2005 A Vision For The Labour Market Participation Of ImmigrantsPresentation Transcript
Towards a Comprehensive Strategy for the Labour Market Participation of Immigrants Part 1 – A Vision for the Labour Market Participation of Immigrants & Part 2 – Considerations for a New Approach to Funding and Implementing Immigrant Employment Initiatives
Part 1 – A Vision for the Labour Market Participation of Immigrants
PROMPT’s Vision for Canada
Universal Principles and Values:
Diversity and Multiculturalism
Universal Principles and
Coherence and Consistency
Choice and Investment in Potential and Aspiration
Universal Principles and
Consultation and Collaboration
Conclusion and Final Thoughts
Part 2: Considerations for a New Approach to Funding and Employment Initiatives
Presentation based on research report
Centre for Research and
Education and Human Services (CREHS)
Policy Roundtable Mobilizing Professions and Trades (PROMPT)
Guided the study by: determining research questions/parameters, reviewing tools, advising on sampling, reacting to report, drafting PROMPT position statements
Damindra Diaz Progress Career Planning Centre
Josie Di Zio (OCASI)
Stellian George-Cosh Conestoga Institue of Technology
Rafi Khan Internationally Educated Professional Engineer
Marlene Kramer New Canadian Program
Isabel Mahoney Canadian Association of Latin American Professionals, Tradespeople and Entrepreneurs
Elizabeth McIsaac Maytree Foundation (TRIEC)
Fuzail Siddiqui The Access Project
Valeria Vicco Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA)
Jane Cullingworth PROMPT Project Coordinator
Faviola Fernandez PROMPT Project Coordinator
Study Working Group
Rich Janzen Senior Researcher
Aurelia Tokaci Centre Researcher
Maria Hatzipantelis Centre Researcher
Dana Friesen Intern Student
Centre for Research and Education in Human Services
Study Research Team
To build the case for a new approach to funding and implementing employment initiatives that would better facilitate the participation of immigrants into Ontario’s labour market.
Analyze the current funding environment of employment services and how these services are presently being implemented.
Provide suggestions towards a new way of funding immigrant employment initiatives and outline the necessary elements of programming and associated supports.
Purpose of the Research
The study’s primary stakeholder voice will be internationally educated professionals (IEP). Other stakeholder perspectives will be sought (through information gathering) and presented (through the final report) but to a lesser extent and only in relation to the IEP perspective.
While the study’s primary focus is on the needs of IEPs, recommendations will have implications for funding and programming for all immigrants.
The study’s primary audience is government at various levels. Government departments that allocate (or should allocate) immigrant/employment funding are who PROMPT primarily wishes to influence through the research process and final report.
This is a provincial study that needs to consider regional differences across Ontario.
There is an assumption that the present funding framework is inadequate .
By “ immigrant employment initiatives ” we mean any publicly-funded strategy that helps to facilitate the participation of immigrants into Ontario’s labour market. The focus of these initiatives may be on supporting individual immigrants towards participation, or on supporting other stakeholder groups to facilitate the participation of immigrants.
The focus of the study is not on building an argument for the need of immigrants in the workforce, nor on an evaluation of individual employment support organizations for immigrants.
1. Present Situation: What is the existing environment for funding and implementing employment initiatives for immigrants in Ontario?
2. Future Directions: What are the necessary elements of a new approach to funding and implementing employment initiatives that would better facilitate the participation of immigrants into Ontario’s labour market?
Main Research Questions
Future Directions will Consider…
Coordinated Funding Strategy
Implementation of Interventions
Other Stakeholder Roles
Present Situation: Presentation of 6 main findings based out of the data collected to date.
Future Directions: Presentation of 6 main findings with follow-up discussion questions to each (how desirable and feasible are the suggestions being made?)
How the Presentation is Organized
The present immigrant employment funding framework is fragmented, haphazard and inadequate.
Lack of a comprehensive strategy for facilitating the integration of immigrants into Ontario’s labour market coupled with a lack of co-ordination vertically and horizontally lead some to define the current system as “a patchwork of services”
Some stakeholders (i.e., employers) are not involved and/or do not realize that they need to start acting
Predominance of seed/time-limited project funding– does not allow service providers to plan further than one-two years: lack of clear vision at both ends: policy-making and service delivery
Current system does not allow flexibility of service delivery to meet new needs or cater to specific groups
Some funding envelopes are being reduced while the need is increasing, particularly for high-skilled immigrants
This context leaves one feeling that gov’ts don’t seem to understand the urgency of this issue.
