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Making Use of Immigrant Skills to Strengthen Waterloo Region Voices for Change Centre for Research and Education in Human Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Making Use of Immigrant Skills to Strengthen Waterloo Region Voices for Change Centre for Research and Education in Human Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making Use of Immigrant Skills to Strengthen Waterloo Region Voices for Change Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

2 An Action Research Project in the Waterloo, London and Grand Erie Areas New Canadian Program 12 Dupont Street West Waterloo, Ontario N2L 2X6 519.883.0216 www.newcanadians.org Centre for Research and Education in Human Services 73 King St. West Suite 202 Kitchener, Ontario N2G 1A7 519.741.1318 www.crehs.on.ca Waterloo Lead Organization: Project Funder: Canadian Heritage Lead Research Organization:

3 Waterloo Region Steering Committee Marlene Kramer New Canadian Employment Service Paul Burgener Industrial Research Assistance Program. The Laurier Institute Daniela Seskar-Hencic Region of Waterloo Public Health Carol Simpson Waterloo Wellington Training & Adjustment Board Abdul Waheed Internationally Trained Engineer Neera Mehta KW Multicultural Centre Murray Zink DALSA Wayne Wettlaufer M.P.P. Maggie Liang Clarica Jennifer Roggemann Paquette Travers Deutschmann Kelly Law Firm Tracy Zhou University of Waterloo Engineering Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

4 Making Use of Immigrant Skills Purpose: Raise awareness about the need to use the skills of immigrants more fully and to mobilize people in Waterloo, London, and Grand Erie to call for change to that end. Raise awareness about the need to use the skills of immigrants more fully and to mobilize people in Waterloo, London, and Grand Erie to call for change to that end.Activities: Local Steering Committees to guide the projectLocal Steering Committees to guide the project Key informant interviews with experts in the fieldKey informant interviews with experts in the field Labour market scan of skills needed within each communityLabour market scan of skills needed within each community Survey of immigrant skills and the extent to which they are being used in each communitySurvey of immigrant skills and the extent to which they are being used in each community International media scan and document reviewInternational media scan and document review Series of case studies highlighting the human story behind the issueSeries of case studies highlighting the human story behind the issue Community forums/press conferencesCommunity forums/press conferences Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

5 Why Make Use of Immigrant Skills? Help relieve skill shortages resulting from an aging population and low birth rate. Help relieve skill shortages resulting from an aging population and low birth rate. Compete in the increasingly global marketplace with international perspectives and connections. Compete in the increasingly global marketplace with international perspectives and connections. Job satisfaction of working in field of expertise contributes to personal, family, and corporate well-being. Job satisfaction of working in field of expertise contributes to personal, family, and corporate well-being. Take advantage of human capital (“brain gain”) brought to our country. Take advantage of human capital (“brain gain”) brought to our country. Benefit our economy with higher taxes, disposable income, and increased productivity. Benefit our economy with higher taxes, disposable income, and increased productivity. Capitalize on savings in educational costs. Capitalize on savings in educational costs. Add new, innovative ideas in the workplace. Add new, innovative ideas in the workplace. Demonstrate that our society gives equal opportunity to all and embraces cultural diversity. Demonstrate that our society gives equal opportunity to all and embraces cultural diversity. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

6 Growing Voices for Change The voices are saying that Canadians need the skills that immigrants bring to their new home country. They are saying that many immigrants are bringing the exact skills that we need to make our communities strong and vibrant. But, most importantly, they are saying that immigrant skills—the very skills that we need—are not being used to their full potential. We are left with a backlog of under-used skills. In the end, we all lose. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

7 Immigrant Skills… We Need Them  One in two Canadian businesses are concerned with the shortage of qualified labour.  A shortage of up to 1 million workers is expected in Canada within the next 20 years.  Critical job shortages loom, particularly in the health, education, and construction fields.  2001 Census estimated that by 2011 Canada’s entire net labour growth will come from immigration.  About 225,000 immigrants come to Canada each year with higher targets in the future.  Other industrialized countries are competing for immigrant labour. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

