"Labour Market Information"
The Construction Sector Council (CSC) is a national organization committed to the development of a highly skilled workforce – one that will support the current and future needs of the construction industry in Canada. Created in April 2001, and financed by both government and industry, the CSC is a partnership between labour and business. The CSC is governed by a Board of Directors who represent a variety of interests within the construction industry.At the heart of the CSC’s mandate is the need to address human resource issues through partnerships within the construction industry. Like many industries, the construction industry faces a num- ber of human resource challenges. These include the need to accurately forecast labour demand and supply, to increase the mobility of workers, to make the most of new technologies, and to cope with an aging workforce. As a result, the CSC has identified four key priorities: • Labour Market Information • Technology at Work • Career Awareness Programs • Standards and Skills Development This study is part of a series of research papers produced through the CSC’s Labour Market Information (LMI) program. The LMI program represents a significant component of CSC activities. It will drive the future work of the organization and inform industry and government decision making. This report is also available in French, and it is available electronically at www.csc-ca.org. For more information, or additional copies contact: The Construction Sector Council 220 Laurier Ave. West, Suite 1150 Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5Z9 Phone: (613) 569-5552 Fax: (613) 569-1220 email@example.com CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Table of Contents The Findings in Brief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Purpose of Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Profiles of Immigrants in the Construction Industry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The Immigration Process and the Role of Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Credential Recognition System in Trades/Occupations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 The Credential Recognition Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Barriers Faced by Foreign-Trained Trades Workers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Construction Industry Perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Other Stakeholders’ Perspectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Promising Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Conclusions and Next Steps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 APPENDIX A: People Interviewed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 APPENDIX B: Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 1 The Findings in Brief • A systematic approach is needed – there is no organized method to review trades credentials as there is for Though the process of assessment and recognition of foreign- regulated professions trained workers in the construction industry in Canada is the • Language does matter – language skills of foreign-trained same as that used for Canadian-trained workers, its impact workers, in terms of technical language, affects their capacity differs greatly. to become certified in the trades Foreign-trained workers are often at a disadvantage because • Supportive programs are needed – technical training of language barriers, insufficient documentation, lack of programs for trades should incorporate prior learning knowledge of Canadian health and safety regulations, build- assessment, language, and essential skills training ing codes, and other workplace requirements. • Immigrant-serving agencies are critical players – they require good information about trades, requirements and issues to In addition, the process is not systematic and difficult to effectively counsel and support immigrant tradespersons navigate. Apprenticeship officers use judgement and experience • There is little coordination – myriad players, a complex to assess foreign-trained workers. No books of international system, and little interaction between industry and gov- equivalencies are available to them. A multitude of players ernment on immigration and credential issues make are involved, policies are contradictory, and there appears the process difficult to understand and navigate. Close to be no strong industry involvement. cooperation between industry and government in the These are among the findings of this research paper, apprenticeship system is absent for issues related to commissioned by the Construction Sector Council (CSC) in immigrants, foreign credentials and experience recognition 2004 to gain a better understanding of how foreign creden- • Pay attention to Canadian workers – the construction indus- tials and experience are assessed and recognized in the try faces challenges in providing employment opportunities construction industry. for Canadian-trained workers that should not be ignored while pursuing the timely issue of foreign-trained workers The study includes 65 interviews with representatives from apprenticeship offices, government, owners, contractors, Addressing these issues falls to the industry — employers contractor associations, labour groups, credential recognition and labour — in partnership with apprenticeship offices. agencies, educational institutions, and immigrant-serving Immigrant-serving agencies are also important collabora- agencies. tors in this work, as they are often in a position to separate official process from actual process. Credential recognition Based on these interviews, a literature review, and an analy- organizations are unlikely to play a significant role given sis of demographic information, the report lays out eight their emphasis on academic credentials. key findings: The CSC could play a valuable role in co-ordinating these • One size fits all, or does it? – while the official process efforts, and it could bring foreign credential recognition issues is the same for foreign-trained workers as for Canadian- to the national stage by engaging in a dialogue to resolve trained, lack of particular attention to foreign-trained current difficulties experienced by the construction industry workers is a problem and by immigrants. • There is little trade-specific information for immigrating tradespersons – lack of information about working in Canada that specifically targets trades was evident 2 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Purpose of Study protocols for recognizing these offshore credentials. The recog- nition process in these cases, while not simple, is founded on The Construction Sector Council is developing a compre- comparing similar pathways to gaining credentials – a formal, hensive labour market information program that includes post-secondary education diploma/degree, and perhaps, information on particular issues facing certain groups in the relevant work experience. Work has been done to standard- construction industry. A particular concern is credential ize the process with regulatory bodies for nurses, medical recognition of foreign-trained workers. technologists, engineers, physicians, and teachers, among The CSC commissioned this study to gain a better under- others. This has not been the case for skilled workers. standing of how foreign credentials and experience are Credential recognition for foreign-trained workers in the assessed and recognized in the construction industry, trades consists of two elements: assessment and evaluation in related trades, and in other countries. of paper credentials (diploma or certificate); assessment Recognition of foreign credentials is a critical issue for and evaluation of experience. Hands-on experience is a criti- labour market supply: cal element of gaining paper credentials, (a certain amount of on-the-job training is necessary before challenging the The assessment and recognition of the education cre- exam for paper credentials). While both elements require dentials of foreign-trained workers is an issue of growing consideration, it is clear that, for construction trades, foreign importance in Canada. An accurate understanding and paper qualifications were insufficient to obtain Canadian cer- evaluation of the skills, knowledge, and experience of tification. Demonstration of practical experience, typically in foreign-trained workers plays a key role in enabling a Canadian context, and passing the provincial/territorial trades these workers to find jobs in which this preparation can examination, were generally both required. Even where a be used to full advantage. When this happens, the indi- foreign-trained tradesperson might work in a trade where vidual benefits from earnings in keeping with his/her certification is voluntary, and forgo challenging the exam for skills, and the employer and economy benefit from the paper credentials, the need to validate hands-on experience full productive use of those skills. When this does not remains. Throughout this report, credentials include academic happen, the full productive potential of the labour force qualification and hands-on or experiential qualification. Both goes unrealized, and the affected individuals and their are necessary to achieve full recognition as a tradesperson in families suffer lower incomes and standards of living. regulated trades where credentials are required. Businesses and individuals suffer; the country suffers. Over the last several years, the growing threat of skill Objectives shortages has lent increasing importance to the need to use fully the skills of the Canadian labour force, regard- Against this background, the CSC set out to determine: less of where these skills were obtained. In turn, this has 1. The nature of the credential recognition process in made it increasingly important that the qualifications each jurisdiction: of foreign-trained workers be fully and accurately evaluated, so that they can be most effectively used. 1 • How does this recognition work in each jurisdiction • What is the design of the process The importance of this issue to Canada’s future prosperity was (e.g., PLAR, challenge exam, etc.) underscored in the February 2004 Speech from the Throne: • What does it cost and who pays The Government will do its part to ensure speedier recog- 2. The existence and nature of programs to help the construction nition of foreign credentials and prior work experience. industry with this process: It will also implement measures to inform prospective immigrants and encourage the acquisition of necessary • Do they work credentials before they arrive in Canada.2 • How is/are the construction industry/employers made aware of assessment services A body of credential recognition work exists, which deals • What is the benefit of credential assessment to the primarily with the professions. Canadian regulatory bodies, employer/contractor in collaboration with educational institutions, are developing 1 Sangster, Derwyn. Assessing and Recognizing Foreign Credentials in Canada – Employers’Views. Canadian Labour and Business Centre, January 2001. 2 Canada. Speech from the Throne. February 2, 2004. http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/sft-ddt.asp A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 3 • Are there different experiences with credential assess- This report contains the following sections: ment among various sectors of construction (new • Profiles: provides statistical background on immigrant popu- home building and renovation, institutional, com- lation in the construction industry, including occupational mercial, industrial, and civil engineering) distribution, unemployment rates, and educational levels. 3. The role of labour groups in assessing credentials • Process: examines government’s role, specifically Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Human Resources and 4. The nature of information provided to potential Skills Development (HRSDC) in the immigration and immigrants about trades credentials: credential recognition process. This section explores infor- • What are the types of trades credentials immigrants mation publicly available to potential immigrants about bring with them (e.g., do other countries have gaining recognition in their trades. comparable in-school and on-the-job credentials) • Recognition: outlines how Canada’s credential recognition • What is the benefit of credential assessment to the system works for construction in general, with specific individual worker, and is assessment an efficient reference to some variations between jurisdictions. means to obtain recognition • Barriers: examines literature on barriers to foreign-trained 5. How have other countries dealt with this issue workers that formed the basis for interviews with people (e.g. United States, Australia) in the construction sector. • Perspectives: addresses construction industry experience 6. The success indicators for credential recognition for with the credential recognition system, as well as the issue industry, workers, and government of temporary foreign workers. It relies on information from 7. The experience of various groups with credential recognition: interviews with owners, contractors, and labour groups. • Stakeholders: deals with the experience of organizations • Employers/contractors that provide support to the credential recognition system or • Foreign-trained workers to the immigrant. It discusses how colleges and immigrant- • Labour groups serving agencies understood and addressed challenges of • Immigrant-serving agencies; placement groups the recognition process. • Assessment services • Practices: looks at some promising practices, including those from other countries, which are descriptive and illus- trative only; evaluation of their effectiveness is not possible. Methodology • Conclusions and recommendations: presents conclusions Two primary research tools were used: an extensive litera- that will inform the CSC’s future work on this issue and help ture review and 65 key informant interviews. Questions were many organizations active in credential recognition. informed by the literature (Appendix A lists interviewees). Key informants were selected on suggestions from the CSC, the literature review, and referrals made by some key informants. Table 1: Regional and sector distribution of key informants NATIONAL BC AB SK MB ON PQ NB NS PE NF NT YT NU TOTAL Owners 1 1 1 3 Contractors 1 3 1 5 Construction Associations 1 1 2 1 5 Labour Representatives 4 1 6 1 1 13 Apprenticeship Offices 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 12 Credential Recognition Organizations 1 1 1 1 1 5 Colleges/Education 1 1 2 1 1 6 Government 6 1 1 8 Immigrant-serving Agencies 1 1 4 1 1 8 TOTAL 9 9 8 2 4 19 5 3 3 1 1 1 65 4 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Table 2: Immigrant labour force in the construction industry, 2001 CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ALL INDUSTRY IMMIGRANT GROUP PERSONS % OF TOTAL PERSONS % OF TOTAL Non-immigrants 730,370 83.1 12,428,345 79.8 Immigrant population landed within the last 10 years 31,180 3.5 964,725 6.2 Entered country during census year 960 0.1 26,825 0.2 Entered country within the last 5 years 12,445 1.4 431,940 2.8 Entered country 6 to 10 years ago 17,780 2.0 505,960 3.2 Entered country more than 10 years ago 114,770 13.1 2,108,080 13.5 TOTAL 879,245 99.7 15,576,565 99.5 Note: Census year numbers account for only 5 months of data. Profiles of Immigrants in account for 12.2% of all immigrants in the construction industry. Those who landed within the last five years account the Construction Industry for only 8.5% (Chart 1). This shift is less pronounced for Demographic context is important in understanding the sit- all industries. uation of foreign-trained workers in the construction industry. While Table 2 provides information about all immigrant The 2001 Census of Canada provides information about immi- groups, subsequent analysis mainly considers immigrants grants who arrived in Canada within the last 10 years and who who landed in the last five years.4 A focus on recent immi- work in the construction industry.3 grants seems more appropriate for an analysis of the issues As Table 2 illustrates, in 2001, the percentage of immigrants in assessment and recognition of foreign credentials. who landed more than 10 years ago, and who worked in the construction industry, was similar to the percentage for all Chart 1: Dynamic of the immigrant labour force industry (13.1% and 13.5%).Within the last 10 years, however, in the construction industry the percentage for all industry (6.2%) was much higher than 18.0 the construction industry (3.5%). Furthermore, the propor- 16.5 tion of those landed within the last five years in all industry 16.0 was twice that in the construction sector. This may be a reflec- 14.1 14.0 tion of one or both of the following: 12.2 % of total immigrants 12.0 • Entry barriers faced by foreign-trained workers in the construction industry are much higher than in other 10.0 8.5 industries 8.0 • Immigration policy is less supportive in attracting con- struction workers than workers in other industries 6.0 The total number of immigrants who entered the country 4.0 within the last 10 years and worked in the construction 2.0 industry seems to be decreasing. The number for the con- struction industry and all industries seems to be decreasing. 