New Canadian Media

by Jacky Habib (@JackyHabib) in Toronto

Mohammad Shahadat Hossain is the kind of person who doesn’t just have a plan B, he has a plan C as well. In 2011, he left his job as a chief consultant at a private hospital in Bangladesh to immigrate to Ottawa. Together with his wife and teenage daughters, Hossain came looking for a better life – and found just that.

“I have a good connection with the community and it’s positive – our social status, my kids’ education and wife’s situation. I just bought a house and we moved in last month,” he shares, excitedly. “The only negative thing is that I’m not getting a job as a physician.”

For years after his move to Canada, Hossain was focused on one thing: obtaining his licence to practise as a physician. It’s a process he’s decided to put on hold after passing two out of four required exams.

A Bleak Picture

Hossain is one of over 15,000 internationally trained doctors who have immigrated to Ontario since 2007, according to estimates by HealthForceOntario.

Approximately 1,500 international medical graduates apply for the 250 residency positions available every year in Ontario. The success rate for internationally trained medical graduates of Canadian origin (Canadians who went overseas to study) was 20 per cent, while the success rate for medical graduates who immigrated to Canada is only six per cent, according to research from St. Michael’s Hospital.

Knowing these statistics, Hossain enrolled in the Internationally Trained Medical Doctors (ITMD) bridging program at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, which began earlier this year as a pilot project.

After participating in the program, Hossain says he’s more knowledgeable about the Canadian health field, has increased confidence and is redirecting his career goals.

Accepting a position in the program meant he would have to move to attend the daily classes. Hossain said goodbye to his family and rented a house in Toronto to attend the four-month program. “I’m thankful for my family,” Hossain reflects. “They sacrificed a lot for me.” 

After participating in the program, Hossain says he’s more knowledgeable about the Canadian health field, has increased confidence and is redirecting his career goals. 

“I was thinking that if I studied a lot I would be able to pass the exams and get my licence, but in reality, even if I pass all the exams it’s very hard to get a residency,” he says.

The ‘Brain Drain’

A study released in 2014 by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital examined the ‘brain drain’ of doctors who immigrated to Canada, based on a survey of internationally trained doctors.

Respondents overwhelmingly said information on the difficulty of obtaining residency was not clearly communicated, and a substantial number of respondents said they were misinformed about the reality of obtaining residency in Canada. Several respondents indicated regrets of immigrating to Canada.

The study recommended that Canada ensures, “the immigration process clearly outlines the relatively low likelihood of obtaining a career in medicine after immigration … it should be acknowledged that obtaining Canadian experience is a near impossibility …”

Hossain, for one, has redirected his path and is no longer seeking to work as a physician. “I am thinking of switching over from a licencing pathway to a research pathway because I think it’s much easier,” he explains.

Thousands of internationally trained doctors find out about this 'near impossibility' too late.

Hossain, for one, has redirected his path and is no longer seeking to work as a physician. “I am thinking of switching over from a licencing pathway to a research pathway because I think it’s much easier,” he explains.

Hossain’s clinical placement through the ITMD bridging program was at St. Michael’s Hospital, where he had opportunities to network, which is largely responsible for landing him a job. He now works remotely as a coder on the Millennium Death Study – an initiative of the Centre for Global Health Research, which is examining causes of death in India over the last 100 years. 

“We look for common causes of death in India. Hypertension is one of the causes of death, so if we find that most people die by this, they will change the system and health policy to focus on how to prevent hypertension,” he shares.

Remaining Optimistic

Hossain was one of three of the ITMD program’s 14 students to receive a job after graduating earlier this month. The work is fulfilling, but part-time, so he continues to seek opportunities to contribute as a research assistant in the areas of global health and non-communicable diseases.

Hossain is hopeful that he will find a job, but has a Plan C just in case. He says he will travel back and forth between working as a gynaecologist in Bangladesh and spending time with his family in Ottawa. The hospital Hossain formerly worked for has an open offer for him to return to his previous job, and he says this security is reassuring.

According to the ‘brain drain’ study, however, significant harm can be done to the health care systems in the home countries of immigrant doctors.

Amongst the study’s recommendations was advice to health care systems in low-income and middle-income countries to offer incentives for physicians to stay in their home countries such as improved working conditions or financial perks for working in rural or underserved areas.

