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Government of Canada invests to address labour needs of Northeastern Ontario businesses

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FedNor funding for the Northern Policy Institute will help connect migrant and immigrant workers with workplaces seeking to recruit

February 12, 2021 – Sudbury, ON – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario – FedNor

A skilled labour force is key to the growth of Canadian businesses and a strong economy. Well trained staff enable companies to increase productivity and efficiency, adapt quickly to challenges as they arise, respond to growth opportunities and improve profitability. The Government of Canada recognizes the challenges facing communities and businesses, particularly outside of larger urban centres, in accessing a skilled workforce to support development and growth efforts.

Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury, and Marc G. Serré, Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt, today announced a Government of Canada investment of $95,000 to help the Northern Policy Institute to attract newcomers to the region and connect them with workplaces in need of their skills. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor. This strategic project is engaging multiple stakeholders, communities and businesses across Northeastern Ontario to implement a plan to address challenges such as labour shortages, outmigration and an aging population that affect economic development in the region.

Specifically, the funding is enabling the Northern Policy Institute to engage the services of two community matchmakers, based in Sudbury, to serve Northeastern Ontario, one focused on the francophone and allophone community (including international students), and the other on the anglophone community. The project, which is underway and progressing well, assists businesses in navigating and participating in immigrant and migrant settlement and attraction services, programs and administration. In addition, the project is helping to raise awareness of and facilitating access to job matching, payroll subsidy programs, and other employment supports.

Quotes

“A skilled workforce is key to helping businesses boost productivity, adopt new technologies, and improve global competitiveness. That is why our government is committed to helping businesses overcome this identified barrier to growth that will in turn strengthen Northern Ontario’s economy.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor

“This strategic project will lead to enhanced regional competitiveness through the implementation of a plan to attract and connect newcomers to Northeastern Ontario with employment opportunities that match their skillset. This will result in new strategic alliances with communities, regional organizations and businesses. It will also increase regional diversity, sustainable economic activity and competitiveness. That is definitely good news for Greater Sudbury.”
– Paul Lefebvre, Member of Parliament for Sudbury 

“Today’s announcement represents a big step forward in addressing the critical shortage of skilled workers that businesses across the region have identified. I am proud of our government’s efforts to enhance connections with Nickel Belt – Greater Sudbury employers and improve information services to support the recruitment and retention of skilled workers that businesses want and need.”
– Marc G. Serré, Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt

“This FedNor investment will aid us in our mission to support the growth of communities and businesses in Northern Ontario. Matchmaking will help connect those with specialized skills with employers who are seeking to fill key vacancies within their organizations. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
– Charles Cirtwill, President and CEO, Northern Policy Institute

Quick facts

  • The Northern Policy Institute exists to see better, more effective, evidence based policy developed and implemented to improve the lives and the future of all Northern Ontarians. This is achieved through the development of research, promotion of evidence, and the identification of opportunities to support the growth of sustainable Northern Ontario communities.
  • The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, diversification and business growth.

Additional points in Express Entry to help increase Francophone immigration outside Quebec

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News release

October 27, 2020—Ottawa—The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced that French-speaking and bilingual candidates will receive additional points under the Express Entry system. Express Entry is an online system used to manage applications for permanent residence from skilled workers. This change will help deliver on the government’s commitment to reach the target of 4.4% French-speaking immigrant admissions outside Quebec by 2023.

While French-speaking immigration to Canada outside of Quebec has been increasing, recent data indicates that existing selection tools will not be sufficient to reach the 4.4% target by 2023. Awarding additional points to candidates with strong French language skills via Express Entry could increase French-speaking immigrant admissions to the 4.4% target by 2023. Making progress towards reaching this target will be facilitated by an eventual easing of travel restrictions associated with the global pandemic.

The change announced today will see the current number of points increase from 15 to 25 for French-speaking candidates and from 30 to 50 for bilingual candidates. This comes after we initially awarded points in June 2017 to candidates with strong French language skills.

Quotes

“Supporting the development of Francophone minority communities outside of Quebec is part of this government’s plan for economic growth and long-term prosperity throughout the country. It is also the right thing to do to help support Francophone communities right across Canada. We will continue to attract Francophone immigrants to make sure that Francophone minority communities flourish.”

– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • In 2019, the percentage of French-speaking immigrants admitted to Canada outside Quebec reached 2.82%, an increase from previous years. We have also seen increases in the proportion of French speakers invited to apply each year. That proportion reached 5.6% in 2019, up from 4.5% in 2018.
  • From 2003 to 2019, more than 60,000 French-speaking immigrants were admitted to Canada in communities outside Quebec, about 8,465 in 2019 alone.
  • Under the Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future, IRCC is investing $40.8 million over 5 years to support the consolidation of a Francophone integration pathway and horizontal policy development.
  • Under the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec establishes its own immigration levels.