0 Construction industry All industry Meanwhile, immigrants who landed six to 10 years ago Immigrants entered country within the last 5 years Immigrants entered country 6 to 10 years ago 3 Because the data in the 2001 Census are rounded, rounding errors occasionally appear in subsequent computations, which is why percentages do not always sum to 100% 4 For the purpose of this analysis, immigrants who landed during the census year are included with those who landed within the last five years (which refers to the period from 1996 to 2001). A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 5 Table 3: Employed vs. unemployed in the construction industry 5, 2001 INDUSTRY LABOUR FORCE NOT IN TOTAL LABOUR EMPLOYED UNEMPLOYED LABOUR FORCE FORCE ACTIVITY PERSONS % PERSONS % PERSONS % PERSONS % Construction industry Immigrants entered country within the last 5 years (including the census year) 12,385 83.5 1,020 6.9 1,430 9.6 14,835 100.0 Non-immigrants 654,550 83.4 75,815 9.7 54,460 6.9 784,830 100.0 All industry Immigrants entered country within the last 5 years (including the census year) 418,805 80.5 39,960 7.7 61,490 11.8 520,250 100.0 Non-immigrants 11,706,275 86.6 722,070 5.3 1,091,585 8.1 13,519,930 100.0 Note: Here and further, the percentage of unemployed is the ratio of the number of unemployed to the total labour force activity. This indicator should not be confused with the unemployment rate, which is the ratio of the unemployed to the total labour force. Table 4: Occupational distribution of employed immigrants in the construction industry, 2001 OCCUPATION IMMIGRANTS NON-IMMIGRANTS ENTERED ENTERED ENTERED COUNTRY WITHIN COUNTRY WITHIN COUNTRY THE LAST THE LAST 5 YEARS 6 TO 10 10 YEARS (INCLUDING THE YEARS AGO CENSUS YEAR) PERSONS % PERSONS % PERSONS % PERSONS % Construction trades 10,285 35.5 4,295 34.7 5,990 36.2 189,370 28.9 Stationary engineers, power station operators and electrical trades 1,795 6.2 830 6.7 965 5.8 49,040 7.5 Machinists, metal forming, shaping and erecting occupations 625 2.2 280 2.3 340 2.1 23,135 3.5 Mechanics 590 2.0 235 1.9 355 2.1 20,150 3.1 Other trades, not elsewhere classified 545 1.9 245 2.0 300 1.8 12,700 1.9 Heavy equipment and crane operators, including drillers 420 1.5 160 1.3 260 1.6 38,090 5.8 Transportation equipment operators and related workers, excluding labourers 255 0.9 80 0.6 190 1.1 14,085 2.2 Trades helpers, construction and transportation labourers 4,385 15.1 1,785 14.4 2,600 15.7 66,090 10.1 Other occupations 10,050 34.7 4,470 36.1 5,565 33.6 241,895 37.0 TOTAL 28,950 100.0 12,380 100.0 16,565 100.0 654,555 100.0 5 Not in labour force refers to persons aged 15 years and over, who are neither employed nor unemployed. It includes students, homemakers, retired workers, seasonal workers in an off-season who were not looking for work, and persons who could not work because of a long-term illness or disability. 6 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Table 5: Employed vs. unemployed in the construction industry by occupation, percentage of total in each occupation, 2001 OCCUPATION LABOUR FORCE NOT IN TOTAL LABOUR LABOUR FORCE FORCE ACTIVITY EMPLOYED UNEMPLOYED IMMIGRANTS NON- IMMIGRANTS NON- IMMIGRANTS NON- IMMIGRANTS NON- IMMIGRANTS IMMIGRANTS IMMIGRANTS IMMIGRANTS Construction trades 88.3 83.9 4.6 10.2 7.0 6.0 99.9 100.0 Stationary engineers, power station operators and electrical trades 83.8 86.0 9.1 9.1 7.1 4.9 100.0 100.0 Machinists, metal forming, shaping and erecting occupations 83.6 81.3 7.5 12.8 7.5 5.9 98.5 100.0 Mechanics 78.3 88.2 8.3 7.1 15.0 4.7 101.7 100.0 Other trades, not elsewhere classified 89.1 86.0 0.0 7.5 7.3 6.5 96.4 100.0 Heavy equipment and crane operators, including drillers 82.1 77.7 12.8 15.6 7.7 6.7 102.6 100.0 Trades helpers, construction and transportation labourers 81.9 68.7 8.5 17.6 9.9 13.7 100.2 100.0 Other occupations 79.9 88.1 7.8 5.7 12.3 6.2 100.0 100.0 TOTAL 83.4 83.4 6.9 9.7 9.6 6.9 100.0 100.0 Note: “Immigrants” includes those who entered the country within the last five years and during the census year As Table 3 illustrates, recent immigrants were relatively success- For example, Table 4 shows that among immigrants who ful in finding employment in the construction industry. The ratio landed in the last 10 years and were involved in the construc- of unemployed among recent immigrants in construction (6.9% tion industry, 15.1% were employed as trade helpers and of total labour force activity) was much lower than the ratio labourers. Only 10.1% of all non-immigrants fell into this of unemployed among non-immigrants in construction (9.7%) category. Given that the average educational profile of immi- or among recent immigrants in all industry (7.7%). The pro- grants was higher than non-immigrant workers (Table 6), portion of recent construction industry immigrants not in the the number of people in these construction occupations may labour force (9.6%) was notably higher than for non-immigrants indicate an underutilization of skills. In contrast, immigrants (6.9%). This may partially reflect large number of recent immi- were under-represented in the more technical construction grants who had to undergo additional training or upgrading occupations, especially heavy equipment and crane operators. before entering the labour force. These accounted for only 1.5% of all recent immigrants, but 5.8% of all non-immigrant construction workers. Statistics Canada’s Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants suggests a relatively good match between home country and As Table 5 shows, in five of seven listed occupational categories, Canadian occupation for tradespersons. For occupations the proportion of unemployed to total labour force activity was classified as trades, transport and equipment operations and lower among recent immigrants than among non-immigrants. related occupations, 9.9% of male immigrants worked in these This was especially true among the two largest groups, as the occupations before immigrating, while 10.4% worked in these percentage of unemployed among recent immigrants in con- occupations once in Canada.6 Nevertheless, these are broad occu- struction trades (4.6%) and trades helpers (8.5%) was less pations categories and the actual position obtained once in than half for non-immigrants (10.2% and 17.6%). Still, the Canada may be at a different level from that in the home country. unemployment indicator says nothing about the number of 6 Statistics Canada. Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada: Process, progress and prospects. 2003. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 7 foreign-trained workers working in a different field after The educational profile of the industry in Table 6 shows immigrating. Thus, the success of recent immigrants’ in trades certificate or diploma was not the major type of cre- securing construction industry jobs does not necessarily dential for recent immigrants, and accounted for only 14.7% mean that those trained as construction workers in their of all recent immigrants, while the proportion was 26.7% home country are successfully entering the construction for non-immigrants. As this is the credential required to labour market.7 For all but the trade helpers group, a higher practice most trades, it is interesting to note how few people proportion of recent immigrants than non-immigrants was in the industry in general have it. By contrast, the proportion in the not in labour force category, which may be due to of immigrants with university education significantly exceeded additional time required for foreign credentials recognition. non-immigrants (24.4% to 4.5%). The contrast is even more Table 6: Educational profile of immigrants in the construction industry, 2001 LEVEL OF EDUCATION IMMIGRANTS NON-IMMIGRANTS PERSONS % PERSONS % Less than high school graduation certificate 3,035 22.6 211,205 28.9 High school graduation certificate only 1,905 14.2 114,780 15.7 Some postsecondary education 1,330 9.9 78,360 10.7 Trades certificate or diploma 1,965 14.7 195,245 26.7 College certificate or diploma 1,355 10.1 91,075 12.5 University certificate or diploma below bachelor's degree 540 4.0 6,780 0.9 University degree 3,270 24.4 32,915 4.5 TOTAL 13,405 100.0 730,370 100.0 Note:“Immigrants” includes those who entered the country within the last five years and during the census year Table 7: Provincial distribution of recent immigrants in the construction industry, 2001 PROVINCE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ALL INDUSTRY PERSONS % PERSONS % Newfoundland and Labrador 0 0.0 490 0.1 Prince Edward Island 10 0.1 235 0.1 Nova Scotia 95 0.7 2,270 0.5 New Brunswick 30 0.2 1,215 0.3 Quebec 780 5.8 56,740 12.4 Ontario 8,445 63.0 262,630 57.2 Manitoba 285 2.1 8,740 1.9 Saskatchewan 110 0.8 3,255 0.7 Alberta 1,195 8.9 35,815 7.8 British Columbia 2,455 18.3 86,860 18.9 TOTAL 13,400 100.0 458,765 99.9 7 Statistics Canada’s 2003 Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada suggests that six of 10 immigrants work in different occupational field once in Canada. 8 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL marked when taking into account that the percentage of immi- participation rate among recent immigrants may be a result grants employed in construction-related trades (48.2%) was of regulatory barriers with almost twice the number of nearly the same as for non-immigrants (51.3%) (Table 48), and compulsory-regulated trades than any other province. that the proportion in management and supervisors positions As seen in Table 8, there was no direct relationship between was lower for recent immigrants than non-immigrants.9 This the number of recent immigrants in the province and the points to the possibility that recent immigrants are pursuing level of unemployment among those immigrants. Specifically, construction jobs because of inefficient Credential recognition although Ontario had the most immigrants (Table 7), only 5.1% systems for their own professional occupations. in the construction industry were unemployed. Saskatchewan, Geographic distribution of recent immigrants in construction on the other hand, had less than 1% of recent immigrants, was erratic. The majority was employed in Ontario (63.0%), for which the percentage of unemployed in construction was while British Columbia accounted for 18.3%, and Quebec for 26.1%; similarly, Quebec had 19.9% unemployed recent immi- only 5.8%. Recent immigrants in the construction industry grants in construction. Notably, Quebec and Saskatchewan accounted for a much higher proportion of the labour force in had significantly more unemployed recent immigrants than Ontario, and slightly so in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba unemployed non-immigrants in construction than other and Nova Scotia. At the same time, Quebec’s notably low provinces had. Table 8: Employed vs. unemployed in the construction industry by province, percentage of total labour activity in each province, 2001 PROVINCE LABOUR FORCE NOT IN TOTAL LABOUR LABOUR FORCE FORCE ACTIVITY EMPLOYED UNEMPLOYED IMMIGRANT, IMMIGRANT, NON- IMMIGRANT, IMMIGRANT, NON- IMMIGRANT, IMMIGRANT, NON- IMMIGRANT, IMMIGRANT, NON- PERSONS % IMMIGRANT, PERSONS % IMMIGRANT, PERSONS % IMMIGRANT, PERSONS % IMMIGRANT, % % % % Newfoundland and Labrador 0 0.0 54.3 0 0.0 35.3 0 0.0 10.4 0 0.0 100.0 Prince Edward Island 10 100.0 69.3 0 0.0 23.6 0 0.0 7.1 10 100.0 100.0 Nova Scotia 90 85.7 76.6 0 0.0 17.1 10 9.5 6.3 105 95.2 100.0 New Brunswick 30 100.0 68.4 0 0.0 23.1 0 0.0 8.4 30 100.0 100.0 Quebec 605 68.8 82.2 175 19.9 10.8 95 10.8 6.9 880 99.4 100.0 Ontario 7,980 86.8 88.0 465 5.1 6.0 755 8.2 6.0 9,195 100.1 100.0 Manitoba 245 81.7 80.5 30 10.0 11.2 10 3.3 8.3 300 95.0 100.0 Saskatchewan 90 78.3 80.3 30 26.1 10.6 0 0.0 9.1 115 104.3 100.0 Alberta 1,130 82.5 87.7 60 4.4 6.0 175 12.8 6.4 1,370 99.6 100.0 British Columbia 2,185 77.6 81.9 275 9.8 10.1 360 12.8 8.0 2,815 100.2 100.0 TOTAL 12,385 83.5 83.4 1,020 6.9 9.7 1,430 9.6 6.9 14,835 100.0 100.0 Note:“Immigrants” represents immigrants who entered the country within the last five years and during the census year 8 For the purpose of this analysis, construction-related trades include occupations listed in Table 4 with the exception of other trades, n.e.c and other occupations. 9 While management and supervisor occupations fall outside the scope of this study, Census 2001 data indicate that the proportion of recent immigrants in management and supervisor occupations was 9.3% and 5.2% of all occupations, while for non-immigrants it was 10.3% and 6.3% respectively. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 9 The Immigration Process and CIC has a link to the website of the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC), which does address the Role of Government trades and links to apprenticeship offices. Nevertheless, to As immigration approval still uses a points-based system, find this link, users must first navigate to a page entitled Will immigrating as a skilled worker requires a minimum number my degrees and diplomas be recognized in Canada? It is listed of points depending on the occupation and education required. under other assessment service’ and for more information. There An apprenticeship, diploma, and trades certificate, along with is no similar link for Will my trades credentials be recognized? 15 years of education, counts for 22 out of 25 education points. Users can search the CICIC website by occupation, province Experience points are awarded only for Level-0 (management), or territory. Fact sheets exist for seven construction trades with Level-A (usually requiring a university education), and Level-B accurate information and links to the appropriate body for (requiring college or apprenticeship training) occupations assessment and recognition. CICIC is willing to expand the of the National Occupational Classification (NOC). number of trades listed on its site to improve the scope of information provided to immigrants. Construction occupations requiring a diploma or apprenticeship are generally rated Level-B, so an immigrating tradesperson Sponsored by the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM), could be considered a skilled immigrant, especially if their another website, Work Destinations (www.workdestinations.org) training involved post-secondary education. As a result of this also deals with trades requirements, although there is apparently process, immigrant workers are likely to assume their cre- no link from the www.canadainternational.gc.ca site. dentials and experience will be recognized in Canada. However, CIC indicated that any information is welcome to update the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) only considers NOC website to improve how issues around trades are addressed. rating of the stated occupation, which is not recognition of Apprenticeship offices and credential recognition organiza- the credential and/or certification. tions consistently indicated that better, more comprehensive There are, however, many with trades training who have neither pre-immigration information is needed. This includes links a credential nor a diploma, and would not qualify as a skilled to provincial and territorial apprenticeship offices, as well as immigrant. Also, a number of skilled tradespersons might not labour market and occupational information. Several provincial qualify for immigration if their home country, is deemed to apprenticeship websites have excellent information about have lower standards for trade education. It was suggested this career paths and training; unfortunately, they have no links is a barrier to ensuring a skilled labour force, particularly in from immigration sites.All stakeholders (including immigrants) the new home building and renovation sector. would find it less costly, time-consuming, and frustrating, if some pre-landing assessment could be made. CIC noted recent changes in processing, for which potential immigrants are expected to file papers and obtain acceptance From the perspective of HRSDC’s role as secretariat to the in an online process. Only difficult cases are addressed through Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) a personal interview. In practice, however, in-person interviews and the department responsible for the Red Seal program, are still conducted for people from certain regions such as recognition of foreign credentials is seen as a provincial/ Eastern Europe. Ostensibly, everything needed is on the CIC territorial responsibility. When HRSDC receives inquiries website (www.cic.gc.ca), though further review indicated it from potential immigrants, these are referred directly to lacks any specific focus on apprenticeship or trades, while the province or territory involved. HRSDC does have a including several references to professions. The site makes Foreign Credential Recognition initiative and is working reference to various credential recognition agencies. It has through the sector councils on recognition of foreign no explicit referral to apprenticeship offices. Immigrants are credentials for non-regulated occupations. advised to bring letters of reference from employers, and any professional documents. However, the site provides no further detail even though apprenticeship offices require more than a letter of reference. 