“It often means health workers lose their skills and may not be able to perform tasks effectively if they return home to work …” the study reveals.

Amongst the study’s recommendations was advice to health care systems in low-income and middle-income countries to offer incentives for physicians to stay in their home countries such as improved working conditions or financial perks for working in rural or underserved areas.

Although Hossain may have to return to Bangladesh to find work, he remains optimistic. “I’m not at all frustrated,” he says, reflecting on the time he spent studying for his licencing exams in Canada. “I was practising professionally for almost 20 years and I have professional satisfaction.”


This is part two of a series of profiles of graduates of the Internationally Trained Medical Doctors program.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

 

Published in Education

by Shan Qiao (@dmaomao) in Toronto      

Your name appears as anonymous; future employers can only search your skills.

Canada’s latest job network innovation Magnet aims to connect job seekers to employers based upon skills, preferences and talent needs. Foreign names will no longer be a barrier for immigrants.

Ryerson University founded the not-for-profit social innovation, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. The network was first launched in September last year. After several months’ operation and expansion, the online job search engine aims to supersede giants such as LinkedIn with its unique filtering and matching functions. 

Magnet is a way to combat being stereotyped when job seeking. Future employers can only view a person’s skills online. Names will be listed as ‘anonymous’.

 
Mark Patterson, the man behind Magnet, wants to let job seekers, especially internationally trained immigrants, know what “meaningful employment” the site will bring. 
 
“One of the most important things is that it is a giant inter-connective network,” said Patterson at yesterday’s Ryerson University public forum titled “Connecting New Immigrants to Employment”.
 
Magnet brings together five critical stakeholder groups in its work, including educational institutes, multi-level governments, the labour market, and the not-for-profit and industry sectors.
 
“It is the biggest community-based [job search engine] in Canada. We have 26 different colleges and universities; over 100 of community organizations in Ontario and across the country,” continued Patterson.
 
What this means to new immigrant job seekers is that when they go to local job settlement agencies such as TRIEC (Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council), they will be encouraged to use Magnet tools and technologies while looking for employers.

Removing Stereotypes 

For individuals like executive director of the Global Diversity Exchange, and keynote speaker at the forum, Ratna Omidvar, who have “strange-sounding” foreign names, Magnet is a way to combat being stereotyped when job seeking. Future employers can only view a person’s skills online. Names will be listed as ‘anonymous’.
 
Omidvar shared some of her early job searching experience in the ’80s after she came to Canada from her home country Iran, as a refugee.
 
“‘Ratna you must change your name. It’s a very strange name. Strange-sounding name has less chance to get a job interview than Brian Smith,’ I was told,” recalled Omidvar, who admitted she considered adopting a “usual” English name, but eventually decided against it, and advised other immigrants against it as well.  
 
“1981 was a very difficulty time in Canada. It was a period of recession, jobs were difficult to find,” cited Omidvar.

“We prefer to hire someone we know from an institution we respect as opposed to taking a risk on talents from overseas.” Ratna Omidbar, Global Diversity Exchange

 
Things have not changed too much three decades later, as Omidvar stated that newcomers still experience significant hurdles and bias when it comes to employment. 
 
Omidvar said one reason why stereotypes with names still exist today is, “employers’ unwillingness to take a risk.”

“We prefer to hire someone we know from an institution we respect as opposed to taking a risk on talents from overseas,” she explained.

“One of the reasons why Magnet is successful is because it is a large platform,” she added. “It’s not for one institution. It has many employers who signed to it. Because it focuses on competence and experience as opposed to names and where you came from. It has an added value in overcoming certain institutional barriers and individual barriers.”
 
To date, the Magnet network has 26 university and college partners representing over 700,000 students, 60,000 job seekers, 3,000 employers, over 100 community-based partners and 25 advisory council members composed of leaders from a cross-section of relevant sectors. Magnet boasts that with its specific filtering and matching search engine, chances for employers to find suitable employees or vice versa are much higher.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca


 

Published in Economy

by Jacky Habib (@JackyHabib) in Toronto

Like many immigrants, Sadia Sohail was looking forward to starting a new life in Canada when she moved here with her young family in 2000.

