The Changing Landscape of Immigration in OntarioPresentation to the OCASI Professional Development Conference June 13, 2012
Ontario’s Strategy for ImmigrationImmigration Strategy• Ontario is developing an Immigration Strategy to: – align immigration to province’s economic development and social goals – examine how best to support the integration of immigrants.• Strategy will draw on expertise across government and inform the province’s engagement with the federal government on immigration policy and program issues.Expert Roundtable• An Expert Roundtable on Immigration has been created to provide input to inform Ontario’s immigration strategy, exploring: – How immigration can support province’s short- and long-term economic development goals; and – Ways to improve the integration and success of all immigrants.
Factors Shaping the New Landscape for Service Delivery Recent Changes to the Immigration System Demographic Trends in Landings to Ontario The Economy and Labour Market Integration
Changes to Immigration System• The federal government has announced its intention to reform Canada’s immigration system to make it more responsive to labour market demand.• Changes to support this objective include: – Elimination of Federal Skilled Worker Program Backlog – Enhancing Canadian Experience Class – Changing Provincial Nominee Programs – Creating selection program for skilled trades – Exploring Expression of Interest Model – Improving business immigration• In addition to these changes, the federal government is also: – Changing Family Class – Reforming the Refugee Adjudication System• The selection of economic immigrants is a priority.
Recent Trends in Landings to Ontario• Economic immigrants have always been important in terms of Canada’s immigration selection• Ontario has seen a decline in economic immigration over the past decade, primarily as a result of a decision to reduce Federal Skilled Worker levels to accommodate growth in other economic streams • In 2011, economic immigrant landings to Ontario represented only 52% of all landings – the lowest among all provinces • 71% of immigrants arriving in other provinces were in the economic class
The Economy and Labour Market Integration• The needs of immigrants already residing in Ontario must continue to be addressed• Despite significant federal and provincial investment in immigration services and programs over the past six years, economic outcomes for immigrants have declined: • Even prior to the recession, immigrants faced higher unemployment rates, lower income, and higher poverty rates compared to Canadian- born • As of February 2012, in Ontario, the unemployment rate for immigrants was 13.6% compared to 7.2% for Canadian-born. The gap between these two rates is wider in Ontario than in any other province. • Only 24% of internationally-trained individuals work in their profession, compared to 62% of the Canadian-born trained (Statistics Canada, 2010)
The Economy and Labour Market Integration cont’d• Social and economic integration of refugees and refugee claimants may not be achieved in 3 to 5 years. Settlement services alone cannot ensure integration. – In 2011, Ontario received 57% of refugee landings in Canada.• Economic immigrants will continue to bring their spouses and dependents to Canada. Settlement services must be available to address their families’ needs in order to attract and retain skilled immigrants.
How can Service Delivery Partners Adapt?• Funders and service providers should review programs and services continuously so that services can be changed, added and eliminated based on: – Front-line staff intelligence – Performance metrics and outcomes (e.g., survey results, client satisfaction ratings, licensure and employment outcomes) – Landings and economic data (e.g., top source countries, education, language proficiency) – Local Immigration Partnership plans, and in the longer-term, – Changes to immigration selection criteria.• Continue to improve and increase collaboration and coordination with other funders, immigrant service providers and other service delivery organizations e.g., Employment Ontario, Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP), to achieve better outcomes for immigrants.• Remember that successful settlement and integration requires a holistic approach.• Ontario’s Immigration Strategy will help shape adaptive, responsive services and programs.
The Future Horizon for Service Delivery• More economic immigrants arriving in Ontario could increase demand for: – Language training at higher CLB levels with greater emphasis on occupation-specific language training, workplace culture and communications training, for example. – Bridge training to help skilled immigrants resume their careers in Ontario• Greater collaboration at a national and provincial level to improve foreign credential recognition. – The federal and provincial government need to prioritize working together to eliminate potential duplication of educational and credential assessments for immigrants.
The Future Horizon for Service Delivery• More information available to support transition of skilled immigrants into the marketplace prior to their arrival online (e.g., Ontarioimmigration.ca) and overseas through partnerships (e.g., Global Experience Ontario and the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program) .• Greater coordination and alignment of services to immigrants especially those with complex needs.• Greater awareness and possible proactive engagement of immigrants upon arrival to Canada.