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OTTAWA, April 25, 2005 — The Government of Canada today launched the Internationally Trained Workers Initiative, delivering on the commitment made in the Speech from the Throne to improve the integration of immigrants and internationally trained Canadians into the work force. The launch was held simultaneously in Toronto and Vancouver.

“For Canada to succeed in the 21st century economy and ensure our quality of life, we must continually improve the quality of our work force,” said the Honourable Lucienne Robillard, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, in announcing the comprehensive strategy in Toronto. “We look forward to working with partners to ensure that everyone can use their skills and abilities, no matter where they received their training, so that they—and Canada—can benefit to the fullest.”

Today’s announcement includes the following:

  • The launch of the Government of Canada’s initiative to help address shortages of health-care professionals by providing $75 million over the next five years to improve the integration of internationally trained doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals into the Canadian system;
  • The launch of the Government of Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition program, with $68 million in funding over six years to facilitate the assessment and recognition of foreign qualifications for both regulated and non-regulated occupations;
  • The launch of the Government of Canada’s on-line Going to Canada Immigration Internet Portal, to be implemented in cooperation with the provinces and territories. This is part of a $100 million commitment to an improved and integrated service delivery strategy. The portal will help prospective immigrants make informed decisions about coming to Canada and prepare for the Canadian labour market and society before they arrive;
  • A commitment to provide $20 million a year in ongoing funding to the Enhanced Language Training initiative, which helps immigrants acquire the language skills necessary to obtain and retain jobs commensurate with their level of skill and experience. This initiative complements the $140 million a year being spent to provide basic language training to immigrants outside of Quebec; and
  • The government’s recently launched Action Plan Against Racism, with $56 million over five years for a series of measures to combat the discrimination Canadians sometimes face, including in the workplace, and to help realize Canada’s vision of an inclusive and equitable society.

“With this initiative, we are addressing many of the challenges that immigrants and internationally trained Canadians face when starting a career in Canada,” said the Honourable Hedy Fry, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, in Vancouver. “When the Prime Minister asked me to lead this comprehensive and integrated interdepartmental initiative, it became clear that the Government of Canada could not accomplish this alone. We need to build on partnerships with stakeholders who have jurisdiction in many of the areas that require intervention if we are to achieve common success.”

These actions are part of a coordinated strategy to bring the skills and experience of internationally trained professionals into the Canadian labour market. Provincial and territorial governments are essential partners. The Government of Canada will also work with cities and communities, service providers, employers, labour, professional and regulatory bodies, post-secondary educational institutions, the business community itself, and other stakeholders to find national, coherent solutions to this challenge.

“Immigration is vital to our economic and social development, but for a variety of reasons some immigrants face difficulties integrating into the work force and society,” the Honourable Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, told representatives of professional associations, regulators, employers, educators and immigrants in Toronto. “The Internationally Trained Workers Initiative reflects this government’s commitment to equality of opportunity and our understanding that Canada’s diversity is a source of strength and innovation.”

“We are taking direct action to fulfil the commitment we made last September when the First Ministers unanimously agreed on the Ten-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care,” said the Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister of Health, in Vancouver. “This initiative will help address shortages of health-care professionals and improve Canadians’ access to high-quality care. It supports our efforts with the provinces and territories to renew the health system and ensure it is sustainable.”

On March 21, the Minister of State (Multiculturalism), Raymond Chan, launched Canada’s first-ever Action Plan Against Racism. “We have just unveiled, as part of our Action Plan Against Racism, the Racism-Free Workplace Strategy,” said the Honourable Raymond Chan, in Vancouver. “The goal of this strategy is to eliminate all discriminatory barriers to employment and to ensure full inclusion in the workplace. To this end, we have also initiated projects through the multiculturalism program that actively involve internationally trained workers in overcoming barriers based on foreign credential recognition. Only by working together can we ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential and contribute fully to Canadian society.”

The Internationally Trained Workers Initiative has been developed in partnership with a broad variety of stakeholders, who have been consulted in a series of roundtables across Canada by the Honourable Hedy Fry. Some 14 federal departments and agencies are working on the initiative in close collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, regulators and various stakeholders.


For more information, see the attached backgrounders:

For more information:

Michael O’Shaughnessy
Director of Communications
Office of Minister Lucienne Robillard
(819) 994-2482

Media relations office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
(819) 994-5559

Stephen Heckbert
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister Joe Volpe
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(613) 954-1064

Maria Iadinardi
Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(613) 952-0740

Adèle Blanchard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Health Canada
Media Relations
(613) 957-2983

Roy Bornmann
Special Assistant
Office of the Minister of State (Multiculturalism)
(819) 997-9900

Myriam Brochu
Chief, Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
(613) 997-9314

Alec Morrison
Office of the Honourable Hedy Fry
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
(613) 992-3213

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