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Newcomer Impact

Labour shortages across the electricity sector continue to dominate industry concerns and priorities for current-day operations. They are also critical to enable the transformation required to decarbonize legacy systems to achieve net-zero objectives and meet surging electricity demands.

Increasing demand due to societal shifts towards smart homes, smart cities, electric vehicles and more battery-powered devices have national and international studies forecasting Canada’s electricity requirements to be two to three times our current generation capacity.

As Canada’s electricity sector strives to fill critical labour gaps, its labour source is marked by a retirement rate that has escalated to 1.5x the national average at a time when the sector must both sustain and expand its workforce. In fact, 86% of workplace turnover is driven by retirements. This accelerated retirement rate, coupled with a low birth rate translate into a shrinking talent pool which creates a demographic shift, and significant industry talent management challenges.

One of the most effective ways to address the increasing severity of labour shortages is to tap into the rich reserve of foreign-trained newcomers. In November 2022, the federal government tabled its immigration plan, which would see Canada welcome 500,000 permanent residents a year by 2025.2 What’s more, Canada set an immigration record in 2022 with 430,000 new
permanent residents. Understanding newcomer perceptions — their top barriers to working in our sector, and the positive factors that inform career decisions is essential to recruiting and retaining this growing, skilled talent pool.

Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) is the leading source of labour market data and business intelligence for Canada’s electricity industry. This national newcomer’s survey is part of a series of ongoing research to enable evidence-based, informed and innovative workforce planning for Canada’s electricity sector.

Five electricity industry professionals standing over a hydroelectric dam