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Ontario: New Immigration Program Launched

29 May 2007 at 22:02 | 2069 views

Ontario businesses will now be able to attract the skilled immigrants they need thanks to a new provincial program that gets newcomers settled more quickly, Ontario Citizenship and Immigration Minister Mike Colle(photo) announced recently.

“With this new program, for the first time, Ontario will be able to select immigrants whose skills match the needs of the province’s labour market,” said Colle. “The pilot Provincial Nominee Program is the latest step our government is taking to strengthen our economy through immigration.”

Provincial Nominee Programs, which are in place across the country, allow provinces to nominate individuals for immigration based on labour needs and provincial priorities. This pilot program enables Ontario employers and multinational corporations investing in Ontario to recruit and retain internationally trained individuals, including international students enrolled in Ontario. The employer category helps employers fill labour needs in specific fields. The investor category helps companies bring in key employees who will contribute to the long-term success of the investment.

The majority of Ontario’s nominees will be from the employer category for highly skilled workers such as industrial electricians, specialized professionals such as researchers, and international students. Approximately half of the nominations will be targeted to communities outside the Greater Toronto Area, to support growth in regional economies.

“This new program is in keeping with one of the Chamber’s key recommendations in terms of helping employers grow and compete," said Len Crispino, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. "A provincial nominee program is one way to assist companies to get the skilled labour they require more quickly and attract investment to the province, both within and outside the Greater Toronto Area."

Successful nominees will receive permission to work in Ontario. They, along with their family, will be nominated by the provincial government to have their application fast-tracked by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Ontario will nominate 500 individuals in the first year of the pilot program. The program will be fine-tuned and adjusted to ensure it is flexible and effective in meeting employers’ labour market needs.

The pilot Provincial Nominee Program is part of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA), the first-ever agreement on immigration between Ontario and the federal government. The COIA quadruples federal funding for settlement and language services in Ontario, securing an additional $920 million for the province over five years.

“Ontario already receives the majority of immigrants to Canada,” said Debbie Douglas, Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. “The focused approach of this new program on addressing labour market needs with professionals and highly skilled workers makes it a win-win for employers and new immigrants.”

This is just one more example of how, working together, Ontarians have achieved results to meet labour market needs through immigration and help Ontario compete globally. Other results include:

Mandating fair and transparent registration practices for regulated professions, which will help break down barriers for newcomers seeking to work in their fields
Making it easier for internationally trained professionals to navigate through the licensing process in Ontario by creating Global Experience Ontario, a one-stop access and resource centre
Ensuring registration and licensing practices are fair by establishing the first-ever Office of the Fairness Commissioner;

Helping thousands of newcomers work in more than 100 professions and trades; by investing more than $53 million since 2003 in more than 90 bridging programs
Helping with the costs of assessment, training and exams by providing up to $5,000 per person through the new Foreign Trained Professionals Loans Program
Establishing Canada’s only internship program for internationally trained individuals in a provincial government.

“Our government is investing in Ontario’s economic growth and supporting employers,” said Colle. “The pilot Provincial Nominee Program will help Ontario to better compete and win in the global competition for talent, investment and jobs.”

Source: Ontario Citizenship and Immigration ministry website.