Board of trade pushing language training for new Canadians to enter labour force

The Burnaby Board of Trade says it’s lobbying its provincial and national counterparts to join its push for more federal funding for language training for new Canadians entering the labour force.

The push comes as businesses in Burnaby, and B.C. more broadly, grapples with a labour shortage, and in a statement, the board said it sees immigration as a “key part of our workforce mix.”

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“That’s why the BBoT is advocating to the federal government for more funding for language training supports for newcomers to help them more quickly integrate into the workforce,” reads the board’s statement.

The board added it’s asked the B.C. and Canadian chambers of commerce to endorse the position, and said it will be engaging the new government to “push for greater investment in this area.”

“To address ongoing labour shortages, businesses need to be able to deepen their potential labour pools, and immigration represents an integral solution to our economy’s labour needs,” the board said.

“Newcomers bring new ideas, fresh perspectives and willing labour to our workforce, and it is in the interest of both businesses and newcomers to support their quick integration into the labour market.”

But the board says long wait lists and “inadequate” training through the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program has “undermined” newcomers’ ability to join the labour force. And for women, who are still often the primary caregivers for children, there are even more barriers, the board says.

“While the LINC program does offer some funding for childminding, it is limited to only certain service providers and also faces long wait times,” the board said.

“In alignment with our effort to support women in all facets of business, the BBoT has also called on the government to prioritize more dedicated funding for childminding services as part of the LINC program.”

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