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

Le français sera-t-il bientôt une langue parmi d’autres en Ontario ?

Likely given immigration patterns:

Les derniers chiffres du recensement 2021 ont de quoi faire craindre la minorisation accentuée de la communauté francophone en Ontario. Bien que le nombre de francophones demeure relativement stable, la proportion de francophones (Première langue officielle parlée), par rapport à la population générale, ne fait que baisser, passant de 3,8 % en 2016 à 3,4 % en 2021 — ce qui représente la plus forte baisse depuis 2001.

À cet effet, déjà, plusieurs signes montrent une reconfiguration du régime linguistique canadien. Pendant que l’on tergiverse encore sur les nécessités du renforcement du français au sein de la Loi sur les langues officielles, aucune politique conséquente n’est mise en place en immigration.

On peine toujours autant à délivrer les visas aux étudiants francophones intéressés à venir séjourner au pays. Aucune mesure musclée ne vient encadrer et promouvoir l’immigration francophone à l’extérieur du Québec. Aucun plan n’est réalisé pour attirer ces derniers, comme en témoignent les statistiques sur la provenance des nouveaux immigrants (2016-2021).

Le dernier recensement nous apprend que 80,6 % des immigrants « choisissent » l’anglais comme première langue officielle parlée. Mais jusqu’à quel point ce choix n’est-il pas prévisible lorsqu’on constate qu’aucun effort n’a été consenti par le gouvernement pour atteindre le quart du seuil minimal d’immigration francophone internationale souhaité par la Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA) et plusieurs autres acteurs du monde francophone au Canada ? Cette baisse importante du prorata de francophones par rapport à la population générale en Ontario doit être analysée pour ce qu’elle est : le résultat d’une politique ratée des instances fédérale et provinciale.

Si le recensement montre bien que les francophones vieillissent et que c’est là un des facteurs explicatifs de la baisse de leur poids démographique au Canada, cette tendance n’est pourtant pas nouvelle. Elle est observable depuis des décennies, et le plan du ministre Dion (2003) cherchait déjà à en contrer les effets.

Malheureusement, les dernières données montrent au contraire que l’attractivité du français est en perte de vitesse partout au Canada. Là où cette langue est minoritaire, le français tend de plus en plus à n’être perçu que comme une langue de communication, un outil, et de moins en moins comme un vecteur culturel, en Ontario notamment.

S’il fallait encore s’en convaincre, on peut percevoir dans les résultats de ce recensement la sortie du régime de dualité linguistique traditionnelle (anglais-français) et l’entrée de plain-pied dans un régime pluraliste où le français (hors Québec) semble de plus en plus qu’une langue parmi d’autres.

Seulement 1,3 % des ménages ontariens parlent régulièrement le français à la maison ; seulement 1,9 % parlent le français et l’anglais à égalité. Et 0,1 % des ménages parlent régulièrement le français et une langue tierce, contre 18,8 % l’anglais et une langue tierce. Un lent mais profond glissement s’opère du français vers l’anglais et les langues tierces (qui représentent désormais 8 % des langues parlées régulièrement au foyer).

La langue française et ses cultures francophones semblent ainsi de plus en plus déliées l’une de l’autre et ont de plus en plus de mal à s’incarner dans des milieux concrets. Cela a pour effet de fragiliser la transmission du français et la force de ses institutions francophones, notamment scolaires (de la petite enfance à l’Université). Faut-il rappeler le saccage du fait français à l’Université Laurentienne ?

Ces statistiques ne reflètent-elles pas la place véritable que l’on souhaite donner au français dans l’espace canadien ? Une place malheureusement de plus en plus symbolique qui témoigne, d’une part, des exigences d’un marché du travail anglo-dominant et, de l’autre, du manque de volonté politique du gouvernement fédéral à assurer la pérennité et le développement des communautés francophones au pays. Le temps est désormais aux solutions audacieuses.

Source: Le français sera-t-il bienitôt une langue parmi d’autres en Ontario ?

Cardozo: Ontario needs a serious multiculturalism policy and minister

Answer: All of them.

In terms of the specific recommendations, some are more concrete and likely to have an impact, some less so. And a number are already happening to a certain extent:

Is the role of the Minister of Multiculturalism a throw-away gig or an entry-level job? Is it primarily to help the party in power recruit ethnocultural voters for the next election?

