Ontario is poised to introduce legislation that would make it the first province in Canada to eliminate the requirement for Canadian work experience in job postings for internationally-trained immigrants.
The legislation, which follows the precedent set by the historic move to bar regulated professions from imposing Canadian work experience for licensing in over 30 occupations, is expected to be introduced soon.
Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, David Piccini, highlighted the importance of leveraging the skills of immigrants to address the province’s labour shortage and provide newcomers with fulfilling career opportunities.
“When newcomers to Ontario get a meaningful chance to contribute, everyone wins,” Piccini stated.
The province, which plans to nominate 16,500 immigrants for permanent residence this year through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), is also revising eligibility requirements to increase the pool of international students that can apply to the OINP. These moves are part of Ontario’s efforts to have greater control over the selection of economic immigrants.
Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Michael Ford, commended the initiative, asserting that this would enable internationally-trained immigrants to contribute to Ontario’s growth, supporting families and communities while providing businesses with needed talent.
Proposed changes will also enhance the oversight and fairness of international qualifications assessment by regulated professions. Ontario, which welcomes the most immigrants annually in Canada, could see a substantial economic boost, with studies indicating that the integration of internationally-trained professionals could add up to $100 billion to the province’s GDP over five years.
The legislative changes, aimed to protect workers and assist newcomers, are part of a broader package that continues the efforts of the Working for Workers Acts from 2021 to 2023.
Echoing the government’s stance, leaders from various organizations expressed their support. Sara Asalya of Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto hailed the legislation as a step towards eliminating systemic barriers for newcomers.
“Canadian experience continues to be one the most prominent barriers faced by many newcomers in their search for meaningful employment. Introducing legislation to ban the Canadian experience requirements from job postings and ads is a big leap forward in the right direction to eliminate systemic barriers facing newcomers, and to facilitate pathways to their labour market inclusion,” she said.
Allison Steinberg of JVS Toronto, Tonie Chaltas of Achēv, Phil Mendoza of Compass Careers Canada, Elise Herzig of JIAS Toronto, Allan Reesor-McDowell of Matthew House Ottawa, and Teresa M. Torralba of the Philippine Legacy and Cultural Alliance (PLACA) also supported the measure, recognizing its potential to enrich the province’s labour market and uphold fairness and human rights for immigrants.