OTTAWA – New Democrat MP and Immigration Critic Olivia Chow (Trinity-Spadina) is calling for the Conservatives to end their indifference and show real leadership to help newcomers find good jobs.
“Today the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced a tiny internship program for 60 people across the whole country – this is just inadequate,” said Chow.
New Democrats proposed practical solutions such as pre-departure credential recognition, expanding mentorship, bridging and internship programs and providing financial incentives for small businesses to hire new comers.
“We’ve all heard the stories of newcomers with PhDs driving taxis,” said Chow. “Instead of being an unfortunate stereotype, this is becoming the norm.”
New Democrats have also provided a roadmap for action and proposed a comprehensive foreign credential reform plan in January 2007, and have been calling for its implementation ever since.
The New Democrats’ seven-point plan includes coordinating with various professional bodies and provincial accreditation offices to ensure a uniform and expedited recognition process throughout the country. It also calls for the establishment of reciprocity agreements so immigrants who arrive in Canada are ready to work immediately.
Other New Democrat recommendations include the creation of an agency with an internet portal and a toll free line for potential immigrants to access information on assessment criteria, education and licensing bodies and recognition processes. This information and pre-assessment would be made available at orientation sessions in international visa offices to allow potential immigrants to be assessed and accredited prior to their arrival to Canada.
The continued government’s indifference to the plight of new comers is costing Canada $5 billion dollars a year in lost productivity.