All the WOW events that I went to were great – WOW does give a sense of a community trying to improve its attraction and retention!

Caroline Andrew
Professor, University of Ottawa
The work and expertise that OLIP brings to our community is so important as it helps us to build bridges and break down silos.  I look forward to our continued work together. 

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa
Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country. WOW offers a platform for us to celebrate this history and the future it will help…

Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
We are very pleased to have done the “Opportunity Cost of Not Investing in Interpretation” report – it is so important to have clarity on these challenges and…

Hindia Mohamoud, Director, OLIP
I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
The target beneficiary of the work of OLIP is the whole community. In this short period we have planted together important seeds for Ottawa’s development.  

Dick Stewart
OLIP Council
In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa

Ottawa Businesses View Immigrants as Valuable to Local Economic Growth

November 17, 2017

Businesses in the Ottawa region expressed access to a skilled workforce as a top priority according to new survey data from the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce 2017 Ottawa Business Growth Survey. The survey reveals a key – yet overlooked – opportunity for Ottawa businesses to address skilled labour needs with immigrant talent.

According to the findings, 82% of businesses think that immigrants are an important source of skilled labour for Ottawa’s economy. However, only 43% of businesses felt immigrants are important to their own business. This suggests a disparity of perception on the importance of immigrants to the local economy, versus their own businesses.

Compared to any other Canadian city, a greater per capita percentage of highly educated immigrants live in Ottawa, where 37% of the population with a graduate degree and 57% with a doctorate are immigrants, reflecting Ottawa is a magnet for well-educated and highly-skilled international talent.

“This is a wakeup call to the local business community to tap into highly educated immigrant talent and the business opportunities that come along with it” said Warren Creates, Chair of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Immigration Committee and Head of Immigration Law Group at Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall. “Skilled immigrants are often overlooked as a valuable pool of labour, especially for small businesses. Together with our key stakeholders we are ready to help more local businesses fill the skills gap through the hiring of qualified immigrants”.

Perceptions about immigrants also varied based on the size of the organization with 65% of businesses with 150 or more employees viewing immigrants as an important source for their business, while only 29% of businesses with 1-5 employees indicating the same. This suggests that larger business have more appreciation of, and capacity to hire new immigrants.

Of the Ottawa employers who hired at least one immigrant in the past year, 61% were more likely to sight immigrants as an important source of talent for their business.

The 2017 Ottawa Business Growth Survey is the most in-depth and independent study of the local economy with a record 1000 plus businesses of all sizes from multiple sectors participating in the survey, providing a comprehensive business overview of the National Capital Region.

The survey is presented by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce & Welch LLP, and independently conducted by Abacus Data. The Ottawa Immigration Committee includes Hire Immigrants Ottawa, Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership, Ottawa Employment Hub, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall, Royal Bank of Canada and Ottawa General Contractors.

Click here for findings on talent and immigrants