Ontario gives OK for nursing college to expedite international nurse registration

Encouraging:

Ontario’s minister of health has told the province’s nursing college to go ahead with regulatory changes that could get thousands more internationally trained nurses into practice more quickly.

Sylvia Jones directed the College of Nurses of Ontario last month to develop plans to more quickly register internationally educated professionals as staffing shortages have led to temporary emergency department closures across the province.

Among the college’s proposals was allowing internationally trained nurses to be temporarily registered while they go through the process of full registration, such as completing education and an exam.

It also proposed to make it easier for about 5,300 non-practising nurses living in Ontario to return to the workforce, if they want to. Current rules say a nurse must have practised within the last three years to be reinstated, but that could be removed.

Jones has now told the college to draft those amendments to regulations right away.

“It is my expectation that should these amendments be approved by the government, that the college will immediately begin registering both (internationally educated nurses) and other applicants who will benefit from these changes,” she wrote to them in a letter obtained by The Canadian Press.

The college has said the changes could potentially help the 5,970 active international applicants currently living in Ontario, but Jones has asked the regulator specifically how many nurses it expects will benefit.

The nursing college had also said that with temporary registrations, it could change rules to only revoke a temporary certificate after two failed exam attempts, instead of the one attempt nurses are currently allowed. On that measure, the ministry said it will rely on the college’s expertise about what exactly should be included in the regulatory amendments it is now drafting.

Temporarily registered nurses have to be monitored by a registered practical nurse, a registered nurse or a nurse practitioner.

Jones has also given approval to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for it to create a temporary, three-month registration for physicians licensed in other provinces.

That college had also highlighted for the minister a need for practice ready assessments, which would allow internationally educated physicians to be rapidly assessed over a 12-week period of supervision and direct observation. Such programs are already used in seven other provinces and are designed to deploy physicians to underserved communities and provide a path to licensing, the college wrote to the minister.

“CPSO urges government to take immediate steps to implement a PRA program for Ontario,” it wrote.

“With government funding and co-ordination among key system partners, a program could be implemented immediately and begin injecting a new supply of (internationally educated physicians) into the system as early as spring 2023 and onwards.”

Jones responded that the ministry is “looking carefully at the concept.”

Source: Ontario gives OK for nursing college to expedite international nurse registration

She’s trilingual, has a PhD and loads of work experience. So why was getting a job in Canada an ordeal?

Ongoing barriers of note:

With a PhD and eight years of project management experience, Hala El Ouarrak didn’t expect finding a job would be that hard in Canada.

Before the Moroccan woman arrived in Toronto in 2019, she took part in all the pre-arrival settlement services and employment counselling that were available to soon-to-be newcomers. She was assured her skills and experience were sought after in the Canadian job market.

“I did everything to the letter to make sure that I’m not missing anything when I get here. The feedback was I wouldn’t have any problem finding a job, and all I would need would be a Canadian phone number for employers to reach me,” said El Ouarrak, whose doctoral degree is in applied math and automatic control engineering.

Instead, the 31-year-old worked as a sales account manager at a shoe store and teaching statistics on a side as a private tutor, while “upgrading” her CV by acquiring four additional Canadian project-management credentials. (Some of El Ouarrak’s struggle came during the pandemic’s disruptions, but she says the number of job postings wasn’t affected.)

“It actually took me two years to get back to my field,” said El Ouarrak, now an IT consultant and part-time lecturer in project management and data analysis at Northeastern University’s Toronto campus.

A new study suggests this sort of problem has been an issue for years — that many highly skilled and educated female immigrants in Canada are facing immense disparities in employment outcomes due to employer biases, gender-based barriers and other factors.

“Immigrant women face distinct challenges in entering and advancing in the Canadian labour market. They encounter downward career mobility and underemployment relative to their education and professional backgrounds,” says the study by Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).

“Data also shows that the earnings of immigrant women, especially those who are racialized, lag behind those of immigrant men and Canadian-born women, and their unemployment rate is higher.”

Based on an online survey of 365 immigrant women in Greater Toronto — two-thirds with at least a master’s degree — and subsequent interviews, researchers found that 83.8 per cent of respondents had taken at least one of the following measures to “fit” the culture or expectations of Canadian employers:

  • 57.5 per cent had downgraded their stated educational achievements and/or experience to not appear overqualified for a position;
  • 43 per cent had accepted unpaid work or internships in a role related to their field of expertise to gain “Canadian experience”;
  • 21.9 per cent said they had changed or shortened their name to sound “more Canadian”;
  • 15.3 per cent sought training to help change their accents;
  • 13.7 per cent of respondents changed their appearances to make their looks more acceptable to “Canadian culture.”

