Without the funding by the Province of Ontario in programs and supports that are offered
by Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology to assist the integration of immigrants into
the Ontario Workforce, the economy of Ontario will not be able to prosper and meet
global productivity levels.
The Ontario economy is facing very significant challenges: an aging population, fastpaced
technological changes and globalization that has brought new competition to our
doorstep. These challenges could have a profound impact on the health of our economy
and the standard of living of all Ontarians.
The most direct effect of an aging population is a skills shortage. The problems created
by skills shortages are already beginning to have an impact. According to the Ontario
Chamber of Commerce, about 52% of skilled trades people are expected to retire within
the next 15 years. The same report also states that by 2020, if those workers are not
replaced, Canada could be short one million workers.
At the same time, the knowledge-based global economy demands highly skilled workers.
The accelerating pace of technological change means their training cannot stop at age
twenty-two. It will be necessary to continuously educate and re-train workers throughout
their lives to update or transform their skill set to use new technology and meet new
Most of the new pool of labour must be drawn from immigration. Currently, immigrants
represent 30% of all new labour market entrants and according to the Ontario Ministry of
Finance, new Canadians may be the only source of net labour force growth within the
Eliminating barriers for internationally trained professio nals and trades people is essential
to enhancing Ontario’s workforce. It is important that the Government of Ontario
continue to support and expand programs that allow foreign trained professionals and
trades people to be recertified quickly and integrate quickly into their field in the Ontario
The need for skilled employees exists across all industries and sectors across the
province. Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology in Ontario are well positioned to
provide bridging programs, ESL instruction, employment and placement linkages to
Ontario employers, and other resettlement supports in communities across the province.
That the Ontario Chamber of Commerce urges the Government of Ontario to:
1. Develop and fund a postsecondary education process model for the integration of
immigrants that would encompass a comprehensive suite of programs and
services including information access, assessment services, advising and
counseling and education and training programs for immigrants, which each
postsecondary institution can implement when facilitating the integration of
immigrants within the communities they serve.
2. Work with municipalities across the province to develop incentives and supports
to industries and municipal government s to enable the resettlement of immigrants
throughout the province.