TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 21, 2012) - The Government of Canada is making it easier for internationally trained architects to find jobs in their fields through support for a newly launched program. Speaking at the International Interior Design (IIDEX) Canada Expo and Conference today, the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, helped to launch the federally funded Broadly Experienced Foreign Architects (BEFA) Program and underscored the importance of helping skilled newcomers succeed in the Canadian job market.
"Our government's top priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity, and we recognize that internationally trained professionals help fill skills shortages in key occupations," said Minister Finley. "This is why we are working with partners like Architecture Canada so that newcomers can find meaningful work in their fields faster and help to contribute to Canada's economy."
The BEFA Program was created through over $1.9 million in federal funding, announced by Minister Finley in September 2010. This program will streamline the licensing process for internationally trained architects through a national online assessment tool and standard interview process. Internationally trained architects will be able to find out sooner whether their qualifications meet Canadian standards of practice, or if they need to undergo further training and skills upgrading.
"The architectural community sees great benefits from having internationally trained architects licensed as professionals in Canada. With it comes new connections, ideas and perspectives that can only enrich our profession, said Sheena Sharp, President, Ontario Association of Architects. "We would like to thank Minister Finley and her officials at Human Resources and Skill Development Canada for their financial support in the creation of the BEFA program. We believe that this program offers foreign trained architects a fair and effective process to present their work experience and competencies to be assessed against pan-Canadian standards of competency for practice in Canada."
Under the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, the Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories and other partners, such as regulatory bodies, to improve foreign credential recognition.
The BEFA Program is an example of how the Framework is bringing meaningful change to the way that newcomers' qualifications are assessed in Canada. Through pilot versions of this program, several candidates were successful in becoming certified architects in Canada.
To learn more about Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.
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This news release is available online at: www.actionplan.gc.ca.
The Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications
Canada's Economic Action Plan invested $50 million to work with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders to improve foreign credential recognition. This partnership led to the development of the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications.
Under the Framework, internationally trained professionals who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields, along with all fees and relevant documents needed to process the application, will be advised within one year how their credentials compare to Canadian standards. They may also be advised of additional requirements or be directed to alternative occupations that would benefit from their skills and experience.
In 2010, service standards were established so that internationally trained professionals in eight priority occupations, including architects and nurses, can have their credentials assessed within one year, anywhere in Canada. The Government is now streamlining foreign qualification recognition for six more target occupations, including physicians and dentists. In 2012, the Government of Canada announced support for further improvements to foreign credential recognition and will continue to work in partnership with the provinces and territories to identify the next set of target occupations.
Additionally, Budget 2011 announced the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot, which was launched in February 2012. Delivered in cooperation with community organizations, this Pilot is helping internationally trained professionals cover the costs of having their credentials recognized, so they can find jobs that best suit their skills and experience.
For more information on the Framework, please consult: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/workplaceskills/publications/fcr/pcf.shtml
The Government of Canada's Foreign Credential Recognition Program and Services
The Foreign Credential Recognition Program aims to improve the integration of internationally trained workers into the workforce. The Program provides funding to and works with the provinces and territories and other stakeholders-including regulatory bodies, post-secondary institutions, sector councils and employers-to implement projects that facilitate the assessment and recognition of qualifications acquired in other countries.
Established in May 2007, the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) provides information and path-finding and referral services, both in Canada and overseas, to help internationally trained workers have their credentials assessed quickly so they can find work faster in the fields in which they have been trained.
The FCRO works with federal, provincial and territorial partners, as well as with credential assessment and recognition bodies, to strengthen foreign credential recognition processes across the country. Internet-based services for internationally trained workers can be found on the FCRO website at www.credentials.gc.ca.
Established in 2005, the Internationally Educated Health Professionals Initiative works with provinces, territories and stakeholders to help more internationally educated health professionals put their skills to work in Canada's health system.