A warm welcome to the August issue of PerchPeek’s Canada Market Monthly update!
Here’s where you’ll find the hottest updates around employee relocation and international talent strategy, insights from our experts on housing and cost-of-living news affecting your staff, the latest trends in global mobility, and tips and tricks on ways to support your teams.
A fly-by summary
● Huge success for a campaign offering Canadian work permits to US H1-B holders, receiving 10,000 applications in just two days - what this means for GM leaders
● Average rental costs are still climbing, hitting a record high of $2,042 in June and up by +20% vs. two years ago - how to help relocating employees tackle the rental market
● Studying now permitted for Canada work permit holders, opening up long term career prospects for overseas talent - how GM leaders may benefit, and how to support staff
● Grocery costs in Canada have soared by 18% in two years, and while food inflation is slowing, prices remain very high - how to help relocating employees economise on food
A campaign to attract H1-B visa holders in the US to join the Canadian workforce has been a roaring success, with the quota of 10,000 applications filled in just two days! Here’s PerchPeek’s summary of the key facts, and what this means for Canada-based HR and GM professionals.
Background on new campaign
● Mass tech layoffs have impacted the nearly 600,000 H1-B visa holders in the US
● If laid off, H1-B holders must find work and be sponsored within 60 days, or leave the US
● Canadian government saw a chance to fill skills gaps and keep talent in North America
● A campaign was launched offering Canadian work permits to skilled H1-B visa holders
Huge demand for Canadian work permits
● The work permit was launched on 16th July, scheduled to remain in effect for one year
● However, the full quota of applications was reached in just two days!
● The work permit lasts for three years and allows family members to accompany holders
According to Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser in light of the demand:
“Tech workers watch very closely what opportunities exist for themselves. They are going to go where they are wanted.”
H1-B visa holders comprise some of the world's most talented and ambitious individuals, and this development proves that the race for talent remains highly competitive. Canada has seized an opportunity to bring in a wealth of expertise and innovation to their workforce, fill critical job vacancies and even create new companies that contribute significantly to the economy.
We’ve been seeing real difficulties around migrating to the US, despite a clear desire from both employers wishing to fill severe skills shortages and from skilled workers, judging by the fact that this year’s H1-B lottery received over 780,000 applications for just 85,000 spots!
Given Canada’s clear desire to bolster the economy by welcoming skilled foreign workers with open arms, those keen to relocate may increasingly make it their first choice and bypass the US, and the struggles involved in obtaining the right to live and work there, altogether.
Global mobility professionals should watch for new developments and initiatives in this area, and work to ensure that their compensation and relocation packages are competitive in order to increase chances of winning over the top talent keen to make a home in Canada!
As a People Leader supporting relocating employees, it’s important to be up-to-date on current rental prices and trends. That way, you can adjust relocation packages accordingly and manage expectations well from the outset. Here are the latest figures on the Canadian rental market!
Canadian rental market update
Key trends at a glance (source: PerchPeek and Rentals.ca):
● Average asking rents hit a record high of $2,042 in June 2023, up +7.5% YoY
● This is a +1.4% increase on May - the fastest MoM increase so far this year
● Over the past two years, average rents have risen by +20%, or on average $341
Breakdown by apartment type:
For province- or city-specific rental cost data, give PerchPeek a shout here!
In the news
● For the first time in the National Rent Report’s history, Toronto came third out of 35 cities for average rents in June, having been bumped out of second place by Burnaby, BC
● Vancouver remains the country’s most expensive rental market, with average rents of $3,301 and YoY increases of +15.4%, while Edmonton is the most affordable major city
● The Ontario government is capping rent increases for 2023 at 2.5%, rather than letting landlords use the Consumer Price Index as a baseline (currently 5.3%)
Rental prices have been steadily climbing since March, and it’s likely they’ll continue to do so through the summer months as we negotiate the busiest time of the year in relocation. As more people move during this period, rental prices can be pushed up further by increased demand.