“The compromises some immigrant women have to make to start their careers in Canada is in contrast to the high value Canada’s points-based immigration system places on their skills,” said report author Sugi Vasavithasan, TRIEC’s research and evaluation manager.

“Having to downplay their qualifications or change aspects of themselves to enter the Canadian labour market can be demoralizing for immigrant women. It hurts their dignity and self-esteem.”

Immigrant women’s jobless rate, at 12.2 per cent, is much higher than their Canadian-born peers (4.9 per cent) and immigrant men (6.4 per cent), said the report. Among principal applicants admitted in 2009 under various skilled immigration programs, women made $17,400 less than their male counterparts after 10 years.

Maysam Fadel settled in Toronto in 2019 after working for the United Nations Refugee Agency as a community service co-ordinator and for UNICEF as emergency officer in Syria for a decade.

The 36-year-old applied to more than 500 jobs posted in the not-for-profit sector but didn’t receive one single reply. She finally found a survival job working as a sales associate in retail while volunteering at different organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross.

“Employers all ask for Canadian experience and don’t consider any of the experience you had back home,” said Fadel, who has an undergraduate degree in English literature from Damascus University.

“I was very depressed and I lost my hope of ever finding an appropriate job in alignment with my experience.”

The husband of a friend’s friend helped her polish her resumé and she dropped her last name, Allah, on her CV, to avoid any potential biases she might face from prospective employers. Then response started trickling in and she finally was hired as a volunteer co-ordinator at a community service agency.

While she needed to learn about the operations and work culture at the organization, she said she’s simply applying the same skills she acquired from back home to her new job in Canada. 

“I didn’t get a new skill I didn’t have before. It’s just transferring my skills from one context to another. You need to learn and adapt whenever you change jobs even in Canada. That’s normal,” said Fadel, who last year got a promotion to be a manager at the same agency. 

El Ouarrak, who speaks fluent Arabic, English and French, said immigrant women shouldn’t have to downplay their credentials just to get their foot into the door.

Rather, she said, Canadian employers should adopt blind hiring practices to focus on seeking out candidates with the right skills and block out personal information that could bias a hiring decision. 

“Hiring managers are looking for unique profiles of candidates who qualify but to get to the hiring managers, you have to go through recruiters, the gatekeepers who are checking the boxes. If you don’t check 80 per cent of the boxes, they don’t even look at your profile,” said El Ouarrak. “I think that’s where the disconnect is.”

The study calls for improvement to generic employment support programs to reflect the unique needs of highly skilled immigrant women, as well as further education of hiring managers and recruiters in looking past stereotypes and recognizing the value of foreign credentials brought by female immigrants.

Source: She’s trilingual, has a PhD and loads of work experience. So why was getting a job in Canada an ordeal?

Daphne Bramham: Canada’s broken system punishes high-skilled immigrants [credential recognition of dentists]

Dentist case study and related recognition data:
Early last Friday, Mariam Tariq, a couple of friends in Toronto and her mother in Pakistan were ready at their computers waiting for the moment that registration opened to get her seat to write the first of three National Dental Examining Board of Canada exams in August.
Tariq managed to get a place on the waiting list. So, she’ll have to keep studying hard … just in case.By August, the 32-year-old will have been in Vancouver for more than two years and has moved only a tiny step closer to becoming a licensed dentist.

It took 14 months before her academic credentials were accepted, although the NDEB says the average processing time once all the documents are received is 20 weeks.

Then, Tariq joined the throng of close to 1,700 who each year sign up for the “equivalency process,” which entails a total of three exams, including a clinical one. Currently, there are over 10,000 people at various stages of the process.

It’s anathema to how Canada’s immigration system should work.

Canada promises high-skilled professionals and tradespeople from around the world a fast-track to a bright future here. But on arrival, they’re ensnared in a web of national and regional accreditation and licensing bodies.

It can take up to five years or more to qualify and some simply give up and move on to something or somewhere else.Tariq had been a lecturer in pediatric dentistry at the government-run Ayub College in Abbottabad and presented papers at international dental conventions including in the U.S.

She came here on the fast-track-to-permanent-residency under Canada’s Express Entry program that favours people whose skills are badly needed.

