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Most Canadians reluctant to relocate for a good job, survey suggests

OTTAWA - A new survey suggests fewer than half of Canadians are willing to move for employment opportunities — a finding that could shed light on why companies may instead be turning to temporary foreign workers.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council, asked more than 2,000 Canadians whether they'd move either within their provinces or to other parts of the country for a job.

Only 10 per cent of respondents indicated an eagerness to move, while a third said they could be persuaded for the right job and the right incentives.

Council head Stephen Cryne says the findings are troubling and underscore some of the challenges facing businesses looking to attract highly skilled labour. The council advocates labour mobility.

Cryne says the study proves more work needs to be done to promote the broader benefits of labour mobility in Canada.

The top incentive selected by those respondents who said they would consider a move to another part of the country is a 20 per cent raise in pay, plus all moving expenses being covered by the employer.

More than half of respondents also said governments could play a role in enticing them to move by permitting employers to provide a tax-free housing allowance for up to six months to allow them to settle in a new location.

Almost half said employers should also be allowed to provide non-taxable, interest-free loans of up to $100,000 for the purchase of a home in the new location.

The CERC survey is considered accurate to within 2.5 percentage points.

According to a 2013 report from Statistics Canada and Haver Analytics, the percentage of the Canadian population moving between provinces has been in steady decline since 1977, when 1.5 per cent of the population was mobile, to less than one per cent in 2012.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has recommended Canada reduce barriers to geographical and occupational mobility.

_ Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter at @leeanne25

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