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Making Use of Immigrant Skills to Strengthen Waterloo Region

Dec 30, 2015

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Making Use of Immigrant Skills to Strengthen Waterloo Region. Voices for Change. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services. An Action Research Project in the Waterloo, London and Grand Erie Areas. Lead Research Organization :. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Making Use of Immigrant Skills to Strengthen Waterloo RegionVoices 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 AreasNew Canadian Program12 Dupont Street WestWaterloo, Ontario N2L 2X6519.883.0216 www.newcanadians.org

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

  • Waterloo Region Steering CommitteeMarlene KramerNew Canadian Employment Service

    Paul BurgenerIndustrial Research Assistance Program. The Laurier Institute

    Daniela Seskar-HencicRegion of Waterloo Public Health

    Carol SimpsonWaterloo Wellington Training & Adjustment Board

    Abdul WaheedInternationally Trained Engineer

    Neera MehtaKW Multicultural Centre

    Murray ZinkDALSA

    Wayne Wettlaufer M.P.P.

    Maggie LiangClarica

    Jennifer RoggemannPaquette Travers Deutschmann Kelly Law Firm

    Tracy ZhouUniversity of Waterloo Engineering

    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 Waterloo, London, 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 conferencesCentre 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

  • Waterloo Region Needs These Skills

    Regulated ProfessionsPhysician or SurgeonMedical Radiation TechnologistMedical Laboratory TechnologistOccupational TherapistAudiologist/Speech PathologistNurse/Practical NursePharmacistPhysiotherapistRespiratory TherapistEngineering Technician/ Technologist

    TradesIndustrial ElectricianSheet Metal WorkerCement/Brick and Stone MasonTruck/Coach Technician & Truck/Trailer RepairerTool and Die MakerMouldmakerIndustrial Mechanic MillwrightGeneral MachinistConstruction MillwrightFitter Welder

    Centre 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 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

  • Waterloo Region Has ImmigrantsThe 2001 Census found that 22% of Waterloo Region residents are immigrants. This gives the region the fifth-highest percentage of foreign-born residents in all Canadian urban areas.

    Between 1996 and 2001, 14,304 new Canadians came to the region.

    Our projects survey of about 200 recent immigrants found that of those who had worked in a profession before coming to Canada, just over one quarter were trained in professions that have been identified as the top ten in demand in Waterloo Region.

    Waterloo Region has at least 146 un- or under-employed internationally educated physicians. 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 worseCentre for Research and Education in Human Services

  • Immigrant SkillsLets Use ThemVoices from the Present:Many research studies showing immigrants to have higher unemployment rates, arent typically working in their profession, arent earning as much, get stuck in low paying jobs, face multiple barriers in accessing their 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, 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 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

  • Waterloo Region Calls for ChangeWaterloo region welcomes and is increasingly dependent on the skills brought by immigrants. Over the past decade, employers and human service organizations within the region have been working to integrate immigrant skills into the local labour market. Even so, there is recognition of their limited role in increasing immigrants access to regulated professions and trades. Increasing this access would benefit the community. Therefore, the citizens, employers, and leaders of our region call on:

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

    Regulatory BodiesAll occupational regulatory bodies to improve their standards of practice by ensuring licensing processes for internationally educated professionals are fair, timely, transparent, and consistent.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 positive attitudes towards immigrants and people of colour.Action #3: The federal government develop a pre-immigration strategy that would provide accurate information about Canada needed for immigrants to make informed decisions.Action #4: The federal government negotiate an agreement with the provincial government to better coordinate the funding and delivery of employment and training programs for