By Yash Yadav
Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) is monitoring what other jurisdictions are doing to make it easier for foreign-trained professionals to join the Canadian workforce.
Last month, the Ontario government passed a regulation that would eliminate barriers for the acknowledgement of foreign credentials for some professionals like engineers, teachers and accountants.
The bill will fix things such that Canadian work experience is not generally needed for these positions. The new rules implemented could end the ‘vicious circle’ facing foreign-trained professionals.
Kal Whitnell, Chief for Economic Growth, Travel Industry and Culture says that there has been a discussion at all levels of government in regards to what that regulation would mean, just as ways of fitting and further developing current foreign credential requirements.
He said most migrants coming to Prince Edward Island in a given year are now associated through the workforce somehow or another, so an adjustment of how the foreign credential recognition program functions would not really apply to many individuals on the Island now.
“They’re coming through economic programs … Keep in mind that non-regulated or unregulated professions obviously don’t require the same certification or don’t have to go through a regulatory authority. It’s really up to the employer’s discretion on what qualification or assessments that individual would require,” Whitnell said.
“If they’re bringing a family member and spouses and others that are in regulated professions, I wouldn’t have specific numbers for you, but it’s something that we can continue to look at.”
Yet, Whitnell said measures such as the end of the Canadian work experience requirement would still help fill some labour shortages deficiencies.
“We are all challenged trying to fill obviously some labour shortages and gaps, and I think it’s important we all work together to try to find a way to expedite this,” Whitnell said. “I think we learn from others, and those best practices will be important to move forward.”
Like most of Canada, P.E.I. is struggling to find medical care professionals. The Ontario bill excludes doctors, nurses and other professionals in the sector, but they may include them in the future.
Whitnell said whatever actions are set up to facilitate the foreign credential recognition process need to represent the wellbeing of Canadians.
“You really have to make sure the education and skills that they have coming from another country is comparable to our standards. We need to make sure that those protections are in place. So it can take some time,” he added.