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Making Use of Immigrant Skills to Strengthen the City of London Voices for Change Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

Dec 27, 2015



  • Making Use of Immigrant Skills to Strengthen the City of LondonVoices for ChangeCentre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Centre for Research and Education in Human ServicesAn Action Research Project in the Waterloo, London and Grand Erie AreasWIL Counselling and Training for Employment141 Dundas St. London, OntarioN6A

    Centre for Research and Education in Human Services73 King St. West Suite 202 Kitchener, Ontario N2G 1A7519.741.1318www.crehs.on.caLondon Lead Organization:Project Funder: Canadian HeritageLead Research Organization:

  • London Steering CommitteeBob AshcroftCanadian Manufacturers and ExportersLori CunninghamJohn Howard Society of London and District Haitham El-HouraniHourani International Centre for DevelopmentClaudia Falquez-Warkentin Canadian Colombian Professionals Association Lissa FosterWIL Counselling and Training for Employment Dharshi Lacey WIL Counselling and Training for EmploymentKapil LakhotiaLondon Economic Development Corporation Deb Mountenay Elgin Middlesex Oxford Local Training Board Mimi Lo Canadian HeritageChristine LyszczarzAssociation canadienne-francaise lOntario (ACFO)Larry MacKinnonLondon Economic Development CorporationEstela Quintero United Way of London and MiddlesexHani ShamoutInternationally Educated EngineerHarold Usher City CouncillorMary WilliamsonCross Cultural Learner Centre Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Making Use of Immigrant SkillsPurpose: Raise awareness about the need to use the skills of immigrants more fully and to mobilize people in London, Waterloo and Grand Erie to call for change to that end.

    Activities:Local Steering Committees to guide the projectKey informant interviews with experts in the fieldLabour market scan of skills needed within each communitySurvey of immigrant skills and the extent to which they are being used in each communityInternational media scan and document reviewSeries of case studies highlighting the human story behind the issueCommunity forums/press conferences

    Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Why Make Use of Immigrant Skills?Help relieve skill shortages resulting from an aging population and low birth-rate.Compete in the increasingly global marketplace with international perspectives and connections.Job satisfaction of working in field of expertise contributes to personal, family, and corporate well-being.Take advantage of human capital (brain gain) brought to our country.Benefit our economy with higher taxes, disposable income, and increased productivity.Capitalize on savings in educational costs. Add new, innovative ideas in the workplace.Demonstrate that our society gives equal opportunity to all and embraces cultural diversity.Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Growing Voices for ChangeThe voices are saying that Canadians need the skills that immigrants bring to their new home country.

    They are saying that many immigrants are bringing the exact skills that we need to make our communities strong and vibrant.

    But, most importantly, they are saying that immigrant skillsthe very skills that we needare not being used to their full potential. We are left with a backlog of under-used skills.

    In the end, we all lose.

    Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Immigrant SkillsWe Need ThemOne in two Canadian businesses are concerned with the shortage of qualified labour.A shortage of up to 1 million workers is expected in Canada within the next 20 years. Critical job shortages loom, particularly in the health, education, and construction fields. 2001 Census estimated that by 2011 Canadas entire net labour growth will come from immigration.About 225,000 immigrants come to Canada each year with higher targets in the future.Other industrialized countries are competing for immigrant labour.Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • The City of London Needs These Skills

    Regulated ProfessionsNurse/Practical NurseTeacherPhysician or SurgeonEngineering Technician EngineerMedical Radiation TechnologistMedical Laboratory TechnologistRespiratory TherapistDental SurgeonDental TechnologistTrades Mechanic Transmission Mechanic Automotive Service Technician Alignment and Brakes Mechanic Mobile Crane Operator Truck and Coach Technician Automotive Painter General Carpenter Industrial Electrician Cement FinisherCentre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Immigrant SkillsWe Have ThemSince Canadas beginning as a country in 1867, approximately one-sixth of its population has remained foreign-born.Today, over 18% of all Canadians are immigrantsonly Australia has a higher percentage of immigrants. Since the 1970s immigrants have become more diverse. Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreals percentage of foreign-born populations ranks very highly among world cities (#1, #3 and #7).Forty-four percent of Toronto residents are foreign-born. Its schools serve children from over 170 countries.Each year approximately 60% of Canadas immigrants come to Ontario. Ontario has receives over 100,000 immigrants annually. The vast majority settle in Toronto and along the highway 401 corridor. Immigrants are typically more educated than the average Ontario resident and bring many skills to their new community.

    Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • The City of London Has Immigrants20% of London residents are immigrants (2001 Census).

    Between 1996 and 2001, 18,475 new Canadians came to London.

    Citizenship and Immigration data shows that between 1997-2003, 18 nurses, 38 teachers, and 15 physicians arrived in London.

    In one year alone (April 2002-March 2003) there were 139 professional engineers, 76 medical professionals, and 54 teachers as new immigrant clients to the Cross Cultural Learner Centre in downtown London.

    A recent study of 1,678 immigrants showed that 46% had a university degree, in such fields such as health care, education, and engineering. Another 28% held a college degree or trade certificate.

    Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Immigrant SkillsLets Use ThemVoices from the Past:1988 Provincial Task Force on Access to Professions and Trades (APT)Increasing media coverage in the 1990sInternationally educated associations began lobbying governments in the 1990sProvincial APT Unit and Federal/Provincial Working Group on APT issuesBut still the problem remainseven worse

    Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Immigrant SkillsLets Use ThemVoices from the Present:Many research studies showing immigrants to have higher unemployment rates, typically arent working in their profession, arent earning as much, get stuck in low paying jobs, face multiple barriers in accessing profession.Leading economists warning of labour shortages and barriers in utilizing needed immigrant skills.Many business/professional associations calling on government to break down barriers.All 3 provincial parties have platforms on the issue.

    But still immigrant skills are being under-usedCentre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Immigrant SkillsLets Use ThemWhy is this still a problem?

    Policy within and between levels of government is neither consistent nor coordinatedNo formal ways to ensure that government, occupational regulatory bodies, and employers are accountable for their actions on this issueNegative attitudes and practices of: Canadian society, regulators and employersCentre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • What Will it Take?The critical moment [in social change] is when the issue becomes present in national consciousnessfor an issue to become recognized as a wide-spread social problem is key. -Ratna Omidvar, Maytree Foundation

    Local Calls for Change are needed that demonstrate broad-based support (outside of Toronto!) of the need to make better use of immigrant skills. This is an issue of concern for the whole community.

    These Calls for Change compliment the work of those who are developing, proposing, and implementing workable solutions that increase access to professions and trades for immigrants.Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • London Calls for ChangeWhereas the city of London welcomes, and is increasingly dependent on, the skills brought by immigrants, citizens, employers and leaders of our city call on:

    Government: The federal and provincial governments to demonstrate increased leadership toward removing barriers to professions and trades for internationally educated persons.

    Regulatory Bodies: All occupational regulatory bodies to improve their standards of practice by ensuring licensing processes for internationally educated professionals are fair, timely, transparent, and consistent.

    Employers: Local employers to increasingly recognize the skills that immigrants bring to London through fair hiring practices and internship opportunities.

    Educational Institutions: Post-secondary educational institutions across Ontario to demonstrate increased leadership in recognizing the prior learning of internationally educated persons and responding to their educational and training upgrading needs.Centre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Action Needed by the Federal Government

    In order to implement these Calls for Change, immediate action is needed:

    Action #1: The federal government ensure better policy coherence, as it relates to the access to professions and trades for internationally educated people, within and between government jurisdictions.Action #2: The federal government provide leadership in promoting