8 Waterloo Region Needs These Skills Waterloo Region Needs These Skills Regulated Professions Physician or SurgeonPhysician or Surgeon Medical Radiation TechnologistMedical Radiation Technologist Medical Laboratory TechnologistMedical Laboratory Technologist Occupational TherapistOccupational Therapist Audiologist/Speech PathologistAudiologist/Speech Pathologist Nurse/Practical NurseNurse/Practical Nurse PharmacistPharmacist PhysiotherapistPhysiotherapist Respiratory TherapistRespiratory Therapist Engineering Technician/ TechnologistEngineering Technician/ Technologist Trades Industrial ElectricianIndustrial Electrician Sheet Metal WorkerSheet Metal Worker Cement/Brick and Stone MasonCement/Brick and Stone Mason Truck/Coach Technician & Truck/Trailer RepairerTruck/Coach Technician & Truck/Trailer Repairer Tool and Die MakerTool and Die Maker MouldmakerMouldmaker Industrial Mechanic MillwrightIndustrial Mechanic Millwright General MachinistGeneral Machinist Construction MillwrightConstruction Millwright Fitter – WelderFitter – Welder Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

9 Immigrant Skills… We Have Them  Since Canada’s beginning as a country in 1867, approximately one- sixth of its population has remained foreign-born.  Today, over 18% of all Canadians are immigrants—only Australia has a higher percentage of immigrants.  Since the 1970’s immigrants have become more diverse.  Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal’s percentage of foreign-born populations ranks very highly among world cities (#1, #3 and #7).  Forty-four percent of Toronto residents are foreign-born. Its schools serve children from over 170 countries.  Each year approximately 60% of Canada’s immigrants come to Ontario.  Ontario receives over 100,000 immigrants annually.  The vast majority settle in Toronto and along the highway 401 corridor.  Immigrants are typically more educated than the average Ontario resident and bring many skills to their new community. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

10 Waterloo Region Has Immigrants Waterloo Region Has Immigrants  The 2001 Census found that 22% of Waterloo Region residents are immigrants. This gives the region the fifth-highest percentage of foreign-born residents in all Canadian urban areas.  Between 1996 and 2001, 14,304 new Canadians came to the region.  Our project’s survey of about 200 recent immigrants found that of those who had worked in a profession before coming to Canada, just over one quarter were trained in professions that have been identified as the top ten in demand in Waterloo Region.  Waterloo Region has at least 146 un- or under-employed internationally educated physicians. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

11 Immigrant Skills… Let’s Use Them Voices from the Past:  1988 Provincial Task Force on Access to Professions and Trades (APT)  Increasing media coverage in the 1990’s  Internationally educated associations began lobbying governments in the 1990’s  Provincial APT Unit and Federal/Provincial Working Group on APT issues  But still the problem remains—even worse Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

12 Immigrant Skills… Let’s Use Them Voices from the Present:  Many research studies showing immigrants to have higher unemployment rates, aren’t typically working in their profession, aren’t earning as much, get stuck in low paying jobs, face multiple barriers in accessing their profession.  Leading economists warning of labour shortages and barriers in utilizing needed immigrant skills.  Many business/professional associations calling on government to break down barriers.  All 3 provincial parties have platforms on the issue. But still immigrant skills are being under-used… Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

13 Immigrant Skills… Let’s Use Them Why is this still a problem?  Policy within and between levels of government is neither consistent nor coordinated  No formal ways to ensure that government, occupational regulatory bodies, and employers are accountable for their actions on this issue  Negative attitudes and practices of: Canadian society, regulators, employers Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

14 What Will it Take? “The critical moment [in social change] is when the issue becomes present in national consciousness…for an issue to become recognized as a wide-spread social problem is key.” -Ratna Omidvar, Maytree Foundation Local Calls for Change are needed that demonstrate broad-based support of the need to make better use of immigrant skills. This is an issue of concern for the whole community. These Calls for Change compliment the work of those who are developing, proposing, and implementing workable solutions that increase access to professions and trades for immigrants. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

