Federal Government Is Over $100 Million Behind on Promised Investments
TORONTO, Nov. 21 /CNW/ - Ontario's new Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration is calling on the federal government to meet its commitment to
Michael Chan says the federal government is over $100 million behind on
payments promised in the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, signed two
years ago this day.
The agreement committed Ottawa to investing an additional $920 million
over five years in direct payments to Ontario's newcomer settlement agencies.
The agreement was designed to address Ontario's labour market priorities and
provide Ontario's municipalities with the opportunity to realize their
immigration and integration goals.
Each year, more than 125,000 new immigrants arrive in Ontario - half of
all newcomers to Canada. By 2011, immigration will account for 100 per cent of
net labour market growth.
"Two years into this agreement, Ottawa has underspent by over $100
million," said Chan. "This is funding the federal government promised to
provide directly to newcomer agencies to provide the settlement and language
training services that are vital to helping newcomers find work in Ontario."
Chan added that the agreement has led to progress in many areas, such as
Ontario's new pilot Provincial Nominee Program, which helps the province meet
its labour market needs by fast-tracking newcomers with select skills through
the immigration system, an area of federal jurisdiction.
Other areas of progress include the establishment of a forum that helps
municipalities work with both the provincial and federal governments on
immigration and integration priorities.
"The Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement is in the best interest of
newcomers to Ontario," said Chan. "It has allowed us to make some important
progress, but the federal government needs to do more. That's why I will
continue to work with the federal government to make sure that these important
funds are delivered."
The Ontario government spends $160 million annually, more than any other
province, on programs to help newcomers upgrade their language skills, settle
and find work.
In 2006, the McGuinty government passed the Fair Access to Regulated
Professions Act. The first legislation of its kind in Canada, the act is
designed to ease the transition of foreign trained professionals into
Ontario's workforce by requiring regulated professions to have quick, fair and
open registration process.
The act also established the Office of the Fairness Commissioner, headed
by Jean Augustine, which is responsible for periodically auditing the
regulated professions to ensure clear assessment of academic credentials,
timely response to applicants, and reasonable fees.
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For further information:
For further information: Daphne Shih, Minister's Office, (416) 325-3460;
Michel Payen-Dumont, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7010