Canadian Immigration News

Ontario’s Plan to Increase Foreign Workers in Skilled Trade Occupations

1.7 minute read
"Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Monte McNaughton recently called for administrative changes to attract more foreign workers. On October 25, 2021, Monte McNaughton introduced the “Working for Workers Act”. "
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Nov 10, 2021
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Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Monte McNaughton recently called for administrative changes to attract more foreign workers. On October 25, 2021, Monte McNaughton introduced the “Working for Workers Act”. The Working for Workers Act includes proposed changes to help immigrants trying to work in regulated occupations in Ontario. If implemented, the act could mean great changes for foreign workers in Ontario. 

Why Is the Working for Workers Act Needed?

The Ontario government aims to ease up the regulations related to licensing in non-health-related occupations by doing the following:

  • Removing the work experience requirements demanded by the regulatory authorities
  • Eliminate language testing to get a license
  • Expedite licensing, especially in cases of emergency

According to Monte McNaughton, Ontario needs to recognize the foreign credentials of new immigrants to get them the required license if they want to build the province. Labor shortages in skilled trade occupations are expected to increase as more workers near the retirement age. According to a recent study, Ontario could add $12 to $20 billion to its economy by addressing the skill gap between immigrants and Canadian workers. 

The proposed act does not include anything regarding healthcare occupations, however, the government is hoping to change that shortly.

How Will the Working for Workers Act Affect Foreign Workers in Ontario?

If the act is passed, Ontario will become the first Canadian province to eliminate work experience requirements for regulated occupations. It will also be the first province to allow employees with 25 or more workers to implement policies that allow workers to disconnect from their job at the end of the workday. These are known as “right-to-disconnect” policies. 

Ontario would also become the first province to restrict non-compete agreements that require workers to sign a contract saying that they will not work for a competitor for a certain time after leaving their company. 

When Will the Working for Workers Act Be Implemented?

The Working for Workers Act can take up to 2 years to be implemented. The labor minister hopes that the bill is passed before Ontario’s next election in June 2022. If the act is not passed before that, then it will have to be reintroduced after the election to be reconsidered. It is still unclear when the debates on this issue will begin. 

Ontario’s immigration minister would also like the federal government to give additional immigration autonomy to Ontario. Ontario is set to invite around 9,000 immigrants in 2021. Ontario wants to double this immigration target through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) given the persistent labor shortages. 

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