Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Human Rights

Issue 3 - Evidence, March 10, 2008


OTTAWA, Monday, March 10, 2008

The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights met this day at 5:06 p.m. to examine cases of alleged discrimination in the hiring and promotion practices of the federal public service and to study the extent to which targets to achieve employment equity for minority groups are being met.

Senator A. Raynell Andreychuk (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: Honourable senators, the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights is meeting this evening to examine cases of alleged discrimination in the hiring and promotion practices of the Federal Public Service, and to study the extent to which targets to achieve employment equity for minority groups are being met.

From Statistics Canada, we have with us Christel Le Petit, Chief, Analysis and Special Projects, Labour Statistics Division; Geoff Bowlby, Director, Labour Statistics Division; and Tracey Leesti, Assistant Director, Labour Statistics Division.

As the clerk no doubt advised you, we are very interested in the statistics that you have recently released that impact the patterns in Canada, both with immigration and labour. Please make your opening statements, after which will be a question period.

Geoff Bowlby, Director, Labour Statistics Division, Statistics Canada: We appreciate this opportunity to speak to you. It is an honour to be before you today.

Today, we will be providing you with some context for your discussion and some statistics that we recently released — some of which you may have seen — from the Labour Force Survey and from data released last week from the Census of Population.

I am the Director of the Labour Statistics Division at Statistics Canada. Our responsibility is the Labour Force Survey and the census labour data. With me today is Ms. Leesti, Assistant Director and the Labour Force Survey manager. We will be here to help Ms. Le Petit with the question you may ask. However, Ms. Leesti will give the presentation today. She will be making the presentation largely based on some analysis done by Jason Gilmore, a senior analyst at Statistics Canada.

Christel Le Petit, Chief, Analysis and Special Projects, Labour Statistics Division, Statistics Canada: The presentation is entitled The Canadian Immigrant Labour Market in 2006: Analysis by Region or Country of Birth. I hope that you all have a copy of the presentation before you.

As you may know, the labour market for immigrants varies depending on how long immigrants have been in the country. In order to look at the situation appropriately, we grouped the immigrant based on how long he or she has been in Canada. Very recent immigrants are those immigrants who have been here for five years or less. Since we are discussing 2006 statistics, this would be immigrants who came to Canada in 2001 and after. Recent immigrants have been in Canada between five and 10 years. The final group is the established immigrants who have been here more than 10 years.

Some of this presentation looks at the outcomes by region of birth. They are grouped into four main categories: Asia, including the Middle East; Europe; Latin America, including the Caribbean and Bermuda; and Africa. Most of the analysis focuses on the population aged between 25 years and 54 years. This is the age where most people who want to work will be trying to work. They have finished their studies and are aged 25 and older. They are not yet in the age group where they might be retiring.

In order to compare the different groups — comparing apples with apples — as much as possible, we do not focus exclusively on established immigrants who, by default, have been here for 10 years or more. They are likely to be older, and many will be retiring and not participating in the labour market. That is why we are focusing today on the 25 to 54 age group.

The next slide shows the proportion of immigrants in the Canadian population. More than one in five Canadians aged 15 and over in 2006 were immigrants. Within that group, three per cent were very recent immigrants, another 3 per cent were recent immigrants and 16 per cent were established immigrants. The remaining category is 2 per cent and is composed of the student visas, working permits and temporary foreign workers.

The next slide shows the immigrant's country of birth. About 40 per cent of established immigrants came from Asia and 33 per cent from Europe. Those were the main contributors to Canadian immigration. For recent immigrants, that is, those who came between 1996 and 2001, the proportion from Asia increases to 59 per cent while those from Europe decreased to 20 per cent. Very recent immigrants show Asia as the source for more than half, with 18 per cent from Europe.

The proportion of immigrants coming from Europe has declined. There has also been a shift in the origins from within Europe, in that immigrants used to come more from northern and western Europe. In recent years, more immigrants are coming from eastern and southern Europe.

An increase of immigrants coming from Africa is also seen. While the change does not seem large, established immigrants have increased from six per cent to 12 per cent. This is more pronounced in Quebec, where their immigration policy has favoured French-speaking immigrants. Therefore, there have been more immigrants from Africa. The proportion of immigrants from Latin America has been between 10 per cent and 15 per cent.

The next slide shows the labour market outcome of immigrants. The unemployment rate for Canadians aged 25 to 54 years was 4.9 per cent in 2006. The labour market in Canada has been good over the last few years and is reflected in the low unemployment rate. That is matched by the employment rate of 83 per cent, which is the proportion of the population that is working.

It is a different picture for the very recent immigrants. Their unemployment rate was 11.5 per cent in 2006, more than twice that of the Canadian-born population. The rate for recent immigrants was 7.3 per cent. Established immigrants had rates similar to the Canadian-born. Therefore, immigrants who have been here longer seem to have a lower unemployment rate.

The next slide provides a historical view of how the situation evolved. I have employment rates for very recent immigrants and Canadian-born or non-immigrants. In 1981, the gap was only 6 percentage points between the two groups. We look at the difference every five years, based on census data, and see that the gap increases. It was the largest in 1996 at 19 per cent.

From 1996 to 2001, employment rates increased for both Canadian-born and immigrants. There has been a small reduction of the gap between 1996 and 2006. Both groups benefited from the positive labour market. However, there is still a significant difference between the two.

The next slide shows these statistics by education. Canada favours immigration of people with higher education. Among the very recent immigrants, slightly more than 50 per cent of them have a university degree. However, when we look at the unemployment rates, high school graduates had an unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent, those with a bachelor's degree had a rate of 11.4 per cent and immigrants with more than a bachelor's degree had a rate of 12.4 per cent. Therefore, immigrants with a higher level of education did not seem to get any benefit in the labour market.

Compare that to the Canadian-born population where a higher education results in a much lower unemployment rate. About 20 per cent of the Canadian population has a university degree, compared to 50 per cent of very recent immigrants.

Immigrants perform differently within the labour market in each province. When they establish themselves in an area of Canada, they find employment in the local labour market, and their outcome will be influenced by the situation around them. It is not surprising that the most successful immigrants are in Alberta, which has benefited from all the oil and gas activity. They had the highest employment rate. The lowest employment rate was in Quebec, where the labour market in 2006 was not as positive as in other provinces. Some problems are also likely related to the country of origin, wherein immigrants from different countries seem to have different levels of success.

In regard to labour market participation by country of origin, the good news story is that immigrants from the Philippines had good employment rates even in the first five years. They had 5.4 per cent unemployment. This compares to 4.9 per cent for the Canadian-born population. The Filipinos worked in a variety of occupations including manufacturing, retail, home care and health care. Immigrants from other regions had varying unemployment rates: Europe, 8.4 per cent; Latin America, 10.5 per cent; Asia, in general, 11.1 per cent; and Africa, 20.8 per cent.

The next slide gives a similar picture for the three big destination provinces for immigrants. Most of them go to Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. We see that immigrants from Europe tend to have the most positive outcome with a lower unemployment rate, followed by those from Latin America, Asia and Africa. This is particularly so in Quebec, where the unemployment rate is 27 per cent for immigrants who have been in the country for five years or less.

Other immigrant surveys at Statistics Canada look at the reasons associated with those difficulties. On the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada, one of the questions was: What are the barriers to finding employment? The most common barrier that the respondents mentioned was not enough Canadian job experience. Either they did not have any job experience or they had some but it was not Canadian, and it was not recognized by the employers. The next barrier was language problems — lack of knowledge of one of the official languages. This can be seen at two levels: knowledge of official languages for work and for going about your daily life. In the work category, language skills might encompass professional knowledge, which can be technical and perhaps exclusively Canadian, such that it is not the same as the knowledge required in the home country. Another barrier mentioned was lack of employment opportunities and lack of recognition of foreign credentials.

Another interesting statistic that we found is at the top part of the graph, which represents the proportion of population who were students. Among the 25- to 54-age group under Canadian-born, it is only 4 per cent. That is not a surprise because by the age of 25, most Canadians are finished their education. However, the age is a lot higher among the immigrants. It was interesting to see that the largest proportion was from Latin America and Africa.

Among those who were students, they were asked whether they were working as well, or students only. Under Canadian-born, two thirds of the students were also working. For immigrants, the percentage was a lot lower. They do not seem to be accumulating work and studies at the same time as much as the Canadian-born respondents do.

The next two slides come from our census data that we released last week. We looked at the occupations where immigrants are over-represented or under-represented. In general, 22 per cent of our labour market consists of working immigrants. Looking at specific occupations, 65 per cent of sewing machine operators are immigrants. This occupation also represented the sharpest decline between 2001 and 2006 because the manufacturing sector, in particular textiles, is not healthy in Canada. That affects the labour market of immigrants.

Another area that was highly represented by immigrants was taxi drivers and limousine drivers at 58 per cent. There are also many immigrants working in the software industry. When the IT business rapidly expanded in the late 1990s, a great deal of policy was put in place to attract people with the relevant training to Canada. That is reflected in these statistics. Many software engineers and computer programmers are immigrants. Next on the list is food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and, interestingly, general practitioners. About 31 per cent of GPs are immigrants, which is higher than the 22 per cent in general.

The next list consists of occupations with the lowest immigrant representation. Only 8 per cent of police officers are immigrants and 9 per cent of senior government managers and officials are immigrants. The figures are similar for kindergarten, elementary and secondary school teachers, where there is a much lower proportion of immigrants than the labour market in general. The representation of university professors is much higher. That profession is part of the global market so they come to Canada from many other areas. For carpenters, it is only 13 per cent. Again, our census data show that there has been a lot of growth in the construction and carpentry industry but there are not many immigrants in those professions.

In conclusion, we found that very recent and recent immigrants had a higher rate of unemployment and a lower rate of employment than the Canadian-born respondents had. The higher unemployment rates for very recent immigrants was regardless of education. Even highly educated immigrants in Canada do not find employment in the first five years.

In 2006, Filipino-born immigrants had strong labour market outcomes. European and Latin American immigrants, who landed more than five years earlier, had similar labour market outcomes as Canadian-born had, while Asian and African immigrants had lower employment rates than Canadian-born, regardless of the year of landing.

Immigrants are more represented in occupations related to food and services, manufacturing and technical occupations, while less represented in education.

Slide No. 16 shows the two reports released on the Labour Force Survey. We have two more surveys coming up: one on the outcomes by country of education, based on education acquired in Canada or education acquired before immigrating; and characteristics of employment. We want to look into earnings and into permanent versus temporary, and full-time versus part-time.

The Chair: We will go to questions.

Does your definition of ``immigrant'' include refugee status, or is it purely as in under the Immigration Act?

Ms. Le Petit: They will fall under the ``other'' category. When we talk about immigrants here and the time periods, it is since they became a landed immigrant. If a refugee never became a landed immigrant, they would not be included in these statistics.

The Chair: The definition is ``landed immigrant?''

Ms. Le Petit: That is right.

The Chair: You can become one in different ways. You referred to carpenters. Did you do the survey for trades vis-à-vis post-secondary education? There has been debate in Canada that we targeted those who are more highly educated, such as doctors, holders of PhDs and Masters degrees, as opposed to welders, plumbers and other trades people. Do the percentages reflect your longer version of the report that we will read?

Ms. Le Petit: You are asking about the trades?

Mr. Bowlby: We would have information on all the trades available. What we highlighted here was one of the biggest ones, which had a disproportionately low share of immigrants. That is the only reason that particular one is included. You can see welders, plumbers, electricians and many other trades.

Tracey Leesti, Assistant Director, Labour Statistics Division, Statistics Canada: The titles of the slides indicate the highest and the lowest representation. They are among the highest and among the lowest; they are not the absolute highest or lowest. We had a number of different occupations to choose from within the census data. We can go into quite a bit of detail but we selected the largest areas and categories of interest where they are over- and under-represented, as Mr. Bowlby said.

The Chair: You mentioned immigrants from the Philippines. Was that done in the survey or is that what you gleaned from the results of the survey?

Ms. Le Petit: That is what we get from the result of the survey. Most of the study is based on the Labour Force Survey, which is the survey that gives us the unemployment rate every month. We just released the last number on Friday. We added those questions to everyone on their country of birth. We do not specifically target Filipinos or African immigrants but we ask everyone for their country of birth. We tabulate the data by country of birth and look at the results. That is where we found that the Filipinos did remarkably well.

