Professional engineers no longer need to have Canadian experience to be licensed to work in Ontario in the wake of Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) removing that requirement to comply with new provincial legislation.
The move opens the door for many foreign nationals with engineering credentials but no Canadian work experience to offer their professional services in that central Canadian province.
“It’s an all-too-common experience: meeting a skilled newcomer trained as an engineer, doctor, or accountant, working in a low-wage job that has nothing to do with their profession,” said Ontario Immigration Minister Monte McNaughton.
“Our government has a plan to build a stronger Ontario that works for everyone and we’re going to do it by unleashing the talent we have right here at home.”
The PEO, a licensing and regulating body for professional engineering in Ontario, is the first professional organization to remove Canadian work experience from its requirements.
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Ontario was the first province in Canada to ban use of discriminatory Canadian experience requirements in occupations under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006 (FARPACTA)
The Ontario legislation making that illegal was introduced in March under the Working for Workers Act, 2023 which changed the FARPACTA to ensure regulated professions assess competency in a way that is non-discriminatory in Ontario.
The loosening up of the restrictions is expected to greatly help the province fill at least some of the roughly 300,000 unfilled jobs across the province, including thousands in engineering, costing billions in lost productivity.
“Each year, up to 60 per cent of the engineering licence applications that PEO receives are from internationally trained engineers,” said PEO president Roydon Fraser.
“By no longer requiring proof of Canadian experience when applying for an engineering licence, PEO will effectively ensure that qualified, international applicants can be licensed more quickly, so they can actively contribute to the economy as engineers.
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“PEO will continue to ensure all professional engineers meet rigorous qualifications for licensing and that only properly qualified individuals practice engineering through a competency-based assessment model and other methods for evaluation.”
The move to remove Canadian work experience from the requirements for professional engineers in Ontario was applauded by Achēv CEO Tonie Chaltas.
” Through Achēv’s own work with employers and job seekers, we know that removing this barrier will create a true win-win-win,” said Chaltas.
“Employers get the talent they need, skilled newcomers secure jobs in their chosen profession, and Ontario’s economy grows.”
Federal And Provincial Immigration Programs Allow Engineers To Come Work In Canada
Internationally-trained engineers and other foreign nationals who want to immigrate to Canada and gain their permanent residency here can often apply through the Express Entry Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program.
Under the FSW, applicants must create a profile and submit it to the Express Entry pool. The profiles of candidates in the pool are then ranked using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
When there is an Express Entry draw under the FSW, the highest-ranked candidates are chosen for an Invitation To Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.
Candidates receiving an invitation must submit a complete application within 60 days.
All candidates applying under the FSW must have suitable education, work experience, age and language ability in English or French.
To qualify for admission to the Express Entry Pool under the FSW, applicants must:
- possess one-year of continuous full-time paid work experience or the equivalent in part-time continuous employment within the previous 10 years in one of the eligible occupations listed under the applicable NOC Classification system, and;
- that work experience must be classified under the TEER categories 0 (management occupations), 1 (occupations that usually require a university degree), 2 (occupations that require a college diploma, apprenticeship training of 2 or more years, or are supervisory) or 3 (occupations that require a college diploma, apprenticeship training of less than two years, or more than six months of on-the-job training) of the NOC, and;
- score sufficient points under the skilled worker point grid comprising of six selection factors. The current pass mark is 67 points.
The applicant must also undergo language testing from a recognized third party and demonstrate intermediate-level language skills in English or French corresponding to the Canadian Language Benchmark of 7.
He or she must possess suitable settlement funding and undergo a successful security background and medical examination.
Engineers can also improve their chances of gaining their permanent residency by getting Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) nomination from British Columbia.
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Canada’s westernmost province, its BC PNP Tech Pilot prioritizes 29 occupations for immigration to British Columbia.
Foreign nationals who want to immigrate to Canada can do so through one the three Express Entry programs and apply for permanent residency online if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Canadian employers can also recruit and hire foreign nationals through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and the International Mobility Program (IMP).
The Global Talent Stream (GTS), a part of the TFWP, can under normal processing situations lead to the granting of Canadian work permits and processing of visa applications within two weeks.