SEAN Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on behalf of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, on Monday launched a call for proposals under the Foreign Credential Recognition Program.
Up to $90 million will be invested in projects that will help remove barriers preventing qualified and skilled newcomers from gaining Canadian work experience in their own profession or field of study.
Eligible projects must focus on at least one of the following areas:
- Reducing barriers to foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) by improving recognition processes, simplifying steps in credential recognition and offering increased access to practice in the field.
- Providing IEHPs with Canadian work experience that is relevant to their intended fields of work, while incorporating wrap-around supports for participants such as childcare and transportation costs, as well as mentoring and coaching.
- Facilitating labour mobility between jurisdictions in Canada for health care professionals and IEHPs to reduce the systemic and administrative barriers for health care professionals who wish to work in another jurisdiction in Canada.
The government said multiple occupations are facing acute shortages such as physicians, nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists and medical laboratory technologists. According to a 2020 Statistics Canada report, skilled newcomers are under-utilized in the health sector – 47% of skilled newcomers with a health education from abroad are unemployed or underemployed in non-health jobs that require only a high school education.
Under the call for proposals, successful projects must include at least one of the following eligible activities:
- Development, testing and implementation of credential recognition systems, with a focus on streamlining regulatory processes and/or harmonization of occupational requirements to improve the foreign credential recognition process and/or interprovincial labour mobility.
- Provision of employment supports such as wage subsidies, work placements, and mentoring to IEHPs to help them integrate into the Canadian labour market.
Organizations have until January 30, 2023, to apply for funding under this call for proposals.
The Foreign Credential Recognition Program funds projects to support faster and more efficient credential recognition systems, provides loans and support services, as well as employment supports such as training, work placements, wage subsidies, mentoring and coaching.
- Half of newcomers to Canada have a bachelor’s degree or greater. Even with their educational achievements, skilled newcomers in all sectors face a higher unemployment rate than people born in Canada and are less likely to work in the regulated occupations for which they have studied.
- With immigration expected to reach record-high levels (431,645 in 2022), it is more important than ever to increase supports to skilled newcomers so that they can fully use their skills, experience and talents.
- The Foreign Credential Recognition Program invests approximately $27.1 million annually in contribution agreements with provinces and territories, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders to help support the labour market integration of skilled newcomers. Since 2015, the Program has invested more than $129 million in 92 projects to support skilled newcomers.
- Budget 2022 announced an additional $115M over five years starting in 2022-2023 and $30M ongoing for the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, with a focus on supporting the labour market integration of skilled newcomers into the health sector.
- Successful projects will receive a minimum of $500,000, up to a maximum of $10M.
- Eligible recipients will include provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, regulatory bodies, professional associations, industry associations, unions, post-secondary institutions, hospitals and healthcare institutions, and not-for-profit organizations.