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Ontario and Alberta working together to recognize international credentials

By Adam Freill   

Construction Labour

Provinces are partnering to remove barriers and create more opportunities for internationally trained skilled workers.

Minister Rajan Sawhney and Minister David Piccini shaking hands after signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the McDougall Centre in Calgary. (Photo courtesy of Aspen Films)

The governments of Ontario and Alberta are working together on a framework for collaboration for international credential recognition and post-journeyperson certification. The two governments say that the partnership will reduce interprovincial barriers and red tape for credential recognition and encourage the flow of labour between the two provinces who cited openings and gaps in the labour market pool.

“Ontario needs hundreds of thousands of additional skilled trades workers over the next decade to build homes, hospitals and highways,” said David Piccini, the province’s minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. “Working together with Alberta, we’re sharing knowledge and expertise on international credential recognition, removing barriers to skilled workers filling in-demand jobs and building our communities.”

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the provinces will work together to share expertise and information and explore an international credential recognition framework for skilled trades aimed at supporting mobility between the two jurisdictions.

“This agreement marks a significant step forward in addressing the skilled labour shortage in Alberta,” said Rajan Sawhney, Alberta’s minister of advanced education. “By expanding our international credential recognition and working with our partners in the government of Ontario, we can welcome more talented individuals and ensure our economy remains competitive and dynamic.”

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Private sector industry and labour stakeholders have identified a need for post-journeyperson upgrading courses and credentials to meet the evolving needs of the Canadian economy. The partnership is expected to help expand offerings of post-journeyperson certifications to support graduates of apprenticeship programs in upskilling and achieving pathways to further their career prospects.

In Ontario, Skilled Trades Ontario (STO), a government agency, is responsible for assessing whether the experience and qualifications obtained by applicants for an Ontario certificate of qualification are equivalent to those received through completing an Ontario apprenticeship program. Skilled Trades Ontario’s Trade Equivalency Assessment is the first step towards obtaining a Certificate of Qualification for experienced workers who have not completed an Ontario apprenticeship but who have equivalent skills and experience.

“This MOU will allow Ontario and Alberta to better fill short- and long-term needs for skilled tradespeople,” stated Melissa Young, registrar and CEO, Skilled Trades Ontario. “As a result, through rigorous credential assessment, we’ll have proactively identified pools of highly skilled tradespeople. We’re eager to enhance worker mobility and strategic recruitment for the benefit of both provinces.”

Alberta currently recognizes international credentials of specific journeypersons such as carpenter, heavy equipment technician and plumber from the Republic of Ireland, and sees international credential recognition and post-journeyperson credentials and certification as key strategies to meet several mandate items for Alberta’s Ministry of Advanced Education.

The Memorandum of Understanding will be reviewed in 18 months.

www.ontario.ca

www.alberta.ca

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