WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Oct. 12, 2012) - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced that skilled newcomers in Manitoba will receive financial assistance to help them have their education and experience recognized so they can find jobs in their fields faster. Minister Finley made the announcement with the Honourable Christine Melnick, Manitoba's Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism.
"Our Government's top priorities are job creation and economic growth and we need to address the growing skills and labour shortages faced by many regions of the country," said Minister Finley. "By partnering with the Government of Manitoba and organizations like SEED Winnipeg to help internationally trained professionals put their skills to work sooner, we are working together for Canada's long-term prosperity."
Under the Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loans Pilot, Supporting Employment and Economic Development (SEED) Winnipeg is receiving over $1.2 million to provide loans to internationally trained professionals so they can become licensed to work in their fields. This funding will enable SEED Winnipeg to help more than 140 skilled newcomers over the next two years.
"Skilled immigrants from abroad play an important role in helping to address current and future labour demands in our province," said Minister Melnick. "These micro-loans will help to ensure that our internationally trained immigrants are able to contribute their skills and abilities to our workforce and communities."
For many internationally trained professionals, the cost of licensing exams, training and skills upgrading can present a significant barrier to credential recognition and getting work in their fields. The FCR Loans Pilot is implementing projects across Canada that provide financial assistance to internationally trained professionals to lessen some of these financial burdens. Delivered in partnership with community organizations, these micro-loans will make it easier for internationally trained professionals to find jobs that best suit their skills and experience.
"We all know dentists, engineers or nurses who are driving cabs or cleaning offices so they can support their families," said Cindy Coker, Executive Director of SEED Winnipeg. "This program helps ensure that newcomers who are not able to work in their chosen fields can get the certification, upgrading or training they need to have their education and experience recognized and contribute to build Manitoba's economy."
In addition, the Harper Government is continuing to collaborate with the Government of Manitoba to improve foreign credential recognition by investing an additional $1.4 million to renew the Foreign Qualification Recognition in Manitoba project. It has been renewed so that internationally trained professionals in the province can continue to access the information, training and work experience they need to prepare for licensing exams and find good jobs.
The FCR Loans Pilot complements the significant investments that the Government of Canada has made in recent years to help new Canadians succeed.
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This news release is available online at: www.actionplan.gc.ca.
The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot
Following a commitment made in Economic Action Plan 2011, the Harper Government launched the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot to test innovative and sustainable ways to help internationally trained professionals cover costs associated with the foreign credential recognition process. The Pilot will provide $18 million in funding to community-based partners-such as non-government and non-profit organizations-to increase their capacity to deliver financial assistance to eligible professionals.
SEED Winnipeg is the fifth organization to receive funding under the FCR Loans Pilot. Similar projects have been announced with Immigrant Access Fund Alberta, Immigrant Access Fund Saskatchewan, WIL Employment Connections of Ontario and S.U.C.C.E.S.S British Columbia. This innovative, community-based initiative is another example of how the federal government is working in partnership to help internationally trained professionals.
The Government of Canada is continuing to collaborate with the Government of Manitoba to improve foreign credential recognition by investing an additional $1.4 million to renew a project entitled Foreign Qualification Recognition in Manitoba. The objective of this project is is to help integrate skilled newcomers into Manitoba's labour market through post-secondary training and bridge-to-work programs that will help them obtain the experience they need to enter their field of choice. For example, the $1.4 million investment will help to support Manitoba Start, which provides employment services, such as licensing and retraining support, and job matching that connects internationally trained professionals with local employers. This project received $1.2 million in 2010.
The Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications
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.
Under the Framework, internationally trained professionals who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields, along with all fees and relevant documents needed to process the application, will be advised within one year how their credentials compare to Canadian standards. They may also be advised of additional requirements or be directed to alternative occupations that would benefit from their skills and experience.
For more information on the Framework, please consult: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/publications/fcr/pcf.shtml.
The Harper Government's Foreign Credential Recognition Program and Services
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 other 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 in 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. Internet-based services for internationally trained workers can be found 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 help more internationally educated health professionals put their skills to work in Canada's health system.
Supporting Employment and Economic Development (SEED) Winnipeg works to reduce poverty and assist in the renewal of primarily inner city communities by providing capacity building services that assist low-income individuals, groups, organizations and economically distressed neighborhoods to improve their social and economic vitality.