“Pakistan was a troubled country. I didn’t want to raise my children in that political environment,” Sohail says. “Safety was a huge thing for us, and we felt it was important to raise our children in an atmosphere where we could be ourselves, really.”

The family settled in Mississauga, and Sohail planned to continue working as a pediatrician. “I came with an open mind. I’m such a go-getter. I thought I’d get back into medicine as soon as possible,” she says. 

Instead, Sohail received a rude awakening within months of arriving. She was told her medical qualifications were the equivalent of a Bachelor of Science degree here. Sohail knew the road to practising as a doctor in Canada would be a long one, but she didn’t expect it to have as many bumps as it did.

She spent her evenings and weekends preparing to write medical board exams. Three years and $12,000 later, Sohail was elated to have passed the exams.

Since she needed to provide a secondary income for her household, Sohail enrolled in an ultrasound program at a technical institute and began work as an ultrasound technician. She spent her evenings and weekends preparing to write medical board exams. Three years and $12,000 later, Sohail was elated to have passed the exams.

Now, one final step was needed to complete her equivalency process: residency.

It has proven to be the most challenging aspect. Sohail has been seeking residency since 2013 through the Canadian Resident Matching Service, which opens residency to international doctors twice a year.

“I’ve applied four times and haven’t gotten a single response for an interview. It’s disheartening. You wonder: why is this?” Sohail questions. 

Bridging the Gap

The answer that her mentors told her was that she was missing clinical research, and some experience in this would increase her chances of obtaining residency. To familiarize herself with research, Sohail enrolled in the International Trained Medical Doctors (ITMD) bridging program at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University, which launched last December and began earlier this year.

Through the program, Sohail learned the fundamentals of research methodology and familiarized herself with clinical research in Canada. She also participated in a clinical placement at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), which helped her begin volunteering on a research project with Toronto Public Health.

She acknowledges this volunteer research experience isn’t a direct entry into medicine, but she says it’s bringing her closer to her goal ... Sohail says participating in the ITMD program and volunteering in research has been empowering.

“I feel like I’m making a huge difference with the projects I’m working on,” Sohail says. “I’m doing a project now on homeless mothers and their babies, so it’s bringing me back to what I love most.” 

She acknowledges this volunteer research experience isn’t a direct entry into medicine, but she says it’s bringing her closer to her goal. It’s also made her consider a possible career in clinical research. Sohail says participating in the ITMD program and volunteering in research has been empowering.

Participants from the first cohort of The Chang School’s ITMD bridging program graduated earlier this month. The 14 participants are from 10 countries and have varied backgrounds in the medical profession, as the program targeted internationally trained physicians, dental surgeons and clinical public health professionals.

A Starting Point

The success rate of international medical doctors who wish to pursue a career in medicine is six per cent, according to researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“This represents a lost opportunity for our province to benefit from the advanced academic and professional credentials of these highly skilled professionals,” explains Dr. Marie Bountrogianni, Dean of The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education.

“Many immigrants come here and don’t know where to go. Some people say: drive [a taxi], or become a security guard. They’re frustrated.” - Shafi Bhuiyan, The Chang School and Faculty of Community Services

The program was founded to help internationally trained professionals find non-licensed health-care jobs in Ontario. Shafi Bhuiyan, an internationally trained doctor who is a distinguished visiting professor with The Chang School and Faculty of Community Services, initiated the program. According to his research, Toronto has 6,000 internationally trained doctors who are working survival jobs.

“I’m also a newcomer to this country. I don’t have anybody,” says Bhuiyan, who knows the difficulties of navigating professional systems as a newcomer. “Many immigrants come here and don’t know where to go. Some people say: drive [a taxi], or become a security guard. They’re frustrated.” 

Bhuiyan says licensing for international doctors is an expensive and lengthy process, with no guarantee of obtaining a residency. Because the medical system is not absorbing these professionals, the ITMD bridging program’s goal is to lead these professionals to non-licensed careers, which are in demand, such as project managers, research managers and analysts in the health-care industry.

“If we can involve [internationally trained doctors] in a non-licensed area of the medical field, they will be happy,” Bhuiyan says. “A bridging program is not the solution. It’s a starting point.”

At The Chang School, a recruitment committee scored applications out of 100 based on the applicant’s letter of intent, health and research experience, academic degrees and qualifications and English communication scores.

