Canada is pushing hard to recruit American workers to fill a labor gap brought on by a booming oil industry. The province of Alberta is home to huge oil reserves that rival those of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, and companies are racing to take advantage of growing global demand. With the increase in energy industry workers comes a corresponding need for labor in other sectors such as manufacturing, construction and retail. While Canada is also actively courting workers from other English-speaking nations, Americans are preferred by some employers because of geographical proximity and similarities between cultures.
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What’s the Big Idea?
In the last two years, work permits for American citizens have jumped almost 13 percent from earlier in the decade, and with a projected shortage of over 100,000 skilled workers, that number is expected to rise. California is a favorite target; job fairs are scheduled in upcoming weeks to lure tradespeople to jobs in Alberta as well as British Columbia, which is also experiencing a labor shortage. Americans who currently work in the Edmonton area report that the money is good, despite the cold weather and slower service in stores and restaurants.