10 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL The Credential Recognition System in Trades/Occupations This section outlines requirements to work in a trade/ processes similar to those for compulsory trades in most occupation, how that process applies to foreign-trained jurisdictions. The employer’s satisfaction with the level of workers, and challenges for those who administer the system. skills and knowledge of the prospective employee is suffi- In order to understand the credential recognition process, cient to enter the trade. Nevertheless, an employer may, at we spoke to representatives of apprenticeship offices in all their discretion, request a trade certificate as a condition but two provinces and two territories. Informants varied from for employment. directors of apprenticeship, to officials involved in foreign credential recognition, to a front-line counsellor. This enabled Unregulated trade (trade for which us to get a broad perspective. certification is not available) Neither a formal qualification certificate, nor an apprenticeship, is required for this trade. An employer may not demand a Trades Qualification Requirements trade certificate as a condition of employment. Construction trades/occupations can have one of three Thirty-three construction industry trades were identified classification categories: for purposes of this study. Table 9 lists trades according to the level of regulation imposed by each jurisdiction. The level Compulsory certification trade of regulation varies significantly from one jurisdiction to A person employed in a compulsory trade must either: another, with Quebec and Alberta being the most heavily (1) have a current trade certificate from the provincial/ regulated. Interestingly, provinces that absorb the majority territorial jurisdiction, a current trade certificate from another of new immigrants, Ontario and Quebec, are also amongst jurisdiction bearing the Interprovincial Red Seal, or the most regulated. British Columbia is re-structuring its (2) be a registered apprentice or improver in that trade. apprenticeship system, so changes in that province’s prac- Voluntary certification trade tice might supersede findings in this report. Trades such Neither a formal apprenticeship nor a trade certificate is as electrician, plumber, and refrigeration/air-conditioning required to work in the trade. One may be obtained through mechanic must be certified in most provinces. Table 9: Compulsory trade certification in the construction industry TRADE NAME QC AB ON MB SK NS NB PE YT NT NL BC* NU RED SEAL Construction Electrician X X X O X X X X X X X O + Plumber X X X O X X X X O O O O + Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic** X X X X X X X O O O O O O + Steamfitter and Pipefitter** X X X X O O O O O O O O O + Sheet Metal Worker** X X X O X O O O O O O O O + Gasfitter** X X X X O Mobile Crane Operator X X X X O O O O O O O + Bricklayer X O O O O X X O O O O + Sprinkler System Installer X O O X O O O O O O O O O + Tower Crane Operator X X X O O O Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanic X X O O O O O O O O O O O + Roofer X O O O O O O O O O O + Boilermaker X X O O O O O O O O + A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 11 Table 9: Compulsory trade certification in the construction industry (Continued) TRADE NAME QC AB ON MB SK NS NB PE YT NT NL BC* NU RED SEAL Ironworker X X O O O O O O O O + Elevator Constructor and Mechanic** X X O O Carpenter X O O O O O O O O O O O O + Glazier X O O O O O O O O O O O O + Painter and Decorator X O O O O O O O O O O O O + Lather X O O O O O O O O O O + Insulator X O O O O O O O O O + Floor Covering Installer X O O O O O O O O O + Concrete Finisher X O O O O O O O O O + Welder X O O O O O O O O O + Tilesetter X O O O + Hoist Operator X O O Plasterer X O O Heavy Equipment Operator (Except Crane) X O O Cabinetmaker O O O O O O O O O O O + Water Well Driller 0 O O O Construction Line Worker O O O Construction Millwright O + Drywall Installer and Finisher O Construction Driller and Blaster O X Compulsory Trade Certification Unregulated Trade (certification is not available) O Voluntary Trade Certification + Interprovincial Trade Certification is available (Red Seal) Source: National Occupational Classification, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Notes: *As of April 1, 2004, British Columbia eliminated compulsory trades, although some trades have compulsory health and safety requirements. **Trade is part of more than one industry sector. 12 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Credential Recognition Process here begins with an overview of procedural commonalities, followed by a presentation of those aspects that are specific The assessment and recognition of foreign-trained and unique to particular jurisdictions. worker credentials and experience is a provincial/ territorial responsibility. Each has a designated regulatory body responsible Typically, a trade certificate is awarded upon successful com- for certification.Workers generally write a certification exam – pletion of an apprenticeship. Nevertheless, individuals who usually after a period of study and on-the-job experience. have not taken a Canadian apprenticeship, but who provide Even if a foreign credential is accepted, individuals generally documentation in support of their ability to practice the trade, are required to write the exam. and who demonstrate enough relevant experience, may apply for certification. This involves a written exam and in some The Red Seal system is seen by apprenticeship stakeholders trades/provinces, an additional practical exam. Foreign-trained as laying out a process that is the same for everyone, whether workers traditionally fall into this category. In order to be initial training was in Canada or abroad. However, as detailed granted a trade certificate, foreign-trained workers must: later, a single process for everyone might create unforeseen problems for some. • Complete and submit the trade certificate application to the appropriate provincial regulatory body (including While it may be desirable to be certified in a voluntary certified true copies of education, training certificates, trade, it is still possible to work without ever contacting the and diplomas) apprenticeship office, which raises several key questions: • Demonstrate they have sufficient experience (a minimum • How are credentials recognized for compulsory number of hours of practical, trade-specific experience), and for voluntary trades by providing documentation with detailed descriptions • How are people accepted into the industry where of work performed and equipment/tools used. In certain certification is not required or available cases (e.g., refugees), a statutory declaration may replace • How is experience recognized and validated proof of work experience • Pay applicable fees In terms of the specifics of foreign-credential recognition, • Pass all required examinations dimensions of the issue are unclear. Few provincial appren- ticeship offices track the number of foreign-trained workers Each application undergoes a screening process to verify work that seek recognition. Nova Scotia cites a “handful”, while experience, education, and training. Upon approval, appli- Alberta sees about 400 per year; these workers generally sought cants are issued temporary licences that allow them to work recognition for compulsory trades. Immigrant-serving agencies under the same conditions and supervisory requirements did appear to have much better records about clients, and their as registered apprentices. Traditionally, a temporary licence experience in seeking credentials recognition. is valid for three months, within which time the applicant must challenge the exam and obtain a trade certificate. Foreign-trained workers have the following options: A challenge facing apprenticeship offices across the country, • Obtain a trade certificate10 by either directly challenging is how to verify a tradesperson’s credentials, particularly their the trades certification exam, or after a period of appren- experience. Universally, informants from apprenticeship offices, ticeship training (on-the-job and/or in-class) labour groups, and contractors indicated that experience is • Enter the construction labour market directly in voluntary more important than academic credentials, especially for or unregulated trades. This could include the underground foreign-trained workers seeking full journeyperson status. economy. What is actually assessed in the credential recognition process, however, is the capacity to meet Canadian standards by tak- Trade Certification ing the Certificate of Qualifications exam. Specific features of the trade certification process in selected provinces are While each jurisdiction has its own regulatory body, the gen- presented in Table 10. eral process of challenging certification is similar across all provinces and territories.Accordingly, the information presented 10 Different jurisdictions apply different titles to licences issued to tradespersons. For example, in Quebec, it is called Competency Certificate, in Alberta, it is a Journeyman Certificate. For the purpose of this study, the generic title Trade Certificate will be used. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 13 Table 10: Specific features of the foreign worker certification process in different jurisdictions PROV. REGULATORY BODY ELEMENTS SPECIFIC PRACTICAL ASSESSMENT AGENCY PROVIDING RESPONSIBLE OF THE TRADE FEATURES OF EXAM OF FOREIGN EVALUATION FOR TRADE CERTIFICATION PROCESS THE TRADE CREDENTIALS OF ACADEMIC CERTIFICATION SIMILAR FOR ALL CERTIFICATION AND EXPERIENCE CREDENTIALS JURISDICTIONS PROCESS BC Industry Training In order to be granted a Trade The regulatory body determines the Yes The process is International Centre, Ministry Certificate, a foreign-trained exam format (written/oral/practical). ad hoc and in the Credential Evaluation of Advanced worker must: Following a failed challenge, hands of an individ- Service (ICES) Education 1. complete and submit the Trade upgrading is mandatory and must ual apprenticeship Certificate application to the be completed before a second officer appropriate provincial regula- attempt is approved. Only three tory body (including certified challenge exams (including true copies of education, train- reattempts) are permitted in ing certificates, and diplomas); a given trade. AB Apprenticeship and 2. demonstrate that they have One reattempt is permitted for each Yes Assessment is done International Industry Training, sufficient experience (a mini- type of examination (theory and prac- by two qualification Qualifications Government mum number of hours of tical). If the reattempt is failed, a centres supported Assessment of Alberta practical, trade-specific new application for certification must by a number of Service (IQAS) experience) by providing be submitted. Where there are PLAR officers documentation with detailed sufficient numbers, apprenticeship descriptions of work performed officials may go to the country of and equipment/tools used. origin to administer trades exams In certain cases, a statutory and review qualifications. A practical declaration may replace the exam is required for boilermakers, proof of work experience; bricklayers, carpenters, crane-operators, flooring installers, 3. pay the applicable fees; glaziers, and welders. 4. successfully pass all required SK Apprenticeship and examinations. N/A Yes The process is ad hoc International Trade Certification and in the hands of Qualifications Each application undergoes a Commission an individual appren- Assessment Service screening process to verify work ticeship officer (IQAS) experience, education, and train- ing. All provinces administer MB Apprenticeship written theory exams in a If a written exam is failed twice, Yes The process is Academic Credentials Branch Office, multiple-choice format. the applicant is required to take ad hoc and in the Assessment Service – Ministry of Advanced upgrading before a third attempt. hands of an individ- Manitoba (ACAS) Education and No temporary licence is issued. ual apprenticeship Training A practical exam is required for officer carpenters, bricklayers, and welders. ON Workplace Support If the written exam is failed twice, Yes The process is World Education Services, Ministry of the applicant is required either to ad hoc and in the Services – Canada Training, Colleges take upgrade training or to get hands of an individ- (WES Canada) and Universities more work experience before chal- ual apprenticeship lenging the examination again. officer 14 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Table 10: Specific features of the foreign worker certification process in different jurisdictions (Continued) PROV. REGULATORY BODY ELEMENTS SPECIFIC PRACTICAL ASSESSMENT AGENCY PROVIDING RESPONSIBLE OF THE TRADE FEATURES OF EXAM OF FOREIGN EVALUATION FOR TRADE CERTIFICATION PROCESS THE TRADE CREDENTIALS OF ACADEMIC CERTIFICATION SIMILAR FOR ALL CERTIFICATION AND EXPERIENCE CREDENTIALS JURISDICTIONS PROCESS QC Commission de Obtaining a trade certificate is a No All academic Service des la construction two-step process: first, the candidate credentials are evaluations du Québec (CCQ) must apply, be admitted, and pass submitted to the comparatives the exam; second, the candidate Ministère des d’etudes (SECE) must submit an additional applica- relations avec les tion for a trade certificate and incur citoyens et de l’im- the cost of the certificate. The written migration (MRCI), exam may be taken in French or while the CCQ con- English. The Santé et sécurité sur le ducts examinations chantier de construction course must and grants licenses be taken. Academic credentials are as important as work experience. While interpreters are not permitted, readers may be used when language comprehension is an issue. NB Apprenticeship A practical exam is required for Yes The apprenticeship Evaluation agency and Occupational welders, blasters, mobile crane, office has a specific of any other province Certification, hoisting operators, and sheet branch that man- Department of metal workers. ages credentials Training and recognition Employment Development NL Institutional N/A No The process is Evaluation agency of and Industrial ad hoc and in any other province Training Division, the hands of an Department individual appren- of Education ticeship officer NS Apprenticeship Fixed dates are established for No Assessment Evaluation agency of Training Division, written exams. A consultation with includes use of any other province Department of the industrial training and certifi- NOA as a checklist Education and cation officer is required before to verify workers’ Culture the application is submitted. abilities. PEI Apprenticeship and If the first exam is failed, then No The process is Evaluation agency of Training, 3 months of additional experi- ad hoc and in any other province Department of ence are required before a the hands of an Education second attempt, 12 months individual appren- before the third attempt, and ticeship officer 18 months before the fourth and subsequent attempts. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 15 Table 10: Specific features of the foreign worker certification process in different jurisdictions (Continued) PROV. REGULATORY BODY ELEMENTS SPECIFIC PRACTICAL ASSESSMENT AGENCY PROVIDING RESPONSIBLE OF THE TRADE FEATURES OF EXAM OF FOREIGN EVALUATION FOR TRADE CERTIFICATION PROCESS THE TRADE CREDENTIALS OF ACADEMIC CERTIFICATION SIMILAR FOR ALL CERTIFICATION AND EXPERIENCE CREDENTIALS JURISDICTIONS PROCESS YK Apprenticeship N/A N/A N/A Evaluation and Trades agency of any Qualifications, other province Department of Advanced Education NT Apprenticeship and N/A N/A N/A International Occupational Qualifications Certification, Assessment Department of Service (IQAS) Education, Culture and Employment NU Department of N/A N/A N/A Evaluation Education. Adult agency of any Learning and other province Post-Secondary Services Costs of Certification to determine whether or not the provincial/territorial standard is met. Application and exam fees are non-refundable and differ significantly by jurisdiction. Table 11 outlines the regulatory It is difficult for foreign-trained workers to prove what expe- bodies responsible for trade certification and the fees in rience they have, and smaller provinces lack the capacity to each jurisdiction. verify experience directly. In Nova Scotia, provincially certified employers, must sign papers verifying a worker’s experience, Additional costs may arise in obtaining formal equivalency using the National Occupational Analysis (NOA) as a guide. for foreign diplomas and certificates (including costs for Employers outside Canada, however, lack this certification, translation and copy certification) and any necessary upgrade so experience gained outside Canada can obtain only cursory training. All costs are borne by the applicant, which can be verification at best. In this case, or if the nature of the expe- a significant burden for many, and especially for refugees. rience is unclear, workers receive a 90-day work permit and have an opportunity to work under supervision to demonstrate Certifying Foreign-Trained Workers: their skills (if an employer can be found). Still, the employer’s An Overview of Practices evaluation is ad hoc. No standard practical competency exams exist for employers to use. A consistent message was that the process for assessing cre- dentials and experiences is the same for foreign-trained and One of the most organized jurisdictions is Alberta, where Canadian workers. While this provides an overall sense of two qualification centres review credentials and experience. equity, it also entails some challenges. In all provinces, except A number of Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition Alberta and Quebec, the process for ascertaining experience and (PLAR) officers throughout the province support this work. credentials is ad hoc. It is in the hands of individual apprentice- Qualification centres have the capacity to contact employers ship officers, who use knowledge of the trade and experience in originating countries to verify experience and credentials. More than 400 cases per year are handled individually. 16 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Table 11: Fees charged for challenging trade certification 11 JURISDICTION REGULATORY BODY ISSUING FEE, CANADIAN DOLLARS TRADE CERTIFICATE APPLICATION/ THEORY PRACTICAL RE-ATTEMPT – RE-ATTEMPT – VERIFICATION EXAM EXAM* THEORY EXAM PRACTICAL EXAM AB Apprenticeship and Industry Training, Government of Alberta 450** 130 - 475 100 Full cost recovery BC Industry Training Centre, Ministry of Advanced Education 85 85 85 85 85 MB Apprenticeship Branch Office, Ministry of Advanced Education and Training 75 250 75 75 75 NB Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification, Department of Training Full cost recovery Full cost recovery and Employment Development No fee 250 up to $200 50 up to $200 NL Institutional and Industrial Training Division, Department of Education No fee 150 *** *** NT Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification, Department of Education, Culture and Employment N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A NS Apprenticeship Training Division, 300 before June 30, 2004 500 Department of Education and Culture after June 30, 2004 *** 100 *** NU Adult Learning and Post-Secondary Services, Department of Education N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A ON Workplace Support Services, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities No fee 100 *** 100 *** PE Department of Education, Apprenticeship and Training No fee 50 *** 50 *** QC Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) No fee *** 100 *** SK Apprenticeship and Trade 250 before July 1, 2004 Certification Commission 480 after July 1, 2004 100 100 YT Apprenticeship and Tradesperson Qualifications, Advanced Education Branch, Department of Education N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A * In some jurisdictions, fees charged for practical exams are based on the cost of materials used during the examination and, thus, are different for different trades. The interval given in this column reflects the minimum and maximum level of fees charged for the practical exam for trades that belong to the construction industry. ** An additional fee may be required to cover extra costs in cases when a statutory declaration is submitted as a proof of work experience. *** No practical examination is required Workers deemed to have the credential and experience, are eligible to write the Red Seal exam. Canadian and foreign credentials receive the same weight, while 1.5 hours of required on-the-job time equals 1.0 hours of Alberta experience. 