Canadian Work Experience Requirement Removed for Engineers in Ontario

In a significant move to attract skilled immigrants, Ontario has removed the Canadian work experience requirement for engineers. The announcement was made on May 23 by Monte McNaughton, the Ontario Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) is the first professional association in the province to implement this change.

The decision aims to help qualified professionals enter the profession they are trained for, addressing the common issue of skilled newcomers working in low-wage jobs unrelated to their profession. Previously, candidates applying for a license needed to demonstrate 48 months of verifiable and acceptable engineering experience following graduation, with at least 12 months of that experience under a licensed professional engineer in a Canadian jurisdiction.

The change is expected to address the 300,000 unfilled jobs across the province, including thousands in engineering, which can cost billions in lost productivity. This follows the Working for Workers Act, 2021, which mandates regulated professions to assess competency in a non-discriminatory way, ensuring newcomers can continue their careers in Ontario.

PEO President Roydon Fraser stated that 60% of the license applications received each year are from internationally trained engineers. Removing the Canadian work experience requirement will expedite the licensing process for qualified international engineers. As of 2019, there were 85,649 licensed engineers in Ontario, with 24,258 internationally trained members registered in the profession.

The current system often bars newcomers with the skills and technical ability to pass their profession’s licensing exams from registering in their profession without Canadian work experience. This change will allow them to gain this experience in their field rather than in unrelated sectors.

Ontario is also taking steps to make it easier for other newcomers to work in regulated fields. For instance, it has passed legislation allowing nurses from other Canadian jurisdictions to work in the province without having to register with the applicable health regulatory colleges. It is also allowing internationally educated nurses to register in a temporary class and begin working sooner while they work towards full registration.

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