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It will be easier for immigrants to work in their professions

TORONTO – Make it easier for foreign workers to find employment that reflects their professional field. This is the objective of a project presented today in Queen’s Park by the Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton, which if it were to be approved would eliminate the requirement – requested by 23 trade associations – for which a given foreign worker must have work experience in Canada before having his professional qualification equalized. The measure specifically illustrates different job categories that will be affected including architects, engineers, teachers, social workers and accountants. 

In the event that the proposal becomes law, we would be facing a real turning point. Until now, an immigrant engineer in Ontario in order to practice the profession should first have had work experience in Canada for the same job: in the vast majority of cases immigrants with certain qualifications are in a sort of limbo, unable to carry out the work they did in their country of origin precisely because they did not possess the requirement of work experience in Canadian territory.

According to McNaughton, about 25 percent of immigrants in Ontario work in a sector other than their country’s professional qualifications and employment experiences. Architects who are taxi drivers, engineers who work in a fast food restaurant: the casista is full of this type of situation, no longer borderline cases but now the norm.

Today’s announcement is connected, of course, with the controversy triggered last Monday by Prime Minister Doug Ford on the need for immigrants to roll up their sleeves. For three days the political debate was characterized by the attacks made by the oppositions against the conservative leader, who refused to apologize and declared himself a defender of immigrant rights.

As we pointed out in the Corriere Canadese on October 20, Ford’s exit was not at all the result of chance, but a consequence of a precise strategy that only the leader of the NDP Andrea Horwath and that of the Liberal Party Steven Del Duca did not understand. For three days the reins of the political discussion were in the hands of the premier, who dictated the timing and manner of the debate, only to then drop the ace – obviously planned for a long time – with yesterday’s announcement, which represents a real revolution for immigrants. In the prime minister’s narrative, of course, it is shown how – and here we paraphrase – “others chat, while he presents concrete measures for immigrants” – with a strategic approach that will be repeated during the election campaign.

Thanks to the repeated attacks on Queen’s Park on its exit on immigrants, Ford was able to reiterate in the Legislative Assembly how his government in the last three years has asked the federal counterpart to increase the share of immigrants destined for Ontario and how – a figure repeated yesterday by the Minister of Labor – currently in the Ontario labor market there are 293 thousand jobs to be filled.

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