No Skills Left Behind

Ontario Liberal Plan To Help Newcomers Put Their Skills To Work

TORONTO, Sept. 10, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, only 24 per cent of highly educated new Canadian professionals living in Ontario have a job in the field they were trained in. The unemployment level among new Canadians is twice as high as the Ontario average.

Most new Canadian citizens trained in regulated professions need Canadian experience to be certified in Ontario. For example, an engineer needs 12 months of Canadian, on-the-job experience working with another certified engineer; an architect requires the same; a pharmacist requires up to six months.  The No Skills Left Behind Training Credit is our plan to help.

Training Credit: Businesses could qualify for a credit of up to $10,000 to offset training costs for up to one year. To get the credit they would need to include their claim when filing their taxes.

Why we need it: Tapping in to the talent of new Canadian professionals means a stronger workforce and a stronger economy. While there are other job training programs available such as Second Career, and Employment Ontario, some highly educated new Canadian professionals continue to fall through the cracks.

Who qualifies: New Canadian citizens (here five years or less) who are highly educated professionals in regulated fields such as architecture, accounting or engineering.

For how long: The one-time credit would be provided to employers who train skilled, new Canadian citizens for up to one year, so they can get the work experience they need to become certified in their field.

How many participants: We anticipate it will reach between 1,000 and 1,200 people every year. In Ontario, about 70,000 new immigrants become Canadian citizens every year.  Approximately one sixth are considered "skilled workers," and half of those belong to regulated professions. We anticipate an annual take up rate of 20 per cent of eligible workers.

What counts as training: We will work with employers to define training costs. Examples include mentoring, learning Ontario's building codes and engineering laws and navigating a municipal, provincial or federal approvals process.

Verifying claims: Revenue Canada would be responsible for crediting employers and verifying that claims stand up to their rigorous accountability standards.

What it will cost: The program would cost up to $12 million each year, based on the maximum $10,000 in training credit claimed by 1,200 companies.

The No Skills Left Behind Training Credit is consistent with what the Harper government has done to help new Canadian citizens settle and find a job:

  • In the June federal budget, they committed to helping skilled immigrants and Canadians with international training cover the costs associated with the foreign credential recognition process; and
  • Last fall, the Harper government launched a new federal internship program for newcomers to help them gain valuable Canadian work experience.  This program was modeled after two similar internship initiatives.

The Conference Board of Canada estimates that under-utilizing the skills of new immigrants costs our economy billions of dollars every year. After obtaining Canadian work experience, new Canadian professionals would be able to apply for Ontario certification and then seek employment on a level playing field with Ontario-trained professionals. Some new Canadian citizens will go on to start up businesses and create more jobs for Ontarians.

SOURCE Ontario Liberal Party

For further information:

Ontario Liberal Party Media Office:
416 961-3800 ext. 328

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