Or is it a portfolio that can address important and complex societal issues that are becoming increasingly critical in Ontario, Canada, and elsewhere?

I am going to argue the last option. That is what Ontario needs today.

Over the last 50 years, various ministers have been responsible for multiculturalism, usually under another guise such as citizenship or anti-racism.

In 2022, here are 10 clear steps that the minister and ministry should be taking.

The minister should promote a general policy of respect for the cultural, racial and religious diversity that is the reality of Ontario, especially in its cities, big and small.

The minister should develop an anti-racism policy to help Ontarians address discrimination and inequality. (This policy existed under the previous Liberal government but was cancelled by the Ford Progressive Conservatives.) It must address rapidly increasing online hate and polarization, plus bullying, violence and overt hate groups. Anti-Semitism has reached new depths where Jews avoid wearing a kippah on the subway. Anti-Black racism is only too evident in policing and elsewhere. Islamophobia is on the rise.

Generally, the minister should work with many other ministries to ensure they all do their bit to advance equality and inclusiveness and eliminate polarization and hate.

The minister should lead a cabinet committee of key minsters to address the issues across government. Members could include the attorney general and solicitor general, plus the ministers of education, colleges and universities, health, social services and environment.

The minister should expanding the number of minorities appointed to boards and commissions.

The minister should include reconciliation with Indigenous peoples as a key part of diversity, addressing historical wrongs and ongoing discrimination.

The minister should address challenges faced by women from various minority communities.

The minister should work with TVO and TFO, the province’s educational networks in English and French, to ensure they broadcast diversity in meaningful ways

The ministry should work with cultural agencies such as the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Art Gallery, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Ontario Trillium Foundation to ensure they reflect and fund the diverse reality of Ontarians and create dialogues on diversity.

The ministry should working with the business community, labour and NGOs to advance a better understanding of diversity and a sustained campaign against racism.

Let’s have legislation that codifies what provincial ministries should be doing: an Ontario Multiculturalism Act. Make it the law.

And now we see the new minister is the rookie MPP, the Premier’s nephew, Michael Ford. Oy vey!

These are complex and sensitive issues that require listening, building, funding, explaining and encouraging. The post requires a strong seasoned leader who can engage Canadians of all backgrounds in a serious dialogue. This is not about sending the kid out to the festivals to keep the ethnics happy!

Whether he is up to the sensitive and courageous job is the second issue though. The first is whether his uncle wants to get serious about what a good multiculturalism policy has to offer Ontario.

Note to the mainstream media corps at Queens Park: Please, please, please don’t write this off as the minister for recruiting ethnic voters to the PC Party (and I’m not sure Michael Ford the needed charisma or experience for that role).

Rather, please report on the issues that are tearing our society apart as well as the many attempts to make things better.

Ironically, as a right-of-centre semi-populist white guy, Doug Ford may have the unique ability at this time in our history to address these issues and convince everyday folks that diversity can be beneficial to all, that getting along may be better than the culture wars of fear and excluding the other. He managed to avoid the anti-vaxxers’ rancor. Maybe he can do it here too.

Andrew Cardozo is president of the Pearson Centre and co-editor of The Battle over Multiculturalism.

Source: Cardozo: Ontario needs a serious multiculturalism policy and minister

Ontario needs stronger voice in immigration, McNaughton says

Pre-negotiation starting position. Higher national levels provide federal government with room to meet or partially meet Ontario’s demands:

Ontario needs more autonomy in immigration to ensure newcomers meet the economic needs of the province, Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton says.

The province is seeking more control as it negotiates a new federal-Ontario immigration agreement this fall, similar to the deal with Quebec, with the goal of filling an estimated 340,000 job vacancies, he said.

“Over the last 18 months, we’ve reprioritized the immigrants that Ontario needs, so skilled trades workers and health-care workers are the professionals that we’re prioritizing through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP),” McNaughton said Saturday. “But as it stands today, the federal government only gives us 9,000 newcomers to select out of 125,000 that come to Ontario every year.”

Given its population, Ontario has a disproportionately small voice in choosing newcomers compared to other Canadian jurisdictions, he said.

As a first step, the federal government should immediately double the number of newcomers through OINP to 18,000 a year, he said.

McNaughton said he has already reached out to his counterparts in other parts of the county to determine common ground and goals before approaching the federal government at a joint meeting at the end of the month.

