Ontario’s economy is the biggest and most robust in Canada. But its population is getting older, workers are retiring, and the birth rate is relatively low. So in order to maintain the province’s economic health, attracting internationally trained professionals and skilled immigrant workers to come work in Ontario is a necessary component.
In response to this need, the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration has developed an innovative program aimed directly at helping skilled newcomers get the licenses and certificates they need in order to fill jobs to keep the provincial economy humming.
Helping Skilled Newcomers Reach Their Goals
It’s called Ontario Bridge Training, and since its inception in 2003 it has supported some 50,000 highly skilled immigrants through education and skills assessments, clinical and workplace experience, language training and exam preparation for professional licensing. The program’s success has resulted in a mutual commitment by the governments of Ontario and Canada to continue funding it. In November of 2013, the two announced that the Bridge program would continue for at least another three years.
Eligible participants are highly skilled individuals with advanced degrees—they include medical and health-care personnel, teachers, business people, high-tech workers—and may be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and convention refugees.
Ontario Helping Immigrants; Immigrants Helping Ontario
At the same time, the program encourages employers in Ontario to take part in “employer engagement programs” that have been created by various educational, business, and civic organizations to learn about strategies, tools, and resources that will help them hire, integrate, and retain internationally trained professionals.
In addition, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities has created an Ontario Bridging Participants Assistance Program (OBPAP) to assist these individuals with bursaries of up to $5,000 to cover direct education costs of attending Bridge training programs.
These programs play essential roles in Ontario’s ability to maintain its economic well-being. Ontario has long been the favourite destination in Canada for new immigrants, but since 2001 the annual immigration to Ontario has dropped by 33 percent, due to federal policies. The Bridge programs help to make up for that decline.
If you are an internationally trained professional or skilled worker who would like to come to Ontario, experienced Toronto immigration lawyer Larry Butkowsky can answer any questions you may have about how to proceed. His legal practice focuses solely on immigration law and he can assist you with any other issues you may be facing in making Canada your new home.
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