“Our plan was to start with 10 people and nearly 180 people applied for the program. We found 36 very strong people who scored well and were interviewed, and from that we offered 14 students to join the program and all of them accepted,” Bhuiyan says.

“I still don’t know if I’ll be able to get residency in Canada, but I will keep trying. I will knock on 100 doors and I hope that finally one will open.” - Sadia Sohail

The 11-week program, which took place daily in the evenings, included a four-week volunteer clinical placement. Topics covered in the curriculum include: health research, project management, data management in health care, professional communication and workplace culture.

By the completion of the program, three graduates received job offers and six received an extension to their volunteer clinical placements.

Bountrogianni says the next cohort of the ITMD bridging program will begin in fall 2015 and that there has been a 50 per cent increase in applications for the program’s 15 spots.

Knocking Down Doors

The 15-year journey in pursuing a medical career in Canada has taken a toll on Sohail and her family – and it isn’t over yet.

When Sohail moved to Canada with her young family, she was pregnant and had a two-year-old toddler. Now, her children are teenagers. 

“My children – all they’ve seen growing up is their mother studying,” she says. “My routine has been very hectic and because I work, my evenings are dedicated to studying. My family is extremely supportive, but it seems like there has to be an end to this.” 

Despite being open to relocating and applying for residency positions across the country, Sohail is yet to hear a response, but she maintains her optimism.

“I still don’t know if I’ll be able to get residency in Canada, but I will keep trying. I will knock on 100 doors and I hope that finally one will open.”

 

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

 

Published in Education

by Priya Ramanujam (@SincerelyPriya) in Toronto

Even more than career prospects, the perceived high quality of life is at the top of the list of what motivates skilled professionals in countries like India, China and the Philippines to consider applying for immigration to Canada.

This is according to recently released data from the World Education Services (WES), in a report titled “Considering Canada: A Look at the Views of Prospective Skilled Immigrants.”

Over 3,000 respondents completed a survey WES administered to individuals considering applying to Canada – primarily those living overseas. As one of several agencies that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) designated to provide educational credential assessments (ECA) to be used as part of the new immigrant application process introduced in 2012, the organization had access to this population.

Vinitha Gengatharan, director of international relations at University of Toronto and chair of the board of directors for Agincourt Community Services Association, says this type of information is crucial to know if Canada is to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive global landscape.

Aside from demographic information and examining the motivations of prospective skilled immigrants, “Considering Canada” also takes a look at what the perceived barriers this group of people expects to face upon arriving in Canada, if successful.

“There is a competition for skilled immigrants all over the world —everybody wants them,” says Gengatharan, whose family arrived in Canada from Sri Lanka 30 years ago. “What are they looking for when they decide to immigrate, and what can Canada offer? What can we do to be more competitive in that space . . . to be an attractive destination, is why it’s important to reach out to this audience. How can we be proactive in meeting their needs?”

In the months leading up to the report’s official release, Timothy Owen, director of WES Canada, presented some of its key findings at conferences throughout the country. He says the fact that prospective immigrants place high value on Canada’s standard of living is something he made a point of highlighting to the various stakeholders he presents to – academics, government officials, community service providers and regulatory bodies.

“I think that kind of spoke to — for me anyways — Canada being seen as a good place to live and to bring up your family, and while career prospects were a very important part of the decision to come to Canada, maybe this lifestyle was one of the driving factors and motivators.”

WES graph 1

A Younger, More Educated Candidate Pool

“Considering Canada”also highlights changing demographics amongst those now considering migration to Canada. The candidate pool appears to be younger, and also more educated.

What the report shows is that within the ECA applicants WES surveyed, nearly 95 per cent fell within the 25- to 44-year-old bracket, and only three per cent in the 45- to 64-year-old one. This is in comparison to data released by CIC in 2013 about landed immigrant applicants that showed 84 per cent were 25 to 44 years old.

Owen says that one of WES’s goals following the release of the report is to look at ways to create services that help skilled immigrants learn how to transfer their skills to similar lines of work, instead of resorting to “survival jobs.” 