In January 2020, she sent credentials from Pakistan to the NDEB for verification and signed up for online coaching for the first exam — the assessment of fundamental knowledge or AFK.

“I thought it would take a year or a year-and-a-half (to get licensed),” Tariq told me. “But I’ve found out that it usually takes more like three-to-five years.”

She arrived here in July 2020. It wasn’t until March 2021 that her credentials were accepted. But the AFK exam is given only twice a year in August and February. And Tariq had missed the window to register for the August sitting.In November 2021, she wasn’t fast enough to grab a precious seat for February 2022.

COVID-19 restrictions are partly to blame for the bottleneck. The NDEB expects to be able to increase testing capacity later this year.

Aside from the scarcity of seats, the full-day exams are gruelling as they must be to protect patient safety. Over the past five years, the pass rate for the multiple-choice AFK has ranged from 32 to 49 per cent. For the other two exams, the pass rate runs from the mid-30s to the mid-60s.

And if that’s not pressure enough, NDEB has a three-strikes’ rule. Fail three times and you’re banned from ever trying again.With such high stakes, many foreign-trained dentists pay fees of up to $5,000 to what Tariq described as “coaching academies” in addition to the NDEB fees that start at $1,000 for the AFK and go up from there.

There are thousands currently in this unenviable cycle of what Tariq described as “work, earn money to study, study and pay for the next exam.”

Having run through the money she had saved to come to Canada, she has at least found work at dental clinics, albeit as an accounts receivable clerk, a receptionist and now as a chair-side assistant — “I have a lot of friends who are working at Tim Hortons, Walmart.”

Tariq is pragmatically taking courses to qualify as a dental assistant. The pay will be better than what she’s earning now, which means Tariq will be less reliant on her dentist/mother for help paying for the NDEB examsShe’s also fortunate to be in the first cohort of a free coaching program offered by the immigrant settlement society, SUCCESS.

Its CEO, Queenie Choo, has first-hand experience with the credentialing hoops. Trained as a nurse in Britain and having worked on a transplant team and in acute care, she said it was humiliating to have to prove her ability to do injections by sticking a needle in an orange.

“We want to attract talent through immigration, but we have not created an environment where they are able to practise,” she said. “We definitely need a system that is seamless with less barriers including financial help for the required exams.”

Among the many criticisms of Canada’s accreditation system is that only credentials from institutions in the white, English-speaking world are deemed good enough.

“I don’t know if it’s a subtle form of racism,” Choo said. “But we need to look at systemic racism that it may be creating.”

What might that look like? A lot like what’s happening now

By neglect or design, the expensive and fragmented credentialing system is creating an underclass. Instead of working dentists, doctors and nurses, foreign-trained professionals end up as assistants, associates and aides.

In the past 20 years, Statistics Canada found that the number of immigrants who become Canadian citizens has dropped by more than 20 percentage points.

There are multiple reasons why. But this is surely one of them.

Source: Daphne Bramham: Canada’s broken system punishes high-skilled immigrants

Québec va aider les immigrants qui tenteront de faire reconnaître leurs compétences

Good initiative:

Québec va soutenir financièrement les immigrants qui ont besoin de suivre une formation de soutien pour faire reconnaître leurs compétences professionnelles. L’aide pourrait atteindre jusqu’à 500 $ par semaine pour les professionnels qui suivent la formation à temps plein.

Le ministre du Travail, Jean Boulet, en a fait l’annonce, mardi, lors du dévoilement d’un nouveau plan de 130 millions de dollars sur deux ans pour accélérer et faciliter la reconnaissance des compétences des immigrants.

Avec ce plan, les professionnels immigrants seront mieux accompagnés « de la sélection jusqu’à l’intégration » dans la reconnaissance de leurs compétences, affirme le ministre.

M. Boulet a donné l’exemple d’une infirmière qui voudrait faire reconnaître ses compétences. « Elle va bénéficier de formations d’appoint beaucoup plus flexibles. Il va y en avoir beaucoup plus. Elle va aussi bénéficier d’une aide financière de 500 $ par semaine. Elle va aussi profiter d’avoir un permis restrictif qui pourrait lui permettre de faire son travail sous certaines conditions ou de faire un travail qui est connexe à sa formation. »

Présente au côté du ministre, Gyslaine Desrosiers, présidente du Conseil interprofessionnel du Québec, a mentionné que le taux de décrochage était de 34 % parmi les immigrants souhaitant faire reconnaître leurs compétences. « Collectivement, on peut et on doit faire mieux. »

Pénurie de main-d’œuvre

Le plan fait partie d’une offensive de plus 2,9 milliards de dollars pour contrer la pénurie de main-d’œuvre, annoncée dans la mise à jour économique de novembre. Québec espère « former, requalifier et attirer » près de 170 000 travailleurs dans cinq secteurs ciblés : la santé et les services sociaux, l’éducation, les services de garde éducatifs à l’enfance, le génie et les technologies de l’information ainsi que la construction.

