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WES Weekly Roundup November 16, 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.

Gaza evacuees in Canada will need mental-health, housing supports: refugee council (The Star)

The Canadian Council for Refugees emphasized the urgent need for mental health care and housing support for evacuees from the Gaza Strip arriving in Canada, which includes Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and their family members without Canadian immigration status. They also highlighted the importance of facilitating family reunification and providing tailored settlement services, particularly for those who arrive without immigration status. The slow process at the Rafah border crossing has allowed 107 people on Canada's list of anticipated evacuees to leave Gaza, which has included a limited 72-hour stay in Egypt. The Canadian government is working to secure the safe passage of over 500 people connected to Canada, with ongoing negotiations between Israel and Egypt, which Qatar is mediating. Minister Marc Miller said that the immigration status and supports for evacuees would be determined based on their individual circumstances. He also stated that family members without Canadian citizenship or permanent residency would be offered temporary status and, if needed, work permits in Canada. The article also touches on the broader context of the conflict in Gaza, including the response from the Canadian government in calling for “humanitarian pauses" in order to facilitate aid delivery and evacuation from Gaza. The situation at the Israel-Lebanon border was also mentioned as a potential future concern for Canadian immigration considerations.

Ontario to ban employers from requiring Canadian work experience in job postings (Globe and Mail)

The Government of Ontario is introducing legislation to ban employers from requiring work experience in job postings or application forms. Ontario will be the first province to take the initiative in addressing this barrier in the hiring process, a critical step to enabling newcomers to 'get their foot in the door' according to Labour Minister David Piccini. The new legislation comes with a suite of changes to Ontario's labour law to be introduced November 14, 2023, such as the obligation to disclose salary ranges in job postings, as well as the addition of a new benefits for injured workers. Other changes under the new provisions include increased eligibility for international students from one-year college graduate certificate programs to apply for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, and accountability enhancements for regulated professions such as architecture, accounting, and geoscience that contract third-party organizations to assess international qualifications. Some policy makers, in critique of recent changes, argue that this action does not go far enough, as many newcomers will face discrimination and systemic barriers - where employers may still devalue foreign knowledge. Despite bringing a diverse range of competencies and expertise, newcomers with a bachelor's degree are twice as likely to work in lower-skilled jobs when compared to their Canadian-born counterparts, signaling a heightened rate of underemployment.

"While you ban a job description from posting Canadian experience, it still does not create a pathway for that doctor who's now driving a cab to be able to succeed in Ontario…newcomers need bridging programs, practice-ready assessment programs, and funding to take that training."
Doly Begum, NDP MPP, Scarborough Southwest

Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrants in Ontario and its Major Cities (FAO)

In Ontario, the labour force composition has evolved with international immigrants playing a crucial role, particularly since the mid-2010s, contributing to 63% of its growth. These immigrants are predominantly within the core working age group (25-54 years), a trend that has been increasing over recent decades. Labour market performance indicators show a narrowing gap in participation and unemployment rates between recent immigrants and non-immigrants since the mid-2000s. However, challenges persist, such as higher rates of overqualification and difficulties in foreign credential recognition, with nearly 16% of university-educated immigrants working in jobs requiring no more than a high school education in 2021. Despite these challenges, the wage gap between new immigrants and the total population has lessened somewhat, indicating progress in median wages. The annual wage gap between newcomers and the total population over nearly four decades narrowed to $6,200 in 2019 from $10,700 in 1982. Disparities are especially prevalent in Ontario's large cities such as Toronto, Ottawa, and Windsor. The largest wage gap between newcomers and non-immigrants in 2021 occured in Windsor at a difference of more than 21 percent, followed closely by Toronto at 20 percent. Immigrants in Toronto earned $48,000 compared with $60,400 for non-immigrants. In Ottawa, newcomers earned $55,600 compared to $67,000 for non-immigrants. Advocates worry that despite lessening wage gaps and increased requirements for higher educational attainment, there will continue to be a higher share of immigrants who are overqualified for their jobs.

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