Nearly 850,000 Canadians are unemployed or underemployed, more than 60 per cent of whom are immigrants, because their credentials are not being fully recognized, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada.
If their credentials were recognized, they could, as a group, earn $13.4 to $17 billion more annually, according to the report, Brain Gain 2015: The State of Canada’s Learning Recognition System.
“We estimate that over 844,000 Canadian adults now face learning recognition challenges, including over 524,000 with international credentials, almost 200,000 with out-of-province credentials and 120,000 with experiential learning not recognized in a credential,” the report states.
Sadly, our professional bodies are not prepared to recognize the educational and professional achievements of foreigners. As such, skilled immigrants are forced to start from scratch once they arrive in Canada.
False Advertising for Skilled Immigrants
It is patently unfair for the government to advertise that Canada needs, for example, dentists and then not allow foreign dentists to practice here once they arrive. If you browse through the National Occupation Classification (the “NOC List”) you’ll see that the government’s own website has all kinds of occupations listed for potential foreign skilled workers. But the list only tells half the story because some of these jobs cannot be done by people without specific Canadian credentials.
We need to adopt a single exam requirement in each profession that would enable foreigners to be tested to ensure that they are capable of working in their chosen field in Canada. In any event, there should be a system in place to either recognize (or not) the foreign credentials of other countries or test the people as soon as they arrive and get them working. Everything else is just bald protectionism.