Foreign workers forced to obtain additional Canadian credentials before practicing in their field will feel some financial relief in the Conservative’s budget, tabled Tuesday.
However, the document – which still needs to be approved by parliamentarians – is vague on increased recognition of foreign credentials, an important issue for Ottawa’s technology sector.
“There are very qualified people not being able to work in their field in Canada because of a recognition of their experience and credentials, so I think a large number of organizations have asked for some relief there,” said OCRI chief executive Claude Haw in an interview before the budget's release on Tuesday.
That said, the budget included few details about how immigrants could gain equivalency for medical, law, engineering and other professional degrees overseas, only saying details would be announced shortly.
Instead, the government focused on tuition relief for those foreign workers that are looking to switch careers or supplement their existing credentials.
“Many foreign-trained workers have difficulty paying for the tuition and other training costs associated with the foreign credential recognition process,” budget documents stated.
University and college tuition fees in Canada are eligible for a tax credit, but examinations for professional certifications – like nursing or accounting – don't fall under this bracket.
The budget proposes making all of these trade, occupational and professional examination fees eligible as long as a provincial or federal statute lets the person do the trade in Canada.
Around 30,000 people nationwide are expected to receive this assistance, reducing federal revenues by $1 million in 2010-11 and $5 million for the following two years.
“During the downturn, people asked if we need more people in the country, but I say it creates vibrancy and innovation,” Mr. Haw said, noting that Canadians do very well when working with Silicon Valley companies and he has seen the same phenomenon when foreign workers come here.