Most skilled immigrants would get accredited to work in their field before they move to Canada and foreign-trained doctors would be able to perform basic services under a plan unveiled Monday by Ontario's Opposition Conservatives.
Conservative Leader John Tory said the program would allow skilled immigrants to start working on their Canadian accreditation while they are outside the country, waiting for their visa applications to be processed.
The province is facing a labour shortage and needs to better harness the knowledge of newcomers, Tory said at a campaign-style event that suggests the Conservatives are aggressively planning their strategy for next year's provincial election.
"The status quo is unacceptable,'' Tory said.
"This is a serious problem both because we're badly letting these people down and short-changing them. We need, as part of building a strong economy, to make full use of the talents these people brought with them to Canada.''
While not all professions could be fully accredited before an immigrant arrives in Canada, Tory said foreign-trained doctors could gain more experience by doing basic medical services under the supervision of a qualified doctor.
An overseas accreditation program would help end the cruel bait-and-switch that is played regularly on professionally trained immigrants lured here with promises of quick entry into their fields only to be told that their qualifications aren't recognized and to go do scut work instead.
And the various professional bodies couldn't throw up all sorts of excuses and barriers to entry once the people got to Ontario; they'd have to be upfront about their requirements.
Since checking qualifications is a paper-based process, there's no reason it couldn't be done before the applicants leave their home countries.
Immigrants could make an informed decision about coming to Canada for a change.
And there'd be a much-needed re-examination of how Canada promotes immigration.