Ottawa, Ontario – The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, released a report today outlining new and better ways to integrate immigrants into the Canadian workforce.
The Minister 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, which kicked off in Ottawa today.
The Minister 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.
The Minister 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; and
– create a sense of shared responsibility among all stakeholders for helping immigrants find jobs that match their skills, with a focus on engaging employers.
The Government’s commitment to helping newcomers to Canada is just one of its key priorities, which also include helping hard-working families by enhancing the Universal Child Care Benefit, introducing the Family Tax Cut and making improvements to the Child Care Expenses Deduction and the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit.
– Following the creation of the Panel in fall 2014, in-person consultations on integrating new Canadians into the workforce were held in Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal and Halifax.
– The Panel met with over 150 organizations closely involved in the issue of employment for new Canadians, including employers, immigrant-serving organizations, professional associations, occupational regulatory bodies, provincial representatives and academics.
– The Panel also posted an online survey open to all Canadians and received input from over 600 respondents, including many new Canadians.
– 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.
– Overseas delivery of the qualifying exam for international medical graduates (IMGs) and removal of the evaluating exam will give IMGs a better benchmark to understand their likelihood of practising as a physician in Canada, prior to deciding to immigrate to Canada. Removal of the evaluating exam alone will result in some $6 million in annual savings to IMGs for exam fees and is expected to shorten the licensing process by four to six months.
“Every time we can help a newcomer to Canada plug their skills and experience into the Canadian workforce, everyone wins. It’s a source of pride and provision to the individual and their family, which in turn benefits local communities and strengthens our national economy. All levels of government need to adopt more common-sense approaches that help newcomers take on meaningful work more quickly.”
– The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development
“The Panel thanks the hundreds of Canadians, including the numerous organizational representatives, who participated in the consultations and contributed to our insights and recommendations. We hope our report will help new Canadians achieve their full potential, for their own benefit and for the sake of our country.”
– Nick Noorani, Immigrant Champion and Chair of the Panel on Employment Challenges of New Canadians