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Press Releases 2006

For Immediate Release

November 20, 2006



Announces 14 recommendations to help address challenges facing Ontario 's skilled immigrants


(Queen's Park) - Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory and Education and Citizenship & Immigration Critic, Frank Klees, today released a comprehensive plan to address the issues facing Ontario 's skilled immigrants with a call for action to implement 14 recommendations.


"The status quo is unacceptable," said Klees. "The lack of a real strategy to help our skilled immigrants is a real problem requiring serious and immediate action. We need to take a comprehensive approach that involves speeding up the process, getting to work sooner while immigrants are overseas waiting to come to Canada , providing increased assistance to newcomers once they have arrived and assisting newcomers enter the workforce."


Tory and Klees released the report at a Queen's Park press conference accompanied by two of the many new Canadians who have faced challenges integrating themselves into our workforce. The report is a result of a yearlong process of consultation by John Tory, Frank Klees and the PC Caucus. Over the past year, a PC task force has met with organizations of professional immigrants, associations providing assistance to skilled immigrants as well as members of the post-secondary education community.


The 14 recommendations focus on three broad categories: speeding up the process, helping newcomers once they have arrived and integrating them into our workforce. Some of these recommendations include:


•          Building a really useful, cutting edge web portal that provides accurate credentialing information and opportunities for potential immigrants before they move to Canada . The same portal could and should deliver courses to help people Canadianize their credentials.
•        Expand the Ontario Student Assistance Program to make loans available for new Canadians bridging or upgrading their training.
•         Provide more supports for ESL training - to lower the language barriers that stand in the way of so many new Canadians' success.
•        Use the platform of TVO to provide effective general language, training and integration information to help new immigrants to adjust to Canada . Training materials produced by TVO would be available on-line to people waiting to come to Canada .
•        Leverage on our existing system of colleges and universities and support them in providing training opportunities overseas.
•         Expand bridging, mentoring and work experience programs for new Canadians by including more small and medium sized businesses. These programs must be attractive, accessible and affordable for smaller enterprises.


"There are many unanswered questions as to why it is so difficult for us to properly integrate skilled immigrants into our workforce," said Klees. "I believe that the most significant real barrier comes from a lack of will. We must take the first step of acknowledging the problem and then deploy all of our resources together to fix it."


"The status quo is not just dashing the hopes and dreams of skilled immigrants but all Canadians," said Klees. "We face looming and mounting skills shortage across a wide range of professions. For us not to do everything we can to quickly integrate skilled newcomers into their trained professions is a loss to all of us. We must not let the current situation become some sort of permanent fact of life and my leader, John Tory and I are committed to making sure that doesn't happen."




For more information:

Frank Klees, MPP