11 Source: Website verification and telephone enquiries to the regulatory bodies responsible for trades’ certification in each jurisdiction.Source: Website verification and telephone enquiries to the regulatory bodies responsible for trades’ certification in each jurisdiction. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 17 The New Brunswick apprenticeship office also administers All provinces and territories use written theory exams credential recognition. The office has a branch that specifically (multiple-choice format) to assess applicants’ knowledge. manages overall apprenticeship standards, curricula, on-the- The same format is used for the Interprovincial exam for job training standards, PLAR, and credential recognition. Red Seal trades. For a number of trades, several jurisdic- Credential recognition is often done with a home country tions require an additional practical exam. In some cases, partner. This tends to include countries that are a frequent an oral examination is also administered. Interpreters or source of immigrants to New Brunswick. The office has con- readers may be used with certain conditions. tinued ties with relevant training or certification organizations, particularly in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia. Following the apprenticeship route Quebec also takes a highly organized approach to dealing Foreign-trained workers who do not have sufficient work with foreign-trained workers. All academic credentials are experience and/or qualifications to challenge the certifica- submitted to the Ministère des relations avec les citoyens et tion exam, or whose application is rejected, may pursue de l’immigration (MRCI), while the Conseil de la construction an apprenticeship. For example, in New Brunswick approxi- du Québec (CCQ) conducts examinations and grants licenses. mately half of immigrant applicants are directed towards an CCQ requires all persons seeking licenses in construction apprenticeship – a decision most often based on the trade trades in Quebec to have a Diplôme d’études professionnelles in question and the country of origin. For electrical trades, (DEP) and a guarantee of employment. DEP is assessed against standards vary greatly among countries because of their training/ pedagogical standards issued by the Ministère different electrical systems. Even Americans have a difficulty d’éducation du Québec (MEQ), and is the reference standard for with the electrical trade exam in New Brunswick. Canadian evaluation of credentials and prior experience or learning. and American electrical codes, along with the established CCQ examines certificates, diplomas, professional member- writing procedures, are quite different. ship cards, or proof of qualifying exam issued by a professional Lack of uniformity in understanding how other countries body in the country of origin, to determine candidates’ eligi- train is evident in how informants regarded workers trained bility to sit for the CCQ qualifying exam. While a letter from in European Union countries. Some were considered as good, the employer in the country of origin is also requested, CCQ or better trained, in skills and safety issues. Others felt the considers academic documentation as important as work opposite. This suggests the ad hoc nature of evaluating experience, which differs from other jurisdictions. Immigrants experience may work against foreign-trained workers. account for only 1% of applicants for the CCQ exam. For apprenticeship applicants, provincial/territorial appren- Some informants pointed to a need for a national database of ticeship offices carry out assessment and recognition of trade equivalencies, such as one in New Zealand. This would foreign credentials.Analysis of the current immigration points facilitate swift identification of foreign credentials, as well as system, undertaken in a CSC-commissioned study,12 suggests the breadth and scope of the trade, as defined in the country a significant proportion of foreign-trained workers who apply of origin. Others were cautious about this approach. Alberta, for apprenticeship already have several years of education with the most organized verification system, felt that the myr- and work experience.13 The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum iad changes in how other countries train and certify, warrant (CAF) study on barriers to apprenticeship, points out that independent verification with each request. The consistent “recent immigrants who manage to gain admission into an message from Alberta was that industry sets standards for trades apprenticeship are often unable to receive any credentials or and expects everyone with a certificate to have met those prior learning recognition, that may qualify them to gain standards; hence the emphasis on getting the assessment right. advanced standing.”14 Significant challenges also arise for 12 Construction Sector Council, Future Labour Supply Study for Canada’s Construction Industry. September 2003. 13 This conclusion is based on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada point system that “a new immigrant with a two year trade certificate, two years of work experience, moderate proficiency in one official language between the ages of 21 and 49 without family ties to Canada, Canadian work or study experience and without arranged employment in Canada” is likely to obtain only 55 points under the immigration point system, which falls far from the minimum 69 points. Thus, the assumption is that in order to be accepted for immigration, the foreign-trained tradesperson has to have more than 2 years of trade education and more than two years of work experience. 14 Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. Assessing and Completing Apprenticeship in Canada: Perception of Barriers, Executive Summary. 2004. 18 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL older immigrants who may find it impossible to obtain sec- foreign credentials.” 16 Among these,“employers’ practices in ondary school certificates, as well as for workers from countries assessing paper credentials vary enormously. Some take these whose institutions have closed, due to civil strife.“Depending credentials at face value, some use the credentials assessment on specific entrance requirements established by an employer services of universities or provincially mandated credentials or a regulatory body, the lack of a secondary school diploma assessment agencies, while others consult with informal net- can be sufficient to bar the tradesperson from being admitted works of individuals from specific countries, who are familiar to an apprenticeship, even if they can produce a recognized with the granting institutions in those countries.”17 post-secondary credential.”15 According to the Conference Board of Canada, the chaotic In Nova Scotia and Alberta, however, apprenticeship courses nature of employers’ approaches toward credential recogni- are modularized, and workers need only take those sections tion is rooted in their lack of expertise in learning delivery. that are missing. For example, one of the most common needs Credentials are often considered proxies for capacity to is for training on Canadian codes (electrical, building, etc.) perform the work. Employers usually tend to adopt the most and a short, modularized course can provide that instruction. pragmatic approach, and focus on cost-effective solutions In Nova Scotia, these modules are online on the Virtual Campus. for evaluation.18 Results of the Conference Board’s 2000 In some cases, such as when foreign experience counts for Employer Survey show employers assign more importance only a portion of the required Canadian experience, signing to the assessment of practical experience than academic on as an apprentice is necessary to make up the difference. credentials. Specifically, on a scale of one to 100, employers For example, in Saskatchewan, all foreign-trained workers are allocate around 60 points to work experience and only encouraged to enter an apprenticeship to reduce the amount 28 points to formal credentials.19 of work experience they need before they are eligible to write the exam. Informants gave no rationale for the ratios of for- Role of Prior Learning Assessment eign to Canadian experience. The onus of finding an employer and Recognition (PLAR) for the apprenticeship falls on the worker. Apprenticeship offices provide no support in finding employers. Some provinces have Interviewees were queried specifically about the relation- made an effort to work with immigrant-serving agencies. ship between trades certification and PLAR, and its role in seeking trades credentials. PLAR is defined as: Issues with the assessment system may be leading workers towards apprenticeship or to working in the underground …a process that involves the identification, economy without a credential.As one respondent put it,“These documentation, assessment, and recognition of learn- are men on a mission: to get work. If they get work, then the ing acquired through formal and informal study. This credentials are less important.” may include work and life experience, training, inde- pendent study, volunteering, travel, hobbies, and family experiences. The recognition of prior learning can be Direct Entry to the used toward the requirements of an academic or train- Construction Labour Market ing program, occupational/professional certification, For trades/occupations without compulsory certification, or for employment/labour market entry purposes.20 methods of evaluating professional knowledge and experience In its report outlining PLAR as it relates to trades, the National are up to the employer. A recent study finds “only a minority Pipe Trades Human Resources Committee (NPTHRC)21 makes of employers encounter situations where they must assess two critical points. First, eligibility to challenge the certifi- cation exam can be based on the existence of prior learning. 15 Ibid. 16 Sangster, Derwyn. Assessing and Recognizing Foreign Credentials in Canada – Employers’Views. Canadian Labour Business Centre, January 2001. 17 Ibid. 18 Bloom, Michael and Michael Grant. Brain Gain: The Economic Benefits of Recognizing Learning and Learning Credentials in Canada. The Conference Board of Canada, 2001. 19 Ibid. 20 CAPLA – the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment. http://www.tyendinaga.net/prior.htm 21 The National Pipe Trades Human Resources Committee. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition: Apprenticeship and Trade Certification in the Pipe Trades. March 2004. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 19 The apprenticeship system is based entirely on the principle Ontario was more likely to have people challenge the exam as that a trade is learned by practical experience.Apprenticeship the sole means of gaining certification, often after serving a officers look carefully at experience, whether in a formal period of apprenticeship or returning to school. apprenticeship or through on-the-job training. Secondly, the structure of the apprenticeship system permits easy The Role of Credential Recognition Organizations comparison of in-school training and on-the-job experience, For immigrants seeking academic credentials assessment, although such comparisons might sometimes be impossible a number of organizations are available. Initially, it appeared for foreign-trained workers. these organizations would be likely sources of support for those seeking recognition in construction trades. The role Principles of PLAR are considered an effective approach of key credential recognition organizations, such as World to converting foreign experience into Canadian terms.22 Education Services (WES), International Credential Evaluation In general, apprenticeship officials request detailed letters of Service (ICES), Service des évaluations comparatives, Ministère reference from past employers. Even if these are obtainable, des relations avec les citoyens et de l’immigration Québec, it can be difficult to ascertain the depth and breadth of the and the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS), worker’s experience. In some cases, workers might discuss in the evaluation of academic credentials of tradespersons with an industry representative the work they have done, is, surprisingly, largely nonexistent. At best, they might eval- which facilitates determination of whether the worker has uate academic credentials obtained before an individual is the required experience. Practical exams are too expensive admitted into a trade.While there was some interest expressed for most provincial and territorial apprenticeship boards about becoming involved in trades credentials recognition, and are limited to those trades where a practical exam is it was not seen as a high priority. required. For example, in New Brunswick, candidates pro- vide a portfolio that includes certification, proof of hours Only one apprenticeship office worked with credential recog- in the trade, and letters from employers. These serve as the nition organizations — the Ontario apprenticeship office, which basis for the apprenticeship office’s PLAR assessments. They sent workers’ credentials to WES for assessment. In Ontario, are compared with the province’s on-the-job training logbook, the focus is on ensuring that tradespersons seeking recog- which serves as the reference standard to identify skills or nition have Grade 12, which is facilitated by the services of training gaps. WES. It receives referrals directly from the apprenticeship offices and from colleges. Some provinces explicitly understand that their process is based on PLAR principles, and go to great length to verify experience and credentials. Other provinces were less concerned about Barriers Faced by Foreign-Trained finding alternative ways of assessing, and maintained a strict adherence to the established criteria (e.g., the Grade 12 require Trades Workers Entering the ment can only be fulfilled by a secondary school certificate). Ontario did not base its practice on PLAR, as it estimates the Construction Industry According to the Conference Board of Canada,“the non- cost to be about $1,500 per worker. Ontario did not see the accreditation of foreign-trained professionals and tradespersons Red Seal as a PLAR system, rather as a standard only. It did not is a problem rooted in multiple barriers that cut across a wide provide a method to assess skills and experience. Therefore, range of institutional layers.”23 A number of studies24 considered and identified specific barriers faced by foreign-trained persons 22 Sangster, Derwyn. Assessing and Recognizing Foreign Credentials in Canada – Employers’Views. Canadian Labour Business Centre, January 2001. 23 Bloom, Michael and Michael Grant. Brain Gain: The Economic Benefits of Recognizing Learning and Learning Credentials in Canada. The Conference Board of Canada, 2001. 24 Centre for Research and Education in Human Services. Making a Change Together.A resource handbook for promoting access to professions and trades for foreign-trained people in Ontario.; Jas Parmar, Access to Trades for Internationally-Trained Tradespersons. Kwantlen University College, June 2003; Martin Smith, Recognition of Foreign Credentials: A Survey of Recent Community–Based and Research Projects (1995-2001) Funded by the Multiculturalism Program, Department of Canadian Heritage. International Comparative Research Group, Department of Canada Heritage, October 2001; Skills for Change. Foreign-trained Tradespeople in Toronto: What About the Other Half of “Access to Professions and Trades”? March 2000; Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. Accessing and Completing Apprenticeship in Canada: Perception of Barriers”, Executive Summary. 2004; Equal Opportunity Secretariat, Ministry Responsible for the Public Service, Initiatives Affecting the Labour Market Integration of Foreign-Trained Professionals and Trades workers. March 2000. 