New immigrants face too many challenges when trying to integrate into the workforce, says minister of employment and social development Pierre Poilievre.
Based on a new report by the Panel on Employment Challenges of New Canadians (the panel), he finds many have problems getting foreign qualifications recognized, have a lack of relevant Canadian work experience before arriving, and have inadequate pre-arrival information.
To help, the minister has announced funding for two projects that will see internationally trained doctors and engineers have their foreign credentials recognized more quickly.
He’s also pledged to study the recommendations made by the panel in its report, which include the need to:
- require each regulated occupation to develop a single national standard and point of contact for skilled immigrants (ideally, immigrants’ qualifications would be assessed prior to their arrival in Canada);
- develop a broader strategy for providing alternative careers 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.
“Every time we help newcomer[s] to Canada plug their skills and experience into the Canadian workforce, everyone wins,” says Poilievre. “All levels of government need to adopt more common-sense approaches that [will] help newcomers take on work more quickly.”
- A study done by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in 2012 showed 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 95,000 professional engineers are expected to retire by 2020, and that Canadian graduates are not replacing them fast enough. Read: Canada losing skilled youth
- Overseas delivery of the qualifying exam for international medical graduates (IMGs) will give them a better benchmark to understand their likelihood of practicing as a physician in Canada, prior to deciding to immigrate. Also, removal of the added evaluating exam will result in approximately $6 million in annual savings for IMGs, and in four to six months of saved time.