The Chair: In that category, you might have had South Africa, Nigeria, Indonesia and so on. The Philippines stood out as a statistic. Were there other countries that did so, or are the Philippines singular in their performance rate?

Ms. Le Petit: They are unique. They stand out in how well they do. For us to see that, there must be enough of them. There could be immigrants from some other countries that do really well, but we cannot see it because it is only a survey, and we do not interview everyone. For example, immigrants from other countries that did well from Europe were from Portugal and Great Britain, but they are small so the numbers are less reliable.

The Chair: You said that the immigrants from the Philippines did well in areas that we would not have expected. What I would have expected would have been nursing, home care and doctors. Is that what you meant by what you expected?

Ms. Le Petit: There are many people who will think about people from the Philippines coming in as nannies; that is what I was referring to. We found that they do not only work as nannies. There are men coming as well; it is not only women. They work in manufacturing, science and retail — a wide variety of industries and occupations.

Senator Munson: On that theme of Filipinos, is it because they speak English better than others who come from Asia? Having lived in Asia for a period of time, I have noticed in the Philippines that their command of English is quite strong.

Ms. Le Petit: I cannot say if that is why, but many of the courses in the Filipino education system are given in English. A high proportion of Filipinos speak English, so it is possible that that is related. We did not ask them why in the survey, so I cannot directly answer your question.

Senator Munson: There are probably some questions you cannot answer. What we are studying here is alleged discrimination, primarily in the public service. We are trying to achieve employment equity for minority groups, to see if they are being met or not.

On chart 7, you had higher unemployment rates for recent immigrants, regardless of education: 12.4 per cent, in comparison to 2.4 per cent for those born in Canada. From a statistical point of view, is there any way that you can investigate or understand why that unemployment rate is so high, even though they probably have the same education as those born here?

Ms. Le Petit: That is an excellent question. You are right that we cannot go into it directly. We know from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada that they mention they have issues with credential recognition. One of the hypotheses is that the degrees they have are not Canadian, and are not recognized in the same way as Canadian degrees are recognized.

Senator Munson: They end up in the group driving taxis and becoming limo drivers, then?

Ms. Le Petit: It is possible; we cannot answer that.

Senator Munson: There must be some way to correlate that.

Ms. Le Petit: There is a way; this data is available with the census. I just do not have it with me today. We only released the census data last Tuesday, so we have not yet had the time. However, that is something on which we have committed to preparing and presenting analysis.

How does occupation versus field of study correlate for immigrants? It is complex. There is no study to become a bus driver, for example. You just have to make sure that you do it properly, and it is just recently that we have had the data available. That information will be coming.

Senator Munson: Is there any data on those who are fortunate with their degrees from other countries, which do not seem to add up to the way we look at our degrees, in terms of their salary levels? Once they get that job — a person who is working as a nurse or in any other professional job, for example — do they receive the same salary as someone who is Canadian born?

Mr. Bowlby: We do not have data on hand to compare the exact same occupation and education level, to standardize all of these things. What we do know about earnings among immigrants is that immigrants do not earn as much as someone who is Canadian-born, on the whole. Statistics Canada found that, over the 1980s and into the 1990s, there was an absolute decline in earnings among immigrants. The trend picked up a little bit in the late 1990s, when earnings among immigrants actually improved. Since 2000, the decline has begun again. Between 2000 and 2005, there has been a decline in earnings among immigrants to Canada.

Senator Munson: Is there an explanation for that?

Mr. Bowlby: There has been some research at Statistics Canada. I will have to read from my notes because it is not my research.

A report by Picot and Sweetman looked at what are some of the possible explanations for the earnings gap between immigrants and non-immigrants. They found that the change in the characteristics of immigrants over time has accounted for about one third of the increase in the gap. For example, the change in the source country has had an impact on earnings.

Second, they found that foreign work experience does not seem to matter as much as it used to. That is another finding we found in a separate survey — the LSIC, the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada. One of the complaints among immigrants on that survey was that their foreign work experience was not being counted by Canadian employers when the immigrants were trying to find work. That is having an impact on earnings as well.

The third thing that Picot and Sweetman noted was that there has been a general decline in labour market outcomes or earnings among new entrants to the labour market. No matter whether you are an immigrant or a youth entering the labour market today, it is harder to get into the labour market and earn as much as we used to in the past.

Senator Munson: I have one other question for now. Charts are charts, but charts are also people. They certainly tell a story. I am wondering if this is a discouraging chart or an encouraging one when it comes to dealing with immigrants looking for work in this country. When they take a look at the picture of Canada, is it a welcoming place, free of discrimination?

Mr. Bowlby: I would say that immigrants would have their network, and they would tell others what Canada is like. One of the interesting findings in the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada was that immigrants, on the whole, say that they do not have a lot of complaints about being in Canada. However, the survey also found that their number one complaint was the lack of employment opportunities. However, three-quarters said that they would come to Canada again if they had it to do over. I know I did not directly answer your question, but there are some hints there as to how this country would be perceived.

The Chair: Could I follow up on that? If you ask someone to come with a doctor's degree, you can weigh how their wages are against a doctor in our country, so you do the comparative. However, one of the most interesting questions that arose out of the data of yours that I read is: Are we encouraging and making welcome the kinds of immigrants who would probably like to come but were precluded because of our immigration process?

I am looking at Western Canada where trades are necessary, but that factor was not high on the immigration list. That is not what we were targeting. We were looking at knowledge-based issues and economies. Now we need the plumbers, the welders. Provinces have had to reach out to countries where they know that there might be some appetite to come to Canada in those professions, but they have had to go through a lot of impediments.

Does your data simply work on what the immigration policies are? In other words, you cannot really look behind what the pool of available immigrants might be, and see those who have been turned away. Am I making myself clear?

Mr. Bowlby: All our data refer to immigrants who are already here. We would not have any information on the available pool in other countries, except for statistics that might be available from those statistical organizations in those countries. It probably would not have as much information as we would have in Canada. If we were to go to one of the source countries and ask for data on the characteristics of their population, it probably would not be as rich a data set as comes from Statistics Canada.

Senator Poy: My questions will be similar to the other questions. You were mentioning that the gap was growing because of employment or unemployment of immigrants because of the change in source countries, and that the gap had become greater. Do you have statistics on those who came into this country, but became disillusioned and left? I know many have moved to countries such as the United States, or they go back to their country of origin. Do you have statistics on that aspect?

Ms. Leesti: No, we do not, unfortunately, collect information on exit statistics on those who do leave.

Senator Poy: Who does? I know they exist. I am referring to the percentage of those highly-qualified immigrants who come here and cannot get the kind of jobs that they expect, and they move to another country or they go home.

Ms. Leesti: That I am not sure. You could check with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, because they are responsible for the entry of immigrants to Canada. I was not aware that they collect exit statistics, but you could verify with them.

Senator Poy: I have come across that, in the past.

Regarding lack of Canadian experience, you hear that again and again. I have had immigrants who have said to me, ``If I cannot get a job in Canada, how can I have Canadian experience?''

You mentioned Canadian degrees. In regard to the ``old days,'' up to the 1990s, I have done research and discovered that graduates with degrees from Commonwealth universities would be recognized in Canada, whereas those with U.S. degrees or degrees from other countries were not recognized. Is there a change in that stance?

Ms. Le Petit: We do not know yet. We have just started to look at that data.

Senator Poy: Is it not in your 2006 information?

Ms. Le Petit: The question is asked and we have the location but, as you understand, the census is a large database and takes a long time to process and organize, so we have not released that information yet.

Senator Poy: You refer to the unemployment rate among Canadian-born being much lower. Do you have statistics of Canadians born of immigrants of non-European heritage? Do you have those statistics?

Ms. Le Petit: They are around; they are not here with us.

Senator Poy: Do you work on those statistics? They have non-European heritage but were born in Canada. The Canadian Labour Congress has said that these second- or third-generation Canadians make less than Canadian-born who are of European background.

Ms. Le Petit: I believe some studies done have been done to that effect.

Ms. Leesti: There have been some studies done. I am not familiar with them in detail. Using different Statistics Canada data sources, I believe one was done with the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, and it may have been Garnett Picot who had done it, so there are data around.

Senator Poy: Do you not keep those statistics?

Ms. Leesti: Not within our division.

Mr. Bowlby: They are available at Statistics Canada. The census can tell you that. You can also get information from a survey that was run after the 2001 census called the Ethnic Diversity Survey, which should have that information as well.

Ms. Leesti: As well as the Labour and Income Dynamics.

Senator Poy: Filipinos and Filipinas have the highest employment rate. Senator Munson was saying that that is perhaps because they speak English, but so do South Asians. How do they compare? They use English in their schools, too. Do you have a comparison?

Ms. Le Petit: No, I am sorry.

The Chair: If I could just clarify that. What you said was that immigrants from the Philippines rated high. You do have statistics for the rest; they just did not rate high, but you do not know why; is that correct?

Ms. Le Petit: That is right.

The Chair: They are included?

Ms. Le Petit: Yes.

Senator Poy: Senator Munson mentioned that perhaps it is because they speak English when they get here, but so do South Asians.

Senator Munson: If you are in Malaysia or some other countries, on the streets you are more apt to hear the local tongues. In Manila and in other cities, the Filipinos are speaking English a lot. You do not find that as much, I discovered, in other south Asian cities.

Senator Poy: I just wondered. It was a clarification.

Mr. Bowlby: I would suggest that that probably helps, but I do not think that it explains everything. We can look at other English-speaking countries and we can see that the employment rates are not as good as they are among immigrants from the Philippines.

Ms. Leesti: There are other factors at play here too, including how strong the social networks are in terms of finding a job. That could go a long way to helping people. There could be a number of factors at play.

Ms. Le Petit: Another reason is knowledge about the local labour market and having a social network. The Filipinos are a large community and they have become established in many of the large cities. They are in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, but they are also in Winnipeg and Edmonton. It probably helps them because they have services and connections right there and then.

Senator Poy: When you say ``employment,'' anybody who is self-employed, even with a small business would still count, right?

Ms. Le Petit: That is right.

The Chair: You pointed out that if you are born here, that is the sort of medium that everyone is reaching for. The longer an immigrant has stayed, perhaps become a citizen, the better their opportunities are. Some of the reasons may be obvious, such as the integration, the understanding and the knowledge base being the same.

Having said that, did you find anywhere where that statistic did not hold? I have looked at your statistics. Is it always true, for whatever indicator, that the longer you are in Canada, the better you do? By way of provinces, that seemed to be the case; by way of age, that seemed to be the case. That is the overall leveller — time — is that it?

Ms. Le Petit: The only case where it does not quite hold true is for the African-born immigrants, especially in Quebec. It seems that even for the African-born immigrants in the established population, the labour market was not as positive, even after 10 years or more in the country. We cannot say why. Once again, we can just present some hypotheses.

The Chair: They were from Africa, you say?

Ms. Le Petit: Yes.

Mr. Bowlby: To add to that, African immigrants do see an improvement over time. It is that they still have high unemployment a number of years after landing. That was the point.

The Chair: That was distinctly within one province, and Africa as opposed to, say, visible minorities from areas other than Africa?

Ms. Le Petit: Just a clarification here. We are looking at the country of birth; we are not looking at the visible minority status.

The Chair: Just the country of birth?

Ms. Le Petit: It is the country of birth, yes. They were born in Africa, North Africa or Central Africa.

The Chair: It could be anywhere, then.

Ms. Le Petit: That is right.

Mr. Bowlby: I could add to your last question. I believe the African immigrants, regardless of what province they are living in, saw difficulties in the labour markets. We used Quebec as an example because that is where the biggest problem arose among the labour market for African immigrants. However, regardless of where African immigrants were living in the country, they seemed to have difficulty breaking into the labour market.

The Chair: The other aspect I am interested in is age. If an immigrant arrives in Canada at a younger age, does he or she do better than someone who arrives at the age of 50 or older? Did your statistics track that aspect?