La décision de se concentrer sur les services essentiels et les secteurs « stratégiques » a fait des mécontents parmi les entreprises qui se sentent oubliées par cette intervention.

Dans le plan de reconnaissance des compétences, 12 métiers sont identifiés dans les services essentiels et les secteurs « stratégiques » comme le génie et la construction. « On va y aller selon nos besoins, a défendu M. Boulet en conférence de presse. Faut établir des priorités. »

« Ça ne veut pas dire que les autres sont exclus, nuance-t-il. On va considérer en fonction des besoins et de la société et du marché de l’emploi. »

Dans les secteurs visés, il y a environ 5000 personnes qui font chaque année des demandes de reconnaissance de leurs compétences.

Le Conseil du patronat satisfait

Au Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), on estime que le plan répond à plusieurs besoins exprimés par le milieu des affaires. « Pour les entreprises, l’annonce d’aujourd’hui permettra une intégration en emploi plus rapide et adaptée aux compétences des candidats, commente Karl Blackburn, son président et chef de la direction, dans un courriel. La collaboration étroite des ordres professionnels, du gouvernement et des milieux de l’emploi est de la musique à nos oreilles. »

L’enjeu de la compétence des immigrants est soulevé depuis plusieurs années, mais le ministre Boulet a l’impression que le plan qu’il propose sera le bon. « Je pense qu’on ne peut pas manquer notre coup. »

« Oui, ça fait longtemps qu’on en discute, mais on a maintenant un plan qui est global, qui est compréhensif, qui est cohérent, qui est issu d’une concertation. Tout le monde tire dans la même direction », ajoute-t-il.

Source: Québec va aider les immigrants qui tenteront de faire reconnaître leurs compétences

Skilled immigrant women already faced obstacles finding employment. The pandemic made it worse

Of note. Law may be one of the harder regulated professions for internationally-trained professionals, both men and women:

Tolu Adeyemi had been working as a corporate and commercial lawyer in her hometown of Lagos, Nigeria for four years when she immigrated to Calgary in late 2019.

Her sister and brother already lived in Canada and she knew there would be a transition period to get her law qualifications recognized in Alberta. While waiting for her transcript to be sent from Nigeria and for the National Committee on Accreditation (NCA) to evaluate her qualifications, Ms. Adeyemi found work in sales at a beauty supply store to tide her over. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She was laid off in June 2020 and picked up work as a delivery driver with Amazon and SkipTheDishes.

At the beginning of 2021, Ms. Adeyemi caught COVID-19 and reached a low point.

“It sort of made me reevaluate,” she says. “My father was like, ‘This is not what you came to Canada to do, to work different survival jobs.’”

By this point, the NCA determined that Ms. Adeyemi would need to complete five examinations and a year of articling to qualify to become a lawyer in Alberta. She has written three of the five exams and plans to finish the last two by the end of 2021. Meanwhile, she has been applying to legal assistant jobs, over a hundred by her estimate, to no avail.

“People usually say it’s because I don’t have Canadian experience, or they would say something about [not] being the right fit,” Ms. Adeyemi says.

She also participated in a three-month career services program for foreign-trained professionals at the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) to learn digital skills, cross-cultural communication and career counselling, followed by a three-month practicum at an employment and business law firm in Calgary.

“We had IT professionals, HR professionals, accountants from different countries,” says Ms. Adeyemi of her fellow program participants. “Even if they had 10 years of experience, they had serious trouble breaking into the job market.”

‘Gendered effect’ of the pandemic

Despite halting immigration last year due to COVID-19, the Liberal government is on track to meet its goal of bringing in 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021. But skilled immigrant women continue to face increased barriers in finding employment, and the pandemic has only made it more difficult.

Luciara Nardon, a professor of international business at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business in Ottawa, published a paper in June 2021 showing how skilled immigrant women had their career trajectories delayed, interrupted or reversed during the pandemic. These roadblocks were due to layoffs, fewer job opportunities and increased domestic burden during lockdowns.

