On November 21, 2005, the governments of Ontario and Canada signed the first Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement. Through the agreement, the federal government will provide $920 million in new immigration funding over five years to help newcomers successfully integrate into Ontario communities and achieve their full potential. The agreement outlines how the governments of Canada and Ontario will work together in the following areas:
- Settlement and Language Training Services
- Partnership with Municipalities
- Provincial Nominee Program
- Temporary Foreign Workers Agreement
- Ontario Immigration Web Portal
- Related Links
Settlement and Language Training Services
Under the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, federal settlement programs will be expanded and better coordinated with provincial programs. The goal is for organizations that provide settlement services to help newcomers more easily locate and access community services such as orientation, information, referrals, assessment and job search assistance.
The federal and provincial governments will also work together to expand language training for newcomers. Language is a key factor in determining an immigrant’s success. English-as-a-second-language classes will include higher-level and occupation-specific training to help immigrants reach the level required to work in their fields or to enrol in post-secondary education.
Consultations on the Settlement and Language Training Services Needs of Newcomers
Summary Report, September 2006
As promised under the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, the two governments developed a Strategic Plan for Settlement and Language Training. This is in response to the consultation findings and to help determine the best way to spend the increased funding allocated under the agreement.
Partnership with Municipalities
The Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement includes a provision to involve municipalities in planning and discussions on immigration and settlement. This marks the first time all three levels of government have worked together to meet the needs of immigrants across Ontario. Canada and Ontario will work with the City of Toronto, as well as the Municipal Immigration Committee, which has been established with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
Provincial Nominee Program
Under the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, Ontario will develop a pilot Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Similar to programs already in operation in other provinces, the PNP gives the province the opportunity to nominate immigrants who will help meet its economic priorities and specific labour market needs.
Temporary Foreign Workers Agreement
The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario have signed an agreement that gives Ontario a role in managing the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in that province.
The agreement is an Annex to the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement and is an important step in making this program more responsive to Ontario’s particular needs and priorities. It emphasizes support for Ontarians first, and complements the province’s strategy of training and retraining Ontarians through programs such as the Skills to Jobs Action Plan.
As part of the agreement, the governments of Ontario and Canada will work more closely to educate employers and potential temporary foreign workers about their rights and responsibilities.
The agreement is the first federal-provincial agreement on temporary foreign workers to be implemented outside the province of Quebec. The Government of Canada is working with other interested provinces to develop similar bilateral agreements, which will ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker program continues to respond to regional and local labour market needs.
The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is driven by employer demand and aimed at filling identified labour shortages where no suitable Canadian workers are available.
Ontario Immigration Web Portal
In March 2006, the Ontario government launched Ontarioimmigration.ca. This website helps newcomers and prospective immigrants access the information they need from all levels of government to successfully start their new life in Ontario. With federal support of $10 million over four years under the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, Ontario municipalities will be able to showcase their communities on the site, helping it to become a virtual one-stop gateway for newcomers to Ontario.
- www.settlement.org: for newcomers to Ontario. It includes information on jobs, sponsorship, ESL, housing and health, as well as resources for those who work with newcomers.
- www.ontarioimmigration.ca: for prospective immigrants and newcomers to Ontario. It has information for before and after you arrive, with facts about Ontario culture, weather, cities and towns, and guides to living, working, doing business and studying.
- www.citizenship.gov.on.ca: the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. It features information on immigration and settlement, internationally trained workers, and volunteering at Ontario organizations.
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