Ms. Le Petit: That is a good question. We have not examined the issue from that angle. However, we looked at recent young immigrants, and we found that they had had a hard time. Their outcomes, such as with respect to the unemployment rate, was quite a bit higher than Canadian-born citizens.

In addition to age, we did an examination based on gender, and we found that it is especially hard for immigrant women to gain employment. They will have a lower participation rate, which is expected with some cultures. Also, the aspect of unemployment rates that indicate people who want to work but could not obtain employment was higher for women.

The Chair: I was interested in some of your categories, for example, the police consisting of 8 per cent immigrant employees. Did you factor that in or was it only meant to be an example that, with certain professions such as with the public service, they prefer Canadian citizens over a landed immigrant?

Ms. Le Petit: Yes.

The Chair: Also, there are security issues in relation to the police force, et cetera. Would that be factored in, or was it meant to be an example?

Ms. Le Petit: It was meant as an example. We did not make any adjustments. It is a current statistic in Canada that 8 per cent of police officers are immigrants.

Senator Munson: In your conclusions, you said that recent immigrants had higher unemployment and lower employment rates than Canadian-born citizens. This is a trend. I am curious as to what kind of portrait this will paint of our country if this trend continues.

Will we experience serious issues with those who, as was mentioned previously, give up and decide to try another country because this one is not working for them?

With respect to the discrepancy between Canadian-born citizens working and recent immigrants not working, does this foreshadow something difficult in that unemployed people might find themselves in hard times? I wonder what kind of portrait this would paint if this trend were to continue.

Mr. Bowlby: It is hard to know for sure, but I think your suggestion that this is not good is correct.

If we take the example of Alberta and Newfoundland and just talk about the general labour market in those two places, the general labour market in Alberta is hot and it is not so great in Newfoundland. As a result, we see a migration to Alberta. We know that people move about because of work, so if the work is not there, that mobility is less likely.

That suggests to me that the more negative the labour market condition in Canada is for immigrants, the harder it would be to attract immigrants to Canada.

Senator Munson: Our own country suffers economically.

Ms. Leesti: There are a couple of other factors that need to be considered as well. There are labour markets elsewhere in the world. We need to look at ourselves relative to other labour markets. There may be more difficulties finding jobs in our labour market, but there may be more opportunities here than elsewhere because immigrants face tight labour markets and difficult situations in other countries.

There is another interesting statistic from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada. It is a survey that looks at a group of immigrants who arrived between 2001 and 2006. It only speaks to a particular period of immigration. The survey followed them for four years. They talked with them at six months after arrival, at two years and then at four years after their arrival. When asked why they came to Canada, the majority of them cited the social environment, cultural aspects and freedom in human rights. Even among economic immigrants, only 2.6 per cent stated employment opportunities.

When they were in the country, they discussed difficulties that they had experienced in finding employment, and there were a number of those that both Mr. Bowlby and Ms. Le Petit have alluded to, in terms of not enough Canadian job experience, lack of recognition of foreign credentials and language barriers. However, when asked after four years if they would stay, as Mr. Bowlby alluded to, there is a large proportion who said they would stay regardless.

Other than just employment opportunities, there are other reasons why people do come to Canada, according to this survey I referred to with respect to this particular group that responded.

Senator Munson: In your report of September 2007, you reveal that immigrant women aged 25 to 54 had a much higher unemployment rate than both immigrant men and Canadian-born women, regardless of how long they had been in the country. What are the barriers facing female immigrants that are not facing their male or Canadian-born female counterparts?

Ms. Le Petit: It is hard to point directly to a reason. We can hypothesize as to why. As reflected in the occupational portion, immigrant women worked a lot in the manufacturing sector, such as the textile industry, an industry that has decreased over the last five years. Therefore, it is possible that there are fewer opportunities. That is why they are less employed. Apart from that, we cannot get into discrimination or things like that.

Senator Munson: Is it the same with immigrant youth aged 15 to 24?

Ms. Le Petit: Yes. Why do they not find employment?

Senator Munson: Yes.

Ms. Le Petit: They are facing similar obstacles as do the adults. When they come to a new country, it is difficult, whether they are youths or adults. They share similar ratios, such as two to three times higher unemployment rates, whether you are looking at the 15 to 24 age bracket or the 25 to 54 age bracket.

Senator Munson: I am wondering, how do we alleviate this kind of thing with these rather revealing statistics?

The Chair: To follow up with Senator Munson, I notice in the executive summary of one of your papers that immigrant women in the 25 to 54, or core working age group, you indicated had a much higher unemployment rate and lower employment rates than both immigrant men and Canadian-born women, regardless of how long they had been in Canada. It went on to say that the unemployment rates for aged 55 and older immigrant men who had immigrated recently were on par with Canadian-born men in the same age bracket. However, older and recent immigrant women were more likely to be unemployed compared to their Canadian-born counterparts.

Every time the statistic involves women, we see that they have a more difficult time obtaining employment.

Ms. Le Petit: That is something we found across all age groups. You are exactly right; it is a very interesting finding. As we mentioned, this finding is based on a survey that produces unemployment statistics. It is geared to be an economic survey in order to release this very important economic indicator on how our country is operating. It is limited to the more qualitative type of questions.

However, we have recently made this census data available, and whether it is our group, some other group at Statistics Canada or some external group, they will be able to use this information and shed some light on whether it is as a result of a different education, a different field or anything else we can find out about a situation.

You are right; whether we looked at young, core working age or older women, they always had higher unemployment rates. A lower unemployment rate could be as a result of cultural reasons, or based on decisions that the woman will stay home and not participate in the workforce in order to raise kids, or for some other reason. A higher unemployment rate, however, indicates that they want to participate in the labour market but they cannot obtain employment. Is it an issue of credential recognition? One hypothesis is that they tend to work in the manufacturing and textiles industry where there are fewer opportunities, but more research needs to be conducted in order to learn about that issue.

Senator Munson: What happened in 1996 that we were doing something right, as compared to 2006 in relation to employment of very recent immigrants? You talked about that. This is an income gap found at chart number six. It was much better.

Mr. Bowlby: In fact, it was worse. This is the employment rate, not the unemployment rate. This shows us the share of the population that had a job. It was at its lowest in 1996.

Senator Munson: What happened then?

Mr. Bowlby: That was the low point in the Canadian economy, following the early 1990s recession. It was at 1996 and onward where we saw big improvements in the labour market.

Senator Munson: I am sorry about that; that is my trouble between reading the figures between employment, unemployment and salary gaps. There are a lot of figures.

The Chair: This brings me to a follow-up question. If I wanted to come to Canada for more than the fact that it is a good country, if I want a job, I would look to see whether I am employable, if I have the skills and training necessary. If I am a nurse, I look to see if I can get a job as a nurse. I do not find that match-up. People do come to Canada for other reasons, for example, family reunification, et cetera. They come for those compelling reasons and think they will get a job, only to find that their skill is not necessary here.

There is also the category of what Canada thinks it needs to progress and to be competitive. We have reached out, but are we reaching out to the right pool? Your data does not seem to deal with that. It gives raw data; am I correct? We will have to go elsewhere to dig deep. Where do we go? Do we go to your studies?

Mr. Bowlby: With specific questions like that, we could dig further. Today we wanted to provide you with the broad context.

The Chair: I appreciate that, but I think you know where we are going. We want to see where the available pool of work is and whether there are discriminations against any category or group. If there are discriminations, how do those come about and what do we do about it? Is it the expectation before you get into the country that is not matching? Is it what we do here that is discriminatory? We could pose questions to you and you might be able to provide us with the answers.

Mr. Bowlby: Absolutely.

The Chair: That is a forewarning that you will get some questions coming up in relation to that particular area.

Senator Poy: I have a supplementary question to that asked by the chair. Have you compared what was happening with immigration in the 1960s in Canada? From my own research, in the 1960s Canada seemed to know what was needed. In the early 1970s they needed school teachers and nurses, and they actually got them in. Do we do that anymore? Are we as efficient today as in the 1960s and 1970s?

Ms. Le Petit: There is always a lag between the time when needs are assessed and policies are made. StatsCan does not make the policies, so I will cite that as an example.

The IT sector was going up in the late 1990s, so the immigration policies were geared to attract people with those skills. As you know, in that field there was then a crash, and everyone was hit. Maybe in the 1970s they did well.

Typically, the demographics tell you how many schoolteachers you will need, and that is pretty safe to predict. Presently, we see growth in the construction industry. Today, in 2008, we need a lot of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and so on. If policies were put in place to attract more of those from abroad, and then the construction sector stops growing, or declines, then again, those people would be in the same situation.

It is hard for whoever is making the policy to point in the right direction because there are many forces at play.

Senator Poy: That is right. Because of the high unemployment rate of immigrants, in your opinion is this the reason we are not reaching the numbers that Canada wants? I think the target is something like 300,000. We are not reaching that target. We have not reached that number for quite a few years. You do not know?

Mr. Bowlby: None of us at the table would have the answer to that question.

Senator Poy: I guess StatsCan only deals with Canada. Do you compare what we are doing here with other immigrant-welcoming countries such as the United States and Australia, and so on?

Ms. Le Petit: Not us, personally, but it would be possible to do so. Immigration is more a global scenario right now, so we are competing for skilled immigrants, but we have not done any specific studies recently looking at that aspect, to my knowledge.

Senator Poy: Did you do that before? You say you have not done it recently.

Ms. Le Petit: No.

Mr. Bowlby: It could be done. At Statistics Canada, we often compare our data with other countries; we just have not compared it in this context. When we released the big census numbers last week, we found that employment growth in Canada was faster than in every other G7 country, and faster than the OECD average.

Ms. Leesti mentioned earlier that it is important to keep in mind what is happening in other countries because we are competing globally for immigrants. Assessing these labour market statistics, although immigrants to Canada may have difficulty integrating into the Canadian labour market — which is clear from these results — it would have been much worse if employment growth in Canada were lower, as in most other countries.

Ms. Leesti: That data may be able to be obtained through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. I have seen data speaking to the levels of immigration in Australia comparative to Canada. I suspect that they would keep that type of information.

Senator Poy: Thank you.

The Chair: We have come to the end of our time. You correctly pointed out that we are starting with your data as the raw data of the statistics for Canada on the labour and immigrant population coming into Canada and their relative position with respect to Canadian-born citizens. We will probe further to see what these statistics mean. We appreciate that you brought us the raw data. As fresh as it partly is, it was helpful to have.

I assure you, we will be back to you for more information as we try to break down the data and determine what it means to our study. We thank you for being available today. We know that you are under a lot of pressure in putting out these studies, and we look forward to seeing the remaining forthcoming studies.

Our next presenter is Ravi Jain, an immigration lawyer from Toronto. Our previous witnesses from Statistics Canada provided us with a lot of raw data, both verbally and in written material. Mr. Jain has experience in the immigration field and has followed these statistics. He was immediately quoted in the press, analyzing them.

Mr. Jain, we would like your opinions on what some of that raw data means, and on anything else you would like to speak to.

Ravi Jain, Immigration Lawyer, as an individual: Thank you, Madame Chair. When I received the call inviting me to appear, I told the clerk that I thought they had the wrong Mr. Jain, because my father has appeared before a similar committee in the House of Commons in the past. He was recently inducted into the Order of Canada for his groundbreaking academic research of long ago. He worked with now Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella on the Royal Commission report on Employment Equity. His research has always been in the area of employment equity.

He sends his regards to Senator Oliver, with whom he served on a committee, as well as to Senator Kinsella. I feel as though our careers are intersecting tonight, so it is an honour to be here.

I understand that you are continuing to examine the extent to which targets to achieve employment equity for minority groups in the public sector are being met. Your report of February 2007 stated that visible minorities remain the one group not equitably represented on a broad scale. You also noted that the federal public service trails the private sector in terms of visible minority representation.

Unfortunately, I have come to advise you today that the barriers to the integration of immigrants persist in the professional regulatory bodies, and continue to affect overall integration of immigrants in the labour market.

I will skip over some of the statistics in my presentation because they have already been presented. My comments today relate to the obstacles faced by immigrants when seeking access to the professions. We have the age-old problem that was mentioned earlier of immigrants working in areas not consistent with their education and experience.