“The pandemic was particularly difficult for women in general because kids [were] at home,” Dr. Nardon says. “It’s a very gendered effect that way.”

Jenny Krabbe, manager of the employment services department at CIWA, has seen married immigrant women having to set aside their own goals to prioritize their spouse’s career, even prior to the pandemic.

“In many cases, the male [in the relationship] has the better education in the country they came from and the reason they could get into Canada under our point system was that he qualified,” Ms. Krabbe says. “She may be a professional in her own right, but now she has to figure out her way forward.”

Confidence is another factor that Ms. Krabbe says hinders skilled immigrant women in their career progression in Canada. Training in career services programs, like the one that Ms. Adeyemi participated in at CIWA, can help build that confidence, she says.

Networking helps build confidence too, and is what leads most skilled immigrant women to find meaningful work in their fields, notes Dr. Nardon. But the pandemic has limited these opportunities.

“If you already know somebody, you can meet on Zoom instead of meeting in person,” she says. “But if you don’t know them, that becomes very difficult.”

A necessary culture change

Support programs like those at CIWA provide a great opportunity for immigrant women to network, says Dr. Nardon, but she hopes to see more government initiatives to support the employment journeys of skilled immigrant women. In particular, she highlights the need for programs with longer, more flexible eligibility terms.

“Sometimes women take a longer time to integrate because the men’s career will have priority and the women stay home taking care of the kids,” she says. “By the time the woman is ready to enter the workforce, then services are no longer available because they lost eligibility.” Childcare support can also help relieve some of the domestic burdens that immigrant women face, allowing them to spend more time building their careers.

But the onus isn’t solely on the government. Dr. Nardon also calls for a “culture change” in societal attitudes towards immigrant women, especially from employers and hiring managers.

“There may be assumptions that [immigrant women] didn’t get the right experience or the right training, so they are not as capable as somebody else,” she says. As employers head into the “great resignation,” (Statistics Canada reported 731,900 job vacancies in the second quarter of 2021, which is nearly 26 per cent more vacancies than in the same quarter two years earlier), Dr. Nardon encourages companies to consider how skilled immigrant women can benefit their businesses, as opposed to searching for candidates to fulfil a particular set of needs.

“Look at the talent that immigrants bring and have a more open mind instead of trying to fit them into boxes,” she says. “Some employers are thinking of different ways of recruiting. They’re not picking specific characteristics, but instead they’re saying, ‘We need talent.’ They’re creating jobs around the talent that is available.”

Dr. Nardon adds that all Canadians can play a part by making connections among skilled immigrants in their communities or industries.

“Professionals can give time for mentoring, for sharing knowledge and sharing networks,” Ms. Nardon explains. “This is not one person’s job. The whole society has to work together.”

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-skilled-immigrant-women-already-faced-obstacles-finding-employment-the/

These ‘first of their kind’ Ontario changes could get more skilled immigrants working in their actual fields of expertise

Good initiative that may break some of the logjam. Will see over time the impact. More significant that Premier Ford’s unfortunate remarks on immigrants and the political and activist pile-on:

The Ontario government is unveiling a new plan to help get immigrants working in the fields where they have expertise.

Legislative changes to be introduced Thursday would force some professional regulators to drop Canadian work-experience requirements from their licensing criteria — and to speed up processing times.

If passed, the changes would address what newcomers often cite as two key barriers to acquiring their professional designations in Ontario.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, whose ministry also oversees training, skills development and immigration, called the changes “unprecedented and the first of their kind in Canada.”

“They’re just long overdue,” McNaughton said. “My goal is to ensure that we’re creating a clear path for new Canadians to fully apply their skills and remove barriers so immigrants can find meaningful work.”

The proposed amendments to the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act would cover 37 non-health-related professions and trades.

The affected fields would range from architecture to teaching, social work, plumbing, electricians’ work, auto-body repair and hairstyling.

The changes, if passed, would give the minister and the fairness commissioner the powers to order financial penalties for regulators found to have breached the law. 

At present, licensing time in some professions takes as long as 18 months, and both the ministry and the fairness commissioner’s office will gather baseline data to inform and establish reasonable timelines in consultation with oversight ministries, regulators and communities.

For decades, many immigrants who were selected for their education achievements and work experience have complained about being unemployed or underemployed because their foreign credentials are devalued in Canada.

Those who have training and background in a regulated profession also complain they lack the coveted Canadian experience to meet licensing requirements and that the process is too lengthy and costly.

