February 1, 2007
The Globe & Mail
444 Front Street East
The release of Statistics Canada study showing that new immigrants, despite high levels of education, are not holding positions which correspond with their qualifications did not reveal any surprises. The money which Statistics Canada spent on the study could have been better invested in developing an action plan to engage immigrant professionals more actively in the Canadian economy. Over the past twenty years, Canada has shown leadership in introducing policies to remove employment barriers for new immigrants. Initiatives such as the Employment Equity Act, the Racism-Free Workplace Strategy and the Workplace Equity Tool kit are great, but are they enough bearing in mind that the results to date have been decimal.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation has worked with community groups and government organizations to identify loopholes in the implementation of employment equity legislations. A major short coming in the various legislations is that institutions are not held accountable for not showing concrete results. There is a need for a more vigorous implementation of the Employment Equity Act. A combination of incentives and penalties targeting failure of achieving required targets are needed. It is time to move forward and benefit from the skills and talent of new immigrants.
Ayman Al-Yassini, Ph. D.,