1 May 2007
By JORGE BARRERA, NATIONAL BUREAU
Problems with licensing bodies forced the Conservative government to push back the unveiling of a promised agency to deal with the nagging problem of recognizing immigrants' foreign credentials.
The government had planned to announce the creation of its Foreign Credential Referral Office in late March, but the date was pushed back to iron out some issues with licensing bodies like medical and engineering associations, Sun Media has learned.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley's office would not comment on the matter. A spokesman said an announcement would be coming soon.
A Statistics Canada report released yesterday renewed opposition criticism of the government for failing to make gains on an issue that was a pressing concern for many immigrants.
The StatsCan survey found that 84% of immigrants said they were happy about their decision to come to Canada after spending four years in the country, but 46% said finding adequate work was the biggest difficulty they faced.
Half of the immigrants surveyed said not having Canadian work experience proved to be their biggest obstacle to finding employment, while 37% said it was the lack of recognition for foreign credentials.
The same percentage cited inadequate contacts in the job market as a major stumbling block.
Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow said if the Conservatives really cared about the priorities of immigrants, they would have moved more quickly on creating the foreign credentials agency.
Mississauga-area Liberal MP Omar Alghabra said Prime Minister Stephen Harper had broken a promise on the issue.
"It is very frustrating for many Canadians," he said. "There is just a dismissive attitude and a reluctance to do anything on this file."