“That’s how Ontario and Canada was built over the last 155 years, by bringing in newcomers with the right skills to build the future of our country,” McNaughton said. “And that’s exactly what we’re asking for from the federal government.”

Being free to choose newcomers based on their skill sets means a better match with the labour market and more success for new immigrants, he said.

“Only 25% of immigrants today that are here in Ontario are actually working in fields that they’ve studied,” he said.

The Doug Ford government has been set on its labour and immigration agenda for several years, becoming the first government in Canada to recognize all foreign credentials outside health care, he said.

Ontario has now opened all its training programs as widely as possible including to newcomers, people on social assistance and those with criminal backgrounds, he said.

“My message is if you have the skills and want to work, Ontario needs you,” McNaughton said.

A substantial time lag in the federal immigration approval process remains a challenge with some applicants waiting years, he said.

Ontario has offered its own resources to accelerate the process, he said.

“I just can’t press enough of the federal government to give us more of a say, to speed up the process and ensure that we’re bringing in immigrants with the right skills to build the future of Ontario,” McNaughton said.

Source: Ontario needs stronger voice in immigration, McNaughton says

Ontario judge upholds Tamil Genocide Education Week in battle ‘over who gets to write the history of the war’

Interesting case and verdict. With respect to Judge Akbarali, any such act can never be purely “educative,” as it reflects politics and relative strength of particular communities:

A court has dismissed a constitutional challenge over Ontario’s proclamation of Tamil Genocide Education Week — concluding that its purpose is purely “educative.”

In a case that cast a spotlight on tension between diasporas, several Sinhalese-Canadian groups took Ontario to court for designating the seven-day period each year ending May 18 — the date the Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009 — to raise awareness of the Tamil genocide and other genocides in world history.

The Sinhalese applicants claimed that no Tamil genocide has been recognized under international law, arguing that the provincial government didn’t have the authority to adopt the term “genocide” and that the designation would promote hatred for one group over another.

In quashing the claim by the Sinhalese applicants, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice said the 26-year-old civil war ravaged Sri Lanka, but the fight has not ended.

“A new battle has emerged over who gets to write the history of the war,” wrote Justice Jasmine Akbarali in a ruling released Tuesday. “While this new battle does not intuitively seem like an issue for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, it has in fact become one.”

The Tamil-Canadian diaspora welcomed the decision, saying education is one of the only ways available for the community to pursue justice and healing because the Sri Lanka government has been reluctant to recognize the atrocities and punish those responsible.

“Tamils across the province can now focus on what matters — commemorating and remembering the countless lives lost,” said Katpana Nagendra, a member of the Tamil Rights Group, one of the organizations granted intervener status in this case.

The Tamil Genocide Education Week Act, a private member’s bill tabled by Conservative MPP Vijay Thanigasalam, who is of Tamil descent, was passed unanimously in the Ontario legislature last year.

The preamble of the proclamation of the Tamil Genocide Education Week states that Tamil Ontarians have lost loved ones and have been physically or mentally traumatized by the genocide that the Sri Lankan state perpetrated against the Tamils during the civil war, which lasted from 1983 to the Tamil Tigers’ defeat in 2009.

Akbarali said the court heard evidence from “dueling” witnesses about the Sri Lankan civil war, and specifically, whether or not what occurred amounted to a genocide of Tamils.

“I am not deciding who bears the blame, or who bears more of the blame, for the tremendous suffering and trauma that occurred as a result of the Sri Lankan civil war,” the judge wrote in the 18-page decision.

“Nor am I deciding whether it was wise for the Ontario Legislature to pass the TGEWA. The wisdom of the legislation is a question that belongs solely to the Legislature, and more indirectly, to the voters of the province. The question before me relates only to the constitutionality of the TGEWA.”

While the court agreed with the claim that the proclamation recognizes a Tamil genocide, it said the act is in the spirit of educating the public about the event and other genocides to prevent such atrocities from occurring, and helping create an opportunity for Tamil Ontarians to share their stories and the intergenerational trauma the legislature has recognized.

“The TGEWA does not require any particular educational initiatives to be undertaken by any particular institution,” said Akbarali. “The dominant characteristic of the law is to educate the public about what the Ontario Legislature has concluded is a Tamil genocide.”

