Ontario is looking to increase their immigration autonomy in an agreement that would enhance the provinces power when choosing skilled foreigners to admit to its programs. Premier Dalton McGuinty said on Wednesday that Canadian immigration’s current modus operandi makes it more difficult for Ontario to compete and puts the province at a disadvantage. Ontario is losing highly skilled immigrants to other provinces that currently have more enticing job prospects.
The premier’s main gripe with Canadian immigration is that currently Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia – have more control over the crafting and implementation of immigration programs. Of the three aforementioned provinces, Canadian immigration affords Quebec the most discretion. “The reality is, right now, we’re being held back by an uneven playing field,” quipped Mr. McGuinty. Mr. Mcguinty’s pleas will likely be in vain. Canadian immigration has typically used its policies and funding for integration services as mechanisms that help create inroads into ethnic communities.
“Canadian immigration doesn’t want to give up the power to go into community centres from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds with a $200,000 cheque,” said Matthew Mendelsohn, director of the Mowat Center, a public policy research group. “They don’t want to give up the power of political patronage.”
Though the foreign labour supply to Ontario remains healthy, it used to be the province of choice in Canada for the highly skilled foreign worker. Canadian immigration policies put forward by the Conservatives have given the upper hand to the resource-rich Western provinces, leaving Ontario with shrinking access to Canadian immigration’s foreign skilled worker candidates.
According to some, this deficit can be attributed to the changes in Canadian immigration’s federal skilled worker Program. Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, contends new policy implemented by Canadian immigration in 2008 makes it easier for an international pool of resource-sector foreign workers to move to the front of the waiting list.
Previously, Canadian immigration garnered most of its immigrants from its federal skilled worker program. The federal skilled worker program assigns points and rates candidates for work experience, education and whether they can speak English or French. However in 2008, the Conservative government cut the processing of applicants under that program to 38 job types. Since then, the list has been reduced even further to 29 occupations.
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