability and availability in Canada, but persistent labor shortages is one of the obstacles slowing progress,” said Stefan Fournier, executive director at The Conference Board of Canada. “Allocating a small number of immigration places within the existing Immigration Levels Plan to occupations that are core to residential construction could mitigate labor shortages and advance the building of new homes.”