Leading The World - In Welcoming The World

    Ontario Liberals Championing Diversity, Strengthening Services For New

    TORONTO, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - After nine years of the Harris Tory party
slashing programs for newcomers, Ontario Liberals are building a stronger
Ontario by offering all newcomers a better shot at success, said Premier
Dalton McGuinty.
    "The previous government didn't understand that our diversity is
Ontario's competitive advantage. Now, a full range of job, settlement and
language supports are back in place so that newcomers to our province have
what they need to realize their potential and help us move forward," said
    Over the past four years, Ontario Liberals have worked hard to support
skilled newcomers, by making our province an even more welcoming place. We
passed the landmark Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, which will
ensure that internationally trained individuals can work in their field of
    "Ontario is home to people from 200 different ethnic origins, who speak
130 different languages. Having the best and the brightest from all over the
world come to Ontario moves us forward. It means that Ontario businesses can
choose from a workforce that can speak any language and access any market,"
said McGuinty.
    Responding to the largest immigration increase in Ontario history, the
Harris Tories slashed funding for language and settlement supports - leaving
more than 60,000 new Ontarians each year without the help they needed to find
a home, learn a new language, find a job or become licensed to practice their
profession in Ontario.
    Four short years later, we're licensing more internationally trained
doctors than ever before and increasing bridge training. Also, after Ontario
Liberals stood up and demanded fairness for Ontario from the federal
government, our province now receives $920 million per year for newcomer
settlement services - four times more than we did before.
    Now is the time to build on that progress and redouble our efforts so
that every newcomer has the opportunity to succeed, prosper and reach their
full potential.
    Over the next four years Ontario Liberals will work harder to make
Ontario an even more welcoming place by:

    -  Creating a new Orientation Ontario course supported by a call centre
       to assist newcomers with follow-up support
    -  Increasing English as a Second Language (ESL) funding for schools
    -  Creating the Opportunities Ontario Program to speed up the immigration
       process for highly skilled professionals and international students
    -  Giving more newcomers Ontario job experience by expanding the Ontario
       Public Services' internship program sevenfold and expanding support
       for mentoring partnerships with the private sector
    -  Creating an International Ontario Strategy to attract skilled people
       from around the world
    -  Helping newcomers upgrade their skills by expanding the Ontario
       Student Assistance Program to include books, language courses and
       bridging programs.

    'We've come a long way in four short years - from a Harris Tory
government that left newcomers to fend for themselves to an Ontario Liberal
government that believes in welcoming newcomers with all the resources they
need," said McGuinty.
    "Let's not go backwards to a time when there were no services and no
options for newcomers to our province - let's keep moving forward to make our
province an even more welcoming place for all."

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Ontario Liberal Party Media Relations, (416)
961-3800 Ext. 386

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