The province did not infringe on the federal jurisdiction in relation to the designation of genocide because the act didn’t contain a penalty or claim to determine that genocide has taken place “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“The perpetrator of the genocide recognized by the Legislature is … to be the Sri Lankan government. A claim or a finding of genocide perpetrated by a government or a state does not tar individuals who may be members of the same nationality, ethnicity, or religious affiliation as those people who dominate the government or state,” said the court.

ation of Tamil Genocide Education Week — concluding that its purpose is purely “educative.” In a case that cast a spotlight on tension between diasporas, several Sinhalese-Canadian groups took Ontario to court for designating the seven-day period each year ending May 18 — the date the Sri Lankan civil war ended in 2009 — to raise awareness of the Tamil genocide and other genocides in world history.

Source: Ontario judge upholds Tamil Genocide Education Week in battle ‘over who gets to write the history of the war’

Ontario 2022 Election MPP Diversity

Had some time to do a quick review on the diversity of Ontario MPPs elected in 2022. Citizen percentages are from the 2016 census with the percentage of visible minorities likely to increase by a few percentage points in the 2021 census.

  • Percentage of women MPPs has declined from 39.5 percent
  • Percentage of visible minority MPPs has increased from 21 percent.
  • Percentage of Indigenous MPPs has from 7.5 percent.

The declines in the percentage of women and Indigenous peoples reflect the PCs picking up a number of NDP seats.

Doug Ford government scraps diversity hiring targets for transit projects

UPDATE: Reversed!

The Ontario government will no longer include hiring targets for disadvantaged groups in its agreements for provincial transit projects, a reversal of a groundbreaking policy intended to deliver jobs to marginalized communities where new lines are built.

Advocates warn the decision will undo years of progress toward bringing women, people of colour, and Indigenous and Black residents into the workforce, and raises questions about whether Premier Doug Ford’s subway program is eligible for federal funding.

The hiring targets were first included in a so-called community benefits agreement the previous Ontario Liberal government reached for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT in 2016, which was hailed at the time as setting a precedent that would inject funding, training and employment into neighbourhoods in need.

But the Toronto Community Benefits Network (TCBN), a coalition of labour and community groups, says the targets are being left out of plans already underway for Ontario’s $28.5-billion subway program, which consists of the Ontario Line, Yonge North Subway Extension, Scarborough Subway Extension, and Eglinton West LRT.

Metrolinx, the provincial agency responsible for transit construction in the GTA, will be “on the wrong side of history” if it scraps the hiring thresholds and other key aspects of the benefits framework, said Rosemarie Powell, executive director of TCBN.

The group is expressing “deep concern” about the province’s change of heart, which it says will undermine a program that has helped ensure people who get opportunities through public infrastructure investment “come from and reflect the diversity of local communities.”

Metrolinx is overseen by Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney. Asked why the province is dropping the hiring targets, the minister’s spokesperson Dakota Brasier said the province “will continue to facilitate a pathway for local communities to develop the skills and qualifications needed to find good-paying jobs in the sector.”

She said Ontario’s “historic” transit plans are on course to “generate thousands of jobs, create more connections for people across the province and boost our economy.”

The community benefits agreement signed by the province, Metrolinx, TCBN and the company building the Crosstown LRT six years ago set a target that 10 per cent of work hours for the project go to local groups that have historically faced employment barriers, like racialized residents, women and newcomers.

The target wasn’t a legal obligation under the LRT contract and was described as “aspirational,” but the signatories pitched it as a meaningful way to give hundreds of people from groups traditionally shut out of the construction industry a path to a decent career.

The Ontario government of the day said the agreement would serve as a framework for future projects, and a similar deal was struck for the Finch West LRT.

In addition to not including the 10 per cent hiring target in agreements for the new provincial subways, TCBN says Metrolinx hasn’t committed to other measures around consultation, transparency and local procurement that represent “a minimum standard” for a community benefits agreements.

In a Feb. 11 letter to the group, Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster confirmed the agency is taking a “different approach” to community benefits, but one that it believes will still deliver “the same objectives” and “meaningful change.”

Although it doesn’t include hiring targets, Verster wrote that Metrolinx’s strategy will provide local employment opportunities, require contractors to develop and report on apprenticeship and workforce development plans, and direct contractors to develop “shop local” campaigns and host trade shows to connect employers with job-seekers.