To support relocating employees looking for a home, it’s crucial to manage expectations around costs and high competition from the start, and equip them with the tools they’ll need to stand out from the crowd. And when it comes to new leases, make sure employees are aware of their rights as tenants, particularly around caps on rent increases in light of the high cost of living!
Breaking barriers for relocating employees, Canada now allows work permit holders to study in the country without a separate study permit. Here we take a look at the details of the change and how this helps open up opportunities for foreign workers and the teams supporting them!
What was the law before?
● Previously, workers from overseas could only study in programs of six months or less
● Otherwise, they needed to obtain a study permit in addition to their work permit
● Foreign workers can study full time or part time while their work permits are valid or until the expiration of this policy, with no restrictions on the length of the program
● The new policy is now in place as of 27th June, for an initial three-year period
“With this policy in place, we hope to empower foreign nationals to improve their skills in order to meet their career goals and achieve their dreams, while providing a future potential source of talent for our labour market.
- Sean Fraser, Immigration Minister
Canadian immigration facts and figures
● According to the 2021 Census, more than 8.3 million people, or almost a quarter (23%) of the population, were a landed immigrant or permanent resident in Canada
● This is the highest proportion since Confederation in 1867, and the highest in the G7
● Based on Statistics Canada’s projections, if these trends continue, immigrants could represent 29% - 34% of the population of Canada by 2041
Canada is a country of immigration, and it’s very clear that the government is keen to continue improving career prospects and overall appeal for top talent from abroad. This new law opens doors for skill development and personal growth, and is bound to encourage settling long-term.
For global mobility leaders supporting relocating employees, this change not only simplifies the work permit process, but is very likely to promote employee satisfaction and strengthen Canada's lure as a potential destination for work and study. It also means that candidates from abroad are less likely to be such temporary hires, streamlining talent acquisition strategy!
To help relocating employees find and undertake study programs:
● Offer guidance on suitable study programs for the role, and reputable institutions
● Assist with study program applications and required documentation
● Provide financial guidance on any potential scholarships and grants
As in much of the Western world, grocery prices in Canada have skyrocketed since 2021, driving up living costs for the majority of households. Here we’re sharing the latest stats and top tips for helping relocating employees navigate this challenging landscape and cut costs on food.
According to the Royal Bank of Canada:
● Grocery costs have shot up by +18% over the last two years
● Year-over-year food inflation peaked at +10.4% in January 2023
● It has since fallen slightly, sitting at +8.4% YoY for the past three months
As the major factors behind the price hikes - adverse weather conditions, supply chain issues and geopolitical turmoil - have finally moderated, economists are hopeful that food inflation in Canada will continue to slow, but warn that prices will remain elevated for some time.
Cost of living shock factor for newcomers from overseas
To help your teams through cost of living challenges, especially those newly arrived in Canada, it’s important to manage their expectations around the cost of groceries and other essentials.
PerchPeek’s Canada experts note that this is especially the case for those from other parts of the world such as Europe and South Asia. The cost of living often comes as a shock to these movers, who are used to groceries being 20-30% cheaper than in their new Canadian home!
PerchPeek’s cost-saving tips and tricks
● Relocating employees should check out the low-cost brands from the big three Canadian food retailers: No Frills from Loblaws, Food Basics from Metro, and FreshCo from Sobeys. There are also over 400 Walmart stores in Canada, mainly in suburban areas.
● Many supermarkets offer rewards programs that offer members exclusive discounts. It’s also possible to link credit cards to some of these programs, and earn extra rewards.
● Some savvy shoppers have ‘couponing’ down to an art form! Encourage employees to make use of coupons to make great savings on their favourite go-to items.
● Costco (107 stores nationwide) and Wholesale Club (58 stores nationwide) can help shoppers build up savings by buying in bulk - note that membership fees apply, and of course that this is a more suitable option for those living outside major cities.
● Advise employees to buy produce currently in season, and check out the many budget meal recipes on sites like Allrecipes, Food Network, Delish and Epicurious.
We hope you enjoyed this month’s update!
If you have any feedback, comments or questions about what's happening in your location, feel free to reach out via the form at the bottom of this page.
Thanks for reading, and see you next month!
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