Improvement to Foreign Credential Recognition

The Prime Minister and Premiers recently agreed to work together so that Canada can benefit more from the experience and talents of newcomers. They agreed to improve foreign credential recognition processes at the First Ministers’ Meeting on January 16, 2009.

“The Government of Canada is very pleased that First Ministers have agreed to work on a common framework to recognize foreign credentials by September 2009, with an interim report on progress by June 2009,” said Minister Finley. “We need to ensure newcomers can quickly integrate into the Canadian labour market and put their valuable skills to work.”

Under this agreement, governments have set a goal whereby any foreign trained worker who submits a full application to be licensed or registered to work in their profession, would be informed of a decision within one year of the application. At that point, the worker would learn whether their qualifications will be recognized, or advised about any additional requirements deemed to be necessary to be fully recognized or directed to alternative pathways or related occupations that would use their skills and experience. The first year for decisions will be 2010 for a limited number of high priority occupations to be selected collaboratively with provinces and territories.

“Our government created a Foreign Credentials Referral Office that helps foreign-trained workers succeed and put their skills to work in Canada more quickly”, said Minister Kenney. “We are committed to fulfilling our promise to new Canadians to work with the provinces to address the important issue of foreign credentials recognition.”

Immigration is vital to Canada’s continued prosperity. Recent studies have shown that immigration will account for most of the labour force growth in Canada within the next 10 to 15 years, and all net population growth in Canada within the next 30 years. Currently, however, the qualifications of some newcomers are not recognized in Canada, which prevents newcomers from contributing fully to our economic and social development. This situation also hinders our ability to attract skilled newcomers. Ultimately, the Foreign Credential Recognition program will help us recognize foreign qualifications.

The Foreign Credential Recognition program aims to improve the integration of internationally trained workers into the work force. It does this by working with key stakeholders to implement projects that will facilitate the assessment and recognition of qualifications acquired outside of Canada. The Foreign Credentials Referral Office, which is housed at Citizenship and Immigration, helps newcomers obtain accurate information for employment opportunities in Canada.

The Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) was launched in May 2007 to help internationally trained individuals who want to work in Canada get their credentials assessed and recognized more quickly. Budget 2007 set aside $32.2 million for the operations of the FCRO. A website designed to help foreign-trained workers succeed in Canada was also launched through this initiative. Prospective newcomers to Canada, as well as newcomers, are encouraged to visit it at: www.credentials.gc.ca.

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