On the 25th of October, Ontario introduced the “Working for Workers Act”. The Act will also reduce the requirement for immigrant worker licensure. The changes are applicable to certain professions that are not health-regulated like architects, engineers plumbers, electricians and plumbers. hairstylists, accountants, teachers and early education teachers.
The proposed legislation could mean significant changes for immigrants looking to enter into controlled professions in Ontario. This will be the first of this type in Canada. It would help internationally-trained immigrants get work in their field of expertise.
Presently, it is difficult to obtain professional registration and license. Newcomers to Canada require Canadian previous work experiences. This is the most significant obstacle Canadian immigrants have to overcome in securing jobs that match their qualifications.
This Act will also abolish the requirement that new immigrants pass a new language test to be eligible for the purpose of professional licensure, if they have having already submitted one for immigration.
In the Ontario government’s news release the changes will help to address the issue of labour shortages in Ontario. Check out Ontario Helping Newcomers Begin Their Careers.
The new rules will also ensure that the process of licensing is completed quickly. In the present, licensing timeframes for certain professions can be up an average of 18 months, or longer. Workers who are licensed cannot be offered jobs during the waiting time.
Changes proposed to ease the immigrant worker licensing requirements
According to the news release the law If it is passed:
- Eliminate Canadian requirements for work experience for professional registration and licensure unless exempted on the basis of an established public health or safety risk. These regulations could result in circumstances where employees are unable to gain Canadian work experience simply because they do not have the required experience. This is frequently cited as the biggest obstacle Canadian immigrants have to overcome in getting an employment opportunity that is compatible with their qualifications.
- Reduce the burdensome repetition of official proficiency tests to ensure that people do not be required to take multiple tests to be eligible for professional and immigration licensing.
- Let applicants register quicker in their professions that are regulated when emergencies arise (such as an epidemic) which create an urgent need for specific trades or professions.
- Ensure the licensing process is completed in a timely manner to help internationally-trained immigrants start working in careers that match their skillset.
- In 2016, only one quarter of international immigrants living from Ontario worked in professions in which they were trained or took classes.
- This summer, around 300,000 unfilled jobs were uncovered across the province, which cost billions of dollars 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, the time to get a license in certain professions is between 18 and longer, while employees wait in limbo, and wasting precious time that they could be helping the economy.
- If adopted, would be applicable to professions that aren’t regulated by health authorities and mandatory trades like architects, professional engineers plumbers, electricians, hairstylists, accountants, teachers and early education teachers. However they say that Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development will collaborate in conjunction with the Ministry of Health to assess the possibility that these changes could be adapted to health-related professions in the near future.