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The Premier of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, has stated that his government will “lift the barriers” that prevent some immigrants to the province from working in their field of training. Couillard outlined the plan at a press conference, also attended by Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil, on February 14.
Bill 98 aims to recognize the professional accreditations and skills of immigrants to Quebec, allowing them to enter the labour market in the skilled positions for which they have trained. Premier Couillard is optimistic that Bill 98 will be passed “fairly quickly,” amending various statutes relating primarily to admission to the professions and the governance of the professional system.
“Although it has been steadily declining for three consecutive years, the unemployment rate among newcomers is still too high,” said Couillard in French, citing an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent for all immigrants to Quebec, and 15 percent for those who arrived in the last five years.
By way of comparison, the unemployment rate for Quebec as a whole was 6.2 percent last December, the lowest rate since 1976.
“Why are we lagging behind in Quebec compared to other Canadian societies for the integration of professionals?” asked Philippe Couillard, rhetorically. The provisions included in the bill aim to modernize the governance of professional orders and institutionalize the procedures for obtaining training courses.
“We are also proposing amendments to ensure that the composition of the professional associations reflects the diversity of Quebec society,” added the Premier.
For her part, Ms Weil recently pointed out that 1.4 million jobs will have to be filled in the Quebec labour market by 2022. Close to one-fifth of these posts are expected to be filled by immigrants.
Last fall, the government of Quebec announced its target to welcome 51,000 new immigrants in 2017. At the same time, the government set up a working group to better integrate these newcomers. Economic immigrants to Quebec typically immigrate through either the Quebec Skilled Worker Program or the Quebec Experience Class.
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