When asked about the timing of this announcement, following another earlier this week to regulate temporary worker agencies and recruiters, McNaughton denied it was part of a Conservative strategy to galvanize immigrant votes in next year’s provincial election.

“The pro-worker reforms we’re unveiling … it’s all about rebalancing the scales. Coming out of this pandemic, the scales were tilted toward a lot of big corporations that make billions of dollars run by billionaires,” he said.

“We are on the side of workers and just ensuring that they’re getting better paychecks and better protections.”

Premier Doug Ford has been at the centre of controversy since Monday, when he said Ontario is desperate for people to move here — as long as they want to work.

“You come here like every other new Canadian has come here, you work your tail off,” he said. “If you think you’re coming to collect the dole and sit around? Not going to happen, go somewhere else.”

The comments have drawn fire from many who say the premier was playing to racist stereotypes about new Canadians.

According to McNaughton, currently only 25 per cent of all immigrants are actually employed in their field of study, while 293,000 jobs are waiting to be filled in the province, which could see its GDP increase by $20 billion, if the skill gap is addressed.

“That’s unacceptable,” he told the Star in an interview Wednesday. “It’s important that we ensure that everyone’s talent is being used and we unleash their talent to its full capacity.”

The proposed changes to eliminate the Canadian experience licensing requirement do have exemption provisions if regulators can demonstrate that it is necessary for public health and safety. The expectation, however, would be that they find alternative methods to minimize barriers. The Ontario fairness commissioner’s office would review exemption requests and make recommendations to the minister, who would have the final say.

The government also plans to align and streamline language-testing requirements for immigration and licensing purposes, for instance, by asking regulators to accept the same tests as proof of language proficiency or embed it as part of their respective technical exams.

“We’re eliminating the unfair Canadian work experience requirements, reducing burdens including duplicative language training and ensuring that licensing applications are processed faster,” McNaughton said.

“Last year alone, about 17,500 internationally trained individuals applied to receive their licence to practise from our regulator. We want to increase that number in a big, big way.”

The expectation is for the Canadian work experience requirement to be struck down within two years.

The changes could potentially extend to the regulated health sector in the future, which is far more complex due to health and safety concerns.

“We continue to work with health (authorities). That is a priority for me,” McNaughton noted. “But this is going to apply across the board apart from health, at least at this point.”

Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/10/21/these-first-of-their-kind-ontario-changes-could-get-more-skilled-immigrants-working-in-their-actual-fields-of-expertise.html

Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund aims to help newcomers get Canadian credentials

Worthwhile initiative:

When Dr. Michael Fatokun moved to Atlantic Canada from Nigeria in 2018, he wished to give his family a better life and continue practising medicine. A new program is set to make that process a little easier.

The Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund (AICLF) is supposed to help up to 200 newcomers like Fatokun pay for the credential recognition process.

“Even if you have come with some funds, you still need (a) substantial amount of funds to take exams,” said Fatokun.

Through the fund, newcomers are able to borrow up to $15,000 over four years in professions not eligible for student loan funding. Loans are also available for permanent residents or Canadian citizens to cover the costs of training, testing, licensing and living costs.

AICLF is delivered in partnership with the Multicultural Association of Fredericton, MAGMA in Moncton and the Saint John YMCA. The New Brunswick Multicultural Council will cover all rural areas.

The New Brunswick Multicultural Council is also commencing a provincial survey to determine how many newcomers in the province have training and experience as nurses or personal support workers. This data will be used to improve training and employment programs.

“We recently launched a survey to identify how many immigrants in the province were interested in that field, and over 150 respondents have come forward in the last week,” said Alex LeBlanc, executive director of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council.

The regional approach to providing credential recognition started with medical professionals, engineers and accountants and will now expand to include project management and trades.

Between 2018 and 2027, the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour estimates a total of 8,223 openings in nursing- and personal support worker-related positions. At the same time, the province will welcome hundreds of newcomers with training and experience in these exact fields.

Fatokun is awaiting his exam results and hopes to be practising medicine again by early 2020.

Source: Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund aims to help newcomers get Canadian credentials

Fonction publique: des ingénieurs de l’État issus de l’immigration se disent victimes de discrimination

The ongoing challenge of foreign credential recognition and related barriers:

Le gouvernement Couillard refuse depuis deux ans que des ingénieurs de l’État issus de l’immigration soient payés en fonction de l’expérience qu’ils ont acquise dans leur pays d’origine. Une « hypocrisie », selon leur syndicat, alors que Québec veut faciliter l’intégration des immigrants au marché du travail.

