Skip to content

Provincial legislation would remove barriers for internationally trained newcomers

Move designed to help alleviate Ontario’s skilled worker shortage
(Stock image)

The provincial government is planning to propose legislation that would make it easier for internationally trained immigrants to work in their professions.

If approved, the legislation would eliminate significant barriers to immigrants entering the workforce, including: removing the requirement for Canadian work experience; reducing the need for duplication for official language proficiency testing; allowing applicants to register faster during emergencies, such as a pandemic; and ensuring the licensing process is completed in a timely manner.

The legislation would apply to trades including architecture, engineering, electrical and plumbing, as well as professions in the law and accounting.

Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s labour minister, cited the province’s current labour shortage as a reason for the move.

According to provincial numbers, in 2016, only one quarter of internationally trained immigrants in Ontario were employed in the regulated professions for which they trained or studied.

“Ontario is facing a generational labour shortage with hundreds of thousands of jobs going unfilled. However, all too often, newcomers in this province struggle to find jobs in their regulated profession for no other reason than bureaucracy and red tape,” McNaughton said in an Oct. 21 news release.

“These are folks who often have the training, experience, and qualifications to work in booming industries where Ontario desperately needs help but are being denied a chance to contribute.

“If these proposed changes are passed, Ontario would become the first province in Canada to help level the playing field in certain regulated professions so that workers coming here have the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their loved ones, and build stronger communities for us all."

The province said the announcement comes following months of consultation with immigrants, industry leaders, settlement groups, and faith communities, which helped provide understanding into the barriers that newcomers often face.