Associated links

Creation of home child care services

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Northwestern Ontario needs to expand its child care options. Interested in starting your own home-based child care?
Follow this opportunity coordinated by the Société Économique de l’Ontario, the Association des francophones du Nord-Ouest de l’Ontario and Aféseo.

You want to start a home-based childcare service and you don’t know where to start?
Maybe you already offer a home childcare service?

Call on our start-up support
✓ Early childhood professional staff with experience in a family setting;
✓ Resources to help you get your business off the ground; ✓ Business support (self-employed);
✓ Learning activities on how children learn;
✓ Networking as an AFÉSEO member and access to a multitude of learning activities and resources; ✓ Individualized coaching.

Profile 
Do you have the necessary arrangements? Are you a person…
– Caring for children?
– Creative, with a good sense of humor?
– Open to change and to different types of families?
– Flexible to accommodate families’ schedules or special needs?
– Who inspires trust?
– Organized and responsible?
– Able to communicate clearly in French and English?
– Alert and dynamic?
– Ready to become a cultural and linguistic facilitator?
– Passionate and committed?

If you have checked off the majority of the above, maybe it’s for you!
Don’t hesitate to contact Léon Bila, Economic Development and Marketing Officer at AFNOO: 1-888-248-1712 for more information.

These services are free, thanks to the financial support of RDÉE Canada.

 

 

COVID-19: A Guide for Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada

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Download the guide in PDF format or visit : https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/campaigns/foreign-worker-rights/covid19-guide.html

Government announces help for employers to meet their labour needs

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Process launched today allows temporary workers to get back to work quickly

May 12, 2020—Ottawa—With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting almost every sector in Canada, temporary foreign workers and their employers are confronted by new challenges in a rapidly changing job market.

Many temporary workers with employer-specific work permits lost their jobs this spring. While some have left Canada, others are unable to leave due to international travel restrictions or the reduction in flights available. Under existing rules, to change jobs they need to apply and wait for a new work permit to be issued before starting to work at their new job.

At the same time, many employers in sectors that have ongoing labour needs and who provide critical goods and services to Canadians, such as agriculture, agri-food and health care, find themselves with urgent needs for additional employees.

That is why the Government is announcing, effective immediately, a new, temporary policy that will drastically reduce the time it takes for a temporary foreign worker to start a new job.

While this policy is in place, a worker who is already in Canada and has secured a new job offer, typically backed by a labour market test, can get approval to start working in their new job, even while their work permit application is being fully processed. This will cut what can often take 10 weeks or more, down to 10 days or less.

As part of Canada’s whole-of-government approach, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will continue to look for ways to support the economy and protect the health and safety of Canadians during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Quotes

“Immigrants, temporary foreign workers and international students are making considerable contributions to Canada’s response to the unprecedented challenge that COVID-19 poses. We know and value their efforts and sacrifices to keep Canadians healthy and ensure the delivery of critical goods and services. The new policy we are announcing will allow Canadian businesses to recruit the workers they need and help unemployed workers contribute to the Canadian economy during this pandemic.”

– The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Temporary foreign workers are an integral part of the Canadian workforce and Canada’s COVID-19 response. They are helping us meet urgent labour needs, to ensure our food security and deliver essential goods and services. While there will always be jobs for Canadians who choose to work in these sectors, these changes help support our economy by ensuring that temporary foreign workers already here can contribute during these extraordinary times.”

– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, P.C., M.P., Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Quick facts

  • COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the Canadian labour market and while Canadians are encouraged to fill job vacancies in critical sectors, a lack of workers in agriculture, food processing or health care could harm Canada’s food security and health-care service capacity.
  • To be eligible, workers must
    • be in Canada with valid status
    • have an employer-specific work permit or have been working under a work permit exemption
    • have submitted an application for a new work permit with a valid job offer under either the Temporary Foreign Worker Program or the International Mobility Program
  • The work permit applicant must then submit a request to IRCC. The request will be reviewed within 10 days, and if approved, authorization for the worker to start working in their new job will be sent to them by email.
  • There is no change to the role of the employer in the process for hiring foreign workers. An employer needs to have, or obtain, a valid positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Social Development Canada, name the worker in a position on the LMIA, and notify Service Canada. For an employer-specific, LMIA-exempt situation, the employer needs to submit an offer of employment through the International Mobility Program Employer Portal.
  • In 2019, almost 190,000 employer-specific work permits were issued to foreign nationals.

Northern Ontario’s francophone labour shortage

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Northern Ontario’s francophone labour shortage

The region’s francophone senior population is among the fastest-growing in the province — and critics say not enough is being done to attract French-speaking migrants
By Clara Pasieka – Published on Jan 06, 2020

Endi Kodila arrived in northern Ontario from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015 and has since risen to become the director of a rehabilitation home. He’s educated, skilled, and building a new life in Kapuskasing, a francophone-dominated town of 8,500. But if the town is to address a worsening labour shortage, it’s going to need many more newcomers like Kodila.

