We welcome the news today that the Ontario Ministry for Labour, Training and Skills Development will propose legislation to require regulatory bodies to remove Canadian experience requirements from their licensing processes.
The licensing process has long been a barrier for immigrants to Canada. Faced with delays in being able to practice in their chosen field, many immigrants end up seeking alternative employment and leaving their profession entirely.
This gap costs the economy as their skills and knowledge go to waste. If immigrants in Ontario had jobs aligned with their skills and experience, the increase in their incomes would be up to $15.2 billion – or the equivalent of 2 per cent of Ontario’s gross domestic product.
In our current labour market, where demand for workers outstrips supply, we cannot afford to be under-utilizing this talent. As the ministry news release stated, this summer nearly 300,000 jobs went unfilled across the province.
This proposed legislation is an important first step in reducing this barrier for immigrants to Ontario, allowing them to maintain professional dignity by working in their chosen fields. We hope that the removal of barriers continues to other sectors such as health care where qualified professionals are increasingly important to Ontario’s well-being as we recover from the pandemic.
The perceived need for Canadian experience is not unique to the regulated professions. It remains a barrier to newcomers applying for jobs across industries and sectors. Although the Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits asking questions about Canadian experience at any point in the hiring process, we still hear of it being used as a means of assessing a candidate’s suitability, whether implicitly or explicitly.
At TRIEC, we will continue to champion the tremendous skills and knowledge immigrants bring to our region, and work with employers to ensure their hiring processes allow immigrants’ skills, competencies and experience to be recognized.
For additional information, please contact:
Helen Davies, Senior Manager, Communications
TRIEC helps employers capitalize on the skills and experience of newcomers to the Greater Toronto Area and helps newcomers secure work in their field of expertise. In partnership with corporations, individual supporters, community organizations, and governments, we work to remove barriers to the labour market and to support the retention and advancement of newcomers in the workplace.
 Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity, 2017. Immigration in Ontario: Achieving Best Outcomes for newcomers and the economy