On a positive note: Provincial gov’t signed a letter of intent with federal gov’t re: settlement agreement (includes municipalities)
Present Situation: Finding #1
Immigrant employment situation is linked to the broader labour market integration strategy in Ontario.
No comprehensive labour market development agreement between gov’ts.
Many of the funding initiatives are not immigrant specific-yet effect immigrants. EI and OW are two good examples.
The current funding system is complex, inter-related but isn’t rationalized, and is bigger than the immigrant employment issue.
With the devolution of the CHST from fed. gov’t to prov’s some provinces and municipalities decreased access to social assistance based on immigration or refugee status
EI offers premiums to those with continuous labour force participation but those immigrants who have not worked long enough in Canada (e.g., working seasonal, manufacturing, part-time/casual labour) cannot receive these benefits. Lower number of reach-back clients receiving benefits in ON as compared to AB and BC
Decreased gov’t spending on active labour market measures.
Finding #1 and #2 are correlated (Lack of vision and resources)
Present Situation: Finding #2
Today’s immigrant employment services are for yesterday’s immigrants.
Existing programs are not oriented to address current needs. The system has been developed many years ago and not specifically for (skilled) immigrants.
Existing programs address only the extremes: lowest common dominator (generic job search skills) or targeted to a very specific small number of people (Bridging Programs: few IEPs, few locations). Not much in between.
ESL/LINC training is only available at basic levels-not advanced or occupation specific.
Services are not responsive to the new waves of newcomers and therefore these services are not helpful to some (e.g., IEPs).
Services do not cater to the needs of employers; most employment-related programs do not include any active/viable employer outreach component.
Present outcome requirements (the “funder’s philosophy”) stress that any job is good enough (not one that matches skills).
Present Situation: Finding #3
There are relatively few initiatives aimed at supporting employers in hiring IEPs, and employers are generally unaware of these.
Employers stand to benefit the most from hiring immigrants yet seem to understand this the least - most of them are not connected with or aware of programs/services that are available.
There are only a few scattered initiatives and promotional resources aimed at marketing IEPs to employers.
There are only a few initiatives supporting employers to hire immigrants, and many employers are not aware of these.
Examples of what is available include:
“ Right Before Your Eyes” booklet by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
Credential assessment services through WES
Language assessment services through Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks
Job Connect (MTCU)
Bridging Initiative (APT Unit)
Career Bridge (TRIEC)
Skill International.ca (New Canadian Program, COSTI, WIL)
Present Situation: Finding #4
There are few coordinated initiatives aimed at supporting other stakeholder groups to facilitate the participation of IEPs into the labour market.
Primary groups that should be supported include regulators, credential assessors and educational institutions.
While there are some notable attempts to support the involvement of these groups, there is a need for better coordination among and within gov’ts.
Gov’t is traditionally wary of treading in regulation, given principles of self-regulation.
Conference Board recommends creating changes especially with educational institutions in accepting credentials.
Present Situation: Finding #5
In the past, the immigrant voice advocating on behalf of IEPs has been fragmented and largely ineffective.
KI perspective: Like gov’t the immigrant voice has not been well organized, coordinated or structured.
KI perspective: Immigrants may come from political systems where advocacy is dangerous and loath to do it in Canada.
KI perspective: The voice of immigrants need to be heard more.
Survey perspective: The power of the immigrant vote is not emphasized.
Survey perspective: Immigrants are not aware of their rights, nor are they aware of effective advocacy strategies.
Immigrants need to be part of building solutions—gov’t need to consult them in redesigning the current system (see Findings #1 and #2).
Present Situation: Finding #6
Future Directions: Finding #1
A commitment is needed across and within levels of government to agree upon guiding principles for the funding of immigrant employment initiatives. Highest priority principles (converging opinion across stakeholder groups) include:
Comprehensive (funding framework includes a range of supports for immigrants and other stakeholder groups)
Sustainable (long-term funding available to plan and stabilize initiatives)
Flexible/Responsive (initiatives accommodate local community needs)
Future Directions: Finding #2
There needs to be a new coordinated funding strategy within and among existing government departments in order to effectively facilitate the participation of immigrants into Ontario’s labour market .
