The Ontario government is set to propose legislation that would negate the requirement of Canadian work experience in job postings and application forms. If passed, this legislation would greatly aid immigrants who have trouble getting hired even with relevant work and study experience, simply because their work experience was gained outside of Canada. 
This change will revolutionize the interview process for qualified candidates and comes on the heels of historic legislation (set to come into effect December 2023) that prohibits regulated professions from requiring discriminatory Candian work experience requirements for over 30 occupations. 
Addressing the labour shortage and welcoming newcomers
David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development, said, “for far too long, too many people arriving in Canada have been funneled toward dead-end jobs they’re overqualified for. We need to ensure these people can land well-paying and rewarding careers that help tackle the labour shortage. When newcomers to Ontario get a meaningful chance to contribute, everyone wins.” 
Additionally, Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, noted, “Ontario is a global leader in welcoming newcomers from a wide array of backgrounds, cultures and faiths around the world. By banning Canadian work experience requirements in job postings, Ontario, through Premier Ford and Minister Piccini’s leadership, is leading the country in breaking down barriers to make it easier for internationally trained immigrants to find meaningful work and contribute to building Ontario. This change will help support families as they start their journey in their new homes, create more vibrant communities and help ensure businesses have the talent they need.” 
Is the ban on Canadian work experience requirements helpful?
While Ministers Ford and Piccini are clear on their opinions, others remain unswayed and unsure. One lawyer however, is certain that this is a beneficial step forward.
Talking to Canadian HR Reporter, Henry Chang noted that while everyone awaits the government to release the legislation officially, the idea behind the proposal may serve as a start to solving real life problems that immigrants face.
He said, “employers are slow to consider foreign-trained workers as viable candidates. And this has been a problem for a very long time… You’ve heard the story about the taxi driver who has a medical degree – these are all situations that happen. And the problem is that the job market doesn’t absorb the immigrants that we bring in under these economic categories based on their educational, work experience in certain high-level fields.” 
Chang also pointed out the fact that the legislation would be an expansion of a previous statutory amendment that banned requiring Canadian work experience for foreign-trained professionals that wished to be licensed in their field in the province.
Although the language of the new legislation is yet to be seen, Chang is of the opinion that it will be geared toward changing employers’ mindsets toward foreign trained talent. 
“By requiring employers to not state Canadian work experience in their job postings, they’re hoping to encourage employers to consider foreign-trained workers now. The intention here is to try to change the mindset of the employers to start to accept that good, viable candidates don’t necessarily need to have Canadian work experience.
“It’s a step in the right direction. It’s not a solution to the problem. And I don’t think the government thinks it’s necessarily a solution to the problem.” 
Will this legislation restrict employers’ hiring choice?
The proposed legislation will not restrict employers’ hiring choice. Rather, it will do the opposite by widening the talent pool.
Chang noted, “[the] legislation doesn’t prevent you from considering all factors…So you are going to have to consider other factors.
“I think what [employers] need to do is consider foreign experience in the same manner that they [consider] Canadian work experience. They should look for reference letters, they should assess the credibility [of] the employer providing the reference, I don’t think it’s necessarily any more difficult to do.” 
Furthermore, he says that in practical terms, this legislation really won’t cause that much of a change.
“[If] the companies [referenced by the applicant is] down the street, [employers] could probably go in, call them or drop in and verify everything. But nobody ever does that. Even if the former employer is in the same city. So from a practical point of view, I don’t think it’s going to change things that much.” 
What employers and HR Managers should do
Although not currently mandatory, Chang suggests that employers start following the proposed rule now.
“If I were an employer, I would actually start doing that now, in anticipation that this is going to happen … Because there are many foreign-qualified candidates who are having trouble finding employment because of the inherent bias that employers have in terms of foreign education or foreign work experience.” 
Whatever employers’ personal beliefs, there is no fighting the fact that hiring practices and processes are evolving and so is the accompanying legislation.
Ontario recently introduced legislation that mandates employers to make expected salary ranges public in job postings, as well as let job candidates know if AI technology will be used at any point in the hiring process. 
As such, it’s key that employers keep up to date with changes in legislation so that they can comply accordingly, but perhaps even more importantly, ensure that they don’t miss out on the right person for the job.
Do you have questions for our Recruiting, HR Management and Payroll Management experts? Contact us now:
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Ontario Newsroom – Ontario To Ban Requirements for Canadian Work Experience in Job Postings
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HR Reporter – Will proposed legislation banning Canada work experience solve long-standing problem for immigrants?