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  • Position Statement on Immigration

    Last updated: May 13, 2008

    HUMAN SERVICES COMMITMENT TO IMMIGRATION

    Human Services is committed to:

    • Supporting Council to advocate for supports for essential services and access to jobs for immigrants in Peel;
    • Designing innovative services that meet the needs of residents of diverse backgrounds;
    • Playing a leadership role in collaborative efforts with other levels of government and jurisdictions, business and non-profit groups aimed at improved inclusion of newcomers;
    • Actively involving members of community groups in planning the services that affect them;
    • Ensuring that the department’s programs are fully accessible to clients of all backgrounds, and support the inclusion of newcomers in community and economic life;
    • Engaging with local businesses and community groups to support improved access to information about employment and settlement services for newcomers in Peel.

    BACKGROUND

    • Canada is a nation of immigrants. Residents of Peel take pride in their long history of immigration.
    • Immigrants are very much part of the fabric of life in Peel today, and add economic, social and cultural wealth to our community. According to the 2006 Census, immigrants made up over 49% of Peel’s population.
    • Immigration is a major driving force behind the growth of Peel’s community. Immigrants accounted for approximately 80% of the growth in Peel’s population between 2001 and 2006. From 2001 to 2006, Peel’s recent immigrant population increased by 45%.
    • Peel is home to more than 93 distinct ethnic groups and 60 different languages.
    • By 2011, immigrants will account for 100% of net labour force growth in Canada.
    • Since 2001, the share of immigrants to the GTA settling in Peel has grown from 12% to 20%, while the proportion settling directly in Toronto has dropped from 80% to 65%.
    • Since the early part of this decade, more than 20,000 immigrants have selected Peel as their primary settlement destination. Peel has one of the highest volumes of new immigrants in the country.

    THE BENEFITS OF IMMIGRATION

    • Skilled immigrants are a valuable pool of human resources. In 2002, 46% of all immigrants to Canada had one post-secondary degree. Among the Canadian born population, 22% had at least one post-secondary degree.
    • Skilled immigrants benefit our economy and in particular businesses in a variety of ways. Skilled immigrants:
      • Address labour shortages.
      • Help business to grow and compete in local and global markets.
      • Add value to organisations by bringing new ideas, and enhancing business and cultural diversity.
      • Provide knowledge of products and service needs for ethno-specific markets and help increase business abroad.
      • Meet the demands of current markets, find new ones & better address clients’ diverse needs.
      • Lower training costs.
    • Immigrants with low skills have historically filled manual jobs in the labour market. Their labour contributes to the economy and will still be required.
    • Immigration also contributes major societal benefits to the Peel community in the following ways:
      • Immigrants purchase the goods and services that keep local businesses growing and contribute to the local tax base.
      • Immigrants also contribute their time and energy to voluntary activities from sports groups to social services.
      • Successful newcomers often help others make the transition when they arrive.
      • Peel has been greatly enriched by the contribution of newcomers to our artistic, cultural and social life.
    CHALLENGES
    • Newcomers are finding it more difficult than previous generations to succeed in the labour market. About 60% of newcomers do not work in the same occupational field as they did before coming to Canada. Lack of recognition of skilled immigrants’ international credentials is a barrier to working in their job-related field.
    • The current points system which is used to determine the admission of skilled workers into Canada puts a premium on education (up to 25 points) and work experience (up to 21 points). The Canadian labour market, however, significantly discounts the international education and job experience of skilled immigrants, so many have to settle for jobs that are below their skill level.
    • A 2004 Environics survey of 2,000 Canadian employers found that employers:
      • Overlook immigrants in their human resource planning;
      • Do not hire immigrants at the level they were trained;
      • Identified problems assessing international work experience, the lack of Canadian work experience, and the lack of communication skills as challenges in integrating recent immigrants into their workforces.
    • Newcomers earn about 40 per cent less than their Canadian born counterparts. Recent data suggests that it is taking longer for new immigrants to narrow this gap.
    • The earnings gap for internationally trained immigrants means that as a group they earn $2.4 billion less annually than Canadian-born residents with comparable skills because newcomers work in jobs below their skill levels.
    • The Conference Board of Canada estimates that Canada loses between $4.1 and $5.9 billion annually due to the lack of recognition of newcomers’ qualifications.
    • Immigration will more fully benefit the economy when the labour market can more effectively employ skilled newcomers.
    • Peel is facing new challenges to ensure the success of our newest residents. Peel does not have the long history of settlement agencies and supports that are based in Toronto. Our services, constantly stretched to meet rapid growth, are often ill-equipped to meet the unique needs of newcomers.
    • Federal funding for immigration services has not kept pace with the increase in the share of immigrants coming to Peel. In 2004-05, the federal government spent 16% of the total GTA immigration settlement services funding in Peel, but Peel is now receiving well over 20% of all new immigrants in the GTA.

