World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. The weekly roundup includes research, stories, and events of interest to the Canadian immigration and settlement community. This content has been created by WES and is reproduced here with their permission, in partnership.
Last month, the Ontario Minister of Health Sylvia Jones directed the College of Nurses of Ontario to develop plans to expedite the registration of internationally educated professionals in order to alleviate the province’s staff shortages. An estimated 5,300 non-practicing nurses are currently living in Ontario and these changes could significantly impact the healthcare sector. Among the options the College proposed include allowing internationally trained nurses (IENs) to be temporarily registered while they go through the process of full registration like completing their education and an exam. If approved, the College would be able to begin registering IENs and other applicants who could benefit from these new measures (e.g. those out of practice beyond three years).
In addition, the Minister also approved the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to create a temporary, three-month registration for physicians licensed in other provinces. Some physician programs are used in other provinces that deploy doctors in underserved communities and provide a path to licensing. However no decision has been made on whether Ontario will adapt this approach.
As schools across the country begin the start of the 2022-23 academic year, many international students remain in limbo as their study permits have yet to be approved. According to IRCC, only 64 per cent of applications have been processed within the 60-day service standard, leaving thousands of international students awaiting a decision. This has profound consequences particularly financial ones on students who will have to change flights, delay start dates and accommodations to attend schooling in Canada. According to IRCC, the average processing time for a study permit from outside of Canada is 12 weeks but this does not include the time it takes to send an application to the application centre.
Advocates call on IRCC to take more responsibility for adhering to processing times and for better transparency on the status of applications already under review. Updated information could impact decisions international students make on whether they will study in Canada or not. For some, these challenges are too uncertain that many would choose to go elsewhere, if they had known earlier.
As labour shortages across the country continue into the fall, employers are exploring new ways to fill vacancies and build their workforce. Investing in skills development is one solution that can address some employers' needs, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The province of Quebec has been encouraging businesses to invest in skills development for decades. Since the early 2000s, SMEs often working in the same sector have an option to pool their resources and deliver skills development options to their staff. Known as “training mutuals”, one of the objectives is to identify common training challenges companies face and offer solutions.
Managers of the “mutuals” contact the companies to identify their training needs and find programs when needed, secure necessary financial and organizational resources and encourage companies and their staff to participate in the training. This approach has been beneficial in pooling resources that can often impede investment in training programs, and it can also build rapport with businesses in the same sector.
Several sources have confirmed that Canada will accept a request via the US to resettle approximately 1,500 Afghan refugees currently in a refugee centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE is a close ally of the US and since 2021, they agreed to temporarily house thousands of Afghan refugees. More than 10,000 have since been relocated from the UAE facility to the US, however more assistance is needed. Canada’s agreement to resettle these individuals differs from Canadian Afghan resettlement policies where Afghan refugees with previous ties to the government were prioritized. IRCC has stated that they plan to resettle at least 40,000 vulnerable Afghans to Canada by 2024, noting that approximately 18,000 have already arrived.