Work: More Bridges for Immigrants

By Claudio Munoz

Bridge programs are one of the most successful initiatives for immigrants who want to resume their careers in Ontario. They provide, among many other things, professional and language training and insight into the Canadian labour market. Immigrants who enrol in these programs are able to improve their professional network, learn about Ontario’s regulations, and sync their skills and experience with Ontario’s businesses’ demands.

It doesn’t take long for graduates of these programs to get a rewarding job.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) currently funds 15 such programs in Ontario having invested $3,390,234 in 2009/2010 and a further $3,013,025 in 2010/2011.

“Bridge to work programs give internationally trained professionals the necessary tools, language skills, work experience and mentorship to integrate into the Canadian workplace,” said Minister Jason Kenney. “This will help newcomers compete and ultimately succeed in the Canadian job market.”

The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI) also funds bridge programs. Additional ones were announced a couple of months ago–in areas such as health care, information technology, engineering, agrology (agriculture), financial services, and land surveying.

“Many of our skilled newcomers need to cross an important bridge, a bridge between aspirations and achievements,” Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, said. “It is the bridge to help highly skilled newcomers find jobs in their areas of expertise. Since 2003, the government of Ontario has provided approximately 145 million dollars in nearly 200 bridge training programs. So far, these programs have helped more than 35,000 newcomers in Ontario get the skills training they needed to find employment in their field.”

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CIC Funded Programs

Accessible Community Counselling and Employment Services (ACCES) Renewed Financial Services Connections – provides training and services to internationally trained individuals with backgrounds in financial services.
Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario Supports internationally trained Early Childhood Educators through academic training, mentorship, language services and employment services.
Hamilton Health Sciences The Internationally Educated Nurses and English as a Second Language Nurse Integration Project – helps foreign health professionals increase occupational language levels.
La Cité Collégiale Arrimage Emploi Assists internationally trained professionals understand the reality of the Canadian labour market through workshops focusing on the culture, requirements of employers and the steps necessary to secure employment and work experience.
Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology – Enhanced Distance Education for Internationally Trained Medical Laboratory Technologists Adapts existing Mohawk College curriculum for online delivery across the province.
Ontario Chamber of Commerce The Global Experience @ Work Utilizes the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s network to develop and deliver local strategies to improve the integration of internationally trained individuals into the Ontario labour market .
Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC) The Ready to Work Provides industry specific pre-employment training, employment bridging through a job placement and credentialing to participants seeking a career in the Tourism and Hospitality sector.
St. Michael’s Hospital Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) Aims to build the capacity for the effective transition, integration and retention of internationally educated professionals (IEPs) at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) B.U.I.L.D.I.T. Aims to retain and integrate internationally trained information technology (IT) professionals into York Region’s IT workplaces.
United Way/Centraide Ottawa Hire Immigrants Ottawa: Creating Opportunities for the Integration of Immigrants into the Ottawa Labour Market Assists employers in the Ottawa region to effectively integrate skilled immigrants into the local workforce.
University of Waterloo The International Optometric Bridging Program Assists internationally trained optometrists to get licensed. Program will provide a combination of work experience, language training, and occupation-specific skills.
Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology – International Finance and Administration Professionals (IFAP) Project Assists internationally trained business professionals to obtain licensure as Certified Financial Planners (CFP).
Catholic Immigration Centre Establishes a bridge training program in medical communication and Canadian medical workplace culture for international medical doctors.
Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology Outreach Programming for Internationally Educated Nurses Program offers outreach programming to participants in the Niagara and Waterloo region through a combination of distance, online, classroom education, as well as clinical placements.
Women’s Enterprise Skills Training (WEST) of Windsor – Financial Management Certificate Program The Management Professionals Bridging Program for Internationally Trained Individuals will help 30 internationally trained individuals obtain employment in the finance sector.

New MCI Funded Programs

Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology “Keeping It Current for Internationally Educated Nurses”: For Internationally Educated Nurses seeking employment as Registered Practical Nurses or Registered Nurses.
La Cité Collégiale “PRA -TIC”: Will help skilled newcomers in the information technology and communications field.
University of Guelph Emplois Spécialisés en Soutien à l'Ontario Rural (ESSOR)/Specialized Employment in support of Rural Ontario: Helps internationally trained Francophone agrologists find work in the field of agrifood and the environment.
Laurentian University “Professions North/Nord: A Bridging Program for New Canadians”: Bilingual program provides internationally trained accounting and finance professionals with skills upgrading and language, culture and workplace communications training.
Accessible Community Counseling and Employment Services (ACCES) “Human Resources Connections”: Helps internationally trained human resources professionals find work. Participants will have access to professional networks, mentoring, and guest speakers, as well as post-hire services.
Community Microskills Development Centre “Green Economy Bridging Program”: Helps internationally trained project managers, quality assurance technicians, civil engineers and research and development specialists obtain employment in the green economy.
George Brown College of Applied Arts and Technology “Enhanced Academic Pathway for Nurses Graduate Certificate”: Helps internationally educated nurses prepare for registration and employment with course work, clinical placements, training workshops, mentoring and job search assistance.
Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning “Net Solutions for Internationally Trained IT Professionals”: For internationally trained computer programming professionals seeking employment in the Information Technology Sector.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 353 (IBEW) “Internationally Trained Electrical Workers’ Bridging Program”: Helps internationally trained electrical workers learn Canadian construction methods, health and safety standards and achieve technical proficiency.
Mennonite New Life Centre of Toronto “Bridge Training for Internationally Trained Psychologists and Allied Mental Health Professionals”: Integrates academic training for mental health practice in Ontario, occupation specific language and workplace communication and supervised clinical training.
Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) “Bridging Internationally Trained Engineers to Job Readiness in the Green Economy”: Prepares internationally educated engineers for positions throughout the green economy sector.
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology “Bridging to Green Careers”: Assists internationally trained professionals with backgrounds in engineering and the natural sciences to secure jobs in the environmental or green sector.
York University “Building Internationally Educated Nurses’ Intercultural Competence through Technologically Enhanced Learning”: Designed to increase awareness of technology-enhanced learning (for students in York’s Nursing Program for Internationally Educated Nurses).
(For more MCI programs see issue 32. A previous version of this article was published in www.cnmag.ca. Visit our website for more news, information and services for newcomers)