“Canadianizing” the Immigrant Skilled Worker

CIC News
Published: September 1, 2006

Service Canada (SC) and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) join to help integrate immigrants into the Canadian workforce.

Despite the Canadian government’s policy of ‘opening up the doors of immigration’ for skilled foreign workers, there is a growing need in the Canadian workforce.

Statistics Canada has warned that Canadians will soon face a labour shortage, as an estimated 40% of the Canadian skilled work force are over fifty years of age and are expected to retire within the next decade.

Canadian employers are even now noting a lack of skilled workers to fill job vacancies in their business, particularly in areas of booming trade and economic activity like Calgary, Alberta and the Toronto area of Southern Ontario.

At the same time experts are finding that some recently arrived educated immigrants are having difficulty finding work in their field of expertise as a result of not having Canadian specific workplace experience or language skills to land jobs they desire.

SC has recently financed $4-million towards a new project designed to address these issues and has joined with ACCC in order to aid skilled worker immigrants find work in their fields by helping to “Canadianize” them.

The Canadian Immigration Integration Project will rely on Canadian community colleges to develop post-graduate programs that will help integrate new immigrants into the Canadian workforce. The courses will teach skills in interviewing techniques and educate the students on Canadian labor laws, particularly in health, safety and workers’ rights legislation. A large focus of the program will be career-specific language courses. The project will also provide connections to professional associations and government bodies in order to aid new immigrants in finding employment.

The project is also being developed for use overseas even before immigrants arrive in Canada and is currently being tested in three countries, China, India and the Philippines.

The goals of the program are twofold: To help fill the current and future shortages in the Canadian workforce; and to help ease the transition process for new immigrants to Canada by helping them find work.

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