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Before Canada opens the door to immigrants, has enough been done to get Canadians to move to job vacancies?

The Conservative politician Norman Tebbit provoked controversy in the 1980s when he encouraged Britons in disadvantaged regions to “get on their bikes” to find work but was it bad advice?

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The Wall Street Journal reports that some Canadian businesses have a hard time finding Canadian workers for blue-collar jobs.

The answer, says the Journal, is loosen immigration restrictions and let more low-skilled immigrants into the country.

But according to Statistics Canada, there are tens of thousands of Canadians out of the labour force or out of work in Canada’s ‘flyover country’, especially in the economically depressed provinces of Atlantic Canada.

Those statistics show that there are over 100,000 potential workers available if out-of-work Canadians in the four Atlantic provinces simply moved to where the jobs are rather than stay put in their familiar, but stagnant, neighbourhoods.

Immigrants have to travel farther and have more language and cultural barriers to overcome than do native-born Canadians who simply need to move to another province.

Why not help Canadians find work first?

'On your bike'? A discussion on labour mobility...

Before Canada opens the door to immigrants, has enough been done to get Canadians to move to job vacancies?

By Ayesha Hazarika and Henry Olsen