MRO Magazine

Ontario to propose legislation to remove barriers for job-seeking newcomers


Human Resources

October 22, 2021
By Maryam Farag

The Ontario government intends to propose legislation that would, if passed, help remove barriers internationally-trained immigrants face, such as the requirement for Canadian work experience, when attempting to get licenced in certain regulated professions and trades such as law, accounting, architecture, engineering, electrical and plumbing.

“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,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “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 Ontario government intends to propose changes this fall which would, if passed:

  • Eliminate Canadian work experience requirements for professional registration and licensing unless an exemption is granted based on a demonstrated public health and safety risk.
  • Reduce burdensome duplication for official language proficiency testing, so people would not have to complete multiple tests for purposes of immigration and professional licencing.
  • Allow applicants to register faster in their regulated professions when there are emergencies (such as a pandemic) that create an urgent need for certain professions or trades.
  • Ensure the licensing process is completed in a timely manner to help internationally-trained immigrants start working in careers that match their skillset.

“Over the past several months, I had the pleasure of co-chairing numerous roundtables with Minister McNaughton, as we heard from immigrants, industry leaders, settlement groups and faith communities, to understand the barriers internationally-trained professionals often face. I am very pleased the government intends to propose several important amendments that would, if approved and passed, better the lives of new Canadians,” said Irwin Glasberg, the Fairness Commissioner of Ontario. “These proposed changes would help to improve registration practices, address unfair Canadian experience requirements and remove related barriers for internationally-trained professionals and tradespersons.”

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