SCARBOROUGH, ON, Dec. 18, 2017 /CNW/ - When internationally trained newcomers can get Canadian work experience in their field, they are better positioned to be able to find good jobs, join the middle class, and contribute to our growing economy.
That's why, today, Salma Zahid, Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced a new pilot project that will develop mentorship initiatives to help highly skilled newcomers successfully find jobs that match their skills and training.
The Government of Canada is investing close to $490,000 over the next two years in the Canadian Work Experience Initiative Evaluation: Mentoring project. With this investment, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council will create mentorships for newcomers. In studying the effectiveness of these mentorships, the Council will identify barriers that prevent highly skilled newcomers from obtaining Canadian work experience, conduct a comparative analysis, and establish a model to scale mentoring on a national level.
By funding this project, the Government is helping to break down barriers to employment for highly skilled newcomers and supporting them as they put their skills to work in communities across Canada.
"Everyone deserves a fair chance at success. Our country thrives when we all are able to put our skills to work. I am proud of this project that will help highly skilled newcomers get their first work experience here in Canada."
– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
"Our government is committed to ensuring that no talent is left behind; this investment supports highly skilled newcomers so they can join the Canadian workforce faster."
– Salma Zahid, Member of Parliament for Scarborough Centre
"We are delighted to be receiving these new funds from Employment and Social Development Canada. We know that mentoring has the power to change lives - but with this project we will have further quantitative evidence of the value of mentoring to quickly help immigrants re-connect with their careers. We're excited to embark on this research."
– Margaret Eaton, Executive Director, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)
"ACCES Employment is a proud community partner of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council and we have witnessed firsthand the impact that mentoring has made on the lives of newcomers. Mentoring provides significant support to newcomer jobseekers as they navigate the Canadian labour market for the first time. We look forward to seeing the results of this important study."
– Allison Pond, President & CEO, ACCES Employment
- On average, and compared to their Canadian counterparts, immigrants have lower rates of labour force participation, and significantly higher unemployment rates.
- In 2016, the unemployment rate for recent immigrants between 25 and 54 years old was nearly 11 percent, while Canadian-born people in the same age group only had an unemployment rate of just over 5 percent. 
- According to a Statistics Canada report, only 24 percent of foreign-educated immigrants were working in an occupation corresponding to their field of study, compared to 62 percent of Canadian-born individuals. 
- Budget 2017 announced the targeted employment strategy for newcomers to help newcomers get their credentials recognized more quickly so they can find jobs that suit their skills and experience.
- The strategy has three components: 1) pre-arrival services, 2) a loans program and 3) a pilot to help newcomers obtain Canadian work experience in their field of study. Today's funding is provided through this third component.
Foreign Credential Recognition Program
The Foreign Credential Recognition Program aims to improve the integration of internationally trained newcomers into the workforce. The Program provides funding to and works with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders—including regulatory bodies, post‑secondary institutions, sectoral stakeholders and employers—to implement projects that facilitate the assessment and recognition of qualifications acquired in other countries.
Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers
The Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers, which was announced in Budget 2017, has three components to help newcomers enter the job market:
- pre-arrival supports;
- a loan program to assist newcomers with the costs of getting their foreign credentials recognized; and
- assistance to acquire first Canadian work experience in their profession or in a related field.
The Strategy will also test innovative approaches to help skilled newcomers gain critical first Canadian work experience in their professions. Pilot projects to assess the value of foreign work experience will be implemented to learn the best ways to facilitate this experience. This could include testing initiatives such as paid internships, mentorships and job matching, and looking at ways to help overcome employers' reluctance to hire newcomers as a result of difficulties in assessing the value of their foreign work experience.
In September 2017, the Government launched a call for proposals for the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Program to help newcomers with loans. Newcomers can use the loan to cover costs associated with getting their credentials recognized.
A previous loan pilot project, which ended in 2015, aimed to test models of community-based partnerships. Through this pilot, nine immigrant service and support agencies across Canada were funded to develop and deliver a loan program for internationally trained workers.
Immigrants working in regulated occupations, (Zietsma, February 2010)
SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada
For further information: For media enquiries, please contact: Matt Pascuzzo, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P., Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, [email protected], 819-654-4183; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, [email protected]