Le 28 août 2015, 23 ingénieurs du gouvernement formés à l’étranger ont écrit au ministre des Transports de l’époque, Robert Poëti, pour demander une révision des politiques de classement du Ministère.

Ils soutiennent que leur expérience à l’étranger n’a pas été considérée par le ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) au moment de leur embauche. Ils ont donc été classés dans des échelons salariaux qui ne reflètent pas le nombre d’années de pratique.

DROIT DE PRATIQUE

Ces professionnels ont pourtant réussi tous les tests imposés par l’Ordre des ingénieurs (OIQ) et obtenu leur droit de pratiquer au Québec.

« Nous trouvons que cette situation est inéquitable et ne tient pas compte de l’analyse rigoureuse de nos dossiers qu’a faite l’OIQ et les expériences reconnues par ce dernier pour nous attribuer des permis d’ingénieurs », peut-on lire dans la lettre.

« De plus, elle va à l’encontre des articles 16 et 19 de la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne du Québec », ajoutent les plaignants.

Dans une réponse écrite envoyée en février 2016, la directrice des ressources humaines du MTQ, Brigitte Duchesne, se montre sensible à la situation de ces employés. Elle soutient avoir adressé une « demande formelle » au secrétariat du Conseil du trésor, « de façon à soutenir une éventuelle reconnaissance de [leurs] expériences en génie acquises hors Canada ».

« CHEAP LABOUR », DÉNONCE LE SYNDICAT

Or, un an plus tard, rien n’a bougé, dénonce le président de l’Association professionnelle des ingénieurs du gouvernement (APIGQ), Marc-André Martin.

« Le gouvernement se paye du “cheap labour”, dénonce-t-il. Il est au courant de la situation et il ne fait rien. »

Il cite en exemple le cas d’un ingénieur qui a travaillé pendant cinq ans en Roumanie avant d’immigrer au Québec. Lors de son embauche au ministère des Transports, il a été rémunéré au plus bas échelon salarial, car il venait tout juste d’obtenir son permis de pratique de l’Ordre des ingénieurs. S’il était rémunéré à la hauteur de sa véritable expérience, il gagnerait environ 10 000 $ de plus par année, dit M. Martin.

Source: Fonction publique: des ingénieurs de l’État issus de l’immigration se disent victimes de discrimination | Martin Croteau | Politique québécoise

Tories want to cut red tape for skilled immigrants. What else is new? – Macleans.ca

An overview of where the Conservative leadership candidates stand on foreign credential recognition – no much new for a perennial issue.

The evaluation of IRCC’s efforts under the Conservatives, which were largely information, path-finding and referral services, does not indicate a strong correlation with improved outcomes for foreign-trained professions (Evaluation of the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO)):

A large part of Justin Trudeau’s campaign focused on reforming the Conservatives’ policies, but that’s not the case when it comes to skilled immigrants. Erin Tolley, a political science researcher at the University of Toronto who focuses on diversity in Canada, said the Liberals have been largely silent on the issue. Their platform didn’t include promises on immigrant skill utilization, and all they’ve done is tweak economic immigration policy. Tolley says it’s Conservative governments that are most active on skilled immigration reform because they see it as an economic issue.

That’s why when Conservative leadership hopefuls nearly unanimously said Canada needs more skilled immigrants, I had to know where they stood on reaccreditation. The campaigns of Kellie Leitch, Maxime Bernier, and Lisa Raitt did not make their candidates available for an interview, but nine other candidates agree that the federal government has a role to play in tackling the problem.

Nearly every candidate I spoke with said Canada needs to sharpen its focus on economic immigration. Former immigration minister Chris Alexander wants 70 per cent of Canada’s immigrants to be selected on the basis of skills, education, and language, rather than family reunification. Under the Harper government, that number hovered in the mid-60 percentiles, while the Liberals lowered 2016 targets to the mid-50s. Alexander’s message is clear: whether they come in as a response to our needs or in a steady stream, skilled immigrants help prop up the economy.

…But during the first debate, none of the candidates addressed how we will make sure those skills are part of the job market. Alexander and Steven Blaney said they would build on Jason Kenney’s work as immigration minister if they came to power. That means providing incentives to businesses, including tax breaks and the ability to let them tell the government what kind of skills they’re looking for, and having discussions with professional associations that often help immigrants gain their credentials. The associations could play a role in both educating new immigrants about how to get accredited and loosening standards for newcomers.