I will also speak about the immigration point system and how that may be playing a role in this area. This surfaces from time to time in the public consciousness and in the media. It has been in the media recently because of two out of four studies, one released on February 13 and the other six months ago.

I do think that the extremely strong success of the Filipino community can be attributed to the language issue. About 99 per cent of those working here are fluent in English; also, 80 per cent have a post-secondary degree or diploma, which is higher than the 60 per cent average for Canadian-born people. The education system in the Philippines is modeled after the system in Canada and the United States. They have kindergarten, grade school and the college and university system. English it also the language of instruction in the school system there.

In my paper, I talked about the fact that in my practice I see that a lot of Filipinos, particularly in Toronto, come in through the live-in caregiver program. They will bring dependants, some of whom will work in manufacturing and other areas, so that may explain their outreach into other sectors.

The ambassador from the Philippines explained the system by saying that Filipinos know they cannot afford to slip up because they have the survival of their families back home to think about. It could be that there are some motivational factors. Look at what is happening in India right now. With the economies of India and China becoming more and more successful, I sometimes hear clients say that if they come to Canada, they will have to learn how to cook and do dishes because they will not have the servants they are used to. They may come here, have difficulties with integrating and decide to go back. Some have a very nice standard of living in India.

In the case of Filipinos, the scenario may be very different. The motivational factors may explain the desire to stay in Canada and work hard at any job that is available.

The difficulties faced by some African immigrants may be related to the fact that 20 per cent are coming in as refugees. Earlier, the question arose regarding separating the landing class — the people who become landed immigrants to Canada — and whether it includes refugees or is different. When you claim refugee status, if you are eventually accepted as a refugee, you then make a second application for landing. You do have to make an application to land and become a permanent resident of Canada.

The vast majority of refugees become landed immigrants. The fact that 20 per cent are coming into Canada as refugees does do a lot to explain this situation. Many of them are fleeing persecution and do not manage to bring documentation such as transcripts, degrees, et cetera, with them. In any event, those could have been destroyed. Even if they come here, sending back home for their documents is not viable because they could have been destroyed.

Therefore, language proficiency, labour demand in the case of Filipinos and the landing class — refugees for Africans — plays a role.

The first study by Statistics Canada, released six months ago, is particularly interesting. The data discussed that many are coming here with high levels of education — bachelor's degrees, et cetera — and not integrating very well. Employment rates are also problematic.

The Daily from Statistics Canada is a release that announces their studies. It stated that many newcomers may need time to adjust to their new life in Canada and breaking into the workforce. I note that with interest because I think certain immigrants with language barriers may need more time to integrate. However, I think the explanation that they need more time to integrate is too easy an explanation.

I now want to turn to the proposals for change and possible solutions for change. First, as has been alluded to, the immigration scheme has changed. It changed dramatically on June 28, 2002 when the new legislation came into force. We then started to focus on education and work experience. You no longer needed to have work experience in your particular field in order to get into Canada. In and prior to 2002, we said, ``Canadians change careers multiple times.'' In other words, the authorities thought the key was to get educated people here who can adapt to the labour force as time goes on.

Unfortunately, they left out the trades. We see people in the trucking and construction industry where there are shortages. This has been a real problem and has had an effect here. The thinking made sense at the time, but unfortunately we are so unhinged with the labour force market needs that it has become problematic.

In my paper, I go through the current immigration system in terms of various ways in which we can get people here quicker. There are various schemes. However, they all require an employer sponsoring them. Part of the solution to fixing this problem is to bring immigrants here faster. Currently, that is taking so long. From India, China and other countries, it takes five or six years. The department is not being completely forthright as to how large their backlog is. I do not think people are aware of that. It is certainly not reflected on the department's website processing times.

There are ways around this dilemma. As an immigration lawyer, I will sometimes counsel people and say, ``Come here on a work permit first. Once you have then been lawfully admitted to Canada for one year on a work permit, you can then have your application processed at the Canadian consulates in the United States. That will cut your processing time from five to six years down to one. You can get your immigration in about a year.'' However, that requires an employer sponsoring you. If you cannot go through the regulatory bodies and become licensed, it will not happen.

Another program is called ``arranged employment'' which says that if you have a job waiting for you when you come to Canada, then your application is picked from the queue and processed in an expedited way. For example, if you have an offer that is indefinite in duration — indefinite because they do not know how long it will take to process your application — you can be expedited. That is another scheme but, again, it requires you to have an employer waiting for you at the other end. Only then will you be streamlined.

The last category is the Provincial Nominees Programs. Again, however, these programs are employer-driven. The federal government has negotiated these programs with the various provinces, and the provinces will identify shortages. However, then you must have an employer who is willing to sponsor you within the program, and in the last few days we have seen moves by the federal government to restrict the Provincial Nominee Programs. It was announced that the investor program for Prince Edward Island has just been cancelled.

In my view, the solution to all of this is for the provinces and Service Canada and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to work with the federal government to make up a list of those professions that are seriously in need. Once that is done, have ``SWAT teams'' go in and, in an expedited way, process the claims quickly in order to get the people here. More work needs to be done in that respect.

The Department of Citizenship and Immigration every year makes more money than it costs them to run their programs in terms of selecting immigrants. There was a question as to why they are not meeting their targets every year. It is certainly not because they do not have the money. They do. They are charging these immigrants for their fees and they are making money. Currently, there is a lawsuit going on about this, I think. They have the money to do it but they are not doing it. Why? I think they are not staffing their visa offices appropriately so that they can deal with these backlogs.

That is one area in which I would suggest change. The other area is public awareness on the issue of credential recognition. In the most recent federal election we saw promises by all parties that the problem would be fixed. However, it is not within the federal jurisdiction, as I am sure senators know.

What has been the result? I think the current government wants to show action on this initiative. The federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced in May, 2007 that she was creating a Foreign Credentials Referrals Office. This was to show that the federal government was intent on doing something. However, as the name suggests, it is just a referral office. It simply provides a telephone number, a website for those abroad and for those here. Service Canada announced that their offices will provide basic information in terms of where to go and which professional regulatory bodies you need to go to get this type of problem sorted out.

As I said, that is all that the federal government can do. It is important to remember that Canada is competing with countries such as Australia and the United States for the best and brightest. We have been setting up immigrants for failure for too long. Too many cannot afford to re-qualify while working temporary jobs to support their families. Putting the information out there is a necessary and long overdue first step, but it is hardly a sufficient one.

I think the blame lies squarely with the professional regulatory bodies themselves. They have not done enough to remove the barriers to their professions. According to Dr. Augustine, Ontario's current Fairness Commissioner, there has been:

. . . a lack of consistent pre-application requirements, lack of clear and complete information about professional standards and admission, the inability to receive prompt and clear written responses explaining registration decisions, a lack of sufficient information about registration fees and decision-makers who may not be mindful of equivalencies that exist between international and Canadian credentials.

This issue of credentials not being recognized and these barriers in professional bodies is costing Canada. It is not in the national interest for several reasons: First, there is a loss of tax dollars. Professionals make more money. If we do not have professionals and, instead, these people are driving taxi cabs or what-have-you, it is costing us tax dollars.

Second, there are real shortages in certain professions. In Ontario, 1.2 million people cannot find a family doctor. This is putting stress on overcrowded emergency units, increasing hospital stays and waiting lists and hurting our quality of life.

Third, there are significant costs to the economy. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the elimination of the credential recognition gap would give Canadians an estimated $4.1 billion to $5.9 billion annually. It would provide a ``brain gain'' to the ranks of Canada's skilled workers of between 33,000 and 83,000 individuals.

Finally, given our aging population and low birth rate, more people will retire than will join the labour force by 2011. Excluding immigration as a source of population growth, by 2031 there will be more deaths than births. Therefore, immigration is our only net source of growth in terms of the labour force market.

In my view, all provinces should enact legislation similar to that in Ontario. The Ontario legislation is called the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006. It requires 34 regulated professions in Ontario to adopt fair, transparent and expeditious registration practices. The Office of the Fairness Commissioner was created and is unique in the world. The commissioner is charged not with policing but with working in partnership with the professional and regulatory bodies. The commissioner also ensures that the regulatory bodies submit annual reports on the hiring and admission practices, and efforts to ensure fair and transparent access.

We discussed statistics and where we will get them. The regulatory bodies should monitor how many people apply versus how many are accepted. We can collect statistics on that. The commissioner also has the power to fine the regulatory bodies up to $100,000, which is significant.

I spoke with Dr. Augustine in preparation for this meeting, and she indicated to me that Manitoba has enacted similar legislation recently. B.C. and Quebec are reviewing it. However, there is currently only one fairness commissioner, and that is Dr. Jean Augustine.

In my opinion, a great deal needs to be done in this respect. Regulatory bodies need to provide complete information. Decisions must be made in a timely way, and there must be an appeal process. There must also be alternative ways of accepting accreditation where documents are, perhaps, not available for very good reasons.

In this regard, an Iranian refugee who is a teacher recently won a case in the Superior Court of Ontario against the Ontario College of Teachers. The court ruled that the college had discriminated against her for not being able to provide original, government-certified documents. Remember, this person is a refugee. The court said that the Ontario College of Teachers would need to reconsider the application, since there was a good reason why this person could not obtain her documentation and there was evidence that she could do the job. She won in court.

Finally, Dr. Augustine indicated that she is empowered to monitor the workings of the third parties. Those are the testing centres, et cetera, that administer the tests used by the regulatory bodies to ensure that they are not failing certain immigrants, genders, et cetera. Sometimes the issue is one of funding. If there are 1,000 doctors waiting for 200 residencies, she could possibly make a recommendation to increase funding to health care to open up more of these positions.

The only prospect I see for a national solution is for the federal government to tie transfer payments to the provinces to encourage them to enact legislation similar to that of Ontario — that is, legislation with teeth. That may not be the easiest thing to do. In the meantime, we can only hope that other provinces will follow Ontario's lead.

Put simply, the way regulatory bodies do business needs to change, barriers need to come down, audits need to be conducted and fairness commissioners must be able to force compliance with significant fines, if necessary. That is the only way that this problem, which I have been hearing about since I was a little child, will finally go away that is, and by ``problem'' I mean PhDs driving cabs. We have been hearing about it forever. This is the only way to deal with it.

Senator Munson: You talked about the barriers and we have talked about PhDs. In the last while, we see ads from the Canadian Medical Association stating that we need 26,000 more doctors in this country. They send nice stethoscopes to our offices to illustrate that we may have to use it ourselves. I think that is a waste of money and we will send them off to NGOs or something.

There is that situation, and then there are the barriers that exist inside the medical profession wherein credentials of immigrants may not match those we have in this country. We also see nice television ads to respect persons from a foreign country because that person does have a doctorate degree or medical degree. We are more sensitized to the issue, yet nobody is able to walk through the door in order to enter these professional associations.

Could you give an example of what a person, arriving in this country with foreign credentials, must do? They say ``I was a doctor in my country and I have all of these credentials, but I cannot do what is needed to become properly accredited here.'' Why is the door still closed?

Mr. Jain: I will pick my own profession. I was speaking with the Chair about this earlier. Many Canadians study abroad. Many will do their law degree abroad. There is one case I know of, a bright woman who went to Harvard. She received her law degree there and then clerked in the Supreme Court of Canada, which is the most prestigious clerkship you can get. Following that, she went to the National Committee on Accreditation for Law and was told that she needed to take four selected courses because she did not have a Canadian law degree. They told her ``Take these four courses and then we will accredit you.'' These were four courses that Canadians were not required to take. They were elective courses. In addition, she did not do everything in the right order for them, either. As she did not take the courses before she clerked with the Supreme Court of Canada, she was told she had to re-article. The hardship is that she had to re-article and it took a couple years to get into the system.

When I am interviewing articling students to join my law firm, I cannot imagine anyone more desirable than one having done a clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada and with a Harvard law degree. It is one thing to have these rules, but why can you not go to a committee within the regulatory body and say ``I am asking for an exception. Here is how great I am. Can I have this exception?''

Senator Munson: We were also discussing the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act in Ontario that you said requires 34 regulated professions in Ontario to adopt fair, transparent and expeditious registration of practices. You mentioned fines of $100,000 for non-compliance. I would like to know how that works and what would constitute non-compliance in relating to the legislation?

