Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan

Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan
Government of Saskatchewan

Government of Saskatchewan

February 22, 2012 12:30 ET

Government of Canada Taking Action to Support Newcomers in Saskatchewan

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwire - Feb. 22, 2012) - The Government of Canada today announced that the Immigrant Access Fund (IAF) Saskatchewan is one of the first organizations selected under the Government of Canada's Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot. The announcement was made by Ed Komarnicki, Member of Parliament for Souris-Moose Mountain, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"Our government's top priority is job creation and economic growth," said Mr. Komarnicki. "Internationally trained workers make an important contribution to Canada's job market and economy. That's why we are working with provincial partners and organizations like IAF Saskatchewan to help internationally trained professionals find meaningful work that contributes to Canada's overall prosperity."

Today, in Vancouver, Minister Finley launched the Foreign Credential Recognition Program Loans pilot at S.U.C.C.E.S.S. British Columbia, which is also a participating organization. Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister Finley, announced that WIL Employment Connections in Ontario will participate in the pilot, as well. The Government of Canada will invest $18 million over three years for projects across the country.

For many internationally trained professionals, the cost of licensing exams, training and skills upgrading can present a significant barrier to credential recognition. The Foreign Credential Recognition Program Loans pilot will develop and test innovative projects that provide financial assistance to internationally trained professionals to lessen some of these financial burdens. Delivered in partnership with community organizations, the loans will make it easier for internationally trained workers to find jobs that best suit their skills and experience.

IAF is receiving funding from the Government of Canada for a project that will help internationally trained professionals finance the costs of having their credentials recognized in Canada. Gordon Wyant, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saskatoon Northwest, announced on behalf of the Honourable Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration for Saskatchewan, that the province will contribute to IAF's project as well.

"The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to developing strong and sustainable communities across the province," added Mr. Wyant. "This pilot project will help align newcomers with jobs in their field of study and provide employers with more skilled workers to meet demands of our growing labour market."

In addition to providing loans to eligible clients, IAF Saskatchewan will collaborate with immigrant-serving organizations, post-secondary institutions and the private sector to encourage them to refer clients that need financial assistance.

"We are pleased to be able to partner with the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan to provide loan services that assist internationally educated professionals with credential recognition, and advance their careers while contributing to the Saskatchewan economy," said Wendy L. Morris, Chair of IAF Saskatchewan.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program Loans pilot will enable internationally trained professionals to put their knowledge and skills to work sooner and complements the significant investments the Government of Canada has made in recent years to help new Canadians succeed.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

This news release is available online at: www.actionplan.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

In Budget 2011, it was announced that Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Citizenship and Immigration Canada would test innovative and sustainable ways to help internationally trained professionals cover costs associated with the foreign credential recognition process. The Foreign Credential Recognition Program Loans pilot will provide funding to community-based partners-such as non-government and non-profit organizations-to increase their capacity to deliver financial assistance to eligible professionals.

Immigrant Access Fund Saskatchewan will provide eligible clients with loans to help pay for short-term training, exam fees and associated travel expenses. The project is expected to help over 290 internationally trained workers in the province of Saskatchewan pursue additional required training and licensing exams. Once their training and exams have been completed, the workers will be able to pay back the loans within flexible time periods. The following is an example of how micro-loans would help skilled newcomers. Ann, an accountant from Taiwan, could not practice her profession because she does not have Canadian credentials. She would have to complete several training courses to obtain her Canadian designation. If she was working in a low-paying job below her skill level, she would not be able to afford the tuition and exam fees. A micro-loan would allow Ann to cover these costs and acquire her Canadian designation as a Chartered Accountant. When she found a job in her field, Ann would repay the loan to IAF. A small loan can make a world of difference.

Canada's Economic Action Plan invested $50 million to work with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders to improve foreign credential recognition. This partnership led to the development of the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, which was announced in November 2009.

The Framework is streamlining recognition of foreign credentials and experience for key occupations. In 2010, service standards were established so that internationally trained professionals in eight priority occupations, including accountants and engineers, could have their qualifications assessed anywhere in Canada within one year. We have now started improving recognition of foreign qualifications for six more target occupations, including physicians and dentists.

To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

The Foreign Credential Recognition Program aims to improve the integration of internationally trained workers into the workforce. The Program provides funding and works with the provinces and territories and with stakeholders-including regulatory bodies, post-secondary institutions, sector councils and employers-to implement projects that facilitate the assessment and recognition of qualifications acquired in other countries.

Established in May 2007, the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) provides information and path-finding and referral services, both in Canada and overseas, to help internationally trained workers have their credentials assessed quickly so they can find work faster in the fields for which they have been trained.

The FCRO works with federal, provincial and territorial partners, as well as with credential assessment and recognition bodies, to strengthen foreign credential recognition processes across the country. Online services for internationally trained workers are available on the FCRO website at www.credentials.gc.ca.

Established in 2005, the Internationally Educated Health Professionals Initiative works with provinces, territories and stakeholders to enable more internationally educated health professionals to put their skills to work in Canada's health system.

Immigrant Access Fund Saskatchewan provides immigrants with microloans to help them undertake training and become licensed in their area of expertise so they can eventually find jobs in their field.

IF THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN ANY PRINTED VERSION AND THE ELECTRONIC VERSION OF THIS NEWS RELEASE, THE ELECTRONIC VERSION WILL PREVAIL.

Contact Information

  • Alyson Queen
    Director of Communications
    Office of Minister Finley
    819-994-2482

    Marieka Andrew
    Ministry of Advanced Education,
    Employment and Immigration
    306-798-3170

    Media Relations Office
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    819-994-5559