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International engineers don’t need Canadian work experience to get license in Ontario

Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton speaks at Queen's Park. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton speaks at Queen's Park. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Internationally-trained engineers will now be able to get their license in Ontario without Canadian work experience.

On Tuesday, Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) became the first association to remove lack of Canadian experience as an applicant requirement after the province passed legislation two years ago to reduce employment barriers for immigrants and foreign workers.

“It’s an all-too-common experience: meeting a skilled newcomer trained as an engineer, doctor, or accountant, working in a low-wage job that has nothing to do with their profession,” Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton said in a statement.

“I congratulate Professional Engineers Ontario for taking this historic step to support our mission.”

As part of the Progressive Conservative’s 2021 Working for Workers Act, licensing bodies for more than 30 non-health-care trade occupations—including engineers, technicians, electricians and plumbers—would be able to remove Canadian work experience from their list of criteria.

Prior to this legislation, workers needed a minimum of one year of Canadian work experience in the field to be licensed.

In a news release issued Tuesday, government officials said that only a quarter of internationally-trained immigrants work in their profession in Ontario.

Roydon Fraser, president of PEO, said that up to 60 per cent of license applications his association receives come from internationally-trained engineers.

“By no longer requiring proof of Canadian experience when applying for an engineering license, PEO will effectively ensure that qualified, international applicants can be licensed more quickly, so they can actively contribute to the economy as engineers,” he said in a statement.

“PEO will continue to ensure all professional engineers meet rigorous qualifications for licensing and that only properly qualified individuals practice engineering through a competency-based assessment model and other methods for evaluation.”

No other licensing body has chosen to remove the Canadian experience requirement as of May 2023.

By December 2023, this change will automatically be in place for compulsory trades unless an exemption is granted by the ministry for public health and safety reasons. Top Stories

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