Mr. Jain: The commissioner told me she is focusing on trying to work with the professional bodies because this is a new law. She is not at the stage of coming down with the hammer. She is seeing a willingness amongst the professions to work with her. We do not yet have an example of her imposing a substantial fine. However, I suspect that even the threat of a fine could influence the particular regulatory bodies to move, if they are not moving. The impending imposition of a fine could get them to move without the commissioner actually having to come down on them with a fine. It would certainly relate to conducted audits that showed barriers were persisting. If there were an utter unwillingness to move, then a fine could be imposed.

Senator Munson: On this round, we always use the words ``alleged discrimination,'' which is what we are studying in respect of the federal public service. How would you compare the issue in the private sector for those arriving from other countries and trying to get a job? Is it systemic? Is there out-front discrimination against those who want to find work in Canada?

Mr. Jain: Yes, it is classic, systemic discrimination. The regulatory bodies have systems in place that are protectionist, and they have been so for many years. If you were a specialized doctor, for example, your very high fee might be dependent on the fact that in your area there are not many doctors practising in your specialty. I do not want to suggest that it is malice, but systemic discrimination, as we know from other areas, does not have to be intended discrimination; sometimes it can be simply within the systems.

The intent may well be to have high standards among the professions, and that is fine. The example I gave earlier was meant to show that there are many cases where there needs to be a mechanism for exceptions; a mechanism to provide alternative documentation; an appeal process, and more flexibility. When there is not, it is bad for Canada because it is costing us billions of dollars and affecting our quality of life in terms of our ability to find family doctors. It is discrimination.

Senator Poy: On the point of discrimination, in your experience, Mr. Jain, have you compared the waiting times of immigrant applicants from a European country and from an Asian country or from Africa?

Mr. Jain: Yes, I have.

Senator Poy: Can you make that comparison for us?

Mr. Jain: There is such high demand from China and India in particular. They are the two largest source countries of immigration. If we were to say to everyone who applies that we will process them within the same time frame, we would have pretty much nothing but Chinese and Indian immigrants. The government does not want that, so they do not staff the Asia offices to such an extent that it would allow every applicant to be processed within that same time frame. In a way, the government is controlling the ethnic mix of immigrants to the country.

I am a private lawyer; I can say this openly, but the government would never say that. Why? Could you imagine Citizenship and Immigration Canada saying it wants to control the ethnic mix into this country? They would never say that because it sounds horrible — much like the system we used to have of selecting people according to race, et cetera. It is not one that I necessarily disagree with because I think it is good to have a mix of immigrants to Canada. However, the reality is that those coming from Asia and India will wait longer to be processed unless they can be clever about getting here sooner by having a job waiting for them and have their work permit in place. By arranging employment such that when you actually are allowed your immigration, you have a job waiting for you, then your application is processed faster.

Senator Poy: I might be putting words in your mouth but are you saying that there is a quota? Do you think there is a quota?

Mr. Jain: They are trying to achieve a certain mix of immigrants. There is sensitivity to the fact that if they funded each office so that everyone waited the same amount of time, then there would be an overwhelming number of immigrants coming from certain parts of the world.

Senator Poy: How does sponsorship by employers work? Does it have to be open-ended for an immigrant to come into this country instead of for a term of one year? How does that work?

Mr. Jain: In order to get a work permit, you have to be sponsored by an employer.

Senator Poy: If you have sponsorship, can you stay as long as you want?

Mr. Jain: No. Typically, when immigration lawyers prepare these kinds of applications, they ask for one or two years. Some applications, depending on the type, must go through HRSDC first and show that there are no Canadians available for the employment, or that the wage is appropriate, et cetera. HRSDC will provide their approval, which might be for one to three years in duration, and then the work permit follows however many years you have on that. The applications are always tied to a specific employer and the majority are for one or two years.

Senator Poy: Did the Fairness Commissioner first take up her position last December?

Mr. Jain: Yes.

Senator Poy: The law was passed in Ontario.

Mr. Jain: Yes.

Senator Poy: She has not put the hammer down on anyone yet?

Mr. Jain: She has not done so yet.

Senator Poy: In respect of regulating bodies, I will speak to medical issues. It is difficult for foreign-trained doctors to come to Canada and find a position as a resident in a hospital, because they must retrain. So long as retraining is not available, they will never be able to practice as medical doctors.

Mr. Jain: That is right.

Senator Poy: Do you think that the Fairness Commissioner will be able to tell medical schools to open up more spaces in their residency programs?

Mr. Jain: The Fairness Commissioner can make recommendations. If part of the issue were funding, she could make recommendations to the provincial government for funding for additional residency positions. Then, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons could not use lack of funding as an excuse. The mandate of the Fairness Commissioner is quite broad, such that she can make recommendations to the government and to the regulatory bodies.

Senator Poy: I would like to see that work, because Canadians need more doctors.

The Chair: I will follow up with the Fairness Commissioner. My perception is that part of the position is as an ombudsman to facilitate and to encourage, as well as to shed some light on the problems. The actual mandate to ``bring the hammer down'' in respect of matters related to ensuring fair and transparent evaluations is very limited.

Are we not putting an entire mechanism in place to get at something that is fundamental in our system? Not every province has its rights to govern certain issues, many of them being the trades and the right to practice medicine and dentistry. As you rightly pointed out, it is not so much to set a high standard but rather to set a safety standard and a competence level. However, one wants flexibility, openness and as much diversity as the rest of Canada has.

We have an interprovincial problem more than we have a federal-provincial problem. Is that not the case? In terms of the trades, every province is holding on to their right to accredit the criteria for trades people. For example, it is difficult for a welder to move from one province to another because he or she is required to have provincial certification. Do you believe that having the Fairness Commissioner bring down the hammer on a regulatory body is the way to resolve this situation? If we have labour shortages, would it not be time for some sort of mechanism to facilitate a new emergence in these trades?

I think the professions are struggling with all of these issues, but the trades were not in the eye of the storm, particularly in respect of immigration, and they are now.

Mr. Jain: We need programs to bring the immigrants with trades here. That is what was lost in 2002 when we revamped our immigration legislation. We focused on education and ignored the trades completely.

This situation has been written about in the media recently. We heard the stories of the Portuguese and Polish families who are being separated because large numbers of them suddenly were being deported. There are different government schemes. Some politicians suggest we need some kind of amnesty, or at least regularization for people in the construction industry, and others say we cannot do that; the rule of law would be abandoned, et cetera. It is a lively and heated issue. From an immigration perspective, we could start by giving points to those in certain trades where there really are demonstrated shortages. Where there are particular shortages in particular provinces, they could come directly and fill those needs.

In terms of the second part of your question about the possible need for a bureaucracy, I do not want to open up a bureaucracy for its own sake. However, I do think that a very small office within each of the provinces, specifically mandated to put pressure on the regulatory bodies, is needed. History has shown over decades that the regulatory bodies have not opened up. They are just not doing it on their own. Where is the incentive? The incentive works the other way for them. They are interested in protecting the interests of their members, who do not always have the same interests as those of the country. The country has an interest here in terms of the billions of dollars it is costing the economy and the quality of life that is affecting us all.

The Chair: Would a return to emphasis on the trades change our immigration patterns? For example, in Africa, in some of the countries in which I have served, there was a heavy emphasis on trades. In Kenya, they had a system where you learned almost as an apprentice. The difficulty is that many of them were just apprenticing and there was no certificate at the end. That sort of situation brings its own problems. However, it would certainly allow for an immigration base from those countries that would be employable here.

Mr. Jain: Certainly. It would start to affect the statistics we saw in the last session. If we start really meeting the needs of the labour market again — in particular, in the trades, as you are suggesting — what would we see? We would see the unemployment rates go down and employment go up. That is absolutely right; if we tweaked the system to allow the trades to come in, it would have a significant impact.

The Chair: Senator Oliver is next on our list. I know you had to step out briefly for another engagement, but you were duly noted by our presenter as having a connection to his father on some committees in the past.

Senator Oliver: I apologize for not being here earlier, but I do know you are an immigration lawyer, a partner with Green and Spiegel in Toronto, and that you have spoken in several forums about labour market outcomes for immigrants in Canada.

I am told that you talked about the problems of some of our professional societies in Canada — the medical society that Senator Poy talked about, the legal profession, the engineering profession, et cetera. We are told there are barriers that prevent duly qualified immigrants from entering those professions. In your opinion, what should be done about it?

Most of us know the facts, and we have heard about systemic barriers. Given those barriers, what do you recommend that this committee look at by way of recommendations to overcome those problems — albeit that some of them, such as bar societies, are provincial?

Mr. Jain: First, we need to tweak the immigration system so that we get the types of immigrants who will meet these labour market needs. That would mean revamping the point system so that, instead of focusing generally on education, you can look at exactly where there are labour market shortages and allow people to come in to meet those needs.

Senator Oliver: What if the need were for a cardiologist and the person had training as a cardiologist in India or China, but they still cannot get a job in a hospital in Canada as a cardiologist?

Mr. Jain: You are right, it is a provincial issue. The only thing I could think of for a federal body like the Senate, which is looking at this situation, would be to tie federal transfer payments to provinces enacting legislation similar to that in Ontario to create an office of a fairness commissioner to force the regulatory bodies to open up. That is the only solution that is available on a federal level.

I mentioned earlier that Manitoba just enacted legislation similar to that in Ontario, and British Columbia and Quebec are looking at the situation. If we do not have the provinces enacting legislation such as that to create these offices that would force the regulatory bodies to move, the only solution we have is the federal one to force transfer payments.

Senator Oliver: In the legal profession, is it working in Ontario?

Mr. Jain: In Ontario, there has not been enough time. Dr. Augustine has met with all 34 regulated professions, and she is optimistic. I spoke with her last week, as I mentioned, and she sensed a real will on behalf of the professional regulatory bodies to change.

I do not think we should assume that there is necessarily malice involved here. However, there is systemic discrimination. If the other provinces' experience is like that of Ontario, then I think we can be optimistic. All the regulatory bodies of the professions said that they were more than willing to look at the problem. They are willing to remove barriers, look at recognizing credentials in other formats, and look at appeal processes. They are happy to be audited and they do not even seem to be put off by the fact that they can be fined $100,000 if they do not move.

It is optimistic. Finally, this country is getting down to the real source of the problem. Regardless of all the rhetoric that we hear among federal politicians, to be quite candid, it is really a provincial issue, not a federal one. Canadians need to understand that the spotlight should be shone on the regulatory bodies themselves.

Senator Goldstein: It is a pleasure to be here. I was advised that I had to be here, so I am here.

The Chair: I am sure, after you have been here a short time, you will want to be here.

Senator Goldstein: I was at another committee meeting and I was told to be here as soon as that one finished.

Mr. Jain: I apologize that you have to listen to me.

Senator Goldstein: I apologize for not having had the pleasure of listening to the beginning of your presentation. I found the part that I heard very fascinating.

I had a rather interesting chord struck when I heard you speak of the provincial regulatory bodies. I am a member of a body that is regulated provincially. I used to sit on the council of that committee, so I am familiar with the efforts that are made to continue the monopolistic practices of the regulatory professions. I am perfectly prepared to say that that is what we have been doing.

That having been said, I sit on another committee which is dealing with interprovincial barriers to trade. We are in the process of dealing with the issue of the regulated professions precluding people from other provinces from entering their profession in that province.

The problem is different from the one you have set before us so brilliantly, but it is generically very similar. To what extent should we be trying to join forces with the federal government initiative, which was announced in this past budget, to work actively on the diminution of interprovincial barriers? To the extent that those barriers are diminished for citizens and residents of other provinces, they will also, perforce, be diminished for immigrants. We ought to consider a manner of making common cause in order to bring to bear additional influences in order to get these bodies — of which I am a member, you are a member, Senator Oliver is a member — to open up.

I believe everyone is sympathetic to the proposition that a cardiologist who is inadequately trained ought not to be doing cardiac surgery at a hospital without further training and without establishing credentials, but there are no programs in most provinces to help people who either come from other provinces or from other places to become very quickly qualified in the profession that is their chosen profession. That is a function not of government but of the individual professional bodies. It is the government that must lean on these bodies to force them to create the programs in order to do this sort of thing. I do not see any other way out of doing it.

