Foreign workers now have a leg up to beat out locals for jobs as Doug Ford’s Ontario Progressive Conservatives have made it illegal to require Canadian work experience on job postings and application forms.
Labour Minister David Piccini made the announcement on Thursday.
“For far too long, too many people arriving in Canada have been funnelled toward dead-end jobs they’re overqualified for,” he said.
Workers in over 30 trade occupations, such as engineers, technicians, electricians, and plumbers, no longer have to meet Canadian work experience criteria.
Before this legislative shift, a minimum of one year of Canadian work experience in the respective field was a prerequisite for licensing.
Piccini said it’s just one step of what will be broader legislation his government will introduce on Tuesday.
“We don’t control the broader immigration targets, that’s done federally, but when somebody chooses Ontario, we are saying we need you, we want you to fill an in-demand job, and we’re not going to have discriminatory practices that don’t even get you in the door to assess competency,” he said.
One reporter noted that employers will still be able to filter out applicants with only foreign experience by looking at the resume.
Piccini said that government employment standards officials will “work with employers” to ensure the focus is on competency. He further said that when an employer doesn’t know if someone’s foreign experience is equivalent to what’s required, employers should just give the person an interview.
It’s the latest addition to the government’s “Working for Workers” legislation. Among the provisions are mandatory disclosure of salary ranges in job postings, as well as the prohibition of non-disclosure agreements in cases of workplace misconduct.
The new legislation is also poised to broaden the eligibility criteria for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP), meaning international students in graduate programs will become eligible to apply for the program to begin working in the province.
“I believe these changes will create a more inclusive and competitive environment for our workforce,” Piccini said.