The agency is also committed to making public realm improvements and in some cases could provide amenities like community centres or affordable housing as part of transit projects.

Metrolinx spokesperson Fannie Sunshine said the “broader” approach will give the agency the “flexibility” required “to meaningfully engage” with communities, and allow it to “identify better opportunities.”

Powell acknowledged implementing the original agreement hasn’t been easy. Crosslinx, the private consortium building the Crosstown, hasn’t reached the 10 per cent hiring goal, and is instead hovering around five per cent, according to TCBN. A spokesperson for Crosslinx said she didn’t have up-to-date figures.

But Powell said Metrolinx has been a good partner on the benefits program to date, and she had expected the agency to address problems with the strategy, not weaken it.

“Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater,” she said.

TCBN also points out that when the federal Liberal government announced more than $10 billion in financial support for Ford’s subway program in May 2021, it said the funding was dependent on the province satisfying a number of conditions, including community benefits agreements and “meeting employment thresholds for under-represented communities including Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and women.”

Sunshine said Metrolinx’s position is that the workforce development plans included in its new approach “will help to enable federal requirements.”

Zoltan Csepregi, a spokesperson for Infrastructure Canada, said community benefits agreements are still a condition of the funding, and the federal government will “work collaboratively with the government of Ontario to ensure that Metrolinx upholds these conditions.”

Source: Doug Ford government scraps diversity hiring targets for transit projects

Les établissements francophones ontariens eux aussi plus touchés par les rejets de permis d’études

Of note. Would really be helpful to have more in-depth analysis of the factors that underlie these differences, rather than just the differences:

Les établissements postsecondaires francophones et bilingues de l’Ontario peinent à recruter des étudiants étrangers. Leur taux de refus de permis d’études auprès d’Immigration Canada est de loin supérieur à ceux observés dans les collèges et universités anglophones, a constaté Le Devoir.

Des directions francophones disent devoir travailler beaucoup plus fort que leurs collègues anglophones pour pouvoir atteindre leur cible de recrutement. Les deux seuls collèges de langue française de l’Ontario ont vu respectivement 67 % et 73 % des demandes de permis d’études de leurs futurs étudiants être refusées en 2021, d’après des données fournies par Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada (IRCC). Il s’agit d’une amélioration par rapport à 2020, où la moyenne pour les deux s’élevait à 79 %. Dans les 22 collèges anglophones répertoriés dans la base de données d’IRCC, ce sont en moyenne 40 % des demandes qui ont été refusées en 2021 et 50 % en 2020.

L’écart est similaire entre les universités francophones et bilingues d’un côté, et celles anglophones de l’autre. À l’Université de Hearst, au nord de la province, par exemple, 72 % des demandes de permis d’études pour étudiants étrangers ont été déclinées en 2021 et 86 % l’année précédente. Quelque 85 % des demandes l’ont été au cours des deux dernières années à l’Université Laurentienne. À Thunder Bay, à l’Université Lakehead, la plus grande du nord de l’Ontario, un établissement anglophone, la situation est tout autre : en 2021, seulement 28 % des demandes de permis d’études ont été refusées.

Bululu Kabatakaka, le directeur des programmes postsecondaires et de l’intégration au collège Boréal, ne comprend pas ce qui cause cet écart. « Est-ce qu’il y a un biais inconscient par rapport aux pays francophones ? » se demande-t-il. Le Devoir révélait en novembre qu’Ottawa refusait de plus en plus d’étudiants de l’Afrique francophone.

Le dirigeant estime qu’il doit travailler considérablement plus fort que ses collègues pour atteindre ses cibles. « Quand nos collègues [d’autres collèges] travaillent 35 heures, nous, on travaille 150 heures », dit-il.

Le même phénomène se produit au collège La Cité d’Ottawa et à l’Université de Hearst. Le recteur de l’université, Luc Bussières, critique le gaspillage associé aux taux de refus élevés : des ressources sont dépensées inutilement pour le recrutement, et des rêves d’étudiants sont gâchés, dit-il. « Ça rendrait notre travail plus efficace si on avait un meilleur taux, explique le recteur. Si on veut 100 personnes, il faut faire 500 offres. »

« Nous devons généralement faire de 15 à 20 offres aux candidats pour que 10 étudiants acceptent notre offre et que 3 de ces étudiants obtiennent un permis d’études », raconte pour sa part Pascale Montminy, directrice des communications de La Cité. En 2021, 67 % des demandes de permis d’études au collège ont été refusées. À quelques kilomètres à l’ouest du centre-ville d’Ottawa, au collège Algonquin, qui est anglophone, le taux tombe à 40 %.

