WINNIPEG/TREATY ONE TERRITORY – Newcomers to Canada often face barriers to employment in the profession they have been trained in due to difficulties in meeting registration requirements of regulated professions in Manitoba.
According to a report by the Office of the Manitoba Fairness Commissioner, between 2015-17, more than 3,000 internationally educated professionals (IEPs) applied for registration in a Manitoba regulated profession but only 16%, or 488, of these applications resulted in full registrations in their professions.
This results in an earnings gap for newcomers. According to an RBC report, immigrants aged 45-54 with a university degree earn around 18% less than those aged 45-54 with university degrees who were born in Canada. This earnings gap costs the Canadian economy an estimated $50 billion per year.
In order to address this, SEED Winnipeg runs a program called Recognition Counts that offers financial coaching and the opportunity to apply for a loan with Assiniboine Credit Union to help with the costs associated with having qualifications recognized in Manitoba.
Ifeyinwa Echezona benefited from SEED’s Recognition Counts program. She arrived in Canada in 2017 and wanted to continue working as a lawyer as she was in her home country of Nigeria. She was working multiple jobs to make ends meet, which left her with little time to study to meet Canadian licensing requirements. With the support of a government program, she was able to leave her jobs and focus on completing her licensing requirements. But before she could be licensed, she needed articling experience at a law firm. Echezona was able to find an unpaid articling position, so she contacted SEED’s Recognition Counts Program for financial support. “Recognition Counts helped me a whole lot because I wouldn’t have been able to complete my licensing without the financial support,” she said. With the support of Recognition Counts, she completed her articling and was called to the Manitoba Bar. Echezona has since opened her own law firm, creating additional jobs. Echezona’s story has been featured on the United Way website: https://unitedwaywinnipeg.ca/lives-changed/ifeyinwa/.
Lizeth Ardila, marketing coordinator for SEED Winnipeg’s Recognition Counts Program says, “As an Immigrant myself, I understand the different challenges one can encounter after moving to another country. It is wonderful to be part of the Recognition Counts Program, which has been able to help many newcomers to Manitoba get back to working in their professions.”
SEED Winnipeg is hosting information webinars about the Recognition Counts program on June 8 at 2 p.m. and June 17 at 6 p.m. To register visit http://rcwebinar.seedwinnipeg.ca.