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News Release

Canada’s new government launches first phase of Foreign Credentials Referral Office

Toronto, May 24, 2007 — The first phase of the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) was launched today by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.  The FCRO is designed to help internationally trained individuals who plan to work in Canada get their credentials assessed and recognized more quickly. As outlined in Budget 2007, $32.2 million has been set aside for the first five years of the FCRO’s operation.

“Too many newcomers can’t get jobs they have been trained for. That’s a terrible waste, for them and for the country.  Today, we are delivering on our commitment to do something about it,” said Minister Finley. “In our first phase, the Foreign Credentials Referral Office will help newcomers access what they need to become accredited, both in Canada for those newcomers already here, and abroad for those waiting for an opportunity to come to our country.”

“Canada needs immigrants, and initiatives such as the FCRO will help attract newcomers and capitalize on their skills," said Wai Young, Interim Executive Director of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance which represents 450 immigrant and refugee service agencies across Canada.

The new office will help people navigate through the complex system of foreign credential recognition in Canada. The office’s approach includes:

  • in-person services and a dedicated phone service operated by Service Canada at 320 outlets across the country by fall 2007;
  • an expanded online service that will help individuals identify occupations in Canada for which they may be qualified, provide them with detailed labour market information, and refer them to the appropriate regulatory body; and
  • increasing employer awareness of the processes for, and benefits of, hiring internationally trained and educated professionals.

In addition, Canada’s New Government will work directly with the provinces to speed up the entry of healthcare professionals after evaluating the success of a pilot project included in the recent Canada-Alberta immigration agreement. This project includes provisions to refer candidates with preliminary approval for permanent residence to Alberta licensing bodies to begin the process of recognizing their credentials.

The Government of Canada is also working with provincial and territorial partners to improve online services that help immigrants integrate into Canadian society.  Canada is today announcing approximately $18.8 million in funding for several provinces and territories to enhance online information about settling and working across the country. 

Canada’s New Government is also providing $5 million to top up the existing Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Program, bringing its total funding to $73 million. This program, which falls under Human Resources and Social Development, successfully strengthens foreign credentials assessment and recognition processes in Canada. As part of this program, the Government today announced $7.7 million in new projects.

“Together, the new credentials referral office and the FCR Program will improve the efficiency of Canada’s labour market,” said Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. Speaking in Vancouver on behalf of Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, Minister Lunn said: “Specifically, the office will provide newcomers with a clear path on where to find information on how to get their credentials assessed, while the FCR program will help improve foreign credential recognition processes in Canada.”

The creation of the FCRO follows consultations with provincial and territorial governments and other key stakeholders, including regulatory and assessment bodies, post secondary education institutions and their national organizations, employers, sector councils, immigrant serving organizations and newcomers themselves. Credential recognition in Canada is mainly a provincial responsibility. The federal government plays a facilitative role, funding assessment projects and now, with the FCRO, providing a range of information and referral services.

For further information (media only), please contact:

Philippe Mailhot
Press Secretary
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Spokesperson, Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Pema Lhalungpa
Press Secretary
Minister’s Office
Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Social Development Canada