Canada eases restrictions on foreign-trained architects

OTTAWA, Sep. 14, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- The Canadian government is trying to fix a problem that has angered immigrants to this country for many years: the inability of newcomers to practice their trades as their education and skills are not recognized in Canada.
At a news conference here Tuesday, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley said the government is funding a project that will make it easier for internationally trained architects to find work in their field.
The government has reached an agreement with the professional body that governs architects to develop a system to recognize the skills and experience of foreign-trained architects, Finley said.
"Newcomers need to have their credentials and their work experience recognized, and done so in a timely manner," Finley told reporters.
"That is why the government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories, and encouraging partners to work together to improve foreign credential recognition," she added.
Finley is expected to make a similar announcement Wednesday about dentists.
Finley said the acceptance of foreign credentials not only helps immigrants, it also aids employers who need their skills.
"Attracting and retaining the best international talent to address existing and future labor market challenges is critical to Canada's long-term economic success," she said. "When newcomers succeed, we strengthen the economy and improve the standard of living for all Canadians."
She said the Canadian government, under its Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, is working on rules to streamline credential recognition for eight professions, including architects, engineers, accountants, medical laboratory technicians, pharmacists, physiotherapists and registered nurses.
Another six professions will be addressed soon, government officials said. These include engineering technicians, licensed practical nurses, medical radiation technicians, physicians, and teachers.
Architecture Canada is the first professional organization to work on a project to evaluate and license foreign-trained professions. The agency will examine the training and work experience of immigrant architects, then assign them academic work at Athabaska University if they need training in Canadian methods and help learning one of Canada's official languages.
The courses will begin at the Center of Architecture at Athabasca University in Sept. 2011.
"Architecture Canada and the Canadian Architectural Licensing Authorities welcome the grant from the federal government to undertake this worthwhile study," said Jim McKee, Executive Director of Architecture Canada. "The architectural profession is committed to increasing the number of architects in practice to provide services to our clients in Canada and abroad."
McKee said Canada needs about 100 to 200 foreign architects each year to meet the demands of the country, and that number will grow as hundreds of architects retire in the next few years. He said many Canadian architecture graduates leave Canada for jobs in the United States.
McKee said foreign-trained architects may save up to five years of re-training. Formerly, they had to perform 5,600 hours of apprenticeship training and take academic courses before being licensed to work in Canada.
(Source: iStockAnalyst )

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