McGuinty Government Nominates Jean Augustine As First-Ever Fairness Commissioner

    Commissioner Will Ensure Newcomers' Credentials Are Assessed Fairly And

    QUEEN'S PARK, March 12 /CNW/ - Jean Augustine has been nominated as
Ontario's first-ever Fairness Commissioner to work with regulatory bodies to
ensure that the credentials of internationally trained professionals are
evaluated fairly and transparently, Ontario Citizenship and Immigration
Minister Mike Colle announced today.
    "The Fairness Commissioner will play a vital role in ensuring that
Ontario's regulatory bodies build fair and open registration processes so that
internationally trained professionals have the opportunity to put their skills
to work," said Colle. "Jean Augustine brings a depth of knowledge from the
perspective of government, regulatory bodies and the immigrant experience that
makes her the right person to take on this vitally important job."
    The Office of the Fairness Commissioner is a key component of the
landmark Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006, which became law on
March 1, 2007. The Commissioner will be responsible for overseeing regular
audits to ensure that the registration practices of regulated professions are
transparent, objective, impartial and fair. The Commissioner will also submit
an annual report to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on the
implementation and effectiveness of the Act.
    "We applaud the Ontario government for establishing the position of the
Fairness Commissioner and supportive legislation to help internationally
trained professionals integrate into the workforce," said Mario Calla,
Executive Director of COSTI Immigrant Services. "Jean Augustine has the
experience and personal integrity to provide the leadership required in this
first-ever role. We support her nomination."
    "The appointment of a Fairness Commissioner, together with the reporting,
certification and audit requirements set out in Bill 124, will play a vital
role in establishing consistent standards for the processing of applications
across all regulated professions. We welcome this nomination as another step
in building confidence in the fairness of licensing practices." said David
Hipgrave, President and CEO of Certified Management Accountants Ontario.
    The appointment of Augustine is subject to review by the Standing
Committee on Government Agencies.
    The Fair Access To Regulated Professions Act, 2006, the first legislation
of its kind in Canada, also established Global Experience Ontario, a one-stop
information and resource centre helping people navigate complex systems when
seeking to enter regulated professions, and promote internships and

    Breaking Down Barriers: Ontario's Comprehensive Plan for Newcomers

    The Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006, is the cornerstone of
the McGuinty government's comprehensive plan, Breaking Down Barriers, to help
newcomers to integrate successfully into Ontario's economy and society. Other
initiatives include:

    -  Negotiated the first-ever Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, which
       increases federal spending on language training and settlement
       services by an additional $920 million for newcomer services over five

    -  Invested over $53 million in more than 90 Bridge Training Programs,
       helping thousands of newcomers work in over 100 trades and

    -  Launched the immigration web portal,
       designed to support newcomers in Ontario and abroad, prior to arrival;

    -  Established the first Provincial Internship for the Internationally
       Trained. Administered by Career Bridge, newcomers with a minimum of
       three years international work experience are placed for six-month
       paid assignments within the Ontario Public Service;

    -  Created a Foreign Trained Professionals Loans program of up to $5,000
       per person to cover assessment, training and exam costs, in
       partnership with the Maytree Foundation; and,

    -  Funded 'All About Ontario,' a new citizenship curriculum resource
       being added to language and citizenship classes, to help newcomers
       learn about Ontario's history, geography, their roles and
       responsibilities, and to promote civic participation - from voting to

    -  Leading the way in Canada with respect to the assessment and training
       of international medical graduates (IMGs). In 2006/07, Ontario
       invested $53 million in IMG - up from $16 million in 2003. In 2006,
       Ontario offered 200 IMG assessment and training positions, compared to
       just over 80 positions offered in the same year by the rest of the
       provinces combined.

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Rick Byun, Minister's Office, (416) 325-3460;
Karen Ras, Communications Branch, (416) 314-7012

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