'This is, quite frankly, a game-changer for newcomers coming here'
Ontario is ordering professional regulatory bodies in the province to stop requiring Canadian work experience from immigrants wanting to be licensed in their professions within the province.
“This is, quite frankly, a game-changer for newcomers coming here, but also for businesses who are struggling with a huge labour shortage,” says Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development, in a report from The Standard.
“Only a quarter of internationally trained immigrants in our province are working in the professions they studied for. This is an injustice to these workers, and it doesn’t take a math major to figure out the current numbers don’t add up.”
The amended Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act covers 36 non-health-related professions and trades, ranging from architecture to teaching, social work, plumbing, electricians’ work, autobody repair and hairstyling, according to The Standard.
Roughly 300,000 jobs continue to go unfilled across the province every day, says McNaughton.
Ottawa marked a record-breaking year for immigration in 2022. However, immigrants tend to do worse when it comes to finding a suitable job compared with non-immigrants, according to a previous report.
Regulatory bodies have until Dec. 2 to remove the Canadian work experience requirement, unless an exemption is granted for public health and safety reasons. Regulators will be fined up to $100,000 for non-compliance.
Engineers in spotlight
Internationally trained engineers are the first ones to benefit from the new rules.
Internationally trained engineers hoping to get licensed in Ontario can now do so even if they do not have Canadian experience.
This is after the Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) – which represents the fourth largest regulated profession in the province with 85,649 members – removed the said requirement on Tuesday, becoming the first professional regulatory body to do so.
“By no longer requiring proof of Canadian experience when applying for an engineering licence, PEO will effectively ensure that qualified international applicants are licensed fairly and without undue delay so they can actively work as engineers,” says Jennifer Quaglietta, the regulator’s CEO registrar, in the report from The Standard.
However, Candidates are still required to have 48-months of professional experience in engineering. They will also still have to pass a national professional practice exam that includes ethics, professional practice, engineering, law and professional liability.
“This multifaceted process will continue to ensure that all professional engineers meet rigorous qualifications for licences and that only properly qualified individuals practice engineering,” says Quaglietta.
Up to 60 per cent of the engineering licence applications each year are from internationally trained engineers, she says.
PEO promises that the new process will be a smooth one for applicants.
“Our new application process for professional engineering licences is efficient, transparent and fair, and will provide most applicants with a registration decision within six months of submitting a completed application.”
Previously, Manitoba announced it is easing the way for internationally trained doctors to come to the province and enter its health-care workforce.