Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, released a report outlining new and better ways to integrate immigrants into the Canadian workforce.
He shared highlights from the report, authored by the Panel on Employment Challenges of New Canadians, during his speech at The Conference Board of Canada’s Canadian Immigration Summit 2015 in Ottawa recently. He also announced funding for two related projects that will see internationally-trained doctors and engineers have their foreign credentials more quickly and effectively recognized by eliminating red tape and taking advantage of new online tools.
The two projects, one led by the Medical Council of Canada and the other by Engineers Canada, will help address some of the challenges noted by the Panel that newcomers face when trying to obtain employment. These challenges include problems getting foreign qualifications recognized, a lack of Canadian work experience, inadequate pre-arrival information and a mismatch of skills to region. Poilievre pledged to carefully study the Panel’s recommendations, which include the need to:
• Require each regulated occupation to develop a single national standard and point of contact and insist that skilled immigrants take the initiative to have their qualifications assessed prior to arriving in Canada.
• Develop a broader strategy for alternative careers, with a more prominent role for regulators, that will support newcomers as part of the licensing process.
• Produce better, more coordinated labour market information targeted at newcomers.
• Create a sense of shared responsibility among all stakeholders for helping immigrants find jobs that match their skills, with a focus on engaging employers.
A study done by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 2012 showed that employment and wage gaps between new immigrants and native-born Canadians cost the economy slightly more than $20 billion in forgone earnings. Engineers Canada estimates that 95,000 professional engineers are expected to retire by 2020 and that they are not being replaced fast enough by Canadian graduates.
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