20 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL seeking credentials assessment and recognition. These bar- • Lack of familiarity with construction equipment riers can be grouped into two major categories: system-related and materials used in Canada and individual-related. • Lack of a social network that provides opportunities to enter an apprenticeship System-Related Barriers In addition, according to the Canadian Apprenticeship • Inefficient dissemination to prospective immigrants Forum (CAF),“these barriers may be further compounded of information on assessment processes by barriers related to the ethnicity or cultural background • Lack of consistency across provincial apprenticeship offices of the recent immigrant.”25 in assessment and recognition of foreign qualifications • Insufficient knowledge and understanding of trades, Interviews with foreign-trained trades workers conducted employment procedures, and the certification system by Skills for Change in Ontario in 2000,26 indicated that among settlement workers, employment counsellors, individual-specific barriers are perceived to be more difficult and social services workers to overcome than institutional barriers. Indeed, respondents • Insufficient flexibility and experience among certification referred to the process of submitting the application for a officers in understanding different types of foreign train- trade certificate and of obtaining a temporary license (issued ing and certifications, especially in provinces with low once the application is accepted), as a relatively easy process. immigrant inflow By contrast, preparing for and passing the qualification exam, • Perceived discrimination in evaluating training and work and adapting to unfamiliar work conditions (with unfamiliar credentials, and prospective applicants tools and equipment) were the most difficult aspects of • Difficulties in obtaining credits towards apprenticeship obtaining credentials recognition and integrating into the for prior learning and work experience labour market. • Lack of access to evaluation criteria or specific information An attempt to determine how many foreign-trained workers pertaining to assessment results are not passing the certification exams proved difficult. While, • Lack of review and appeal processes in most jurisdictions, anyone may challenge the exam, people • Lack of retraining or of bridging opportunities for people are often discouraged from doing so until they are likely to who completed part of their training or education abroad pass. Part of this may be due to the costs of writing the exams • Long waiting lists for language and technical bridging and, in some cases, the limit in the number of attempts. One programs province indicated the pass rate is about 75% for people from • Additional barriers encountered in applying for upgrading the apprenticeship stream. However, it was only 50% for those required after a failed exam who came from working in the trade (this was not specific • Cost factors associated with credential assessment to foreign-trained workers). Some provinces spoke about and training programs coaching people until they passed the exam. Others could • Lack of established procedures for employers to evaluate only provide a 10-minute interview to explain where the foreign credentials, which may lead to disregarding job applicant had done poorly on the exam. applicants with international credentials Although lack of French or English language skills is clearly the greatest problem for immigrants, no language training Individual-Related Barriers is provided in the trades certification process. While use of • The written, multiple choice format and theoretical ori- interpreters in challenging the exam is allowed by many appren- entation of the qualification exam may be problematic ticeship boards, they may lack qualification and trade specific for many candidates with primarily practical training vocabulary for the trade in question. The International Centre • Poor language skills, especially for written or oral in Winnipeg suggests the 100% failure rate for immigrants examination 25 Canadian Apprenticeship Forum.Accessing and Completing Apprenticeship in Canada: Perception of Barriers”, Executive Summary. 2004. 26 Skills for Change. Foreign-trained Tradespeople in Toronto: What About the Other Half of “Access to Professions and Trades”? March 2000. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 21 is due to language barriers. As well, few programs provide Immigrants often work two or three NOC levels below their foreign-trained workers with technical language specific to competencies. Many trained professionals — for example their trade. Therefore, even if they can overcome the general engineers — work in a trade because they were unable to have language barrier, they may still have trouble on an exam or their professional credential recognized. There was concern at a job-site. this prevents immigrants, trained in a trade, from working in that trade. It also raises questions about the assessment Sometimes, foreign-trained workers overestimate the match of engineering credentials and related points awarded by the between their experience and Canadian trades’ requirements. immigration system. Other countries define trades differently, and have different standards or technology. For example, in some countries Apprenticeship offices felt language was not a major issue scaffolding is made of bamboo. for the assessment process. Every province pointed to its support in allowing translators (non-technical translators In terms of cross-trade credits, especially where a trade to avoid concerns about cheating) during exams, which was practiced in another country spans several Canadian trades, deemed to be effective. A later section discusses the language Alberta and Saskatchewan have encyclopaedias of equiva- issue from the perspective of the immigrant community lence used to award credit. They permit dual qualifications. and the construction industry. Occasionally, a voluntary trade designation is suggested to foreign-trained workers so they can work right away in a While each jurisdiction employs its own process to assess field similar to one in which they were trained. trades qualifications, these are not explicit on the CIC website, and it is difficult to find the information. Most apprenticeship Skills and knowledge of foreign-trained workers are officially offices do refer to their recognition process on their websites — recognized once a trade certificate is obtained. Nevertheless, generally, with clear and easy-to-understand information — employers may still require additional testing to satisfy potential although they tend not to target foreign-trained workers concerns about foreign-trained applicants’ capabilities. This specifically. is done on an ad hoc basis when there are concerns about applicability of foreign experience to the Canadian context. Assessing knowledge and experience gaps for remediation is generally an ad hoc process that often depends on individual For refugees, the credential recognition process is seriously officers. Several respondents suggested creating a third formal hampered by lack of support from the relevant embassy in classification, in addition to apprentice and journeyperson. verifying certifications. In Quebec, the CCQ recommends This was to recognize foreign-trained workers’ experience, as refugee immigrants undergo PLAR for eventual admittance well as skill or knowledge gaps that need to be filled. One labour into an apprenticeship. In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, group uses the term “restricted journeyperson” internally. a statutory declaration is taken at face value. It may be sup- plemented by verifying questions by a qualified tradesperson, There was interest in a database of foreign credentials and if there is reason to suspect qualifications are overstated. trade equivalences, with the caveat that significant resources would be required for it to be maintained. Others suggested explicitly integrating foreign-trained workers into the Red Seal Challenges and Opportunities examination system. This would provide a nationally applicable There is no systematic or explicit process to recognize cre- framework for integration of immigrants into construction dentials and experience in the construction industry. Indeed, trades. Assessing credentials in workers’ home countries was the recognition of credentials is really only the eligibility to seen as a possible solution to reducing the number of immi- challenge exams in a particular Canadian jurisdiction.A foreign grants unable to find work within their level of qualification. credential cannot be recognized on its own without passing Outsourcing credential recognition offshore, however, seems the exam for the Canadian credential. possible only with a national standard for a given trade. 22 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Construction Industry Perspectives for some companies interviewed. However, almost all inform- ants indicated a preference (and in one case, a mandatory Twenty-six construction industry representatives were requirement) for workers with Red Seal certification, even interviewed, including contractors, owners, employers, labour where trade certification is voluntary. Contractors are willing groups, and employees. Difficulties in obtaining names of to pay more for that certification. Several informants prefer informants and scheduling interviews resulted in a less even fully qualified and certified workers, and reject workers with distribution than planned among the construction sectors: a temporary certificate. Many foreign-trained workers have institutional, commercial, industrial, new home building and temporary certificates, pending the exam, although it is unclear renovation, and civil engineering. if this negatively affects their employability. In some provinces, temporary certificates can be renewed without achieving Owners, contractors and employers certification, which might mean lack of acceptance among employers. Previous studies have indicated that many employers are not in a position to review workers’ paper credentials. Larger institutional, commercial, and industrial companies Apprenticeship offices perform this function. 27 Surprisingly, do not seem to have a significant number of foreign-trained employers were also not engaged in the critical area of workers, accounting for 1% of the workforce at some reviewing a worker’s experience. companies. Some indicated that foreign-trained workers were often employed as labourers and not as tradespersons. Owners of larger companies in the institutional, commercial, industrial, and civil engineering sector, tend to hire all their A few companies did not see language as an issue, although trades employees through union hiring halls. The main trades this was not universal. One company conducts in-house inter- are electrician, plumber, gas/pipefitter, millwright and carpenter. views to ensure sufficient language skills. The most common As a result, several declined to be interviewed. They cited lack reason for rejecting foreign-trained workers is lack of English of direct involvement in hiring or sub-contracting their con- skills. Several companies also provide diversity training. For struction requirements. When the union hiring hall is used, companies that did not feel language was an issue, it is pos- owners and contractors have no role in the assessment of sible the selection process ensures those with weak language workers, and conduct no assessments on the job.At most, they skills are screened out, either at the credential assessment put the certificate of qualifications in their files. Many acknowl- stage, or at the union membership stage. edge that unions have the capacity to assess credentials, Some contractors who deal with compulsory trades indicated but lack the needed funding. that, in light of Canadian code and workplace practice, they In Alberta, contractors and employers emphasized that the prefer that foreign-trained workers, particularly younger responsibility lies with them to ensure all workers possess workers, take an apprenticeship instead of challenging the required qualifications. Some trades, such as welder and crane exam or using a PLAR process. They felt that safety and the operator, require additional, practical tests even after a cer- capacity to work would be limited without fuller apprenticeship tificate of qualification is issued. Contractors and employers training. As well, the exam itself was seen as an insufficient recognize the difficulty of checking credentials from many test of workers’ skills. Changes in the process were seen as countries. They concentrate on on-the-job verification of the necessary to incorporate a better practical component for ability to do the required work. The credential recognition foreign-trained workers. role fell to the Alberta apprenticeship office and the unions. Two contractors hired workers directly, and for one, about One large owner uses an external firm to verify document 2% of new hires were trained abroad. The company generally authenticity. For instance, ensuring document translation accepts the home country credential, although it has also used and schools/employers exist. Still, this only addresses veracity, credential recognition bodies.Where workers have no Red Seal not competence. If documents prove legitimate, the worker or other Canadian trades certification, actual experience and is referred to the apprenticeship office for certification. competencies are the most valued attributes. The company When trade certification is voluntary, or individuals have no uses a three-month probationary period for assessment, while certificate of qualifications, referral from the union is sufficient the worker works with Canadian-trained tradespersons. 27 Sangster, Derwyn. Assessing and Recognizing Foreign Credentials in Canada – Employers’Views. Canadian Labour and Business Centre, January 2001, page 17. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 23 Contractors believe foreign-trained workers face challenges, sector also has occupations that CIC would not necessarily primarily in terms of safety. Sometimes, safety codes or categorize as skilled workers. This can limit immigration, practices in the home country are significantly different from especially to those areas experiencing skills shortages. those in Canada. Sometimes, language was a barrier to good There is a perception that the definition of trades is based safety practices. As one respondent put it,“The guy has to on institutional, commercial and industrial requirements. understand,‘Hey, look out there!’, or it isn’t going to be safe New home building and renovation work does not require the for him or for others.” full range of skills in any one worker. For example, if framers Many people who applied at one company were initially are in demand, contractors should be able to hire just framers, trained as engineers. Lack of breadth of experience often who are not full journeyperson carpenters. Shortages in many prevents them from working in their profession in Canada. new home building and renovation trades/occupations result They see construction as a means to gain experience and move in contractors hiring without reference to credentials. In a into supervisory positions. This contractor had a positive recent initiative, the Saskatchewan Home Builders Association experience, especially with tradespersons from European began to define these new home building and renovation skills and Commonwealth countries. sets in a series of 35 job areas. This was an effort to raise the status of new home building and renovation trades and reflect Another employer advertises for, and often receives, up to the realities of the sector. 500 applications. Some 85% of them are from foreign-trained workers of whom 90% are engineers. Engineers are not ideal While new home building and renovation construction candidates, as they tend to leave once they have sufficient technology is changing rapidly, requiring new skill sets, the Canadian work experience for their profession. Although, apprenticeship system and code standards often were seen of the one in 15 applicants hired, 60% are foreign-trained. as too slow to change in response. One contractor pointed out More foreign-trained applicants than Canadian applicants are that, increasingly, houses are built from prefabricated modules. still screened out. Only those with a certificate of qualifications Fewer high-skill positions are needed on-site, because they or a temporary permit are hired. Everyone receives a one-day are applied before the module arrives. training course, which includes safety. While about 15% are The new home building and renovation sector also appears to let go after the 90-day probation period, there is no difference have the highest incidence of so-called underground economy in termination rates between Canadian-trained and foreign- workers, that is, firms that operate without any certification, trained workers. or even without being fully qualified. By some estimates, the underground economy represents up to 75% of person-hours New Home Building and in the new home building and renovation sector, although Renovation Sector Experience this is difficult to verify. The new home building and renovation sector is more fluid in In conclusion, contractors, owners and employers are unable terms of identifying a specific trade and its certification. Most to assess foreign credentials, and expressed no interest in new home building and renovation trades/occupations are doing so themselves. What appears to matter more is whether certified, but voluntary. Those who have certification, or can a person can do the job and, in the institutional, commercial challenge the exam, tend to work in the non-residential sector and industrial sector, to ensure that they have proper papers. or a compulsory trade. For example, in Toronto many workers These are assessed by the employer on-the-job and by the belong to the more general Labourers International Union, apprenticeship office/union. The entire process is based on which allows them to work in a variety of occupations. This subjective assessment.While there was no support for employ- was seen as a positive approach for foreign-trained workers, ers to establish their own evaluation/assessment systems, by allowing them to work shortly after arriving in the country. there is willingness to support and work with the existing On the other hand, the new home building and renovation system to ensure a qualified workforce and a safe workplace. 