15 Waterloo Region Calls for Change Waterloo region welcomes and is increasingly dependent on the skills brought by immigrants. Over the past decade, employers and human service organizations within the region have been working to integrate immigrant skills into the local labour market. Even so, there is recognition of their limited role in increasing immigrants’ access to regulated professions and trades. Increasing this access would benefit the community. Therefore, the citizens, employers, and leaders of our region call on: Government The federal and provincial governments to demonstrate increased leadership toward removing barriers to professions and trades for internationally educated persons. Regulatory Bodies All occupational regulatory bodies to improve their standards of practice by ensuring licensing processes for internationally educated professionals are fair, timely, transparent, and consistent. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

16 Action Needed by the Federal Government In order to implement these Calls for Change, immediate action is needed: Action #1: The federal government ensure better policy coherence, as it relates to the access to professions and trades for internationally educated people, within and between government jurisdictions. Action #2: The federal government provide leadership in promoting positive attitudes towards immigrants and people of colour. Action #3: The federal government develop a pre-immigration strategy that would provide accurate information about Canada needed for immigrants to make informed decisions. Action #4: The federal government negotiate an agreement with the provincial government to better coordinate the funding and delivery of employment and training programs for immigrants. Action #5: The federal government provide additional resources to promote access to professions and trades, including funding organizations representing internationally educated professionals that would enable them to propose effective and equitable systems towards the integration of immigrants into their professions. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

17 Action Needed by the Provincial Government In order to implement these Calls for Change, immediate action is needed: Action #1: The provincial government ensure better policy coherence, as it relates to the access to professions and trades for internationally educated people, within and between government jurisdictions. Action #2: The provincial government have a greater role in developing a comprehensive settlement strategy, which will assure that any federal funding committed at that time would be dedicated to settlement needs. Action #3: The provincial government negotiate an agreement with the federal government to better coordinate the funding and delivery of employment and training programs for immigrants. Action #4: The provincial government integrate the successful pilot “Bridging Programs” (programs that help integrate skilled immigrants in specific professions and trades into the labour market) into existing service delivery models to ensure increased access. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

18 Action Needed by the Provincial Government (Con’t) In order to implement these Calls for Change, immediate action is needed: Action #5: The provincial government develop standards of practice for regulatory bodies that would ensure that their licensing processes are fair, timely, transparent, and consistent; with annual reporting on compliance of these standards and non-compliance mechanisms put into place. Action #6: The provincial government provide additional resources for occupational regulatory bodies, post secondary educational institutions, and organizations representing internationally educated professionals that would enable them to develop effective and equitable systems towards the integration of immigrants into their respective professions. Action #7: The provincial Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ministry of Attorney General move quickly to implement Actions #4 and 5, as health-related professionals and engineering technicians/technologists are the professions needed most urgently in Waterloo Region. Action #8: The provincial Ministry of Health and Long Term Care increase substantially the annual number of spaces for International Medical Graduates (IMG). Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

19 Action Needed by Regulatory Bodies In order to implement these Calls for Change, immediate action is needed: Action #1: All 38 occupational regulatory bodies consult with associations representing internationally educated professionals to develop standards of practice that ensure licensing processes are fair, timely, transparent, and consistent. Action #2: All 38 occupational regulatory bodies provide public reports outlining the number of applications for license by internationally educated professionals, and the number of licenses actually issued to internationally educated professionals. Action #3: All 38 occupational regulatory bodies provide public reports of where internationally educated applicants reached an impasse in the process of licensure, and why the impasse was reached. Action #4: All 38 occupational regulatory bodies undertake licensing reviews to identify any potential barriers that exist in their licensing procedures. Action #5: The 22 health-related regulatory bodies and the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists move quickly to implement Actions #1-3 as health-related professionals and engineering technicians/technologists are the professions needed most urgently in Waterloo Region. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

20 What YOU Can Do Listen: Listen to the experiences of immigrants who are trying to make use of their skills. Speak Up: Add your own voice to the growing chorus of voices calling for change. Endorse Waterloo’s Calls for Change. Log on to: www.crehs.on.ca Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

21 Immigrant Skills... We Need Them. We Have Them. Let’s Use Them. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

22 Centre for Research and Education in Human Services Centre for Research and Education in Human Services 73 King Street West, Suite 202 Kitchener, Ontario N2G 1A7 Phone: (519) 741-1318 Fax: (519) 741-8262 E-mail: general@crehs.on.ca Web page: www.crehs.on.ca


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