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Archived - Government of Canada takes action to help newcomers get jobs in their field faster

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October 24, 2014– Vancouver, British Columbia – Employment and Social Development

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, today announced the creation of the Panel on Employment Challenges of New Canadians as part of the Government of Canada’s action plan to improve foreign credential recognition for internationally trained professionals.

Minister Kenney underlined that while the Government of Canada has already taken significant action to better integrate new Canadians into the workplace, more can be done. New Canadians play a key role in our workforce, but our economy and society can benefit even more by finding better ways to tap into their skills and talents.

The Panel is being led by experts in the areas of newcomer integration, diversity and certification. It is the next step the Government is taking so that internationally trained professionals can get jobs in their fields faster.

The Panel is being chaired by Mr. Nick Noorani, an immigrant advocate and social entrepreneur. He will be joined by six other expert panel members: Mr. Kim Allen, Ms. Wafa Berny, Dr. Lori Campbell, Ms. Margaret Eaton, Mr. Robert Henderson and Ms. Christine Nielsen.

The Panel is now meeting with employers, immigration-serving organizations, professional associations, regulatory bodies and academics in seven cities across Canada. Provinces and territories are also participating. There is also an online consultation accessible to all Canadians through the Employment and Social Development Canada website.

The Panel will prepare a report to the Government based on its findings. This report will provide an opportunity to develop new and innovative approaches to improve the hiring and integration of newcomers into the workforce. As well, it will highlight lessons learned in preparing newcomers to enter the Canadian labour market. The report will be available to the public in early 2015.

Quick facts

The Government of Canada provides coordination and financial support to improve credential recognition in 24 target occupations that represent over 80 percent of newcomers. Action taken to date includes:

  • A microloans pilot project to help internationally trained workers cover the cost of having their credentials recognized. To date, more than 1,400 skilled newcomers have benefitted from these microloans.
  • A new Framework for foreign credential recognition, which was launched in partnership with the provinces and territories. Under the Framework, internationally trained workers who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields, along with all fees and relevant documents, 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.
  • Service standards that allow internationally trained professionals in priority occupations to have their credentials assessed within one year, anywhere in Canada. Recent annual rates of newcomers entering the pathway to licensure in Framework occupations include: 5,600 engineers; 3,100 physicians; 2,000 pharmacists; 1,100 physiotherapists; and 1,200 dentists.


“Our government’s top priorities are creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. Our government recognizes that skilled newcomers help fill shortages in key occupations and make an important contribution to Canada’s economy. The work of the Panel will help to shape strategies to better integrate newcomers into the workforce and break down barriers faced by employers when hiring and retaining newcomers.”

– The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism

“As someone who has experienced firsthand both the struggles and the successes of adapting to living in Canada after immigrating here in 1998, chairing this Panel is very important to me. Everyone benefits when we successfully integrate new Canadians.”

– Nick Noorani, Immigrant Advocate and Chair of the Panel on Employment Challenges of New Canadians

Associated links


Alexandra Fortier
Office of the Minister

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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Improving integration of new Canadians into the workforce

An online consultation will be available through the month of November, in addition to the consultations currently underway on employment challenges of new Canadians. Panelists are holding in-person consultations throughout October and into November in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montréal, Halifax and Saskatoon.

The panel is comprised of:

Nick Noorani – Chair

After immigrating to Canada in 1998, Mr. Noorani quickly established himself as a prominent immigrant champion and social entrepreneur. He has co-authored books, created national awards and established a magazine to advise on and acknowledge the successful contributions of immigrants who have integrated into the Canadian workforce.

Kim Allen

Mr. Allen is the chief executive officer of Engineers Canada, the national organization of the 12 engineering regulatory bodies that license Canada's more than 270,000 members of the profession—including engineers-in-training. With more than 20 years of accomplishment as a chief executive in the public, private and association sectors, Mr. Allen implements winning strategies for the success of the engineering profession and the promotion of the competency, integrity and public accountability of engineers.

Wafa Berny

Ms. Berny, MBA, M.Sc. arrived in Canada eight years ago, following a career working in banking and information technology in multinationals and in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). She acts as a consultant and lecturer on SME management at the Université du Québec in Montréal and assists entrepreneurs within its Centre for Entrepreneurship. Ms. Berny is also particularly interested in entrepreneurship related to immigrants and to technology.

Lori Campbell

Dr. Campbell has extensive experience in the field of adult and community education since 1985. In 2011, Dr. Campbell took on the new role of Manager, Diversity, at Enbridge and is leading the organization in developing a Diversity and Inclusive strategy for Liquids Pipelines Canada. The Diversity team is responsible for development and implementation of policies, programs and practices that build inclusive workplaces. In the broader community, the team develops relationships with client-serving organizations to enhance and support their efforts in bridging to employment opportunities.

Margaret Eaton

Ms. Eaton has over 20 years' experience in the non-profit sector. Since 2012, she has served as Executive Director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), a multi-stakeholder council that brings leaders together to create and champion solutions to better integrate immigrants in the GTA labour market. As part of her endeavours at TRIEC, Ms. Eaton led stakeholders in the creation of a new strategic plan to increase the impact and scale of TRIEC's work.

Rob Henderson

As President and Chief Executive Officer of BioTalent Canada, Mr. Henderson acts an architect of change of this national non-profit association which is dedicated to ensuring that Canada's bio-economy has access to the skills and human resources it needs to remain innovative and growing. BioTalent Canada connects employers with job seekers and delivers human resource information and skills development tools to the bio-economy to ensure this thriving industry has access to job-ready people.

Christine Nielsen

Ms. Nielsen became Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science in early 2010. Prior to that she was Director of Certification for seven years, where she marshalled a pan-Canadian qualification and recognition program, and led the research for the medical laboratory profession in Canada. Ms. Nielsen is also currently the Chair of the Canadian Network of Associations of Regulators.

Minister Kenney and the Panel Chair, Nick Noorani.

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