24 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Labour The carpenters in Ontario use a more standard process: they administer the Evaluation of Academic Readiness Assessment For many labour informants, the main issue is ensuring Test (EARAT) to all applicants. Based on experience, they jobs for members, before discussing hiring from abroad determine if someone is a journeyperson, or at what appren- (whether on a temporary or permanent basis). Existing issues ticeship level they ought to be placed. The challenge in Ontario for Canadian workers, such as high unemployment rates in is to develop exemption exams so people avoid going through certain regions, difficulties in passing certification exams, the full apprenticeship stream to qualify.While not a hiring hall, and skills upgrading, need to be resolved.Youth, women, and the Carpenters Training Centre works hard to ensure carpen- Aboriginal people were cited as priority target groups for ters have the necessary skills, including language, literacy and increased apprenticeship, before looking to immigrants. safety. Similarly, Ontario Masonry Training Centres perform many of the same functions. Labour Union as Hiring Hall The role of labour groups depends on whether or not they Labour Groups’ Experiences act as hiring halls and/or certifying bodies. When unions with Foreign-Trained Workers do hiring, emphasis is placed on ensuring workers have the The certification process takes a long time. Even when one or necessary qualifications. Some unions do preliminary assess- two years of advanced standing is given for work in another ments and, if satisfied with the demonstrated practical country, another three to four years might be needed to reach experience, write the apprenticeship office to request that the journeyperson status in some trades. Factors such as age, or worker challenge the exam. The process is labour intensive. the nature of the work (i.e., a physically demanding trade such Some questioned whether or not unions had the resources as boilermaker), can deter individuals from pursuing it further. to do this properly. The complicated certification process often results in people Occasionally, labour groups review the practical competencies turning to the underground economy, especially in the new of people who have a certificate of qualifications. This happens, home building and renovation sector. For example, ironworkers for example, when the union feels apprenticeship officers lack have seen no demand from foreign-trained workers for admis- the experience or knowledge to fully assess a worker’s abilities sion to the union. In part, this might be due to the onerous in a trade, or if there is reasonable suspicion during the inter- and expensive certification process. It requires a six-month, view that actual competencies are less than stated. This also $2,300 pre-apprenticeship (although financial assistance happens in a few trades, such as welders and operating engi- is available). Similarly, high demand for hours on the job neers (i.e., demonstration of skills test for crane operators). discourages many foreign-trained workers from seeking Some foreign-trained workers, especially engineers, have good compulsory certification as crane operators and members academic credentials but lack practical experience. of the operating engineers. When a hiring hall system is used, unions in collaboration Some informants distinguished between foreign-trained with the apprenticeship office, assess and recognize foreign workers and untrained immigrants. In the new home building credentials.According to unions contacted in British Columbia, and renovation sector, many immigrants present themselves Alberta and New Brunswick, the number of foreign-trained for work, but not as qualified tradespersons. workers constitutes a small fraction (less than 5%) of total Lack of practical national trade standards, and a single system annual union applications. Whether the union has a foreign to assess experience, is a problem to many. A mechanism for credential assessment system in place, depends largely on consistent, reliable assessment of trades credentials, based the number of immigrants in its jurisdiction, and if the trade on practical worker demonstration, would be beneficial to is compulsory or voluntary. While most labour informants labour groups, employers, and apprenticeship offices. Several were not concerned with academic credentials, one informant labour informants indicated the need to update the National uses a credential recognition agency, if needed. Occupational Analysis, to reflect changes in technology and trades. One even suggested an International Red Seal. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 25 Joint labour/management training centres are a means to and union training centres indicated a large number of these ensure union workers have a standard level of training and workers are applying to challenge exams or to obtain work skills. One training centre utilized its membership to assist in the construction industry. Indeed, immigrant-serving with assessments and translation of experience and skills. agencies help these workers gain Canadian experience through It now includes foreign language skills and international work in the construction industry. For example, in British experience as an asset when hiring training staff. Columbia, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. designed a retraining program for foreign-trained engineers to prepare them for the roofing trade. Even for voluntary trades, many new home building and renovation construction employers prefer trained and certi- fied tradespersons. Most labour groups encourage members to Challenges and Opportunities obtain certification, especially Red Seal, to enhance mobility, for Temporary Foreign Workers even in provinces where the trade is voluntary. At the employer’s request, HRSDC provides a labour market Labour informants saw language, as well as an understanding opinion that skill shortages exist in a particular area, when of Canadian safety practices, construction codes and regulations, no Canadians are available for the work. The opinion indicates to be a key barrier. Country of origin influenced this perception. a specific type of job, and the usual credential is required. Those that follow a British approach to trades (such as Ireland The employer must demonstrate a responsible effort to find or India) appear to have less difficulty integrating into Canadian a qualified Canadian resident. The opinion is time-specific, construction sites. Occupation- specific technical language and the temporary worker remains in the country only as long courses, as well as basic second language courses, were viewed as the opinion is in effect. HRSDC’s main concern is the impact positively. on the labour market, to ensure temporary workers are not As with the contractors, labour informants spoke of the high a means to circumvent prevailing wage rates and conditions. number of immigrant engineers looking for work in the HRSDC does not, however, address workers admitted to Canada construction industry. This presents difficulties for those under provisions of agreements such as North American Free with trades training, as engineers fill available jobs. Some Trade Agreement (NAFTA), General Agreement on Tariffs and tradespeople are unable to obtain employment. The frequency Trade (GATT), and General Agreement on Trade in Services of this observation suggests it warrants further examination. (GATS). With a labour market opinion, CIC can issue a work According to one union, immigrant engineers often fail to permit to a temporary worker identified by the employer. adapt to work conditions, and are unsuccessful in pursing a The work permit is not an indication the worker has the trades career. This is a primary reason for rejecting applications necessary credentials, which the employer is expected to verify. from foreign-trained engineers. Alberta Apprenticeship has agreed to provide assessments Several labour informants (and also contractors) spoke posi- of credentials and experience in the originating country, and tively about immigrants’ work ethic, and their capacity to administer the interprovincial exam before workers arrive. undertake training and ultimately get certification. Others Alberta and the federal government recently signed a mem- noted discrimination against foreign-trained workers. As orandum of understanding to admit temporary workers for particular ethnic groups dominate some worksites, those the oil sands projects, with Alberta Apprenticeship doing who assign workers to various workplaces take this ethnic assessments prior to arrival. Alberta Apprenticeship supports mix into consideration to avoid conflicts. use of temporary foreign workers by employers with a history of training apprentices, but will rarely allow temporary foreign workers for employers without such a history. This facilitates Challenges and Opportunities for development of a training culture in the industry, by reward- Foreign-Trained Professional Engineers ing those who train, and it maintains the integrity of the One specific issue was prevalent throughout the research: apprenticeship system. large numbers of foreign-trained engineers seek access to the Some contractors expressed concern that the time it takes construction industry to gain Canadian work experience, as to hire offshore is prohibitive, except for large-scale projects. well as short-term income. They are admitted to Canada as Often, contractors employ labour brokers to hire temporary skilled workers, based on their high education level, but are foreign workers. Some informants criticized the practice of unable to obtain a license. Apprenticeship offices, contractors, accepting temporary foreign worker credentials, based on an 26 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL employer’s letter, rather than on a practical examination. One Some contractors, primarily new home building and renovation, large company indicated it did not support hiring offshore. welcomed narrowing of skills for each trade, which shortens It preferred Canadian workers, given the large pool of under- the time for individuals to qualify for a trade. Others oppose utilized Aboriginal people, women, youth, and immigrants. the changes. They cite concerns about degradation of the Better planning and coordination, better training, and the Red Seal system and workers who are so specialized that they extension of apprenticeship programs, could result in better are unable to compete for jobs. The National Pipe Trade Human utilization of this resource. Resources Committee (NPTHRC) outlined a number of impacts on the Red Seal system. resulting from changes in British Recently, an innovative program began in Toronto to help the Columbia. These include the system’s pan-Canadian nature new home building and renovation sector recruit workers. being undermined, narrowed trade definitions, and changes Construction Recruitment External Workers Services (CREWS), to worker training and certification.30 Labour informants believe is a joint project of HRSDC, CIC and the Greater Toronto Home these changes fundamentally erode the apprenticeship system Builders’ Association (GTHBA). The mandate of CREWS28 is: and reduce mobility. Without making reference to British • To promote recruitment and training of Canadians and Columbia specifically, one noted the United States’ trend towards permanent residents in the following construction trades, narrower trades, with workers doing few tasks repeatedly. This while allowing employers to temporarily employ foreign puts pressure on Canadian apprentices to operate in the same workers to make up for immediate shortages: bricklaying, way. In this specific case, the union is moving apprentices from house framing, form working, cement finishing, and sites that favour narrow trades definitions, to sites that permit construction labour apprentices to practice the full range of a more broadly-defined • To facilitate the employment validation process and issuance trade. For these informants, the British Columbia situation of temporary employment authorizations to qualified foreign relates directly to credential recognition, as it renders cre- workers to answer employers’ need for an experienced dentials irrelevant, given no trade is compulsory. Events in workforce in Ontario, particularly the Greater Toronto Area British Columbia also affect interprovincial mobility. Indeed, Since August 2003,29 137 employers enrolled in CREWS some provinces are considering not recognizing British and submitted applications for 442 workers, of which 128 went Columbia certificates. These changes dominate discussions to Toronto. Employers are expected to hire two Canadian resi- about the future of the industry. dents for each foreign worker. The evaluation of CREWS cites difficulties with CIC approving individual visas (in a timely fashion), and the arrival of fewer workers than anticipated. Other Stakeholders’ Perspectives Having HRSDC approve the need for workers and CIC approve To round out the study, 13 people from the education sector specific workers to meet that need, is seen as an ineffective, and community-based immigrant-serving organizations were cumbersome process. CREWS has been extended for a third interviewed. Colleges are involved with the in-school portion year, and should have good insights into how the construction of apprenticeship, and have experience with both PLAR and sector can respond quickly and effectively to skills shortages. foreign credential assessment/recognition. Immigrant-serving agencies provided the immigrant perspective. Challenges and Opportunities: Changes in the British Columbia Apprenticeship System Educators The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) This section would be incomplete without addressing the has begun to organize around PLAR with a reference group apprenticeship situation in British Columbia that, in 2002, on that subject, and around supporting deans of construction. introduced A New Model for Industry Training. Major changes These affinity groups will be in a good position to provide in the apprenticeship system in recent years, most notably the apprenticeship system with support on the ground. the end of compulsory trades, dominated many interviews. 28 See CREWS site: http://www.constructionworkers.ca/ 29 Will Dunning, Inc. Program Evaluation Report of Construction Recruitment External Workers Services (“CREWS”). September 2003. http://www.constructionworkers.ca/about/DunningEval030908.pdf 30 National Pipe Trades Human Resources Committee. The B.C. New Model for Industry Training and the Red Seal. June 2004. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 27 The challenges affecting the apprenticeship system affect and definition of the problems are so poorly understood. the colleges as well. How apprenticeship is defined, who sets Some colleges developed expertise among their staff to advise standards, and how those standards are assured, has a direct immigrants and others who want to enter apprenticeships. impact on the college system. Some colleges offer review Immigrant applicants’ lack of understanding of what consti- courses for tradespeople who want to challenge the certificate tutes a complete PLAR portfolio, and their resulting inability to of qualifications exam. Without standard, reciprocal recog- provide sufficient information, is a major reason for unsuc- nition agreements (potentially established by ACCC or CAF), cessful applications.Along with language challenges that some assessments must be done on a case-by-case basis. immigrants also face, this is why applicants sometimes aban- Cost of assessment was a recurring theme. In Quebec, the don the assessment process in the face of the extensive “commissions scolaires” are required to conduct assessments, processing period. but struggle to find enough clients to cover costs. Insufficient demand is not, however, uniform. Some trades, such as car- Immigrant-Serving Agencies pentry, have a large number of requests for assessment, while others such as masonry, have few. As the “commissions The first point of contact for many immigrants is an agency scolaires” provide PLAR for a wide range of trades, professions, dedicated to working with immigrants. While many agencies and academic credentials, having a sufficient number of trained had extensive experience dealing with foreign credential evaluators is a challenge. In some cases, this was addressed assessment and recognition for professionals, there was little by pooling resources between “commissions scolaires”. activity in the trades. Colleges of Ontario Network for Education and Training Foreign-trained workers seek information about how to work (CON*NECT), the Ontario college system’s marketing alliance, in their trade, how to find a job, and the certification process. recently launched an initiative called the Colleges Integrating They seem to gather information from immigrant-serving Immigrants to Employment Project. agencies, and informal clubs or groups in their neighbour- hoods, in larger urban centres. This initiative will look at how Ontario colleges can significantly improve immigrants’ progress through col- The myriad regulatory bodies present a barrier for most lege programs and into the labour force. Phase 1 of this immigrants.Again, some information exists about professional project will make recommendations for re-engineering regulatory bodies, but little about the trades. Immigrants are infrastructure, processes, and programs at Ontario unaware they must bring considerable documentation to Colleges to significantly improve pathways through support admittance into these bodies. Many are curious about the college system and into the workforce for skilled the role of unions. Others are apprehensive about the role of immigrants.31 government apprenticeship officers. They all need support to make the transition to the Canadian workforce. Ontario, particularly Toronto, faces huge challenges integrating immigrants into employment via the college system. One college Several immigrant-serving agencies have good relations with pointed to successful programs in the 1990s to help Canadian apprenticeship offices. They believe the system’s emphasis workers retool for new opportunities. Such programs would on the written exam is a major barrier. Even immigrants with greatly help immigrant workers find a way to employment. years of experience find the exam difficult to pass, and few (“After all, we’re here to build future taxpayers.”) Sustained bridge-training programs exist. Some agencies tried to estab- funding for these programs was eliminated, however, and lish preparatory courses. However, with no systematic way to the creation of hiring networks had to be abandoned. handle foreign-trained workers, other tools, such as translators with trades backgrounds, mentoring programs, and alternative Colleges lack information about foreign-trained tradespeople. testing regimes, remain unimplemented.Apprenticeship officers They mentioned that earlier information about expected are often seen to use discretionary powers to determine suffi- waves of immigration in particular skill areas would help ciency of experience. This echoes concerns about lack of a them to retool. They find it difficult to build appropriate formal system. Some agencies indicated that foreign-trained curricula and support mechanisms when the size, nature, workers need help to prepare for apprenticeship interviews. 