    REGIONAL POSITION AND PRIORITIES

    The Region of Peel through its Council has requested that:

    • implementation of the Canada-Ontario immigration Agreement include:
      • Meaningful involvement of municipalities in planning service delivery;
      • Population growth factors in the funding of services, to ensure equal access to services for all, and to avoid underinvestment in high-growth areas;
      • Integration of administration and implementation mechanisms with the Canada-Ontario Labour Market Agreements;
    • The federal government invest in settlement services in Peel in proportion to the population of recent immigrants settling in Peel and include in its settlement funding provision for the full range of impacts on Peel’s municipal and educational services and infrastructure;
    • Federal transfers to Ontario’s settlement program be brought up to parity with other provinces to support the influx of the largest share of immigrants coming to Canada;
    • The Ministers of Human Resources Social Development, Industry, and Citizenship and Immigration be invited to use Peel to pilot new collaborative approaches to the streamlining of skills development and settlement initiatives. These should include industry-specific agreements and targeted job training programs;
    • The federal Departments of Citizenship and Immigration and Human Resources Social Development come together with provincial and municipal governments at the local level to pilot these solutions in our community.

    In addition, the Region has tabled these suggestions with a House of Commons Committee:

    • The federal government should take the lead in a national campaign to inform employers and support their recognition of international credentials and experience.
    • The federal government offer tax incentives to give both immigrants and young adults their first work experience.

    WHAT THE REGION IS DOING TO ASSIST RECENT IMMIGRANTS

    The Region of Peel Human Services department has, and continues to participate in a number of initiatives to support more effective inclusion of recent immigrants in our community and the labour market. Here is sampling of some of the key initiatives that Peel is currently engaged in

    • The Peel Newcomer Strategy Group (PNSG)- A cross sectoral collaborative of more than 15 partners dedicated to ensuring the successful integration of newcomers into all aspects of community life through a coordinated and integrated community plan. The purpose of the PNSG is to develop a service delivery model that enables new immigrants in Peel to successfully settle and integrate.
    • Peel Immigration Web Portal – A website that will provide potential and newly arrived immigrants to Peel with timely and accurate information about appropriate government and community programs and services in a seamless fashion and through a centralized location. The portal will also have the potential to connect to newcomers to employers, the labour market and employment related opportunities in Peel.
    • Liveable Peel Immigration Project - This project is to develop long-term strategies to ensure that Region of Peel services are planned and implemented in ways that attract and support newcomers; and ensure their contribution to the community is maximized and that newcomers are integrated into all facets of the community – economic, social, and political – over the long term (next 30 to 50 years).
    • The Region of Peel participates in the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).
      • This is a voluntary partnership initiative involving local representatives from all three levels of government in the GTA, together with private, educational, and non-profit partners.
      • The purpose is to develop practical strategies to move immigrants more effectively into employment that better uses their skills.
      • The Human Services Department is an active partner in piloting TRIEC’s mentoring and CareerBridge programs in Peel.
      • TRIEC is expanding into Peel and has set up an office in the region.
    • The Region of Peel is actively working through TRIEC and other bodies in the GTA on solutions to the “credentials” barriers experienced by newcomers – and the even bigger barrier of international and Canadian work experience.
    • The Region of Peel serves on several Federal-provincial committees implementing the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement. They include: the Municipal Immigration Committee, the Settlement Working Group and the Language Training Working Group.
    • The Region of Peel has invited the federal government to use Peel to pilot new collaborative and community-based methods for the streamlining of skills development and the integration of immigrants into jobs and the community.

    KEY MESSAGES

    Canada is a nation of immigrants. Residents of Peel take pride in their long history of immigration.

    Immigrants are very much part of the fabric of life in Peel today, and add economic, social and cultural wealth to our community.

    The economy will benefit more fully from immigration when the labour market can more effectively employ skilled newcomers.

    Federal funding for immigration services has not kept pace with the increase in the share of immigrants coming to Peel.

    Our Council is committed to advocate for supports for essential services and access to jobs for immigrants in Peel.

    The Region of Peel has a corporate diversity strategy that aims to respect diversity and remove barriers for all clients and employees.

    Peel Human Services is committed to design innovative services that meet the needs of residents of diverse backgrounds; to advocate for our clients; and to actively involve members of community groups in planning the services that affect them.

    Peel Human Services department is engaged in collaborative efforts with other levels of government and jurisdictions, business and non-profit groups aimed at improved inclusion of newcomers in our community and the labour market, including the Peel Newcomer Strategy, a cross-sectoral community collaboration aimed at better coordination of services to newcomers; the Peel Immigration Web Portal, a website that provides newcomer valuable information about services, the labour market, and employment opportunities in Peel; and Liveable Peel, a Region of Peel research initiative aimed at ensuring future generations are welcomed into our community.





    Revised: Wednesday February 04 2015

    www.peelregion.ca

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