Breaking down barriers for professionals

(Canscene) — As many as 140,000 newcomers arrive in Ontario each year. In the past two years, more than half were university educated. Within five years, newcomers will account for all of the province’s net labour force growth.

The McGuinty government is introducing the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006, which if passed, would break down barriers so that more internationally trained professionals can work in their field, Ontario Citizenship and Immigration Minister Mike Colle announced last month.

The proposed legislation, the first of its kind in Canada, would require Ontario’s 34 regulated professions to ensure their licensing process is fair, clear and open. They would also be required to assess credentials more quickly.

“We’re making sure the skills and talents of thousands of internationally trained professionals are a brain gain for Ontario, not a brain waste,” said Colle. “We’re demonstrating our commitment to breaking down the barriers for so many talented newcomers who chose Ontario.”

“The Ontario government is to be commended for introducing legislation to help internationally trained professionals integrate into the workforce,” said Brian Hunt, President and CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario. “The Institute’s experience has shown that providing a transparent career path for the internationally trained not only benefits those individuals personally but also the province as a whole.”

The new act is another step in Premier Dalton McGuinty’s election promise to facilitate the entry of professional immigrants into their chosen occupations. Already announced are:

  1. a six-month internship program in the Ontario Public Service and Crown Agencies for internationally trained professionals.
  2. Doubling the number of training and assessment positions for internationally trained medical graduates
  3. Negotiating the first ever Canada-Ontario immigration agreement, which quadruples federal funding for language training and settlement programs to $920 million over five years for Ontario newcomers
  4. Creating the website Ontarioimmigration.ca, which provides up-to-date information for newcomers on everything from Ontario communities to working in professions and trades
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