Large Spike in Number of U.S. Residents Working in Canada, With More to Come - 04 November 2016
Canada issued 53.8 percent more work permits to U.S. residents through the first eight months of 2016 than for the same period last year, with many analysts pointing to the relatively calm political climate north of the border as a reason why more U.S. residents are working in Canada.
Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump has called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NATFA) with Canada and Mexico one of the worst trade deals ever mad and blames it for U.S.-based manufacturing jobs being moved abroad, particularly to Mexico.
That same deal, however, also allows U.S. residents in certain occupations, as well as individuals working with a company that has a Canadian office or affiliate, easier access to Canadian work permits.
For her part, Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton has offered a more nuanced approach, saying she would seek to re-evaluate NAFTA if elected.
More workers to come
The trickle may become a flood if the latest job search trends are anything to go by. According to numbers from Monster, one of the most visited employment and job search websites in the U.S. and around the world, there were more than 30,000 job searches using the keyword "Canada" from January to October of this year. That dwarfs the figure for the whole of 2015, when there were fewer than 20,000 searches using that term.
Ontario was the most popular province for U.S.-based workers to look for jobs, followed by Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick. Engineering roles are the most-searched positions, followed by Information Technology and Accounting jobs.
Speaking on Canada's CTV News Channel earlier this week Sheryl Boswell, Monster Canada's director of marketing, says there is no way to know for certain why Americans are suddenly so interested in working in Canada, but that the timing with the election may well be a factor. Boswell added that the jump in Canada-related search terms is "very significant," when compared to numbers from 2015.
Students also on the move to Canada
Canadian government data also showed that the number of study permits for students looking to attend Canadian schools jumped in the first quarter to 42,737, up 42 percent from a year earlier for the same period. The increase was even more remarkable in the second quarter, when study permit applications jumped 63 percent, to 56,329. Many of these applicants are believed to be from the U.S., with students not only put off by political rhetoric in that country, but also attracted by the idea of studying in Canada — the range of quality universities and colleges, as well as a weak Canadian dollar, can be considered pull factors.
In a survey conducted by FPP EDU Media and International Education Advantage LLC last winter, 60 percent of potential international students in the U.S. said they would be less likely to study in the United States if Trump was elected. Latin American students were especially concerned, and nearly 80 percent of Mexican students surveyed said they would be less likely to study in the country if Trump was president.
"Canada is a very attractive destination. It's tolerant, it's very diverse which is appealing to international students, it's stable, it's safe," said Richard Levin, executive director of enrollment services at the University of Toronto.