31 CON*NECT website: http://www.collegeconnect.on.ca/ciite/pages/general_main.asp 28 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL All immigrant-serving agencies mentioned language and other Quebec cultural barriers. Language is perhaps the most significant In Quebec, the Commission de la Construction du Québec barrier, and often renders credential recognition a secondary (CCQ), rather than the government’s apprenticeship office, concern. Even with adequate credential recognition and PLAR regulates and monitors the construction industry. The CCQ tools, sitting for qualifying exams for the trades requires, in establishes hiring criteria based on the fundamental principle most provinces, an ability to communicate in English or French. of competency, acquired through training and/or through work Some informants pointed to a lack of employer incentive experience. Employers are obliged to hire workers with required to hire foreign-trained workers, especially those with weak qualifications and appropriate certificates of competency, language skills. One suggestion was that short (two-to-three while respecting a journeyperson-apprentice ratio that con- month) courses to introduce the Canadian work culture, forms to regulations. Monthly reports to the CCQ track ratios, including trade-specific language and health and safety issues, number of hours and other items to ensure compliance with might help. Others suggested mentoring programs to help industry norms. The existence of the CCQ provides a sys- foreign-trained workers gain Canadian experience. tematic method to ensure workers have required certifications. The CCQ does not, however, deal with a large number of A major challenge is finding employers willing to take immigrants, so the value of the model is theoretical at best. immigrants as apprentices, especially where there are few compulsory trades or an excess of skilled tradespeople. As Ontario well, there are limits to the number of apprentices that any In addition to initiatives such as Skills for Change and one journeyperson can supervise. There were also cases CON*NECT, Ontario has begun to address foreign-trained where workers were hired, but given tasks well below their tradespersons in other ways. The Ministry of Training trades competency. Colleges and Universities (MTCU) offers a special online All too often, foreign-trained workers give up pursuit of cre- Guide for Foreign-Trained Tradespeople.32 It lists compul- dential recognition, and take either a low-paying job, or one sory and voluntary certified trades, explains how to obtain without credential requirements. The time it takes to gain the trade certificates, and alternative ways of entering a trade full credential was cited as a barrier. For some, expectations (e.g., apprenticeship), when previous work experience or about the recognition process and the estimation of their own education is insufficient to challenge a trade certificate. skill levels are inadequate. The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration produced a number of occupational fact sheets that outline licensure Immigrants pay a landing fee, but those funds do not seem and certification requirements, and provide information to be used to support the training and settlement as provided on the Ontario labour market.33 Only two fact sheets are by immigrant-serving agencies, colleges, or provincial bodies. designated for trades (construction electricians and Again, according to other informants, a large number of millwrights). professionally-trained engineers enter construction trades when In October 2003, 20 immigrant professional and trade asso- they are unable to acquire Canadian engineering credentials. ciations, community initiatives and umbrella groups, officially Many pass the trades certification exam, but often have launched the Policy Roundtable Mobilizing Professions and difficulties with the practical aspects of the job. Trades (PROMPT). Its intent is to develop and advocate pol- icy recommendations to improve access to their fields for foreign-educated professionals and tradespeople. Managed Promising Practices by the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians, the There are slight differences in how provincial apprentice- initiative is funded by the Voluntary Sector Initiative, ship offices deal with the issue of assessing and recognizing through Heritage Canada.34 credentials. 32 Available at: http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/training/foreign.html 33 Jas Parmar, Access to Trades for Internationally Trained Tradespersons. Kwantlen University College, June 2003. 34 www.promptinfo.ca A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 29 Alberta Responses from Immigrant-Serving Agencies Alberta is the only province with dedicated qualifications Four immigrant-serving agency initiatives specifically target centres for immigrants. Recently, it agreed to a new process, foreign-trained construction workers. where there are sufficient numbers, which entails travelling to the country of origin, prior to immigration, to administer Electromechanical School Inc. trades exams and review qualifications (although officials have Electromechanical School Inc., which began as the Association yet to go to another country).Alberta is the only province with of Journeypersons from the Commonwealth of Independent explicit policies and procedures for dealing with foreign- States and Former Soviet Union, has been supporting immi- trained workers. While this does, in part, reflect a demand grants for about six years. It assists some 120 clients per year, created by the number of immigrants going to that province, of which about half seek credential recognition in construc- more importantly, it reflects a commitment to ensuring full tion trades. The school offers employment preparation and integration of immigrants into the workforce. As one inform- consultation, exam preparation for electricians and industrial ant stated, these people must work alongside employees trained mechanics, and workplace safety courses among others. Trades in Alberta and elsewhere in Canada. As well, to ensure that terminology is a key component. Courses are in English there is no unrest on the worksite and to demonstrate to and Russian. industry that standards are being met, it is in the direct interest of the apprenticeship office to work directly with immigrants. Newcomers Connecting to Apprenticeship Trades Resources (NECTAR) Saskatchewan Based in Ontario, the Centre for Foreign Trained Professionals While Saskatchewan receives relatively few immigrants, it and Tradespeople hosts the Newcomers Connecting to does a thorough job of assessing and qualifying its foreign- Apprenticeship Trades Resources (NECTAR) initiative. This trained trades workers. After examining documentation, the project just completed a research phase. It surveyed immigrant- assessor interviews applicants and applies specific skills and serving agencies about trades, ran focus groups and observed competencies criteria from the Red Seal standard to their apprenticeship officers’ interviews with clients. Research led experience at a task level. If they feel it advisable, they call to a pilot project, launched in the Fall of 2004, to enhance the upon an industry representative to help make the assessment. connection between immigrants and the trades. There is considerable exam-preparation support, and recogni- tion of cultural differences, which are common to Saskatchewan Skills for Change with its large Aboriginal population. Learning disabilities are The third project is run by Ontario’s Skills for Change, which, accommodated. Individuals are encouraged to enter the appren- since February 2004, has also been implementing an MTCU- ticeship program if they have significant experience gaps. Once sponsored program to train electricians and millwrights. the assessment is complete, cross-trade credits can be applied The project provides individuals with information to move where appropriate. Currently, the Saskatchewan Homebuilders’ towards licensure. More specifically, it aims to help individuals Association and the Saskatchewan government are exploring write the certificate of qualifications test. Training includes: a holistic immigration approach. It recognizes the need for work as well as ethnic community support (such as mentoring). • Overview and orientation on licensing and workplace issues Thus, it is looking at targeting countries with populations • Occupation-specific terminology, based on the Skills for that would most likely have an affinity for this prairie province. Change Sector Terminology, Information and Counselling (STIC) model35 New Brunswick • Job search techniques, as well as group and individual New Brunswick is another province promoting itself to trades- counselling to help people contact employers people overseas. If it is successful in attracting immigrants, MTCU funds the program’s trade-specific component, which the apprenticeship office will require more staff and more includes technical training. The 12-week program has six weeks capacity. It will need to move towards a more formal and of employment preparation and six weeks of technical training, systematic process for immigrant certification. 35 See http://www.equalopportunity.on.ca/english_g/apt/reportsfc.html 30 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL conducted on evenings and weekends to avoid interference Other Countries’ Experiences with income-generating employment. The literature review explored how several countries deal A letter of permission from MTCU is required to go through with credential and experience assessment and recognition. the STIC-based program and to sit for certificate of qualifi- As evaluation data on various practices was unavailable, cation exams. Other requirements include proof of education this section only describes the practices, and contains no credentials and four to five years of work experience, validated indications of effectiveness. by a previous employer (Canadian experience is considered, but not required). In certain cases, applicants can file an Australia affidavit attesting to the requirements. Australia emphasises thorough assessment of qualifications before a tradesperson is accepted as an immigrant. The system S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is characterized by recognition of education and training, The fourth project is run by the United Chinese Community based on demonstrated competencies, rather than time spent Enrichment Services Society (S.U.C.C.E.S.S.). It works exten- in an education system. sively with highly skilled immigrants, and delivers a variety of employment-related services to some 28,000 individuals. Foreign credential recognition consists of two parts: Recent work directly targeted the construction trades, • A pre-migration trades assessment including a roofers’ training program with the provincial • An Australian Recognized Trades Certificate. Both assess- homebuilders’ association. It also developed a one-year framing ments are performed by Trade Recognition Australia, part course that incorporates some apprenticeship work. Similar of the Federal Department of Employment and Workplace projects are being developed in collaboration with unions for Relations.36 Currently, 18 construction trades require pre- sheet metal workers and bricklayers. The Industry Training migration assessment;37 persons practicing other construction Authority of British Columbia (ITABC) does, or will, recognise trades are excluded from immigration. these courses. In partnership with the British Columbia To pass pre-migration assessment, which takes place in Construction Association, the roofing program was developed the home country, applicants are required to have training, to attract engineers who had difficulty with Canadian licensure skills, knowledge and experience, equivalent to an Australian because of credentials recognition or language proficiency apprentice-trained tradesperson. Evidence of work experience issues. It includes essential skills and language components. must not only indicate place of work, but also detail the nature The course costs about $4,000, but is eligible for coverage under and content of work, including tools and equipment.Applicants Employment Insurance (EI). S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is trying to nego- may be required to undertake an interview and/or a practical tiate repayment schemes with employers, for clients ineligible test to demonstrate skills.A positive decision on pre-migration for EI. By working with the Richmond School Board on a pro- qualifications recognition results in a classification letter gram that targets language training, employment skills and being issued. work experience for late teen immigrants, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is also looking at incorporating a construction trades component. Upon landing, tradespersons with a classification letter for engineering, an electrical, metal fabrication, or welding Finally, S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is working with the British Columbia trade, are eligible for recognition and award of the Australian construction industry on a survey of skills shortages and Recognized Trade Certificate (ARTC). The classification letter integration of immigrants. The survey will involve employers, is not, however, a guarantee that the certificate will be awarded. immigrants and training institutions. It will determine par- The applicant may need to attend an interview and pass a ticular trades gaps, gauge the need for foreign credential practical and/or theory exam.ARTC is accepted nationally and recognition, PLAR, and training resources to allow immigrants issued in various grades, which facilitates entry into trades to fill these gaps. by persons with varying levels of experience. Still, only five 36 www.workplace.gov.au/Workplace/WPHome/ 37 These trades are boilermaker, bricklayer, cabinetmaker, carpenter, flat glass tradesperson, floor finisher, electrical fitter, electrician, plumber, lather, painter and decorator, welder, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic, roofer, sheet metal worker, plasterer, stonemason, wall and floor tiller. Source:“Form 1121i: Skilled Occupational List,” Dept. of Employment and Workplace Relations, Government of Australia. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 31 construction trades are ARTC eligible.38 A tradesperson For dependants of work-permit holders, close relatives of pursuing another construction trade must hold a state or UK citizens, Commonwealth citizens with right of abode, territory licence.39 and refugees, the experience is similar to what tradespersons face in immigrating to Canada. Limited information is avail- In addition to the assessment of professional credentials, all able before immigration. While previous experience and potential immigrants (including tradespersons) are required qualifications may be counted as credit for apprenticeship, this to pass an English-as-a-second-language exam, and sometimes requires passing accreditation of prior learning (equivalent an occupational test.40 Although a certain level of English is a to Canadian PLAR).45 Upon completing an apprenticeship precondition for immigration, Trade Recognition Australia pro- program, the tradesperson is issued a National Vocational vides a special telephone enquiry line, connected to Translating Qualification. and Interpreting Services. The cost of this service is borne by the caller.41 United States of America US immigration policy remains less skill-selective than Canada’s United Kingdom or Australia’s, and is not designed to attract a significant In the United Kingdom, the credential recognition process number of skilled workers. More than 70% of visas are issued for foreign-trained workers pursuing a construction trade to family members.46 Before applying for immigration, a skilled depends on specific classifications. The UK is required to worker must have a permanent, full-time job offer from a accept proof of work experience for nationals of European US employer, who must also obtain a labour certification for Economic Area countries42 and Switzerland. If work experi- each foreign worker it wants to hire.47 Trades certification ence and training were certified in the home country, a UK generally falls under state jurisdiction and is administered certificate of experience is issued without further evaluation by departments of labour. For the three levels of certification – or examination.43 apprentice, journeyperson, and master – proof of work Workers who enter the UK under a work permit visa, must experience and passing the qualifying exam is usually submit an official report verifying the standard of qualifica- required to obtain a license. tions with specific reference to UK occupational levels. The UK National Reference Point (NRP), an independent unit of the New Zealand National Academic Recognition Information Centre, provides New Zealand’s selection process requires no job offer before this assessment. For construction trades, NRP provides eval- applying (although applicants with arranged employment uation for skilled workers’ training, apprenticeships, trade receive additional points). For applicants without job offers, qualifications, trade tests, advanced craft awards and master qualifications and experience are crucial to attain the mini- craftsman certification. The evaluation is based on an analysis mum points. In construction, only certain acceptable trades of documentation. No exam or interview is administered, are awarded points for qualifications. These include carpen- and no proof of work experience is considered during the ter, welder, gasfitter, painter and decorator, plumber, roofer, evaluation.44 refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic, mason and joiner/cabinet maker.48 38 These trades are boilermaker, electrical fitter, refrigeration mechanic, sheet metal worker, and welder. Source: TRA website.Available at: www.workplace.gov.au/Workplace/WPHome/ 39 Trade Recognition Australia.Available at: www.workplace.gov.au/WP/CDA/Files/WP/WR/att_elect.pdf 40 Foreign Credentials Recognition and Federal Public Service Employment, Conversation Report, Metropolis Conversation Series, 2003. 