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WES Weekly Roundup May 24, 2023

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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.

National Scorecard on Canada’s Growth and Prosperity (Century Initiative)

The Century Initiative has set an aspirational goal of reaching 100 million people in Canada by the year 2100. At the same time, this target aims to build the physical and social infrastructure needed to support this population increase. The National Scorecard on Canada’s Growth and Prosperity is an annual benchmark that tracks the nation’s progress in achieving these goals and areas in need of improvement. The scorecard focuses on five key areas: Growing to 100 million; Immigration; Economy, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Education, Skills and Employment; Support for Children and Families; and Infrastructure and Environment. Canada is renowned for its attraction of immigrants however administrative backlogs and increases in the cost of living are affecting the county’s global reputation. Barriers to credential recognition and prior professional experience of immigrants also impact the prosperity and growth of the nation. Among the areas in need of further attention, the scorecard emphasizes that a bigger, bolder Canada requires increased investment in infrastructure such as affordable housing and public transit that will support the aim of 100 million people. This is especially true for the small to medium cities that will experience exponential growth in the future. Additionally, addressing growth in partnership with climate action is key in a sustainable plan for the country moving forward. Finally, increased investments in skills-building, training and career navigation support by both the public and private sectors could help address labour shortages now and in the future.

Quality of Work of Canada’s Contingent Workforce (Diversity Institute)

‘Gig’ or contingent work has become a key part of Canadian economy given the rise of automation and digital platforms. However, the gap has been widening between the growth in gig workforce arrangements for Canadians and available policy supports to address potential barriers. In order to adequately understand the intentions and needs of individuals within the contingent workforce, the study organizes workers into the following categories:

  • Free Agents; Gig work is the preferred choice and primary source of income
  • Casual Earners; Gig work is personal choice and the supplemental source of income
  • Reluctants; Gig work is conducted out of necessity and is the primary source of income
  • Financially Strapped; Gig work is relied on to supplement and is insufficient source of income

Key findings from the report suggest that 'Casual Earners' comprise of the largest gig work constituency in Canada, with the second largest being those who are 'Financially Strapped'. Age distribution among respondents to the study demonstrates a skew toward younger demographics as individuals aged 18–34-year-old make up nearly 47 percent of the gig economy, compared to 36 percent of the full labour force. Among cohorts of 'Reluctants', there appears to be an overrepresentation of youth, recent immigrant, and racialized workers. In order to more adequately support individuals who rely on gig work (out of necessity), enhanced collaboration is needed to provide skills matching and information provision in areas of work integrated learning and training opportunities.

Game changer’: Ontario engineers remove Canadian work experience requirement for immigrants (The Star)

The Ontario government has announced amendments to the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act (FARPACTA) which will no longer required 36 non-health related professions and trades to have Canadian experience in order to gain licensure. This new law is intended to reduce barriers for skilled immigrants to work in a number of sectors ranging from architecture, teaching, social work and autobody repair. According to the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) - the fourth largest regulated profession in the province –up to 60% of engineering license applications each year are on behalf of internationally trained engineers. Despite the removal of this requirement, applicants still need to meet a number of criteria that demonstrates their knowledge, competencies, technical communication and professional accountability. Furthermore, 48 months of professional experience in engineering and the successful completion of a national exam is also still required before obtaining licensure. Ontario Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton has announced that other regulatory bodies will have until December 2, 2023 to remove the Canadian work experience requirement, unless an exemption is granted. Regulators will also be fined up to $100,000 for non-compliance.

Refugee Resettlement Spotlight

They worked with Canada. But Ottawa denies it owes these Afghans quick help (Toronto Star)

A group of 25 Afghan nationals have brought forward legal action against Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) after claims of being left behind following the takeover of the Taliban. In response to a coalition of Afghans who formerly assisted the Canadian federal government (GoC), IRCC legal representatives cite that there is no duty to ensure processing within a specific timeframe and that potential risks of danger are not in connection to the GoC. The litigants have all met the criteria of a 'significant and enduring' relationship with Canada for support through the Special Immigration Measures program and argue that they have been threatened and targeted by the Taliban; continuing to wait in Afghanistan or in a third country. According to IRCC and Global Affairs Canada, to date, the individuals have been waiting for 6 months - a waiting period that is not considered 'unreasonable'. Since announcing plans to resettle 40,000 Afghan in August 2021, nearly 30,700 Afghans have arrived. The program is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

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