Canada is actively seeking occupational therapists to address a growing demand in the coming decade. With many job openings on the horizon, the Canadian government recognizes the role that international professionals can play in meeting these needs. The Express Entry system, overseen by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), recently expanded to focus on 82 specific job roles, including occupational therapists.
This modification in the Express Entry system provides a unique chance for international occupational therapists to migrate to Canada. Prior to this, the system emphasized immigration programs without concentrating on specific professions.
As the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) suggests, Canada anticipates a significant rise in the need for occupational therapists, foreseeing a shortage of about 1,500 professionals by 2031. The growing population, especially the elderly demographic, will play a significant role in boosting job openings in this sector.
For eligibility in the Express Entry occupation-focused draws, candidates should have a minimum of six months continuous work experience either in Canada or internationally within the last three years. This experience might come from roles undertaken as temporary foreign workers or as international students in Canada.
Occupational therapists, categorized under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021 system with the code 31203, in Canada design tailored programs for individuals affected by various challenges, from physical ailments and developmental issues to emotional or psychological conditions. Their primary aim is to enhance the patient’s capacity to function independently in daily life, including work and recreational activities.
Various provinces in Canada, such as Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, to name a few, have favorable job prospects for occupational therapists. Moreover, potential earnings for occupational therapists in Canada can reach up to $80,398 annually, with a median hourly wage of around $41.32, as indicated by the Job Bank.
The recent changes in the Express Entry streams, including the Federal Skilled Worker and Trades programs, have been tailored to be more adaptive to the labor market requirements. The intent is to aid employers facing workforce shortages and to bolster the French-speaking communities in Canada.
Canada’s decision to implement occupation-specific invitations through the Express Entry system last year marked a strategic shift in its immigration policies. This move was designed to make the system more adaptable and targeted. The majority of provinces in Canada had already been rolling out occupation-centric invitations for several years.
These decisions aren’t taken lightly. The immigration minister is mandated to engage in discussions with provinces, industries, and other stakeholders before introducing new categories. Furthermore, an annual report detailing the chosen categories and the rationale behind them must be presented to parliament by the IRCC.
The scope of occupations experiencing shortages saw a notable increase between 2019 and 2021. Moreover, skilled French-speaking admissions outside Quebec accounted for a significant portion of overall admissions in recent years.
For international occupational therapists looking to expand their horizons, Canada presents an excellent opportunity. With its proactive approach to filling workforce gaps and providing a welcoming environment for skilled professionals, the country stands out as an attractive destination.