Backgrounder - Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers


Many newcomers to Canada face challenges in getting their foreign credentials recognized and obtaining Canadian work experience that can help them enter the job market. The Targeted Employment Strategy for Newcomers will have three components to help newcomers meet these challenges.

Pre-arrival services provide people who have been selected to immigrate to Canada with in-person and online services on how to adjust to living and working in Canada, help getting their credentials recognized, and connecting with employers and link to in Canada supports.These services help newcomers develop realistic expectations about life in Canada, learn more about the labour market before arrival, and become job ready and self-sufficient more quickly.

Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada has increased pre-arrival funding over the past few years. Of the more than $600 million invested to support newcomers’ settlement needs in fiscal year 2016/17, $32 million has been directed toward expanded pre-arrival services, ensuring newcomers arrive better prepared to settle in Canada. The expansion of pre-arrival services includes more services to help with job readiness and a significant expansion of in-person services to help prepare for travel to and arrival in Canada.

Employment and Social Development Canada will also develop a new Portal for people who want to have their international credentials assessed, and offer continued support to regulators to improve their outreach and systems to allow newcomers to apply for certification prior to arriving in Canada.

Based on a previous pilot, the loan program will provide newcomers in need of financial assistance with loans to cover costs such as licensing exams, training, travel and skills upgrading associated with getting foreign credentials recognized. Results of the pilot showed that participants were able to enter the job market, earn wages commensurate with their skills more quickly and depend less on government transfers. 

Finally, the Strategy will test innovative approaches to help skilled newcomers gain Canadian work experience in their professions. Pilot projects to assess the value of foreign work experience will be implemented in order to learn the best ways to facilitate the critical first Canadian work experience for skilled newcomers. This could include testing initiatives such as paid internships, mentorships, job matching and looking at ways to help overcome employers’ reluctance to hire newcomers as a result of difficulties in assessing the value of their foreign work experience.    

The previous loan pilot, which ended in 2015, aimed to test models of community-based partnerships. Through this project, nine immigrant service and support agencies across Canada were funded to develop and deliver a loan program for internationally trained workers. At the end of the pilot, over 1,800 micro-loans were approved. The loans averaged $6,000 and the default rate was approximately 1%.

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