An earlier posting this month explored the challenges that recent immigrants face in finding equitable environmental employment in Canada, as well as several strategies to help address these obstacles.
For the environmental sector in particular, the unemployment and underemployment of skilled newcomers is a serious concern. Put simply: the sector needs these incoming professionals.
Over the next decade, 100,000 vacancies are expected as members of the existing environmental workforce reach retirement age. Additionally, several emerging areas in the environmental sector, including carbon and climate change mitigation, have greater proportions of workers with at least a bachelor degree. Since adult immigrants have higher rates of post-secondary education than Canadian-born individuals in the same age group, they are favourably positioned to meet this demand for well-educated workers.
While there is a strong need for skilled newcomers in the environmental sector, recent immigrants still face substantial challenges in obtaining equitable employment. The previous posting looked at a number of these issues in more detail, along with several future-oriented recommendations.
However, this leaves a major question open: What resources are available now?
ECO Canada’s 2010 Labour Mobility Between the EU and Canada study included an overview of several key resources that are currently available to support recent immigrants and Canadian employers. Here’s a snapshot of a few, with a more comprehensive list of great online resources available in the Labour Mobility report on pages 58 to 64.
• The Employer’s Roadmap: Hiring and Retaining Internationally Trained Workers is an online guide for small and medium-sized enterprises that wish to hire internationally trained workers, with information, tools and resources for the recruitment, assessment of foreign qualifications, integration and retention of internationally-trained workers.
• Planning to Work in Canada? An essential workbook for newcomers provides step-by-step information on official languages, the credential recognition process, finding a job and housing, and accessing settlement services.
• In 2003, Human Resource and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) launched the Foreign Credential Recognition Program (FCRP) as one of the key components of the government’s Internationally Trained Workers Initiative. FCRP is an integrated, comprehensive strategy in which federal, provincial and territorial governments, licensing and regulatory bodies, sector councils, employers and many other groups work together to address the barriers to working in Canada that internationally trained workers face.
• Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) established the Foreign Credential Recognition Office (FCRO) in 2007 to assist internationally trained workers in finding information and access services to integrate into the Canadian workforce. The FCRO provides information, path-finding and referral services on foreign credential recognition to help internationally trained workers succeed and put their skills to work in Canada more quickly.
• The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) acts as a national clearing house and referral service to support the recognition and portability of Canadian and international educational, academic and occupational qualifications. It provides a unique centralized referral service to assist individuals in obtaining evaluation or recognition of foreign credentials by referring them to the appropriate officials.
• Last, but not least, ECO Canada’s Environmental Immigrant Bridging (EIB) Program is offered in collaboration with immigrant serving agencies to provide recent immigrants with the job-search skills and environmental workplace knowledge needed to transition into the Canadian workforce.