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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Public awareness for the underemployed

New immigrants face huge hurdles in securing employment in Canada. This is as true for Family Class as it is for Skilled Class applicants that are granted residency. The Liberals spent their years in power doing nothing about the situation, birthing the modern legend of the cab driver with the MBA (or PhD., or, name the advanced degree).

Now, in an attempt to do SOMETHING (and rather than waiting for any Tory government to develop progams or policies that will make a real difference in the lives of new citizens), the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council is running a public service ad campaign to wake Ontario employers up to the wasted human resources within their reach.

According to an article published in the Toronto Star today, "Statistics show 60 per cent of immigrants are forced to work a lower level job in a field other than the one they qualify for."

While you can't force any employer to hire anyone in particular, government can make it harder to discriminate against new immigrants, provide incentives for those firms that do employ immigrants (tax credits anyone?), or make small business loans more accessible to new Canadian immgrants.

I'm glad the Ontario government is doing something to bring these issues more into the public eye. I hope Ontario Citizenship and Immigration Minister Mike Colle will take his own advice as someone in power to create policy and, "Rather than talk about it, do something about it. "

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