Canadian Immigration Goes Back to the Future

By James Metcalfe | May 1, 2012

 James Metcalfe – Pace Law Firm: The Canadian Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, has indicated that more must be done to allow  “professionals” to be integrated into the labor force. He says this can be done by making the process of accreditation more transparent.

At present, applicants are only required to prove that they have performed the duties and responsibilities of the occupation in which they work. These criteria are found in the National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Prior to 2002, and the introduction of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), skilled worker applicants had to demonstrate that they also met the Entry Requirement to the occupation found in the NOC. For example, if you were a professional engineer and wished to apply for Permanent residence in Canada, you had to have your qualifications assessed by the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE). While the CCPE was itself not a licensing body, it gave opinions as to the acceptability of engineering degrees from around the world. Without a positive assessment by the CCPE, an application by an engineer was doomed.

Why this system was abandoned is lost in the fog of Canadian immigration history.  Now, however, it appears that we are going back to the future and will have a form of national assessment for most of the regulated professions.

It is ironic that as late as last year’s Ministerial Instructions, Physicians and Surgeons were included in the selection of skilled workers.  Why, you may ask, since most – if not all – of the 500 included in the group may not practice medicine in Canada without going through a rigorous accreditation process?

Good question.