Problème difficile à régler

Ce type de problème dure depuis environ quinze ans, estime Martin Normand, directeur de la recherche stratégique et des relations internationales à l’Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne (ACUFC). « Les établissements interpellent IRCC et ses prédécesseurs pour demander des explications et des modifications, ou à tout le moins plus de transparence », fait savoir le directeur.

Le gouvernement fédéral souhaite depuis 2003 que les immigrants francophones représentent 4,4 % des nouveaux arrivants à l’extérieur du Québec. L’échéancier pour atteindre la cible avait d’abord été fixé à 2008, mais il a ensuite été reporté de 15 ans. Pourtant, Martin Normand remarque que les agents du ministère « reprochent souvent aux étudiants leur intention de rester au Canada à la fin de leurs études », explique le directeur de l’association. L’intention de faire une demande de résidence permanente après les études constitue un motif de refus pour les permis d’études, soutient-il. Le directeur était du groupe de témoins qui ont récemment critiqué l’approche d’Ottawa, qu’ils estiment contradictoire, devant le Comité permanent de la citoyenneté et de l’immigration.

Selon IRCC, même s’il existe une possibilité pour un étudiant étranger d’éventuellement devenir un résident permanent, chaque demandeur de permis doit convaincre l’agent d’immigration qu’il a l’intention de respecter ses obligations à titre de résident temporaire. Ainsi, chaque demandeur « doit être capable et désireux de quitter le Canada à la fin de sa période de séjour autorisé », explique Julie Lafortune, porte-parole du ministère, par courriel.

L’exercice d’analyse des établissements en ce qui concerne les motifs de refus est encore plus compliqué du fait du manque d’accès aux données. Lorsque contactées par Le Devoir au sujet des taux de refus, des directions ont dit ne jamais les avoir vues. « C’est un peu une boîte noire », lance Luc Bussières, recteur de l’Université de Hearst, qui compte entre 250 et 300 étudiants.

De l’université au collège

Les étudiants détenant un diplôme universitaire dans leur pays natal seraient aussi désavantagés s’ils souhaitent retourner aux études dans un programme collégial en Ontario, estime Bululu Kabatakaka. Dans sa campagne de recrutement, le Collège Boréal évoque la pénurie de main-d’œuvre dans la province, qui touche certains secteurs couverts par ses programmes, mais si des candidats étudiants tentent de répondre à ce besoin, ils se voient bloquer par IRCC, affirme M. Kabatakaka.

Il s’agirait plutôt de juger de la « bonne foi » des demandeurs, fait valoir IRCC. La demande d’une personne détenant déjà un diplôme universitaire pour suivre des études dans un domaine non connexe « ne pourrait peut‑être pas convaincre l’agent qu’il est un étudiant de bonne foi », cite comme exemple la porte-parole Julie Lafortune.

« Il faut que les agents comprennent bien les besoins des communautés francophones en matière d’immigration et de main-d’œuvre », affirme de son côté Martin Normand, de l’ACUFC.

Source: Les établissements francophones ontariens eux aussi plus touchés par les rejets de permis d’études

Ontario to accept 100 immigrants after each invests $200,000 in local companies

Hard to see that this will work any better than other investor immigration programs in terms of contributing to the economy:

Ontario is planning to accept 100 immigrants in the next two years under a program allowing foreign entrepreneurs to apply for immigration to the province after they invest a minimum of $200,000 in its economy.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the government will focus on attracting international entrepreneurs to Ontario communities outside the Greater Toronto Area.

He says these entrepreneurs will be nominated for immigration under the province’s economic immigration program after they start a new business or purchase an existing one in Ontario.

McNaughton says the new initiative will cost the government $6 million, but it will be recovered through fees paid by immigrants who are coming to the province to start or buy businesses.

He says the province is expecting at a minimum $20 million in business investment generated through this immigration stream.

The previous Liberal government in Ontario had founded this stream in 2015 but only two immigrant investors have been nominated using it since then.

