Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

January 30, 2011 08:00 ET

'Brain Gain' Pilot Project Launched in Ontario

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 30, 2011) - More Canadians working abroad could soon return home and contribute to Canada's economy, thanks to an innovative pilot project launched in Ontario, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

"It's a reverse brain drain," said Minister Kenney. "We're making it easier for Canadians abroad to bring their skills home and contribute to the Canada of tomorrow."

For some Canadian workers living abroad, an obstacle to returning to Canada is that their non-Canadian spouse, common-law partner or dependent children may be unable to work until they are processed as permanent residents, which usually takes between six months and one year.

Since November 22, family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to work in Ontario in the health care and academic sectors have been able to get temporary work permits immediately upon arriving in Canada. Ontario's health and academic sectors have faced significant skill and labour shortages in recent years and were identified as the most appropriate sectors for the pilot project.

"By encouraging highly-skilled workers to come back to Canada, we are laying the foundation for long-term economic growth," added the Minister. 

A pledge to establish this pilot project was included in the 2008 Temporary Foreign Worker agreement between the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario. It is operating on a trial basis until May 22, 2012. Upon completion of the pilot project, the government will evaluate the initiative's effectiveness.

For more details on this initiative, please see the Backgrounder.

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Ontario Pilot Project for Spouses, Common-Law Partners and Dependents of Returning Canadian Workers

This pilot project in Ontario allows spouses, common-law partners and dependent children of certain Canadian citizens and permanent residents returning to Ontario, to receive open work permits that would allow them to accept any job with any employer in the province.

To be eligible to participate in the pilot, applicants must:

  • be a spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident returning to work in Ontario,

  • have an application underway to immigrate to Canada through sponsorship in the family class,

  • be old enough to work in Ontario,

  • meet all admissibility criteria to come to Canada as a temporary resident.

The sponsoring spouse or parent must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;

  • have left Canada and be returning to work permanently in Ontario, as a health professional or an academic for post-secondary public institutions, in one of the specified occupations listed below;

  • with their employer, obtain a letter from the Province of Ontario confirming their employment, location and occupation and provide it as supporting documentation with the work permit application; and

  • have submitted an application to CIC to sponsor their spouse or dependent child.

List of specified occupations

Health Professionals

Post-Secondary Education (Academics) for Public Institutions

Contact Information

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Minister's Office
    Alykhan Velshi
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Communications Branch
    Media Relations