Uhuru Meets Canada PM as North American Country Workers Shortage Hits 1M

  • Canadian PM Justin Trudeau (front left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta (second left) with other Heads of Government at the Commonwealth leaders’ summit that focused on post-Covid recovery and sustainable development.
    Canadian PM Justin Trudeau (front left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta (second left) with other Heads of Government at the Commonwealth leaders’ summit that focused on post-Covid recovery and sustainable development.
    PSCU
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday, June 24, as the North American country grapples with a biting labour shortage.

    In a statement dated Saturday, June 25, the two discussed a wide range of issues from the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war on global food distribution as well as ways of strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.

    They both agreed that the Commonwealth countries should continue working together to uphold democracy, peace and security, and human rights.

    In the meeting that took place on the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda, they also noted that the crisis disproportionately affected the most vulnerable in Africa.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) speaks to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at a past function.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) speaks to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau at a past function.
    PSCU

    "The two leaders committed to continue working to advance shared priorities for Canada and Kenya, including in the areas of trade, environmental protection, and the recovery from the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "They underlined their interest in deepening the trade and investment relationship between Canada and Kenya to enhance prosperity and make life better for people," read the statement in part.

    The meeting came just days after reports emerged revealing that labour shortage in Canada had surpassed the 1 million mark.

    A report by Statistics Canada published on June 22 indicated that immigrants had helped drive the Canadian workforce for years.

    The most affected sector is the accommodation and food service providers which expects a 64 per cent labour shortage followed by construction and manufacturing as well as administrative and support, waste management and remediation services.

    “Immigration has always been the driving force behind Canada’s labour supply. But with job vacancies in late 2021 80% higher than before the Covid-19 pandemic and the working-age population ageing, high levels of immigration will be even more critical to the labour market,” read the report in part.

    Kenya and Canada have enjoyed a cordial relationship over the years with complimentary import and exports to each of the two countries.

    In 2021, the two-way merchandise trade reached Ksh16 billion ($138.3 million). This consisted of Ksh10 billion ($93.4 million) in exports to Kenya and Ksh5.2 billion ($44.9 million) in imports from Kenya.

    Exports to Kenya mainly include wheat, recyclable materials, dried peas and beans, and aerospace products and parts. Imports from Kenya are primarily vegetable products and textile products.

    Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seen here in Ottawa on October 23, 2019.
    Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seen here in Ottawa on October 23, 2019.
    Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press