“I see immigration as one of the key economic drivers of Ontario’s growth,” McNaughton said. “There’s an opportunity to create new businesses outside of the GTA, to create more jobs for people across the province.”

McNaughton said the program will help with the recovery of the Ontario economy after COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have to be aggressive as we build back better out of the pandemic to recruit entrepreneurs to Ontario,” he said.

Last month, Ontario called on the federal government to double the number of immigrants allowed under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program — from 9,000 to 18,000 a year — a program aimed at boosting the skilled workforce.

McNaughton said the province is facing a significant labour shortage that has been intensified by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: Ontario to accept 100 immigrants after each invests $200,000 in local companies

‘Half-baked’ Bill 27 won’t protect migrant workers from exploitative recruiters, say advocates

Valid criticism of low level fines and other issues related to recruiting agencies:

Ontario’s proposed changes to employment law would not protect vulnerable migrant workers from unscrupulous recruiters and employers, and need more teeth to work for the workers, say advocates.

Professional recruiters play a key role in the transnational recruitment of migrant workers for employment in Ontario’s agricultural sector, fisheries, food supply, transportation, tourism, as well as in-home personal care and support services.

Last month, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton introduced Bill 27. The omnibus legislation includes policy changes meant to remove barriers for immigrants to get licensed in a regulated profession; require temporary help agencies to be licensed; and compel businesses to let delivery drivers use their washrooms, among other things.

Dubbed the Working for Workers Act, the bill, currently under review by a provincial standing committee, would also require recruiters to be licensed in a public registry and be responsible for repaying workers any illegal fees charged here or abroad.

The consequence of non-compliance for the recruiter would be the revocation of their licence and a possible fine under $300 for a first offence, critics point out.

Although employers would be required to use licensed recruiters, they would only face a fine of $250 for using someone who’s not registered.

Advocates for migrants have been calling for the licensing of recruiters and recruitment agencies since 2008, but said the enforcement tools in the proposed legislation are inadequate because the fines for infractions are way too low to be deterrents.

Recruiters, agencies and consultants use the promise of jobs that don’t exist and work conditions that don’t exist to lure workers to come to Canada,” said Syed Hussan, executive director of the Migrant Workers’ Alliance for Change. “Once they’re here, they’re so indebted they’re unable to protect themselves and defend themselves.

“This has been a well-documented issue. Now, the rest of the country has moved forward. Ontario has frankly not created any effective legislation to protect migrant workers from exploitative recruiters. As the bill stands, this will simply be window dressing, half-baked.”

According to Hussan, six provinces — Alberta, Quebec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia — have already adopted mandatory licensing programs, requiring a security deposit between $5,000 and $25,000 from recruiters; most also have a registry for employers who hire migrant workers. Fines for employers for using an unlicensed recruiter can go up to $50,000 in Manitoba. A registry would enable proactive inspections.

Deena Ladd of the Workers’ Action Centre said Ontario must follow the other jurisdictions to hold employers equally responsible to make sure they use recruiters that do not charge illegal fees.

“This would not compel an employer to use a licensed recruiter if all you are required is a $250 fine,” she said. “It’s really the employers who use the recruitment agencies in the first place that drive this whole business model. It is their demand for migrant workers that creates a supply chain.

“We need to make sure employers are jointly and severally liable so they’re responsible when they use these recruitment agencies.”

Advocates are asking for a minimum fine of $15,000 against employers who fail to use a licensed agency, as well as a security bond of no less than $25,000 against licensed recruiters.

Ladd said a mandatory registry of employers who hire migrant workers is crucial.

“In our experience, we see employers who violate employment standards and continue to hire workers, only to repeat the violations, such as unpaid hours of work, overtime and illegal deductions,” said Ladd.

“Mandatory employer registration would enable the Ministry of Labour to conduct effective, targeted, proactive inspections as it will have all the information they need to do so.”

Also under this bill, Hussan said the onus is on the migrant workers to prove they have paid a recruitment fee or have been exploited. But recruiters have become so savvy that they now leave little paper trail.

“We need to reverse the onus so that workers don’t have to prove that they are being charged illegal fees, but employers and recruiters must prove that the charging doesn’t happen,” he said.

Source: ‘Half-baked’ Bill 27 won’t protect migrant workers from exploitative recruiters, say advocates