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Monday, September 08, 2008

TheStar.com | Canada | Hard to see which programs help newcomers, study finds

TheStar.com Canada Hard to see which programs help newcomers, study finds

Read the story above to get some context on my comments. The story is about measuring the success of government programs aimed at immigrant training and certification - assisting them to break into the job market.

First let's do some math around a couple quotes:

1. $920 million devoted to these Ontario-based programs over five years = $184 million a year
2. "Our most recent results for 2007-2008 show that 25 bridging projects helped 800 newcomers get a licence to work in their field. Another 17 projects helped 1,300 newcomers find jobs in a non-regulated profession," Payen-Dumont said. "Sixty-six per cent of those who took part in training projects found jobs during the year."
- That means that 800 got licensed (but not necessarily jobs - probably because they lack "Canadian Experience"). And saying 60% of those who took part in the programs found jobs doesn't mean anything...did they find jobs in their field? I mean, working the counter at Tim Horton's is a "job" - but not for a trained doctor...
- It's interesting that those who are reporting the results (and even the reporter) don't seek to qualify how many people were served with that $184 million dollars. They only mention 2,100 immigrants. I don't assume that's all that were served, but maybe it is? If so, Ontario, you just spent $87,619 per person to train people for jobs that will pay them what? $40-50K per year tops?

Finally, I love that the Star includes reader comments now in their articles because you really get a feel for the plight of immigrants in the Canadian job market.

There are a couple classic positions here:
a."What about making sure Canadian-educated professionals have work in their field?"
b."Immigrants did fine in the past without these programs, so why do we need them now?"

Finally there is what I'll call the "word on the street" - what educated and qualified immigrants who experience the Canadian job market have to say to other potential immigrants: to summarize, "If you are looking to use your skills and continue your career, don't come to Canada; it's job markets are protectionist, it's policies amount to lip service and the employers are not in step with their government. The government may want you - the employers don't."

This is a real disconnect: pro-immigration government leaders in a culture (and a bureaucracy) of anti-immigration sentiment.

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