Northern Ontario’s francophone senior population is among the fastest-growing in the province, and youth are leaving. This has created strong demand for French speakers, such as Kodila, to support an aging francophone population in a variety of roles, from personal-support workers to general labourers. While some observers are hopeful about new federal initiatives, there are concerns that not enough is being done to attract these sought-after international migrants.

Francophone-immigration targets are one answer for northern Ontario, and a new study outlines the extent of the need. By 2026, approximately 34 per cent of future in-migrants to Greater Sudbury, the region’s most populous area, will need to be French-speaking to maintain a core workforce that can serve the local French community, say researchers for the Northern Policy Institute and Reseau du Nord. Yet over the last five years, French-speaking immigrants to the region have amounted to just under 17 per cent. “The research shows that we need to act now,” says Thomas Mercier, director of Reseau du Nord.

The federal government has included Sudbury, and four other northern cities, in a pilot program. Launched in summer 2019, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot is aimed at increasing economic immigration to these communities by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers. Each of the northern pilot cities — North Bay, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, and Sudbury — has formed a community-steering committee to create systems that will attract candidates to address unique local needs. Under a separate federal initiative, Welcoming Francophone Communities, ​​​​​​​14 communities, including Sudbury, will share $12.6 million (over three years) for projects aimed at making francophone newcomers feel welcome.

For his part, Ontario labour minister Monte McNaughton says, “My approach is not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution but actually working with specific industries and specific regions to ensure that these jobs can be filled.”

As it stands, northern Ontario’s shortage is so severe that existing employers can suffer irreparable harm when a new company comes to town — even if it’s in a different industry. A bilingual phone centre in Capreol, a small community in Greater Sudbury, was shuttered a few years ago after a mine opened and scooped up many of its workers, says Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas. Meanwhile, sawmills in Atikokan and Ignace can’t run third shifts due to the labour shortage, says Mushkegowuk–James Bay MPP Guy Bourgouin.

Kapuskasing councillor Sébastien Lessard says that, although businesses recruit privately — the education sector, for example, conducts outreach with foreign students — additional government involvement is required. Mercier, who also serves as coordinator of the Northern Ontario Francophone Immigration Support Network, suggests that trade and economic-development missions need to focus more on francophone regions in Africa.

Gélinas says that establishing a passport office in the region would help. “As long as we don’t have the federal resources to support immigration — a passport office and a visa office — nothing the province does will make a big difference.” Temporary workers in her riding, she notes, have to drive four hours to Toronto to reach a passport or visa office if there is a problem.

Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s francophone-affairs minister, says that Ottawa should have accepted the province’s request for more economic immigrants under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program: “Ontario requested 1,000 additional nominations, and the federal government only permitted 50, well below what was requested.” Mulroney says that 7.7 per cent of the Ontario nominees were French-speaking in 2018, compared to 4.8 per cent in 2017.

It’s not unusual for a province to request more spaces than can be met by the Provincial Nominee Programs. In addition to consulting with the provinces, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada also considers the capacity of settlement organizations and long-term demographic trends. IRCC spokesperson Mathieu Genest says that adjustments to economic-immigration streams to encourage more francophone newcomers have already resulted in a doubling of the number of francophone economic immigrants to Canada. And, he says, “the Municipal Nominee Program announced in the electoral platform will help enhance the ability of communities to seek out the talent they need to help their economy grow.”

According to Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s minister of economic development, job creation and trade, this past June, Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government “expanded the [Ontario Immigrant Nominee] program to include two areas that were drastically missing in northern Ontario — truck drivers and PSWs.” And, last month, it released a Regional Immigration Pilot of its own for rural Ontario. While no northern Ontario communities were included, Cornwall was chosen for its francophone needs. “Outcomes from the pilot will help inform further efforts to regionalize economic immigration in Ontario,” the ministry says.

Fedeli, himself a lifelong northerner, says that the government has committed to putting a “northern lens” on the decision-making process. However, Mulroney says that her ministry plans to hold its annual francophone-immigration target at 5 per cent for the time being. But Mercier notes that northern Ontario has a francophone population of over 20 per cent, so different official regional targets for francophone immigration are needed just to maintain current demographic levels. That has been a strength, says Mercier, of the community-led goal-setting supported by new federal programs.

As for Kodila, he loves northern Ontario and the opportunities it has given him. When asked what he likes about living in the region, he says, “Les personnes qui sont ici, des personnes chaleureuses” — the warm people.

Come North

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As part of Come North – A Population Growth Strategy for Ontario’s Northern Regions, the Northwest Community Futures Network and the City of Temiskaming Shores are pleased to host two planning conferences. These events aim to discuss the population growth strategies for Ontario’s northern regions, while examining the challenges and expectations of new arrivals to their new communities.

February 11-13 / Riverside Place : Conference in Temiskaming Shores : https://comenorth.ca/temiskaming-shores/

February 18-20 / Delta Waterfront : Conference in Thunder Bay : https://comenorth.ca/thunder-bay/