Federal, provincial and territorial governments speed up foreign credential recognition for newcomer

Under the new Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, foreign-trained workers who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields will be advised within one year whether their qualifications will be recognized. The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Co-Chair of the Forum of Labour Market Ministers, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, on Monday 30, 2009 endorsed a new framework to enhance foreign qualification recognition for internationally trained workers.

ThePan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications is part of the Government of Canada’s strategy to have the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. Recognizing foreign credentials is part of the strategy, and foreign qualification recognition is the process of verifying that knowledge, skills, work experience and education obtained in another country are comparable to the standards established for Canadian professionals and tradespersons.

“Attracting and retaining the best international talent to address existing and future labour market challenges is critical to Canada’s long-term economic success,” said Minister Finley. “Ensuring that foreign credentials and qualifications are assessed and recognized in a timely manner will enable newcomers to maximize their talents.”

Minister Finley and Minister Kenney thanked the Forum of Labour Market Ministers, consisting of federal, provincial and territorial representatives, for its work on the Framework.

“This framework is another important step in paving the road to success for Ontario’s newcomers,” said the Honourable Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. “This builds on the plan our government already has in place to help newcomers get licensed in their field and get jobs.”

The Framework follows the Government of Canada’s commitment in the 2008 Speech from the Throne to “work with the provinces to make the recognition of foreign credentials a priority, attract top international students to Canada and increase the uptake of immigrant settlement programs.”

The Framework states that governments across Canada will work towards better pre-arrival services, assessments that are fair, transparent, consistent and timely across Canada, and improved workforce participation services for newcomers. These services will help internationally trained workers put their training and knowledge to work sooner.

“A priority of this government has been to make our immigration system more competitive globally and more responsive to Canada’s needs,” said Minister Kenney. “This framework complements initiatives such as the Action Plan for Faster Immigration, as they make our immigration system better meet the needs of our labour market. We want newcomers to be able to use their skills and work to their full potential. It’s good for them and good for the Canadian economy.”
Minister Finley and Minister Kenney also met with community leaders in the Greater Toronto Area to discuss foreign credential recognition and its place in Canada’s economic recovery. In particular, the discussion highlighted the commitments made by the Government of Canada to improve the process for newcomers to get their education, skills and experience assessed and recognized.

The Economic Action Plancommitted $50 million to work with the provinces and territories to address barriers to credential recognition in Canada. This investment will do four things:

    * Develop the principles of timeliness, transparency, fairness and predictability that the federal, provincial and territorial governments set out to guide the process;
    * Develop standards for the timely handling of requests;
    * Identify the priority occupations for developing recognition standards; and
    * Help people who want to come to Canada start the assessment process before they arrive.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program and the Foreign Credentials Referral Office are the key federal initiatives in place to support pan-Canadian implementation of the Framework.

To learn more about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

The Framework is available on the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Web site at http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/publications/fcr/pcf.shtml.

For more information about foreign qualification recognition, call 1 800 O‑Canada, visit www.servicecanada.gc.ca or drop by your local Service Canada Centre.

(From left to right)  The Hon. Michael Chan (Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), the Hon. Diane Finley (Canada’s Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development), Executive Director Kay Blair (Community Microskills Development Centre) and the Hon. Jason Kenney (Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism), following the announcement of a Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.
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