Ontario clears path for foreign-trained engineers

Becoming an engineer in Ontario just got easier (you know, aside from all the math).

Driving the news: Engineers trained abroad will no longer need Canadian experience to get their engineering licence in Ontario. It’s part of a broader push in the country’s largest province to make it easier for skilled immigrants to work in their respective fields. 

  • Engineering is the first professional regulatory body to drop Canadian work requirements under a new law aimed at speeding up licensing of skilled immigrants.

  • Thirty-five other non-healthcare-related regulators, including those for plumbers, electricians, and architects, will have to follow before December of this year.

Why it matters: Canada has a major shortage of workers, with 856,000 job vacancies, according to the latest Stats Canada data. Despite record levels of immigration, those jobs often go unfilled because people trained abroad can’t get licensed to work in their field.

  • Across Canada, a quarter of immigrants with a university degree are currently working jobs that require a high school education or less.

  • Meanwhile, 356,000 current job vacancies require education beyond high school…so you can see how there’s a problem here.

Zoom out: Big changes to licensing rules are also happening in healthcare, with a number of provinces dropping barriers for internationally-trained nurses to work in Canada. 

  • Alberta, BC, and Nova Scotia have also all streamlined their licensing processes to get more foreign-trained nurses into their workforce.

Bottom line: A record number of people are immigrating to Canada (the target is 505,000 this year), and rules around who can work in what jobs will have to change if they’re going to be able to put their skills to work.—TS