Fulfilling the Promise: Integrating Immigrant Skills into the Canadian Economy

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Link: http://triec.ca/uploads/190/2002_Maytree_FulfillingThePromise.pdf
By: Naomi Alboim
Org: The Maytree Foundation
Date: 2002

This report focusses on practical solutions to the difficulties immigrants face in entering their specialized fields in Canada.

An environmental scan conducted by the Maytree Foundation identified a variety of projects and programs across the country that are or have been in place to assist skilled immigrants to enter the Canadian labour market. Some of these initiatives are excellent, notably in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, and should be used as models for more systemic implementation. However, many are ad hoc pilots, short-term initiatives or are focussed only on some occupations in very few locations. While there are promising examples of multistakeholder collaborations, all too often key players are not at the table, and there appears to have been little, to date, in the way of formal program evaluation.

Summary of Recommendations

The report sets out the context, proposed approach and components of a system envisaged by Maytree in which Canada values and benefits from the skills, training, education and experience of skilled immigrants by expediting labour market entry in their field of expertise.

Maytree proposes that solutions be designed as part of an overall system instead of the current ad hoc approach. Incentives should be put into place so that all players collaborate in the design, delivery and evaluation of effective programs and services. Rather than making skilled immigrants 'start from scratch,' the system would value and recognize their qualifications, focussing on ways to fill quickly any identified gaps.

The system would be supported by sustainable, practical programs and services that respect jurisdictional responsibilities and allow for local or occupational variations. To increase the likelihood and speed of labour market entry in one's specialized field, opportunities would be available to begin assessing qualifications and filling gaps while overseas. Programs and services should be transparent and accessible, expediting labour market entry without compromising public interest or safety. They should build on best practices and existing infrastructure, and incorporate new technology.

This report is available for download in Adobe Acrobat format (147K, 56 pages).