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Week 3 of multicultural council’s Q&A project looks at schooling, employment, benefits of immigration

The Moose Jaw Multicultural Council is still accepting questions from the community as part of this project.
Education
A classroom of older adults. File photo

The Moose Jaw Multicultural Council has released the third part of its community Q&A project, with this week’s questions focusing on the benefits of immigration, job training and schooling.

The first part of the Q&A project can be found here and the second part can be found here.

Do you think Canada should help Canadians first? 

This question is a complex and common one, and understandably so. Times are tough. People wonder why Canada continues allotting funds for immigration when so many Canadians are struggling to make ends meet. While we don’t have space to thoroughly address this question here, what we can do is note some ways immigration helps Canadians:
 

  • Immigration helps address critical labour shortages. At the time of writing this, Sask Jobs has 805 local jobs listed. Rob Clark, CEO of Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce, emphasizes our need for immigrants locally. He highlights labour shortages in manufacturing, health care, and entry-level jobs, which are expected to grow as baby boomers retire and there are not enough working-age Canadians to fill these vacancies. This shortage is so pronounced that there are immigration programs (Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) and Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)) to find skilled immigrants to fill these gaps. 
     
  • It helps Canada interact on an international stage. We live in an increasingly globalized world and rely on strong relationships with other countries for our economy, resources, defence, national security, etc. A diversified population at home gives Canada opportunities for strengthened international relationships.
     
  • Newcomers bring in a variety of perspectives and strengths. They show us new ideas; different problem-solving strategies; teach us resilience; and community values, to name a few. 

It is also important to note that this is not an “either-or” scenario. Diminishing support for newcomers does not necessarily mean that struggling Canadians would be better off, nor are immigrants privy to an excess of financial resources that aren’t available to Canadians born here. 

Are you able to work in your field of expertise or training in Canada? Do you have to be re-certified somehow? 

Great question. Yes, newcomers can work in their field of expertise or training in Canada, but many end up postponing this, or going through more schooling in Canada. 

Firstly, professionals must have their credentials evaluated here: this costs between $200 and $500 and can be a lengthy process. The cost and time commitment is a deterrent, especially without confidence that one’s credentials will be accepted. It is common for educated individuals to begin working where they can and put this evaluation decision on hold until they are more established and financially stable. 

Secondly, this process requires transcripts and other documents that might be inaccessible. Refugees especially have a difficult time acquiring the proper paperwork; it’s possible that these documents were left behind, destroyed, or cannot be obtained digitally while their home country is during turmoil and war. 

There are some professionals, though, who are being fast-tracked because of how desperately we need them. If they have the financial resources, doctors and nurses arriving to Canada go through testing, credential evaluation, and English language proficiency evaluations to get them working as soon as possible.  

Will they all get free schooling? 

No. The only free schooling available to newcomers are adult English classes for those who need them. Aside from this, those with Permanent Resident status are required to pay the same school fees as any other Canadian citizen. In the event that people are here on a study visa, they must pay the higher international student fees.