Immigration Minister Calls on Regulators to Reduce Barriers for Canada’s Immigrants

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is seeking the cooperation of Canada's self-regulatory organizations in making it easier for new Canadians to get licensed to work in their field in Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney attended the annual conference for Canada’s self-regulatory organizations (SROs) today and asked for their cooperation in helping recent immigrants to Canada become licensed in their field.

The Canadian Regulators Conference, held in Ottawa on November 8th and 9th, is organized by the Canadian Network of National Associations of Regulators (CNNAR), an association made up of some of Canada’s largest SROs, including the Canadian Nurses Association, the Ontario College of Teachers, and the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada.

CNNAR’s annual conferences are intended to foster information sharing on strategies and best practices among regulatory organizations, and are likely seen by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) as an ideal platform to promote its message of the need to increase regulatory recognition of foreign credentials and licensing of foreign-trained professionals.

Canada’s SROs have been under some criticism recently for occupational regulations that have hampered the labour market integration of Canada’s immigrants.

A report from the Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network (CLSRN) this month estimates that licensure barriers that prevent immigrants from working in their field of study cost the Canadian economy $2-5.9 billion a year in lost productivity and tax revenue.

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A New Microloan Program For Immigrants Launched in Manitoba

HRSDC Minister Diane Finley at a press conference announcing the microloan pilot (HRSDCanada)

A new Manitoba pilot, launched on Friday, will offer low interest loans of up to $10,000 to recent immigrants who are enrolled in training and career development programs. Recipients will be given five years to repay the microloans, and can use the money for living expenses, educational fees, fees related to licensing, and tools, equipment and work clothes.

The Manitoba government is contributing $250,000, while Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), through its foreign credential recognition loans pilot, is providing $1.2 million for the initiative. The two year pilot, called Recognition Counts! Micro Loans for Skilled Immigrants, will be administered by Supporting Employment and Economic Development (SEED) Winnipeg, a non-profit agency with a mission to increase economic development in low-income communities.

The goal of the program is to help immigrants get the qualifications and licensing necessary to work in their vocation in Canada. One of the first program enrollees is Dr. Esam Beshay, a dentist from Egypt who will use the loan to complete the process for getting a license to practice dentistry in Canada.

The microloan program is similar to the Immigrant Access Fund, a program funded jointly by the provincial government of Saskatchewan and HRSDC’s foreign credential recognition loans pilot to provide microloans to recent immigrants for education and training programs.

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Federal and Ontario Governments to Spend $57 Million to Train Immigrants

Image of Toronto at night. A total of $57 million in funding will be provided by the Ontario provincial government and the federal government for projects in Ontario that assist immigrants with integrating into the Canadian labour market

The Ontario provincial government and the federal government hope to put an end to the adage of the immigrant taxi cab driver with a PhD, by spending a combined $57 million to train new Canadians to gain the credentials necessary to work in their field of study in Canada.

Data emerging over the last few years has shown a growing income gap between recent immigrants and other Canadians which has spurred the federal and several provincial governments to launch a number of initiatives to reverse the situation.

Most notably was the formation of the federal umbrella program, the Foreign Credential Referral Office (FCRO), in 2007 which funds projects run by regulatory bodies, immigrant-serving organizations and other organizations that help recent immigrants and those looking to immigrate to Canada update their foreign credentials to qualify to work in Canada in their vocation.

The $57 million of funding will be a significant expansion of government efforts to help new immigrants integrate into the economy. The federal government will provide $22 million of the funding while the remaining $35 million will come from the government of Ontario. The funds will be allocated to 70 existing and new projects in Ontario to provide “bridge training”, a term that encompasses training, Canadian work experience and assistance in getting licensed or certified to work in Canada, to new immigrants.

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Canadian Government to Provide Microloans to Immigrants in Saskatchewan

In an effort to help newly arrived immigrants update their education credentials to Canadian standards, the Canadian government, in partnership with the provincial government of Saskatchewan, will be offering microloans to new immigrants who live in Saskatchewan for education and training programs, through the ‘Immigrant Access Fund’.

Saskatchewan will be the first province to launch a government lending initiative supported by the Canadian government’s foreign credential recognition loans pilot.

The goal of the federal program is to help immigrants overcome obstacles they face in getting the Canadian credentials that would allow them to qualify for jobs in their field of study. It is hoped the program will help immigrants better integrate into the Canadian economy.

A microloan is a small loan that does not require the recipient to have credit history or collateral.

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One of our licensed immigration consultants can speak with you in person, online or on the phone about your unique immigration situation and give you a breakdown of your options.bookappointment