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Ontario Construction News staff writer
The provincial government will introduce legislation to make it easier for internationally-trained newcomers to work in their chosen professions, including skilled trades.
The proposal announced today would, if passed, help remove many significant barriers internationally-trained immigrants face, such as the requirement for Canadian work experience, when attempting to get licenced in certain regulated professions and trades such as law, accounting, architecture, engineering, electrical and plumbing.
“Newcomers to Ontario are an important part of our economy and represent a diversity of skilled trades and professional vocations essential to Ontario’s success,” said Sharaf Sharafeldin, executive director, Muslim Association of Canada. The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC).
“MAC also appreciates the extensive community consultations that the government engaged in to include diverse perspectives.”
To help address the labour shortage and help internationally-trained immigrants in Ontario build better lives for their themselves and their families, the Ontario government intends to propose changes this fall which would, if passed:
- Eliminate Canadian work experience requirements for professional registration and licensing unless an exemption is granted based on a demonstrated public health and safety risk. These requirements may create situations where workers are unable to obtain Canadian work experience because they don’t have it. This is often cited as the number one barrier Canadian immigrants face in obtaining a job that matches their level of qualification.
- Reduce burdensome duplication for official language proficiency testing, so people would not have to complete multiple tests for purposes of immigration and professional licencing.
- Allow applicants to register faster in their regulated professions when there are emergencies (such as a pandemic) that create an urgent need for certain professions or trades.
- Ensure the licensing process is completed in a timely manner to help internationally-trained immigrants start working in careers that match their skillset.
“Ontario is facing a generational labour shortage with hundreds of thousands of jobs going unfilled. However, all too often, newcomers in this province struggle to find jobs in their regulated profession for no other reason than bureaucracy and red tape,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development.
“These are folks who often have the training, experience, and qualifications to work in booming industries where Ontario desperately needs help but are being denied a chance to contribute. If these proposed changes are passed, Ontario would become the first province in Canada to help level the playing field in certain regulated professions so that workers coming here have the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their loved ones, and build stronger communities for us all.”