Mr. Jain: I agree. I think they can, and I think the issues are very similar. Given the similarity of them, why not tackle them at the same time? If you are to go to the regulatory bodies and tell them to break down their barriers for immigrants, why not also tell them to break them down interprovincially?

The Chair: I am pleased you raised that point. That takes me off the list. That was to be my next question. Perhaps lawyers think alike, or senators, I do not know.

Mr. Jain, thank you for coming here. You alluded to your father having testified here. I think you have set a high bar. He will be proud of that.

We thank you for expanding the debate about working in Canada. Our emphasis is on the Public Service Commission but we need the background to understand what is going on in the labour force, and where the future employees are coming from. The Public Service Commission is part of the whole fabric of work placement in Canada. Thank you for your perspectives and interesting insights. I hope you will look forward to seeing some of that reflected in our report.

Mr. Jain: Very much so. Thank you for inviting me here tonight.

The Chair: Honourable senators, we will call on our next panel. This committee is examining cases of alleged discrimination in the hiring and promotion practices of the federal public service, and studying the extent to which targets to achieve employment equity for minority groups are being met.

Within that study, we have been looking at the Public Service Commission specifically, but to do so we must look at the entire area of employment, immigration, demographics, et cetera, that relate to Canada and make up the workforce pool.

We are pleased on this panel to welcome, from British Columbia, Marie Crowther, Registrar; from the Ontario College of Teachers we have Lise Roy-Kolbusz, Deputy Registrar; and Frank McIntyre, Manager of Human Resources.

Marie Crowther, Registrar, British Columbia College of Teachers: Thank you very much for inviting me here today. I feel honoured to be here.

The British Columbia College of Teachers is the regulatory body for teachers in British Columbia. It has a public interest mandate and understands that part of that mandate is to ensure that standards, assessment tools and procedures are consistent with the human rights norms of non-discrimination and equality.

In order to do this, the college abides by some key principles. It ensures transparency of information. We provide detailed information about certification requirements on our website. We are currently redesigning that website to ensure that it can be navigated easily, and to simplify language. We are developing country-specific pages on the website. For example, an applicant coming from the Ukraine knows that a diploma in their country is equivalent to a degree here, so that they can understand the language.

We conduct bi-weekly information sessions for all applicants. Those have turned out to be a win-win situation because the applicants come from across Canada as well as internationally, and the international applicants see that everyone must submit the same documentation and are evaluated under the same rules. We have also found that they have made friendships at the meetings, and assisted each other in obtaining the information that they need.

We have developed occupational fact sheets in partnership with Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia and MOSAIC. They have been translated into a couple of languages in order to make our information more transparent.

We have a highly skilled evaluation team which works one-on-one with our international applicants. The members of that time have up-to-date information on school systems around the world so they are able to make the right judgments with regard to programs.

We have revised our bylaws to allow for prior learning recognition, for course work to be excused based on successful practice in B.C. and to allow equivalence in certain courses. We use accommodation mechanisms to grant a certificate where warranted. For example, we feel it is important for all teachers to have an understanding of Canada. We require a Canadian studies course. However, we do not wait for that course to be completed before granting a certificate. We issue the certificate and allow them to carry it while practicing.

We do accommodate internationally educated applicants and allow, in exceptional circumstances, an application to be considered without complete support documentation. If we have someone come in without their papers, they can do a statutory declaration. We can send them to a university for an academic assessment and we require them to do some education course work and maybe a practicum in order to justify and verify that they have the skills necessary to teach.

We actively assist our applicants in writing letters when they are unable to obtain the information we ask for. Our evaluation letters provide clear information about what course work they need to take, where they can obtain it and the kind of timelines involved. The letters talk about appeal processes, review processes and re-evaluation mechanisms. There is no cost for those processes.

We have provided access to the profession. We worked with Simon Fraser University to develop a program to orient internationally educated teachers to the cultural, social and political contexts of B.C. schools through a combination of in-seminar and in-school experiences. The Professional Qualification Program is the first of its kind in British Columbia and acknowledges the rich experiences of internationally educated teachers, provides teachers with opportunities to engage in professional dialogue about teaching and learning, and prepares them for successful entry into the British Columbia school system. This is a program that internationally educated teachers know they need. We have always required some applicants to complete updating course work, and that was not successful because they did not feel the need for it. This program builds on what they need to know about teaching in Canada.

The program is now oversubscribed, and we need to open up more spaces for it. We have worked with other institutions to provide other programs, but none are as successful as PQP. We do arrange for practicum experience where someone cannot obtain any through an institution.

We have recently completed a review of our certification requirements in consultation with education partners. We did that in order to reconcile our standards with Alberta under the Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement, or TILMA. We have successfully reconciled with Alberta. As of April 1, teachers from Alberta can come to British Columbia without completing any additional courses.

The college is legislated to set standards for the teaching profession in British Columbia. The standards define the professional attributes and expertise that educators bear for the benefit of children and society. All applicants, whether applying within British Columbia, within Canada or outside of Canada, are expected to meet the standards. Sometimes these standards are barriers to the profession for some of our internationally educated applicants.

As it is often educators who provide models of written and spoken English to students, it is incumbent on the college to ensure that those individuals who are granted a teaching certificate are competent in the English language. Vast numbers of our internationally trained teachers apply to the college without having proficiency in the English language. The English language programs available through our private ESL colleges, British Columbia colleges and universities are not developed for professionals and do not focus on the high level of proficiency needed for certification.

We also need to devise an English proficiency test for professionals based on an extensive analysis of the language needs of the teaching profession. The assessment tests currently available were developed for other purposes and are not always the best measure of proficiency as it relates to the teaching profession.

An understanding of the context of teaching in Canadian schools is necessary to be granted a British Columbia teaching certificate. Applicants who do not have a teacher education program similar in philosophy to Canadian teacher education programs, or do not have experience in an education system similar in philosophy, are required to complete a program of studies.

For example, a teacher coming from China, which is a teacher-centred, exam-based system, does not assimilate easily into the British Columbia classroom where it is child focused. We do require them to do a program, such as PQP, in order to receive a certificate.

Granting a certificate is not the answer to employment for teachers. They must have the opportunity of experience in Canadian schools or the school boards will not employ them. We have found with the PQP program that our internationally educated teachers are being employed. We have good applicants in areas such as maths and physics coming out of the former Eastern bloc countries who are now being employed in British Columbia schools.

The report on access to licensure and regulated professions for internationally trained professions in British Columbia states that regulatory bodies should explore the integration of competency-based assessments in their assessment processes. Applicants who do not have a required course may receive recognition and credit for demonstrated knowledge and skills by way of institutional course challenge or portfolio assessment.

However, even though those processes do exist, not all faculties offer course challenged exams or allow for portfolio assessments. Faculties of education are reluctant to offer transfer credits for course work completed elsewhere as their funding is based on the number of students completing full-time programs. The college could develop a test as a measurement tool, but the costs for developing tests in 40 or more subject areas is prohibitive.

The paramount objective must always be the protection of public interest, at the core of which is ensuring that children have competent and caring educators in their classrooms. The challenge for the college is achieving that goal while doing its best to break down barriers for foreign-trained educators, making it a win-win situation, allowing individuals to participate fully in Canadian society and giving Canadian children and families an opportunity to experience and learn from educators from a diverse range of cultures and backgrounds.

[Translation]

Mrs. Lise Roy-Kolbusz, Deputy Registrar, Ontario College of Teachers: Madam Chair, the Ontario College of Teachers is the regulating body of the teaching profession in Ontario. Before joining the college, I had been a duly qualified and certified teacher, a school principal and also the Education Superintendent of Ontario.

The mandate of the college is to regulate the teaching profession in the public interest. It implements professional and ethical standards, holds disciplinary hearings and approves training programs.

With close to 210,000 members working in about 6,000 schools and other institutions publicly funded by the province, the college is the self-regulating body with the largest membership in Canada.

I have with me this evening Mr. Frank McIntyre, Manager of Human Resources. He is the author of a study on the transition to teaching, which is the result of our annual survey of newly certified teachers in Ontario.

First of all, we want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to explain the activities of the college in support of teachers trained abroad. Thanks to the implementation of various initiatives, it is now easier than in the past to become certified to teach in Ontario.

Through our partnership with the Teach in Ontario program, which is a transition training program partly funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, we have helped internationally trained teachers by providing them with some personalized support in French and in English in consultation centers located in Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor, with help on how to be certified to teach and, also, with a six-week program allowing them to be prepared to look for a teaching position and with courses to upgrade their knowledge of English.

One can find on the website of the college a lot of information aimed at internationally trained teachers. Furthermore, we hold regular information sessions at the college as well as in community centers and agencies to explain our certification requirements to foreign teachers who have just immigrated in Canada.

Among our present initiatives, let me say that we make presentations all over Ontario for internationally trained teachers who have just been certified to teach in the province, in order to make them aware of our training framework for the teaching profession.

We have changed our procedures and now allow a third party to confirm the credentials of candidates in exceptional circumstances, especially those coming from a country at war who are unable to obtain the required documents to become members of the college.

We have also created Teachers' Network, a network allowing teachers trained abroad or new in our country to communicate with teachers who have the experience of teaching in Ontario and who volunteer to share their knowledge.

In order to expedite the certification process, we have implemented an initiative allowing us to examine the documents of candidates even before they have received the results of their language competency tests.

Finally, we have just concluded a review of our registration practices to make sure that they meet the new requirements of the Fair Registration Practices Code of Ontario. Even though the vast majority of respondents believe that our registration policies are transparent, objective, unbiased and fair, there is always room for improvement. We will send a copy of the report to the board of the College on March 27th and will send you one at the same time. We will be pleased to share that report with you. In the meantime, I want to give you some highlights.

To be allowed to teach in Ontario, there is a two-step process. First of all, one has to become a member of the Ontario College of Teachers, which means having qualifications meeting the high standards of Ontario. It is only after having been certified by the College that one is allowed to teach in the schools publicly funded by the province.

Even though it may not be as difficult as in the past for teachers trained abroad to be allowed to teach in Ontario, finding a teaching position is still a challenge, as demonstrated by the results of our survey.

I will now give the floor to Frank McIntyre, who will give you an overview of the labor market for teachers newly certified in Ontario.

[English]

Frank McIntyre, Manager of Human Resources, Ontario College of Teachers: Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this evening. For the past six years, the Ontario College of Teachers has conducted large-scale surveys to study the transition experiences of newly certified teachers as they apply for and obtain — or do not obtain — teaching jobs in this province.

We initially focused on the graduates of the Ontario faculties of education. Four years ago, we widened our study to include internationally educated teachers in the year following their successful obtaining of teaching certification from the college. Over that four year period, more than 5,500 internationally educated teachers were certified by our college, enabling them to apply for teaching jobs in Ontario.

Some of these new Ontario teachers are actually Ontarians who sought their teacher education in other countries. The majority, however, are individuals who emigrated to Canada and have sought to take up their profession in Ontario. I refer to them in what follows as ``new Canadian teachers.''

These Ontario-certified teachers are highly experienced professionals. Almost all of them taught successfully in another country prior to obtaining their certification in our jurisdiction. Fully half of them taught elsewhere for five or more years and another quarter of them for at least two years. All of them meet the language of instruction proficiency requirements set out in Ontario regulation. They have completed their teacher education program in English or French, or they have successfully passed the designated language proficiency test.

Despite their valid licensure, their successful track records as teachers elsewhere and their proficiency in one of the languages of instruction in this province, they have limited success in obtaining teaching jobs in Ontario. We can illustrate this limited success for you by citing a few findings from our most recent study that included surveys of teachers who were first certified in Ontario in the calendar year 2006, and this study examined these new teachers' experiences in finding teaching jobs by the spring of 2007, the end of the school year following their initial licensure in Ontario. Only one in twelve — that is, 8 per cent — of new Canadian teachers who answered our surveys last year were able to find regular teaching jobs in publicly-funded schools in the province in the 2006-07 school year.