Furthermore, nearly all of the applicants held a degree; 40 per cent had a master’s degree or higher. This is up from previous reports from CIC, which indicated a smaller percentage (only around 18 per cent with a master’s degree) of applicants in 2012/2013 were that highly educated.

This raises the question of why the demographics have changed. Owen has one hypothesis.

“I think part of it could have been that it was taking a long time in the old immigration system for people to get processed and arriving in Canada after they made their application, and so maybe some of the people who were best qualified found other opportunities somewhere else,” he explains. “That’s a possibility, but now, with the Express Entry program, I know the goal is to speed up the processing of people.”

What Comes Next

Aside from demographic information and examining the motivations of prospective skilled immigrants, “Considering Canada” also takes a look at what the perceived barriers this group of people expects to face upon arriving in Canada, if successful.

Even more interesting: depending on a person’s native country, their outlook on Canadian career prospects varied. At 26 percent, Chinese respondents had an overwhelmingly more negative view of job opportunities in Canada, in comparison to their Indian and Filipino counterparts, of which only one per cent and two per cent indicated negative outlooks, respectively.

And while not enough Canadian experience was listed by 59 per cent of respondents as the number-one barrier, Owen says this remains an overwhelming frustration amongst people who eventually end up fulfilling the application process and arriving in Canada.

“How do you get Canadian experience if you can’t get a job in Canada?” is a common question he says WES research consultants encountered during recent research with focus groups of respondents who are now in the country. “And people are frustrated that their experience from their home country isn’t valued as highly as they thought it would be. That’s probably the biggest surprise to people.”

Owen says that one of WES’s goals following the release of the report is to look at ways to create services that help skilled immigrants learn how to transfer their skills to similar lines of work, instead of resorting to “survival jobs.” 

This is something Gengatharan can appreciate: her dad worked for one year as a security guard upon arrival in Canada, before eventually gaining employment in a position more closely related to his land-surveyor profession.

“I know so many people [working “survival jobs”], that’s how they gain their Canadian experience; I feel like in a globalized world a lot of experiences can be transferable,” she says, adding it still remains unclear exactly what is accepted as “Canadian experience.”

Lack of information about jobs, and lack of licensure or foreign licences not being recognized in Canada were tied at second place for the most anticipated barriers, while discrimination, insufficient English/French language skills and not enough education/training ranked fairly low on the list.

WES graph 2

Even more interesting: depending on a person’s native country, their outlook on Canadian career prospects varied. At 26 percent, Chinese respondents had an overwhelmingly more negative view of job opportunities in Canada, in comparison to their Indian and Filipino counterparts, of which only one per cent and two per cent indicated negative outlooks, respectively.

Owen says WES aims to present this report to community agencies, academics and government and regulatory bodies to hopefully ensure a better-informed approach to service provision for prospective immigrants – particularly while they are still overseas.  

This is something the Christine Nielsen, chief executive officer at the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS), says her organization is greatly in support of. A national certifying body that has been using WES’s ECA as part of its prior learning assessments for the last five years, the CSMLS sees around 300 people each year looking to come to Canada to work in the medical lab profession.

Nielsen says her organization does much of its assessment work while the clients are still overseas, and she would like to see more regulatory bodies follow suit.

“If you have no chance of practising your profession, or it’s going to take years for you to practise your profession, every immigrant I’ve talked to wants to know that information before they come and how long or how slow the process is going to be, and they can make the best decision for their families.” 


There is also no dearth of research studies being conducted by academics and organizations across the country relevant to new Canadians. Research Watch will keep an eye on the studies being released and uncover key findings on a regular basis. Conducting research that you think would be of interest? E-mail us at production@newcandianmedia.ca.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Policy

by Jacky Habib (@JackyHabib) in Toronto

New Canadians were not left out of Canadas 2015 budget released by the Federal government in late April. The governments focus on newcomers centres on three primary objectives: remove financial barriers to international education accreditation, reduce costs to send money abroad and provide funds to relocate to job markets with more prospects. 

Lowering Costs of Sending Money Abroad

The 2015 budget proposes to provide $6 million over five years to help Canadians access lower-cost remittance services to send money back home. This includes creating a website that will compare service fees by various providers, to help Canadians make informed decisions when sending money.

Monica Boyd, Canada Research Chair in Immigration and Public Policy at the University of Toronto, says this initiative is a feel-good response by the government.

