During the months of September and October, executives of the Iranian Canadian Congress (ICC) engaged in discussion with Ontario provincial ministers concerning problems with recent immigrants to Canada, particularly foreign trained professionals from Iran. Specifically, executives of the ICC met with Hon. Laura Albanese, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Hon. Chris Ballard, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, Hon. David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Within these meetings, the ICC executives discussed the struggles that recent immigrants face when arriving to Canada with professional degrees from their home country. The ICC executives emphasized that although many immigrants are able to immigrate to Canada on account of their professional degree, due to complications associated with international degree evaluations, many of these foreign trained professionals are unable to enter the job market in Ontario. Furthermore, newly immigrated foreign trained professionals may struggle with paying the costly fees of training and evaluation exams. As a result, many of these immigrants are unable to receive the training they require to pass these evaluation exams, leaving them unable to pursue their professional careers in Ontario. While there are government funded loan programs available to newly immigrated individuals, the funding amount is relatively low and does not cover any significant portion of the costs associated with the evaluation process in many professional fields. The aforementioned provincial ministers expressed their interest to work on this issue to improve the process workings of the professional regulatory bodies.
Furthermore, in response to our email inquiry, Hon. Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation, and Science, suggests that his recommendation is to provide adequate information concerning international degree evaluation processes to foreign trained professionals in their home country before making the decision to immigrate to Canada. Part of his email is as follows:
“I have spoken to former federal Immigration Ministers and the current provincial Immigration Minister on this issue and suggested that our embassies in foreign countries should educate the immigration applicant on the professional licensing process here so that they will know about such major hurdle they have to overcome upon arrival at Canada. By knowing the licensing process, some of those professionals may decide not to come to Canada.” Full text of his response is available here.
In the upcoming months, the ICC plans to continue meeting with the Ontario government officials and representatives of opposition parties to highlight problems of foreign trained professionals regarding access to training and degree evaluation processes. As the next provincial election is scheduled for June 2018, the ICC is committed to addressing this issue to members of Ontario political parties in order to construct a healthy dialogue concerning this issue and make clear that this is a pressing problem within the Iranian-Canadian community.
ICC executives pictured with Hon. Stephen Del Duca (centre).
ICC executives pictured with Hon. Laura Albanese (centre).
ICC executives pictured with Hon. Chris Ballard (centre).
ICC executives pictured with Hon. David Zimmer (centre).