We are currently in the midst of an over-supply of English-language teachers in the province of Ontario. New graduates of Ontario faculties of education in 2006 also had a hard time finding jobs last year. The 40 per cent success rate for these new graduates of Ontario faculties, their success rate in finding teaching jobs in their first year in the profession, was fully five times greater than that of the experienced new Canadian teachers recently certified by our college. Almost half — that is, 48 per cent — of the new Canadian teachers were not able to find a teaching job of any kind, whether in publicly-funded schools, private schools, as regular jobs or even to teach from time to time on a daily supply or occasional teaching basis. This unemployment rate is eight times higher than the corresponding 6 per cent unemployment rate amongst new Ontario graduates.

Many of these teachers tell us that their experience and success in teaching in other jurisdictions is not recognized when they apply for teaching jobs in Ontario. They seek opportunities to be in classrooms and demonstrate that they can make this transition to successfully apply their professional skills and knowledge in Ontario schools.

In conclusion, Ontario has successfully certified a large and increasing number of internationally educated teachers over the past several years. The next step is for more of these teachers to obtain teaching jobs in their profession in the challenging teacher employment market in Ontario today.

We have provided a copy of a section of the report of the 2007 survey results for the new Canadian teachers with your package. The full report on all of the teachers we surveyed, including the Ontario graduates, is available on the college's website for your review.

Senator Munson: There is a quote in the survey you provided that reads:

I face discrimination for being non-Canadian. Everywhere I was asked for Canadian experience (indirectly) though I had more than five years teaching experience from my country. I was only asking for a chance to prove myself but nobody was ready to give a chance to a new immigrant with no new Canadian experience.

You explained some of the things that you have done. You also talked about an over-supply of teachers in Ontario. That obviously makes it even more difficult to hire teachers from other countries.

Mr. McIntyre: It does. The main reason that it is so difficult at the moment is the high competition in the job market for English-language teachers in Ontario. They are able to get the teaching certification that they need but, as I mentioned, many of them say that their teaching experience is undervalued.

In this highly competitive teaching market, it is very difficult when you are in competition with Ontario graduates who developed and proved their teaching skills in practicum placements in Ontario schools.

Senator Munson: Is there systemic racism within the teaching community in Ontario?

Mr. McIntyre: I believe that Ontario educators bring nothing but the best of intentions, and make very good faith efforts. They are selecting from a very large number of applicants based on the best evidence. They are looking at bona fide requirements for the jobs and making best efforts to make the appointments based on those.

Ms. Roy-Kolbusz: In my presentation, I spoke about a program that exists in Ontario. Teach in Ontario is funded by both the federal and provincial governments. There have been a number of these initiatives to help with transition. There has been a six-week program to support incoming teachers with foreign credentials who have been certified in Ontario to look at the Ontario classroom situation in order to get an understanding of evaluation practices and classroom management. These programs exist in the cities of Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor.

There has been a six-month mentorship program that allows new Canadian certified teachers in Ontario to partner up in order to share information. We have had two-day workshops organized by Teach in Ontario across the province to help teachers understand what to expect in the classroom. There have been a number of initiatives to mitigate that. However, the reality is that there is an oversupply of qualified teachers that has been building up for over three years. Statistics show that that will continue for the next couple of years.

Senator Munson: Ms. Crowther from British Columbia is a breath of fresh air with the comments she made on transparency of information and credential evaluation.

You spoke about establishing a highly skilled evaluation team of specialists and continued all the way down. We could pass some of these ideas along to our public service sector in our report.

You said that applicants who do not have a teacher education program similar in philosophy to a Canadian teacher education program must complete an approved program. How long is that program?

Ms. Crowther: Under our bylaws, the minimum standard is to complete 12 credits of course work, which takes less than a semester, plus a minimum six-week practicum. However, we have found that that is not long enough.

The PQP program is a six-month, seminar-based program followed by a full 13-week practicum, because it takes a long time to change how one operates. For someone who has gone through a teacher-centred rather than a child-centred system that is exam-based, it takes time to understand and change the way you think and operate.

The PQP program it extensive, and for some it ends up taking nearly a year when gaps in knowledge are found. Our internationally educated teachers understand that they need this. They are being hired, and it makes them successful in the workplace.

Senator Munson: Are there similar programs for the legal and medical profession to that which you have in British Columbia for teachers? It seems to be quite extensive, yet you were saying that after perhaps one year you should be able to teach in your province or in Ontario.

Ms. Crowther: I believe that the engineers have brought in an internship type of program. Getting experience in Canadian schools has been crucial.

The teaching situation in British Columbia is not quite as competitive as in Ontario. Teachers whose area of expertise is English as a second language are usually counselled into developing a different area. Those whose areas of expertise are French, maths and physics have been very successful in our schools.

Senator Munson: Let us turn the tables a bit. We talk with great pride about our criteria, our values and our educational programs as they relate to immigrants coming to our country. I wonder what happens to us when we go to other countries. Do Canadians face the same stringent criteria in France, Germany, Great Britain or Australia? Do they consider our credentials pretty good for Canada but require us to spend a year or two to understand their philosophy and the way they work, whether in engineering, law, medicine or teaching?

Ms. Crowther: It depends, of course, from where the applicant comes. For teachers coming from any of the commonwealth countries or the U.S., the system is similar enough that they do not need an acculturation program to the context of Canadian schools. However, teachers coming out of the old Eastern bloc countries or from China, where they have a teacher-centred, rote-based, exam-based system, where they are used to a set curricula, and where there is no integration of special needs in the classroom, do need that classroom experience. If we do not provide them with the experience, we are just setting them up for failure, which is how the PQP program developed. Individuals were entering this 12 credits of course work methodology in a practicum, and they were not ready for the practicum experience, so with the university we devised something that would work for them. In some cases, if we do not provide the experience, we are just setting them up for failure.

Ms. Roy-Kolbusz: In the Lisbon Convention, which many countries have ratified and which Canada will soon ratify, there is a more common understanding of how to accept credentials from various countries. That is currently happening. That could have a significant global impact as we continue our awareness.

The critical thing is equivalence rather than comparability. Comparability will really look at the content and not necessarily measure units, per se. It will allow a lot more fluidity between countries.

Senator Poy: Does British Columbia have a surplus of teachers like Ontario?

Ms. Crowther: They do, but not to the same extent. However, we do have shortage areas. It is competitive but there is a need in areas of math, science, French, special education and administrators. We have some high-need areas. English teachers, social studies teachers, et cetera, are over-subscribed.

Senator Poy: In the 1970s, there were teachers' fairs in Ontario. They were for new immigrants who had been teachers outside of Canada. They could get a job immediately. Do those still exist? Do you still have teachers' fairs?

Ms. Roy-Kolbusz: We have a great number in Ontario, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area and the major urban centres, in which the college will often participate in order to explain. They do exist.

I would like to clarify something with regard to the supply and demand of teachers in Ontario. If you are an English-speaking teacher and you are seeking an elementary position, both primary and junior, you can expect to see a lot of competition. That is where we have the greatest over-supply.

The competition also exists at the secondary level. However, I do have to clarify. If you are a French-speaking teacher and you have that capacity in both first language and French as a second language, you can go around this province and have an opportunity of employment. Southern Ontario is looking for French teachers. Rural areas will be looking, as well.

Technology is also in demand. I heard about trades in a previous conversation. Technology is still a high-demand area. However small the group may be total to the population, there is that need. However, I do not want to colour a picture that it is universal and in all areas.

Senator Poy: Does the regulation apply to teachers in colleges as well, or just secondary schools and below?

Ms. Roy-Kolbusz: To teach in a publicly-funded school in Ontario, you must be a certified member of the college. The college represents about 145,000 members. We have an additional 70,000 members who do and accept other positions. Colleges may be one. They could be private schools or in faculties; they could be in a number of other areas. However, to teach in publicly-funded schools, you must be qualified.

Senator Poy: For internationally-educated teachers, when they apply as immigrants coming into this country, how do they recognize provincial regulations? I would think that each province has different qualifications and standards. Am I correct?

If internationally-educated teachers want to come in, I guess it depends where the jobs are. If there are jobs in X province, I suppose that is where they will end up.

Ms. Crowther: There is labour mobility between the provinces. Therefore, whatever province they go to and see the certificate, under a labour mobility agreement, they can go to another province to teach.

Senator Poy: Do they not have to re-train?

Ms. Crowther: You do not necessarily have to retrain.

In answer to your question: B.C. also has job fairs. Our school boards have been actively recruiting. They have sent teams to France to see if they can get more French-trained teachers to come to Canada. Simon Fraser University has just developed a program in conjunction with the university where they will do part of their training in France and part of it in British Columbia. It will result in a B.C. College of Teachers certificate.

Senator Poy: If you need French teachers, why not go to Quebec first?

Ms. Roy-Kolbusz: Again, there are many teachers' fairs held in Quebec. Often, that is to meet a specific need, particularly in Southern Ontario where French-speaking teachers are in short supply. However, to answer your question, yes they do. Actually, they will go beyond Quebec: They will also go to New Brunswick, Manitoba — St. Boniface and Moncton. The teachers do come to Ontario to meet that need.

Ms. Crowther: The same is true in British Columbia in that we go to the rest of Canada first. However, there are still not enough French-speaking teachers to answer the demand. We are struggling to get enough French-speaking teachers into classrooms in British Columbia.

Senator Goldstein: Your testimony is very interesting. I have a number of questions. You spoke of the Lisbon Convention. Would it be fair to say that, notwithstanding the imminence of Canada's signature on the convention, it remains necessary because we are dealing with education and various other provincial qualifications? The various provinces will need to agree to the ratification for the Lisbon Convention to be applicable in specific provinces. Have you dealt with that at all?

Ms. Roy-Kolbusz: It is my understanding that there is only one last province still to ratify the agreement. There have been many discussions. I know Ms. Crowther sits on the labour committee, and I will allow Ms. Crowther to expand upon that. Through the interim labour mobility agreement that has been signed recently, there has been a greater understanding of that impact. I will let Ms. Crowther speak more specifically on that topic.

Ms. Crowther: The teachers have been struggling for years to reconcile standards for certification across Canada. That is very difficult when education is a provincial jurisdiction.

We signed an agreement in principle in 1999 that did allow, for employment purposes, the mobility of teachers across Canada. However, some teachers from some provinces were required to do additional course work. We are trying to eliminate those accommodation mechanisms that are currently in place.

After many drafts, we have signed an interim agreement. It is still not perfect. Again, it does allow for mobility of teachers across Canada, but we still have some areas to reconcile. However, a great deal of change has taken place.

Senator Goldstein: Could I ask you to supply us with a copy of that agreement so that we can have a better understanding of it?

Ms. Crowther: Yes, I can definitely send you that.

Senator Goldstein: Have any of the associations or orders of teachers considered the use of affirmative action in terms of lowering the standards required of immigrants, on the theory that some degree less in knowledge, experience and acculturation is compensated for by the positive societal value for children being taught by a teacher who comes from a different culture? There have been some affirmative action processes undertaken in the United States. There has been some success in some states for immigrant teachers who do not have the total requirements for admission to the order but who have other qualities that should be taken into consideration so that they may begin teaching.

Ms. Roy-Kolbusz: Perhaps I will start in the context of Ontario. I think, as with all regulatery bodies, we have a primary mandate. Our mandate is to ensure that teachers from other countries do meet the requirements to enter into the profession. Employment issues are totally beyond our mandate.

Having said that, in conjunction with a number of community agencies and with the Ontario Teachers' Federation, we have tried to look at ways to mitigate the obstacles involved with entering the employment field. I am thinking of the Teach in Ontario initiative. That is where I mentioned earlier the opportunity of mentorship and so on. You will see in the report I will forward to you, after it has gone to council, a number of recommendations that have come out of our consultation. One of them is the opportunity for a 30-day orientation, similar to what Ms. Crowther indicated exists in British Columbia. There would be an expectation that you meet the qualifications in Ontario upon completion of the orientation. It will be added to your teaching certificate to show that you have met this requirement when you apply for a position. We are trying to be open and transparent with the potential employer that these internationally-educated teachers will face when going for an interview.