Theyre saying [high remittance fees] are a problem and they care, and will put information on the web, she says. Its to let people know they have choices. Its a nice promise, but we dont know what more theyre going to be doing.

Its really important because most of us come here to support a big family so its necessary to send money home.” - Muhammad Razak

Muhammad Razak, who sends money a few times every year to family overseas, has the same concern. When he heard that the government would work to lower the cost of remittance services, his first question was: Whats the procedure?

This is something the government has yet to indicate. Razak says, however, that this should be a priority. Its really important because most of us come here to support a big family so its necessary to send money home.

The EAP report states the government will, “work with financial institutions to evaluate possible collaboration opportunities to expand access to lower-cost remittance services.

Funds for Obtaining Credentials

The government also announced plans to make the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans program permanent.

Introduced in 2011, the pilot project provided loans to foreign-trained individuals to help cover the cost of obtaining their credentials in Canada. A total of $9 million was provided over two years to 1,500 recipients across the country, with an average loan amount of $6,000. 

The Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to put $35 million over five years towards making this a permanent initiative.

The impact of providing micro loans to internationally trained professionals is profound.” - Dianne Fehr, Immigrant Access Fund

The loans will continue to be provided by community-based organizations like Immigrant Access Fund, a nonprofit in Alberta. Dianne Fehr, the organizations Executive Director says she was thrilled to hear the government is making this program permanent.

The impact of providing micro loans to internationally trained professionals is profound. We knew that [the government] was pretty pleased with this program,” Fehr says.

Immigrant Access Fund received $1.8 million from the government during its pilot program, which initially provided over 300 loans. Fehr explains that the $1.8 million of government funding has since been recycled back into the program 1.5 times as people pay off their loans.

Recipients begin to pay interest as soon as they receive the loan money for up to two years, and then pay 1.5 per cent above the prime rate, a rate set by Immigrant Access Fund. Fehr says the government has been completely hands-off by allowing community organizations to determine participants’ eligibility and interest rates.

Fahad Mughal, who immigrated to Canada in 2011, is one of the organizations loan recipients.

I was looking to upgrade my skills and learned about a business analyst certification program, but there wasnt any government funding for this.

He found out about the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans program and took a $5,000 loan to enroll in the certification program. That program led to his current job as a business analyst with the City of Edmonton.

I know immigrants who want to go to Toronto or Vancouver. Ive seen immigrants live in these saturated markets and theyre just doing survival jobs. I didnt move to Canada to do these survival jobs and thats why I moved.” - Fahad Mughal

Mughal, who was educated in Pakistan and has a bachelors degree in computer science and a masters degree in business administration, initially immigrated to Brampton. He worked odd jobs for several months before moving to Edmonton.

Since finding professional and steady work, he has convinced five families who planned to live in Ontario, to move to Edmonton instead.

I think thats the main reason why immigrants come to Canada,” Mughal says. They want to have a better life. I know immigrants who want to go to Toronto or Vancouver. Ive seen immigrants live in these saturated markets and theyre just doing survival jobs. I didnt move to Canada to do these survival jobs and thats why I moved.

Funds to Relocate

The government also proposes to allocate $7 million over two years towards programming, which will support youth and immigrants to relocate to areas in Canada where job opportunities exist.

Studies done by Statistics Canada show that immigrants integrate better and faster in cities like Edmonton and Calgary, rather than larger metropolitan cities like Toronto and Montreal.

Boyd says the proposed budget of $7 million to encourage this move is quite low.

Its not a lot of money,” Boyd says. Its simply [the government] saying we are going to focus on things that we think are going to facilitate the life of immigrants in Canada. But theyre not saying much about what exactly theyre doing or how theyre going to do it.

The Minister of Employment and Social Development, Pierre Poilievre, was unavailable for an interview with New Canadian Media before deadline.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Economy

by Carlos Tello (@segundoviajein Vancouver

Engineers Canada and the Medical Council of Canada are developing new programs with funding from the federal government that will help internationally trained engineers and doctors get their qualifications recognized.

Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre announced early last week that the federal government would match Engineers Canada’s funding of $778,000 for the development of the Online Competency Assessment System, an online tool that will standardize the work experience requirements to become a licensed engineer across Canada.

