Read TRIEC’s submission to the Government of Ontario on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, as part of their pre-budget consultations.
Immigrants are vital to the economic growth and ongoing prosperity of Ontario. They bring skills, innovation, new perspectives, and international business knowledge to our province – which means they have the potential to make a significant contribution to Ontario’s Open for Business policy.
Currently however, this potential is not being fully leveraged. If immigrants in Ontario were employed in roles that match their skill level and professional experience, their incomes would increase by up to $15.2 billion. This is equivalent to 2 per cent of Ontario’s gross domestic product*.
The economic imperative is clear. When immigrants and new Canadians are able to contribute their skills and experience, this leads to more jobs and a more prosperous province for all of us.
For Ontario to realize the full potential contribution of immigrants to our province, we need to support newcomers in their transition to the local job market. This is particularly important for the growing number of skilled immigrants coming through the province’s Immigrant Nominee program. In order to ensure immigrants can fully contribute their skills, education and expertise to the province, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council recommends that the Ontario government:
- Continue to support the effective integration of highly skilled immigrants into Ontario’s job market by ensuring the effective and continued delivery of an employment solution that works: bridging programs.
- Continue to support the work of the Ontario Fairness Commissioner to reduce red tape so that immigrant professionals can more quickly contribute to our province’s jobs market and grow our economy.
In making these recommendations, TRIEC is mindful of the fiscal challenges facing Ontario, and the need for every person and organization to contribute to addressing the reality we all face. Below we set out why we believe these recommendations would be valuable investments for the government at this time.
1. Maximise the impact of bridging programs
Effective bridging programs support immigrants in their transition to jobs in Ontario. Bridging programs, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities are designed to “bridge” the international training, education and experience of immigrants with what is needed to practice in Ontario. They have been proven to be a highly successful way of ensuring that immigrant professionals can enter the labour market quickly and secure jobs that are commensurate with their education and experience.
TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, funded through the Bridging program stream, illustrates the measurable impact and ROI of such programs.
TRIEC Mentoring Partnership
Delivered in collaboration with established employment and settlement agencies, mentoring programs match an immigrant with a mentor in their field of expertise or occupation. In TRIEC’s program, these pairs spend about 18 hours together over three months. The mentor helps their mentee understand Canadian workplace culture and how the job search works in Canada. Most importantly, the mentor must connect the mentee with at least five other people in their professional network. When 70% of jobs are not advertised, building a professional network is essential to job search success.
The results of TRIEC Mentoring Partnership are outstanding:
- 77% of mentees matched through TRIEC Mentoring Partnership find employment in their field within six months of completing the program;
- Full-time annual earnings of immigrants who take part in the program increase on average by 62%.
For businesses, TRIEC Mentoring Partnership brings new opportunities to find the highly skilled employees they need to grow their businesses. Seventy-two percent of mentors report that they are more likely to hire a highly skilled immigrant after participating in the program. Businesses become much more aware of immigrant talent and are able to better include immigrants in the workplace, leading to increases in productivity, innovation, and connections to new global markets**.
RECOMMENDATION:That the government of Ontario supports the integration of highly skilled immigrants into Ontario’s job market by ensuring the effective and continued delivery of an employment solution that works: bridging programs.
2. Cut red tape to help immigrants contribute to the economy at their full potential
International credential recognition is an ongoing, laborious challenge for Ontario’s newcomers. As a result, many new Ontarians are not able to participate in the job market to their full potential. Ontario is not Open for Business for these educated, highly skilled, and in-demand individuals. The Office of the Fairness Commissioner is a highly effective body that works to ensure that the registration practices of regulated professions and trades are transparent, objective, impartial and fair for anyone applying to practice his or her profession in Ontario. The Office will soon be introducing new approaches to reduce red tape in professional registration practices so that new Canadians can more quickly enter their chosen profession and begin contributing to the Ontario economy.
RECOMMENDATION: That the government of Ontario continue to support the work of the Ontario Fairness Commissioner to reduce red tape so that immigrant professionals can more quickly contribute to our province’s job market and grow our economy.
Immigrant professionals have made the choice to come to Ontario and contribute to our province. Let’s make sure they have the best opportunity for success. When Ontario’s skilled immigrant professionals succeed, we all do.
*Immigration in Ontario, Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity, June 2017
**McKinsey & Company; Delivering through Diversity; January 2018