….Finances are one of the barriers for new immigrants, according to the U of T study. Others are a lack of job experience, language barriers, and even “lack of knowledge of Canadian professional ‘lingo.’”

To fill many of the gaps, Erin O’Toole said, Canada relies on migrant workers. Part of the reason is immigrants can’t use their degrees. For O’Toole, there are two steps to a solution. The first is to start a process of recognizing credentials sooner, concurrent with the application, and the second is working with provinces to streamline cross-provincial recognition.

The majority of candidates who spoke to Maclean’sechoed O’Toole’s ideas. Michael Chong added that Canada needs to be “giving immigrants a clear-eyed view of what the credentials are worth in Canada so they know what they will need to transition.” Andrew Scheer said, “If the work was done on the front-end and we were able to bring provinces together, in a lot of cases you wouldn’t need to qualify and re-certify.”

It’s possible they are right, but policy takes a long time to implement—and it takes even longer to figure out whether or not it works. Tolley also says there are barriers governments can’t tackle outside of raising awareness. For example, research shows foreign-sounding names are discriminated against by employers, and there is no policy that helps immigrants retroactively.

Source: Tories want to cut red tape for skilled immigrants. What else is new? – Macleans.ca

Skilled immigrants wasting their talents in Canada

Ongoing issue with degrees of complexity that take time and effort to address. Their children, of course, will not face the same disadvantage as the chart below indicates, given born and educated in Canada:

“There’s a joke in Toronto that the best place to have a heart attack is in a cab because there’ll be a doctor driving that cab,” said Margaret Eaton, executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

In reality, fewer than one per cent of immigrant doctors drove taxis, according to the 2011 National Household Survey. 

But almost half never get to practice medicine in Canada. 

Instead, they wind up as nurses, sonographers and care aides, among other related fields that don’t use their full skill set, even though they may have years of experience abroad.

This is a common experience for skilled immigrants.

Academic studies show that those who do find work in their field often end up working below their level of qualifications.

In Ontario, many foreign-born and educated engineers have ended up becoming IT managers, janitors and truck drivers, 2011 data shows. Top jobs for foreign-born and educated accountants outside of their field include bookkeeping, serving food and working as cashiers.

matching_jobs_pies

Part of the problem can be chalked up to the fact that, in recent years, immigrants have been more likely to come from countries like India, China and the Philippines, where the education system is different from the European countries, where immigrants flowed from in decades past. 

In many cases, they may also have a lower level of English skills. 

The cost of this mismatch is significant. 

In 2015, the Conference Board of Canada estimated that if Canadian employers and professional regulatory bodies did a better job of recognizing immigrants’ skills, they would earn an additional $10 billion to $12.7 billion annually and would pay more tax. 

Added to that is the huge emotional toll on these newcomers, especially when they wind up working survival jobs in cleaning, fast-food restaurants and retail, said Naghmeh Rezvani, a career practitioner at the Centre for Newcomers in Calgary.

 In January 2015, the Conservative government introduced a new system for selecting skilled immigrants called Express Entry that tries to tie permanent residency to the economy.

Those with a job offer backed by a labour market impact assessment, which proves they were selected because no Canadians were available for work, receive bonus points that help them get permanent residency more quickly.

Last year, cooks, food service supervisors and retail store supervisors were among the top 10 invited occupations because they had such jobs in hand. They made up almost one out of every five immigrants selected.

This outcome has critics concerned. They say immigrants employers hire are not necessarily the same as those who will boost Canada’s economy in the long run.

“All it is is their first job,” said David Cohen, a Montreal immigration lawyer. “A lot of candidates with excellent human capital are being squeezed out.”

The federal government is looking at doing away with the labour market assessment requirement but plans to increase the role of Express Entry in the future.

Having a job offer on arrival does have benefits. Immigrants who come without one struggle to find work because they lack Canadian experience, soft skills and social networks that would help them break into their field.

The Canadian labour market is “very parochial,” said Kelly Thomson, a  York University professor who studies foreign professionals.

“We have a tendency to compare them to Canadians and say, ‘Oh, they don’t speak as good English,’ instead of thinking, ‘Oh, they speak multiple languages. How is that an advantage for my business?’ or ‘They have a large international network.’”

Those in regulated professions face the biggest struggle. According to staff at the Centre for Newcomers in Calgary, it can take immigrants in many professions at least three years to transfer their qualifications, if they succeed at all. 

Source: Skilled immigrants wasting their talents in Canada | Calgary Herald