The new assessment system will also allow the more than 5,000 engineers who arrive in Canada annually to comply with work experience requirements through what they have done abroad.

“This program will help both applicants and employers make sure the [engineers] pursue the right work experience as they're working through [becoming licensed],” explained Engineers Canada CEO Kim Allen, in a telephone interview with New Canadian Media.

There are almost 500 regulatory bodies in Canada, and within a single profession there can be many regulators with different policies, by-laws, occupational standards, scopes of practice and minimum requirements.

In addition to the announcement of the federal funding for Engineers Canada, Minister Poilievre also announced that the Medical Council of Canadawould receive $6.7 million to develop an online tool that will streamline the exam process for prospective physicians from over 80 countries.

The Medical Council of Canada was unavailable for comments, despite repeated requests by New Canadian Media.

A 'One-Stop Shop' for Internationally Trained Engineers

The federal government funding will allow Engineers Canada to coordinate the creation of the online system, establish a national committee to oversee its development, and assist the 12 provincial and territorial engineering regulatory bodies during the project’s implementation.

Only the provincial and territorial organizations may grant licences to practice professional engineering, and right now, each one has its own set of requirements. The Online Competency Assessment System will streamline the licensing process by standardizing the requirements.

During the funding announcement, Minister Poilievre called for a ‘one-stop shop’ for registered professionals looking to immigrate. He said newcomers trying to get licensed face “endless bureaucracy among provincially-mandated regulatory bodies; costs related to language and credential assessment, exam fees and lost income opportunities.”

A TD Bank study in 2012 reported that if immigrant workers were employed at the same level as non-immigrant workers, approximately 370,000 more people would be working.

There are almost 500 regulatory bodies in Canada, and within a single profession there can be many regulators with different policies, by-laws, occupational standards, scopes of practice and minimum requirements.

In 2006, only 24 per cent of foreign-trained employees were working in the regulated profession for which they trained, compared to 62 per cent of Canadian-born employees.

A TD Bank study in 2012 reported that if immigrant workers were employed at the same level as non-immigrant workers, approximately 370,000 more people would be working.

That underutilization of skills costs the Canadian economy between $4 and $6 billion a year, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Time Between Arrival to Licensing

Engineers Canada’s Competency-Based Assessment Project has developed a national standard to measure applicants’ work experience to determine whether they meet engineer-licensing requirements.

Under the new system, applicants will only have to demonstrate they have obtained certain competencies through professional experience during their work experience assessment.

The new system doesn’t require Canadian experience in order to obtain a licence.

“The total time to actually [get licensed will] be about the same, but the ability to start much earlier will shrink the time [immigrants] would have [to wait to get] a licence to practice.” - Kim Allen, Engineers Canada

There are seven abilities applicants will have to demonstrate to pass the assessment: applying engineering knowledge, methods and techniques, using engineering tools, technology or equipment, protecting the public interest, managing engineering activities, communicating engineering information, working collaboratively in the Canadian environment and maintaining and enhancing engineering skills and knowledge.

In order to demonstrate mastery of these seven core competencies, applicants will submit 21 written documents — three for each competency. Then, a team of two trained professional engineer assessors will evaluate each document using a structured process, taking into account additional factors.

“The total time to actually [get licensed will] be about the same, but the ability to start much earlier will shrink the time [immigrants] would have [to wait to get] a licence to practice,” says Allen.

Allen estimates it will take about 18 months to complete the online assessment system’s development and its implementation in the 12 provincial and territorial regulatory bodies.

Streamlining the Exam Process for Medical Practitioners

The Medical Council of Canada will be developing its own online tool, which will facilitate and shorten the exam process for internationally trained doctors.

Overseas delivery of the qualifying exam will allow international medical graduates to better assess their likelihood of practicing as a physician in Canada prior to immigration. 

Approximately 7,000 medical practitioners arrive annually to Canada.

The federal government estimates that the implementation of the online exam will shorten the licensing process by four to six months, and will result in $6 million in annual savings.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Economy

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

Zo2 Framework Settings

Select one of sample color schemes

Google Font

Menu Font
Body Font
Heading Font

Body

Background Color
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Top Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Header Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainmenu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Slider Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainframe Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Breadcrumb Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Menu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image
Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image