OLIP’s Leadership Group resumes its Sessions in 2021June 2, 2021
The OLIP Leadership Group (OLG) resumed its meetings after meetings were put on hold in 2020 to focus on coordinated responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The OLG was created in April 2018 with a mandate to share insights on policy and context in support of OLIP partners’ implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy and bring leadership over the challenges & opportunities surrounding the attraction and integration of immigrants in Ottawa. The meeting on May 7, 2021, focused on 3 objectives:
- Learn how OLG member organizations have experienced the pandemic and how they are engaging with inequities revealed by COVID-19
- Discuss opportunities to improve inequities through the post-COVID economic recovery plans (economic justice)
- Enable common understanding in the recent changes to immigration policy and its impact on the recovery plans.
Immigration will be at the core of the economic recovery efforts with a national target of 400,000 new immigrants each year during 2021-2023, where IRCC, confirmed that permanent and non-permanent immigration accounted for over 80% of Canada’s population growth in 2019.
To compensate for the global travel disruption COVID-19 has presented, IRCC launched a one-time temporary pathway to permanent residence that will target about 90,000 applicants already present and employed with work experience of at least 1 year in Canada. The temporary pathway that is running from May 5 until November 5 this year has three streams: International Graduates (40,000) Healthcare (20,000) and essential non-healthcare workers (30,000).
The OLG explored how these changes and the potential upcoming of a Municipal Nominee Program that would allow local communities, chambers of commerce and local labour councils to directly sponsor permanent immigrants according to their identified labour market needs, could help boost Ottawa’s economic development.
The group also discussed challenges for the economic integration of immigrants and refugees such as international credential recognition to transition into regulated professions like healthcare, (especially that requirements change from province to province); complicated pathways for the trades sector; accurate matching of labour skills with shortages of trades in Canada and international student talent retention in Ottawa through better connection to local job opportunities.
Solutions proposed included joint efforts to facilitate provincial conversations on international accreditations; investments in community connections between institutions and community members to better understand challenges and provide solutions grounded in communities’ realities; targeted talent program implementation, system and institutional navigation frameworks and up-skilling and re-skilling opportunities rendered by provincial programs for skills and trades development.
A call to action was made to address the COVID-19 impact on children and youth on education, development and mental health. The next meeting will take place in August 2021 to deepen the opportunities brought forward.