Source: Ontario Government’s Official Website.
On October 21, Government of Ontario announced that they will be proposing a legislation that will help address the province wide labour shortage. This legislation will make it easier for “internationally-trained immigrants” to start careers in their profession which are regulated.
This proposal will help remove many significant barriers that internationally-trained immigrants face, such as the requirement for Canadian work experience to get a license in certain regulated professions and trades. However, this proposal is not for the people in healthcare professionals, but with the Ministry of Health to assess if these proposed changes can also be made for health professions in the future.
The Ontario government intends to propose following 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.
Reasoning Behind This Proposal:
- In 2016, only one-quarter of internationally trained immigrants in Ontario were employed in the regulated professions for which they trained or studied.
- This summer, roughly 300,000 jobs were going unfilled across the province, costing billions in lost productivity.
- Currently, internationally-trained immigrants face multiple barriers to getting licensed in their field including unfair requirements for Canadian work experience, unnecessary, repetitive and costly language testing, and unreasonable processing times.
- At present, licensing time in some regulated professions takes up to 18 months or more, while workers wait in limbo, wasting valuable time when they could be contributing to the economy.
- The proposed changes, if passed, would apply to non-health regulated professions and compulsory trades such as professional engineers, architects, plumbers, electricians, accountants, hairstylists, teachers and early childhood educators. However, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development will work with the Ministry of Health to assess if these proposed changes can also be made for health professions in the future.
“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. 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.”– Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“These proposed changes would help to improve registration practices, address unfair Canadian experience requirements and remove related barriers for internationally-trained professionals and tradespersons. I want to thank Minister McNaughton for his leadership on this important initiative. Our office looks forward to working with the government, professional regulators, and other parties to advance these initiatives and improve fair access to the regulated professions and compulsory trades.”– Irwin Glasberg, the Fairness Commissioner of Ontario.