Senator Goldstein: I am somewhat disheartened by this report. You say there is an over-abundance of teachers in Ontario, yet 40 per cent of graduates have managed to find jobs in the following year, but only five per cent of immigrants have found jobs in the following year. That could tell us any of a variety of things. One is that immigrants are not seen to be as qualified. However, if they are applying for jobs, then they have attained the qualifications status. They are, or should be, on an equal footing with home-grown young people who are ready to teach. That is, except that they are really on a superior footing because many of these people have experience in teaching that the recent graduate does not have.

I congratulate you for the candour with which this report has been prepared. I am quoting from the report:

My greatest challenge was the lack of Canadian experience. To get this I volunteered in a school for six months. But when I talked to the principal about a reference letter, she said she can't because she never saw me teaching. Volunteers are treated as servants by the teachers.

The second quote is:

I faced discrimination for being non-Canadian. Everywhere I was asked for Canadian experience (indirectly) although I had more than five years teaching experience from my country.

You can find more of that. I find it disheartening because clearly there remains a bias — I do not want to use another term that is more provocative — against foreign teachers who are, according to your own college, equally qualified with graduates from Canada. However, they are more qualified because they are experienced. Yet their employment rate is less than 10 per cent, if you put them all together.

Senator Oliver: Excellent question.

Mr. McIntyre: One of the things I point out from the study is that when you look at the experience of the internationally-educated teachers in the area of Ontario that my colleague describes as French-language teaching in English-language boards, or French-language teaching in French-language boards, those teachers have considerably more success at getting employment. The detail is in the report. If you take way some of the competition, these individuals who are licensed and able to teach in French, where the demand is high, have more success in obtaining positions. In the highly competitive English-language positions, demonstrated experience within Ontario classrooms is giving a leg up to the people able to show that.

Senator Goldstein: As a result of other activities in which I am involved, I am familiar with the experience the Israelis have had with the engagement of foreign teachers. There was a tremendous influx of Russian immigrants who did not have the language and were untrained in Israeli pedagogical methods. In order for them to gain experience, Israel found other things for those teachers to do that required comparatively minimal language skills and local experience. For example, they taught chess, music, geography and computer skills.

This is my personal opinion, but let us be blunt. If we are to encourage minority employment, there must be more effort made on the part of the formal professional organizations — not only the teachers, but the lawyers, the doctors and all of the others — to engage people and place them in areas where they are able to be useful, given their experience. This has to be done although they may not be able to teach in the perfect English or perfect French that the school boards expect.

I recognize that you are not an employment agency. All of you deal with standards of the profession and either they qualify or they do not. That is your role, and it is a good one. However, there must be an effort made somewhere to encourage immigrants who come here and who have these skills — as lawyers, doctors, engineers, computer experts, et cetera — to face a more flexible climate in the availability of employment. There is a social cost to not engage these people in a way that makes use of their skills and allows them to gain the experience to become regular, qualified professionals.

To use the Israeli example again, doctors from the former Soviet Union had, comparatively, minimal training. They started them as nurses or nurses' aides and put them in a hospital environment to help them get the skills required to enter into the medical profession. Most of them succeeded because of that.

I am not blaming you; this is not your problem. I know it is our problem. We cannot just say ``They do not qualify.'' There must be some effort made to get jobs for immigrants. We are a country that accepts and encourages immigration. God knows, with our productivity problems and population problems, we had better encourage and cultivate immigrants, otherwise we will find two per cent of the population trying to support 98 per cent of the population, 50 years hence.

The Chair: We will lose our members at eight o'clock and we have a budget issue with which we must deal. The point is well taken. I am not sure whether that is a question or a statement or whether you wish to respond to it.

Senator Goldstein: I am sorry; it ends up being a statement, Madam Chair.

Senator Munson: I do not want to end on a negative note because your presentations are very strong. However, in all the statistics, the issue of race was not raised. Have people come to the college or to any teachers' unions and said ``I did not get this job because of the colour of my skin.''? Has there been any discrimination towards new Canadians in this regard? If there has, is it a small or large percentage?

Mr. McIntyre: The only thing to which I can refer you is the study that you have. We tried to provide lots of the textured comments from internationally-educated teachers. They talk specifically about being able to demonstrate experience. They say that their experience is undervalued, and that they need to find a way obtain Canadian experience.

Senator Munson: That is important for us to know.

The Chair: I thank the witnesses for their frank and detailed presentations. They have pointed out the dilemma of accreditation and the question of how to find a job. As well, they spoke to flexibility in credentialing and the boards that represent and regulate employees. We will continue to delve into this issue.

We have been studying the Public Service Commission and it is helpful to know that the issues are not peculiar to the Public Service Commission alone. There are impediments, issues and challenges across the entire sphere of employment.

Honourable senators, our next item on the agenda is consideration of a draft budget. We have an item on employment equity. It is virtually the same budget that we had last year, except for the addition of conferences and four hearings in four Canadian cities. We thought we should travel on the Public Service Commission study. At the steering committee, we suggested four travel components within Canada — one each in the West, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes — if we feel the need. The item is to be discussed fully at committee.

Senator Oliver: That is the problem. This stuff has never come before the committee. I am a member of the committee, yet I know nothing about it. The steering committee should not make decisions for the committee. Surely the committee should have some say and knowledge about this matter.

The Chair: That is why it is being raised here today. I thought the usual practice was for the steering committee to compile the budget and then it is brought before the full committee. If you have some difficulty with that, we will adjourn it to the next meeting.

I am on many other committees, and have just come from one where the budget was given to me without explanation, as passed. I asked if the steering committee had dealt with it and was told yes, and that they had passed it. If you do not feel comfortable with that, we will adjourn the matter. It is your call. I can explain that one.

The budget for the next item, on matrimonial property, is $3,200 for meals and promotions if we hold hearings here. That is the standard form.

The next one is the legislative budget, which we are obliged to have, for $9,500. We are asked to include that as standard in case we have a legislation reference from the Senate.

The outstanding one is the committee's continuing work on the machinery of international and national human rights obligations. We included conferences in the budget for something in our subject matter that the conference budget of the committee should cover. That is a request by Internal Economy. We have added two conferences, bringing the total to $55,900.

As well, we have the ongoing study on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We will have hearings to update us, and that totals $3,200. When the budget was originally brought to the steering committee, we had not included any cross-country hearings. With this study, it is important to include visible minorities in places other than Ottawa. However, the budget has not been set and is open for discussion. Any or all may be deferred.

Senator Goldstein: I cannot vote because I am not a member of the committee. I am here for quorum only.

The Chair: You are a member now.

Jessica Richardson, Clerk of the Committee: You are a member.

Senator Goldstein: How is that?

Jessica Richardson, Clerk of the Committee: A membership change was handed to me by Senator Lovelace Nicholas.

The Chair: You are a voting member for this committee.

Senator Goldstein: For this evening only?

The Chair: Yes.

The Chair: Senator Oliver, you raised the issue. Do you feel comfortable with this budget?

Senator Oliver: I do not, but I will not hold it up, so I will move approval of the budget.

The Chair: For all of the items, or shall we do them separately?

Senator Munson: I am in favour of all of it. Regarding this other expenditure that you see, we have not agreed to go on these trips yet, but we agree to put the money there in case we go on them.

Senator Goldstein: It is reserved.

Senator Munson: Yes; I think we wanted to step outside of Ottawa to get to the guts of the issue. I agree with the senator that perhaps we should have more discussion about these things. However, we never seem to get enough members here. I do not know how we can ever discuss any of these issues with this committee because there is never more than four or five of us here at any one time. I find that very discouraging.

The Chair: It is a very small committee, and it does mean a commitment on Monday.

Senator Munson: A bunch of people from my side do not show up, either. There is my rant.

The Chair: We have had that rant in the steering committee a number of times, namely that Monday has made it difficult. Nonetheless, we struggle on to do what we can. That is the time we were allotted.

I have noted Senator Oliver's objection to the steering committee making decisions. That has not been the case before. In fact, because we sit on Monday, other committee members were deferring to the steering committee, which will be noted. We will then allocate time within our committees to deal with these issues more extensively.

Senator Oliver: Could we get a copy of the steering committee minutes so we could be informed in that way — or in any way at all? I just want to be informed. If I am to participate in any Senate committee, I should have some knowledge and background. I feel as though I am outside the loop, even though I am a serious member of this committee — at least for the time being.

The Chair: A very serious member.

Senator Oliver: I just want to be brought into the loop so that I know what is going on. I would like to know before I come here what witnesses I will be hearing, and so on.

The Chair: We had a lot of discussion about new studies. I have been particularly worried that all members have an opportunity to comment on the full studies. These had been ongoing studies, so there had been general agreement that we continue them; that had been passed. There were pro forma budgets. Quite frankly, I did not think they were contentious. However, if everything has to come here first, we will do that.

Senator Oliver: I did not say that.

The Chair: No, I appreciate that; however, I want to be absolutely certain because I do not know where to draw the line. I will try to consciously bring them here. If you say that that is too much detail, I will refer them back to the steering committee.

Senator Oliver: Let me make myself clear: You do not have to bring everything before the committee. I, personally, would like to be more informed about what the committee is doing. I have suggested that if I could see the minutes of the steering committee or get an e-mail, memo or letter to say ``Here is what the committee is looking at,'' I can read it and that would help me. I am not asking that everything be brought before the committee.

The Chair: Very well. Are we ready to pass the budgets?

Senator Munson: Let us pass the budgets here.

The Chair: Are we in agreement, then, to pass these budgets?

Senator Oliver: I made the motion five minutes ago.

The Chair: Are we in agreement?

Senator Goldstein: The motion has been made and I think it has been adopted.

The Chair: Carried.

Senator Goldstein: May I make an observation? In a number of other committees on which I sit — I guess I have been the permanent Leader of the Opposition — the ability to have people testify through satellite communication meetings has become so well-developed in Canada and is so relatively inexpensive that, instead of having committees hop off to Halifax or Vancouver, or wherever, with the tremendous expense that entails, perhaps it is something that we should be looking at again.

I really put a kibosh on travelling in the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce. To be blunt, we do not go anywhere. Maybe that is why people are not so anxious to serve on that committee.

In the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, we just finished a cross-Canada consultation by telecommunication. It was remarkable. To have done the same thing would have taken 100 times the time and would have cost dozens of thousands of dollars for no apparent reason. We accomplished the same thing by videoconference.

The Chair: I should say that in this committee we have not travelled, except on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, where we travelled to Geneva, because that was unique.

Senator Goldstein: No, that is logical; there are some places you need to travel to.

The Chair: However, we have not travelled across Canada unless we felt we were dealing with a lot of NGOs and groups, which is a little hard to handle on video.

Senator Goldstein: I am not trying to change anything; I just want to suggest it.

The Chair: From our side, it is very difficult to travel, in any case.

Senator Munson: I half agree with you, Senator Goldstein, on that, but I also feel that senators should be seen in other parts of the country besides Ottawa. It works every time in terms of local media coverage.

Also, people sometimes have a tendency to freeze with a camera, and it is sort of impersonal. I know it works at times but it is like covering a news story: You cannot cover a news story in Vancouver from Ottawa very well.

I feel strongly that you are there, your personality shines, and your questions are there. There is example after example from senators who have taken the big issue and then the small issue ends up in front of the Winnipeg Free Press all across the country. To be seen working elsewhere in this country, as opposed to not being seen in Ottawa inside a chamber that is not televised, there is a balance. However, a road trip is a road trip is a road trip.

The Chair: If you are to consult with lawyers, for example, you can do that via a videoconference; they are used to it. However, to bring in a NGO group or youth groups is difficult on a videoconference. Therefore, I think a balanced approach is preferable.

Senator Goldstein: Senator Munson's opinion is correct; there is a balance to be sought, but we must be conscious that there are appropriate circumstances both for travelling and not travelling.

The Chair: So that the members know and it is on the record, last June we asked for new references and we received many suggestions. We reviewed them after prorogation and honed them down further as a committee; then the steering committee was to look at them. There will be some suggestions coming forward for the ongoing study, but not this evening. We will ensure that members get that. That is an alert.

Senator Munson: That sign above us still says ``public broadcast''; I thought this was an in camera meeting.

The Chair: No. Budgets are always public.

Senator Goldstein: I thought we were in camera.

The Chair: I do not think that anyone has said anything they should not.

The committee adjourned.