Ontario pumps $4 million into program to help immigrants with foreign credentials

Program will target newcomers with foreign credentials in teaching, engineering and health care

Ontario is investing $4 million in an effort to help immigrants with foreign credentials practice their respective careers in the province.

Mary Anne Chambers, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, said the money will be spent over the next three years.

“We are committed to real, positive change by removing barriers to employment for internationally trained professionals and skilled tradespeople,” said Chambers. “We are taking positive steps to help internationally trained professionals work in their field of expertise.”

The government is putting the money into a number of training programs to assist professionals with foreign credentials in the fields of teaching, engineering and health care. The programs will help individuals develop skills and experience essential to practice in Ontario without duplicating what they have learned elsewhere.

The government is also working with the Colleges of Ontario Network for Educating and Training, George Brown College (Toronto), Centennial College (Toronto) and Fanshawe College (London) to create CON*NECT, a project that will setup a new framework for the college system to provide another choice for internationally trained professionals and tradespeople to fast track their entry into the workplace.

“Leveraging our diversity and building the best educated and highly skilled workforce in North America are the keys to achieving our economic potential and creating opportunity for all,” said Chambers. “We are confident that employers, regulators and industry will work with us to achieve this important goal.”

How the money will be spent

Here’s a look at how the Ontario government will be spending the money to help immigrants with foreign credentials enter the workforce:

Bridge training project for teachers (more than $1 million over 18 months) Through a partnership with the Ontario College of Teachers, the project will provide assistance or services to more than 2,000 internationally trained teachers to ensure they have the skills to be educators in Ontario schools.

Bridge training project for engineering technicians and technologists (more than $1 million over three years) The project will provide language and employment readiness skills, contacts and networking opportunities to help internationally trained engineering technicians and technologists continue their careers in Ontario.

The project is a partnership between the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists and the Quality Continuous Improvement Centre for Community Education and Training.

International pharmacy graduate program, University of Toronto ($645,000 over three years) New funds will provide more specific advice to internationally trained candidates on how to strengthen their skills to meet Ontario requirements and to help program staff identify the needs of individuals. The funds will also provide formal instructor education to strengthen the ability of clinical instructors and employer mentors to understand different learning styles and cultural needs.

Access and options for internationally trained health-care professionals, Michener Institute ($114,000 over two years) Providing a simulated clinical experience for internationally trained medical laboratory science professionals will create more opportunities for clerical work experience. Canadian clinical experience is one of the requirements to practice in Ontario.

Preparation for registration for medical laboratory technologists, Mohawk College ($233,400 over two years) The new investment will help Hamilton’s Mohawk College pilot and develop simulated clinical training for internationally trained medical laboratory technologists. Mohawk College will work with the Michener Institute to adapt and implement the training.

CON*NECT ($611,750 for one year) CON*NECT is developing a framework that will enable the college system to provide another choice to the internationally trained for retraining. This will allow the internationally trained to put their skills and experience to work in Ontario without duplicating prior training.

Career bridge ($701,000 for three years) Career Bridge is an internship program for the internationally trained. Career Bridge gives employers in the Greater Toronto Area access to qualified, experienced skilled immigrants in sectors including information technology, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing, and accounting and finance.

Currently, 27 employers have committed to place 45 interns, and 30 internationally trained individuals are now working and developing Canadian experience. Career Bridge is undertaken in co-operation with the Toronto City Summit Alliance.

Interactive fact sheet for internationally trained immigrant engineering technicians and technologists ($32,000) A Web-based fact sheet will help internationally trained engineering technicians and technologists understand how their skills fit with Ontario standards. The fact sheet will be developed in collaboration with the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists.

The government intends to work with the Professional Engineers Ontario to create an e-fact sheet for internationally trained engineers. It will also expand the Ontario government Web site that will give individuals, employers and others access to comprehensive information and assessment products.

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