Ontario announced that it is set to pass legislation that bans requirements for Canada work experience in job postings or application forms, making it the first Canadian province to provide support to internationally-trained immigrants to work in the fields they have studied in. This change, according to the Ontario government website, would help more qualified candidates progress in the interview process; in this, the Province follows historic legislation to prohibit regulated professions from asking for discriminatory Canadian work experience requirements in licensing for over 30 occupations.
“For far too long, too many people arriving in Canada have been funneled toward dead-end jobs they’re overqualified for. We need to ensure these people can land well-paying and rewarding careers that help tackle the labor shortage,” said Minister of Labor, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, David Piccini.
“When newcomers to Ontario get a meaningful chance to contribute, everyone wins.”
It is important to note the efforts being made by Ontario to attract the best global talent possible. Between January and September 2023, more than 162,000 immigrants arrived in Ontario, and the Province will nominate 16,500 immigrants for permanent residence through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) in many critical sectors such as healthcare and the skilled trades. Furthermore, to ensure that it is selecting the best candidates out in the job market, the government is proposing changes to increase the number of international students in the Province eligible to apply to the OINP by revising eligibility for hundreds of one-year college graduate certificate programs around Ontario.
Not only that, but Ontario is also working towards settlement initiatives. It is investing $100M in 2023-24, for example, in services that allow newcomers to learn English or French, settle, access training, and find jobs. This includes additional funding for 2023-24 to enhance the Ontario Bridge Training Program and Ontario Bridging Participant Assistance Program, which are meant to expand access to foreign qualification recognition supports.
Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, said that “Ontario is a global leader in welcoming newcomers from a wide array of backgrounds, cultures and faiths around the world.”
“By banning Canadian work experience requirements in job postings, Ontario, through Premier Ford and Minister Piccini’s leadership, is leading the country in breaking down barriers to make it easier for internationally-trained immigrants to find meaningful work and contribute to building Ontario. This change will help support families as they start their journey in their new homes, create more vibrant communities and help ensure businesses have the talent they need.”
Ontario has been a leader in this field in the past too. In fact, it was the first Canadian province to ban the use of discriminatory Canadian work experience requirements in regulated professions under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006.
Furthermore, Professional Engineers Ontario were the first regulated profession to remove the requirement for Canadian work experience from their registration criteria since the government took action.
“Canadian experience continues to be one the most prominent barriers faced by many newcomers in their search for meaningful employment,” said Sara Asalya, Executive Director, Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto.
“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 labor market inclusion.”