The province of Ontario is set to become the first in Canada to prohibit the requirement of Canadian work experience on job applications and postings. This legislation, as announced by Labour Minister David Piccini today, seeks to rectify a systemic barrier that often sidelines highly qualified newcomers.
The Ford government is expected to table a bill next Tuesday that will usher in this change alongside other significant labour law modifications. This legislative move is designed to help immigrants progress through the hiring process, addressing the acute labour shortages in critical sectors like health care.
Ontario’s commitment to inclusivity is evidenced by welcoming over 162,000 immigrants from January to September this year. The province has made it clear that the wealth of knowledge and skills that new Canadians bring should not be underutilized, as has been the case where immigrants with degrees often land in jobs requiring only high school education.
Shanika Niwanthi’s story, shared at Piccini’s announcement, illustrates the plight and potential of newcomers. Despite an MBA and vast corporate experience, Niwanthi initially found herself employed at McDonald’s. Her turnaround, facilitated by government programs and credential recognition, led to her current role as an HR and payroll manager, showcasing the positive outcomes of integrating immigrant talent.
The upcoming changes will also affect how regulated professions assess international qualifications, aiming for more efficient, transparent, and fair processes. This is part of Ontario’s larger strategy to have more say in the selection of economic immigrants, ensuring the province continues to benefit from the skills and diversity they bring.
The legislation will mandate that job postings include salary ranges, providing clearer expectations for job seekers. It will also propose an increase in the number of international students eligible for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program, from 9,000 in 2021 to over 18,000 by 2025, by allowing one-year college graduate certificate holders to apply.
With these transformative legislative efforts, Ontario is not only tackling the existing labour shortages but also paving the way for a future where immigrant professionals can fully contribute to the province’s economic growth and prosperity.