This will require an attitudinal shift…
Political will, vision and commitment both vertically and horizontally to develop and implement a consistent and comprehensive National Strategy
New intergovernmental/interdepartmental structure to plan and design the common elements of programs and to allocate funding
Flexibility at the service-delivery level to cater to current and emerging needs
Re-allocation of funds coupled with infusion of new funds
Multi-year funding and long-term commitment to support the infrastructure necessary to deliver quality programs/services
Acknowledge and address power inequity, discrimination, cultural insensitivity, and differential impact on immigrants of policy changes and spending cuts in government programs/services
Future Directions: Finding #2 (Continued)
This will require a structural shift…
New lateral structures (both inter and intra governmental) that would facilitate common immigrant employment policy directions among the inevitable silos within government.
Expand and make HRSD programs more responsive to better serve new Canadians by:
Opening-up the EI system to unemployed immigrants (even if they do not have any prior attachment to the labour market)
Creating Human Resources Investment programming for skilled newcomers
Expanding HRSD labour market support programs to employed workers to enable under-employed workers to access jobs in their field, to upgrade their skills, to obtain Canadian work experience, and to take part in bridging programs leading to accreditation
Creating a dedicated funding stream for immigrants, which would allow for adequate programs and services to be designed and delivered (although some cautioned against this)
Expand CIC programs to include workplace language skills training, labour market and workplace orientation, information and funding for credential assessment and certification. Recruit potential immigrants based on current labour market needs.
Future Directions: Finding #3
There needs to be a new implementation strategy that provides a continuum of employment-related interventions.
Inform and assess potential applicants prior to their arrival
Flexibility to cater to all clients’ needs: not just those with high/ low skills
Address both labour market orientation and social integration through Host program
Aligned with employer’s needs
Fund labour market language training (e.g., include sector-specific language training)
Generic employment supports for general labour market issues, while targeted supports for profession-specific issues, skill-specific issues and level of English.
The framework should include supporting other stakeholder groups, beyond just employment supports for immigrants.
Future Directions: Finding #4
Government funders need to have a more complex understanding of the outcomes expected to be reached by immigrant employment interventions. Key outcomes include:
Job in related field of expertise
Job in skill-shortage sector
The highest possible outcome for the client
Services tailored to meet the needs of the clients
Employer involvement in programming
Increased skills or knowledge
Client labour market integration skills and knowledge
Client co-op / mentoring placement
Client completing education/training/licensing
Future Directions: Finding #5
Immigrants need to play an increased and on-going role in ensuring the effective implementation of these suggestions.
The voice of immigrants should be heard in a more organized fashion (e.g., through PROMPT, TRIEC)
The immigrant image presented to and by the media should also present “positive stories” and remind of the benefits that immigrants represent to this country
Marketing efforts should target sectors where there is a great demand for skills (i.e., physicians, nurses)
Immigrants need to be aware of their rights as well as effective advocacy strategies
The power of the immigrant vote needs to be emphasized
Immigrants representing other stakeholder groups (e.g., employers, service providers, etc.) should be part of these discussions
Future Directions: Finding #6
The various levels of government need to lead, fund and facilitate other stakeholder groups in supporting the participation of immigrants in the labour market.
Gov’ts should support…
Employers: main beneficiaries
By involving them in all phases of the process integrating immigrants into the labour market
By drawing on the knowledge of employers who are themselves immigrants
By facilitating partnerships between employers and public education institutions
By facilitating the provision of employer initiated interventions such as ESL training, company orientation sessions, and skills upgrading (with a tuition reimbursement or payment of some portion of their salary)
By facilitating the alignment of programs with current and emerging labour market needs
By facilitating the process of prior learning assessment and recognition
By helping to create national training credentials and increasing the recognition of foreign credentials
By facilitating the improvement of institutional linkages in Canada and internationally
Occupational Regulatory Bodies
By reviewing assessment practices and access-related issues
By facilitating the assessment of immigrants prior to arrival
Thank You! “Thank you for taking into consideration what we think, and for being interested in how we can give more to Canada our new home!” IEP survey respondent “Those companies that are not recognizing the skills of internationally-trained workers will not succeed in the 21 st century.” Sheldon Caplan, VP & Corporate Counsel, Vitafoam Products Canada, Ltd. Centre for Research and Education in Human Services 73 King Street West, Suite 202 Kitchener, Ontario N2G 1A7 Phone: (519) 741-1318 Fax: (519) 741-8262 E-mail: email@example.com Web page: www.crehs.on.ca