41 Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Government of Australia. Pre-migration Trade Skills Assessments. Application Information and Instructions. 42 The European Economic Area consists of Member States of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. 43 Department of Education and Skills, Government of the United Kingdom.Available at: www.dfes.gov.uk/europeopen/04.shtml 44 UK National Reference Point website.Available at: www.uknrp.org.uk 45 City & Guilds, www.city-and-guilds.co.uk 46 Timothy J. Hatton, Explaining Trends in UK Immigration, University of Essex,April 2003 47 US Citizenship and Immigration Services.Available at: http://uscis.gov/graphics/howdoi/eligibility3.htm 48 New Zealand Immigration Service Operational Manual, November 2004.Available at: www.immigration.govt.nz/nzis/operations_manual/index.htm 32 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL The credentials recognition process is two-fold: first, • No discrimination shall be made in this respect on credentials are assessed while processing the immigration any ground, such as the applicant’s gender, race, colour, application; second, the foreign-trained worker must obtain disability, language, religion, political opinion, national, additional recognition upon landing. Applicants who wish ethnic, or social origin to immigrate under the Skilled Migrant Category as electri- • The responsibility to demonstrate that an application cians, plumbers, gasfitters or drainlayers, must also submit does not fulfill the relevant requirements lies with the proof of full or provisional occupational registration from body undertaking the assessment the Electrical Workers Registration Board or the Plumbers, • Each country shall recognize qualifications – whether Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board.49 To obtain registration, for access to higher education, for periods of study or for applicants must submit copies of their qualifications to the higher education degrees – as similar to the corresponding board, and if qualifications are recognized, the board grants qualifications in its own system unless it can show that there provisional registration.50 are substantial differences between its own qualifications and the qualifications for which recognition is sought Upon landing, workers must obtain either a practicing license • Recognition may facilitate access to the labour market for trades where registration is required or a National Trade • All countries shall provide information on the institutions Certificate for trades where no occupational registration is and programs they consider as belonging to their higher required. Licenses and trade certificates are both issued upon education systems successfully passing the New Zealand Qualification Assessment (NZQA) examination, and after fulfilling certain academic All countries shall appoint a national information centre. and work experience requirements, which are established An important task of the centre is to offer advice on the recog- for each trade by the National Qualifications Framework.When nition of foreign qualifications to students, graduates, employers, foreign-trained workers enter an apprenticeship, PLAR is used higher education institutions and other interested parties to determine eligibility for advance standing.51 Applicants While the Lisbon Convention is directed clearly at postsec- submit a test report from the International English Language ondary academic credentials, its principles could be used to Testing System, or demonstrate that a recognized qualification guide credential and experience assessment and recognition was gained in English. for trades. This could be done through bilateral international agreements, based on the Red Seal standard. The provincial The Lisbon Convention or territorial apprenticeship office would accept the credential, The Lisbon Convention, also known as The Convention on the and would only verify or test elements specific to Canadian Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education or provincial/territorial context, such as code or safety. The in the European Region, was developed by the Council of Lisbon Convention is unique. The onus is on the credential Europe and UNESCO, and adopted by national representatives agency to accept an immigrant’s credential, unless it can in Lisbon on April 8 to 11, 1997. Most European countries demonstrate the credential is invalid. have ratified the convention, which deals with credential recognition. Canada signed the convention, but has yet to In the trades, however, attempting to recognize equivalencies ratify it. It requires support from all provinces and territories, is a difficult task. For example, Quebec’s CCQ is studying which is not yet forthcoming. European Union efforts to standardize equivalencies and “titres de competence” among 34 European nations. The The fundamental principles of the Lisbon Convention are: observations, so far, are not encouraging. Europeans, after • Holders of qualifications issued in one country shall have 10 years of discussions, are unable to agree on basic principles adequate access to an assessment of these qualifications or common occupational descriptions. One informant from in another country 49 New Zealand Immigration Service Operational Manual, November 2004. Available at: www.immigration.govt.nz/Operations+Manual/ 50 Electrical Workers Registration Board at: www.med.govt.nz/ewrb/content/info_for_applicants.html and Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board at: www.pgdb.co.nz/register.htm 51 Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation. Available at: www.bcito.org.nz/training/trainingoptions.htm A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 33 an apprenticeship office, spent considerable time attempting One Size Fits All, or Does It? to collate information outlining the competencies of the various trades as practiced in other countries. It proved an An almost universal finding was that the credential and experi- impossible task. Even in New Zealand where a similar exercise ence assessment and recognition process was the same for was undertaken, over 8,000 pages of equivalence resulted immigrants as for Canadians. Indeed, this was seen as a positive — an expensive and time-consuming process. feature – everyone writes the same exams. Nevertheless, the lack of particular attention to foreign-trained workers is a definite problem. Immigrant-serving agencies try to fill the need by Conclusions and Next Steps offering exam preparation courses. Fear of failing the written, multiple-choice exam drives some workers into either voluntary Little Information for Immigrating or non-certified occupations. Tradespersons In most cases, the determination of whether the immigrant has the necessary experience in the trade is a subjective process. There was a pervasive lack of trades-specific information Only one apprenticeship office pointed to using the NOA as about immigrating to and working in Canada, which is a a checklist to verify workers abilities. In most other cases, major issue for immigrants, both pre- and post-immigration. the counsellor’s experience with the trade, whether they worked Applicants need specific information about which office to for apprenticeship offices or labour groups, was stressed as contact, which labour groups cover their trades, and how to the single, most important decision criterion. Some argue obtain provisional trades certificates. Too often, immigrants for a standard approach, while others favour a hands-on, are unable to obtain a provisional ticket because they came individual approach. without papers to verify work experience. Migrating all of Canada’s immigration information online A review should be conducted to ensure that ‘one size fits has clearly demonstrated the need for consistent information. all’ does, in fact, apply to foreign-trained workers. The Without explicit reference to trades on the Citizenship and review ought to examine if there is bias against non-official Immigration (CIC) site, the Canadian Information Centre language speakers in the exam and interview process; if the for International Credentials (CICIC) site remains the most exam format is difficult for foreign-trained workers; and if extensive information source, connecting people to trades existing processes, including validation of prior work history and to apprenticeship offices. and practical skills, actually ensure that workers can work safely and effectively on Canadian worksites. Applicants who locate the correct provincial/territorial apprenticeship website find the quality of the information inconsistent. Only a few apprenticeship offices’ websites make Systematic Approach Needed specific reference to how immigrants obtain certification. The The systems established recognize that academic credentials best sites have downloadable forms, fee information, and home- do not work for trades. These provincially-supported agencies country documentation requirements. Greater transparency are experts in evaluating academic credentials, and have created is needed. databases to support evaluation consistency. No comparable system exists for trades, nor does a database of how other The Construction Sector Council should encourage a review countries train and certify the trades. This leads to assessments of the CIC website and provincial/territorial apprenticeship being done individually, rather than by country. Knowledge websites, with the objective of making explicit reference to of trades is essential for making the assessment. tradespeople immigrating to Canada and providing necessary information. Canada could negotiate agreements with other countries to recognize trades, along the lines of the Lisbon Convention, or it could spearhead an International Red Seal program. A partnership between the CSC and the CICIC would also Unions that act as hiring halls could forge partnerships with be valuable to help create fact sheets for remaining trades, counterparts overseas to verify and assess credentials. There and to make the CICIC site a more explicit link on the CIC website for immigrating tradespeople. 34 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL is also considerable support for screening or preliminary programs even for immigrants with good language skills. assessment of trades candidates before they immigrate, or for Some unions use tools, such as EARAT in Ontario, and the making a book of equivalencies available overseas to prospec- Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) to verify literacy, tive immigrants. Lack of a systematic assessment tool for numeracy and other essential skills. practical skills was also cited as a barrier to fair evaluation. The CIC should review the support for immigrant language Many informants support a system that recognizes needs in training, especially in terms of the continuum of training advance. As provincial governments know where skills are required, as well as balancing immigrants’ need to work needed, they could facilitate the evaluation of immigrants while improving their language skills. prior to immigration so that immigrants arrive with a high degree of confidence that work will be available. The CSC might consider mounting a pilot project, in part- nership with the CIC’s Enhanced Language Training initiative, The CSC should discuss with the CIC, the CICIC (for links to to develop occupation-specific language training, and ways the Lisbon Convention), and provincial/territorial directors of to deliver such training to foreign-trained workers. apprenticeship, how to move towards a systematic evaluation of credentials and experience for the trades. Supportive Programs Needed Language Does Matter Technical training programs for trades, should incorporate prior learning assessment, as well as language and essential Employers, labour groups, and apprenticeship offices see lan- skills training. Bridging programs are needed, which might guage as an issue in terms of job safety, or giving and receiving include the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System instructions. Most have devised ways to circumvent language (WHMIS), health and safety training, and a mentoring system issues. Immigrant-serving agencies, on the other hand, saw to prepare for licensing exams. Care is needed to ensure work- language as a major barrier to certification. As written exams site acceptance of immigrant workers. This requires mentoring are difficult for those with poor language skills, particularly and monitoring, as well as cultural diversity training for the the multiple-choice format used for trades, trades-specific existing workforce. In some regions, incentives might be needed language training and interpreters with trades backgrounds, to encourage employers to take on foreign-trained workers could be used. Too many immigrants in areas with skills short- as apprentices. ages go directly to work, rather than taking training to upgrade their skills and obtain the credentials needed to work anywhere The CSC should consider partnering with the directors of in Canada. apprenticeship, immigrant-serving organizations, labour, and contractors to design a curriculum on working in the Canadian In most provinces, publicly-funded language training is construction industry, which could be delivered in a variety supported only up to Language Instruction for Newcomers of ways, including pre-landing courses. to Canada (LINC) level 3. The trades require LINC levels 7–9, which include technical language and workplace communi- A complementary curriculum should be designed for cations skills. In general, government policy is based on the employers, labour groups, and Canadian workers to intro- assumption that an immigrant first goes for language training, duce them to the challenges faced by foreign-trained then to upgrading and finally to work. Not all immigrants fol- workers, and to help facilitate their integration into low this route. Occupation-specific language training, under Canadian worksites. CIC’s Enhanced Language Training program, could be offered by industry training centres, community colleges, or immigrant- serving agencies. Technology advances have increased workplace literacy and numeracy demands, which necessitate upgrading A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 35 Immigrant-Serving Agencies Critical Players Pay Attention to Canadian Workers Many immigrant-serving agencies are mounting innovative Many informants were pleased that the CSC was looking at programs to help immigrants enter a trade. They work with this issue. It is a timely one. Nevertheless, another consistent small budgets, often without full support that should be message was that the situation with Aboriginal people, youth, available to them. They require good information about trades, and women also needs attention, in terms of attracting them the requirements and the issues, to counsel and support immi- to the industry. There was a perception that the industry faces grant tradespeople effectively. To sustain their work, they also an inter-provincial mobility issue, which puts into question need support of the construction industry, apprenticeship the need for immigration when qualified Canadian residents offices, employers, labour groups and colleges. With firsthand are unemployed. Some questioned why foreign temporary experience, they are an invaluable resource to the sector and workers have their airfare paid and receive other benefits to governments. not offered to Canadian residents who might temporarily relo- cate to another province. One suggestion was to use EI funds The CSC should convene a meeting with key immigrant- to increase worker mobility by providing financial support, serving agencies to discuss what supports they need to similar to what is provided to temporary foreign workers. ensure that foreign-trained workers are properly advised, counselled, and supported while moving towards securing There is also a need to provide Canadian residents with the trades credentials. chance to upgrade their skills. For those who have been work- ing in the trades for decades, it is important that they, too, have the opportunity to succeed in passing their Red Seal exams. Another recurring observation was that low levels of Little Coordination literacy among many of the existing workforce prevents them A multitude of players is involved in the credential and from moving, upgrading and acquiring additional credentials. experience assessment and recognition process for the con- struction industry. The process is difficult to navigate, even The CSC should continue to balance all of its activities in such for those involved in this study. Policies can be contradictory, a way that the needs of existing workers and those of the and there appears to be no strong industry involvement in potential workforce are met, including those of Aboriginal developing immigration policy, including the points system. people, youth, women, and foreign-trained workers. The CSC should convene a roundtable of the various players to discuss how to begin to provide better coordination. HRSDC should be encouraged to examine explicitly the for- eign credential recognition issues related to trades soon, as it has done for the regulated professions. 36 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL APPENDIX A: People Interviewed Kate Acs Grant Brooks Executive Director Manager, Labour Relations Colleges Integrating Immigrants Bantrel Constructors to Employment Project – CON*NECT Calgary, AB George Brown College Toronto, ON Deirdre Brown Manager Don Attfield International Credential Evaluation Director of Training Service (ICES) Ontario Masonry Training Centre Burnaby, BC Mississauga, ON Terry Brown Dono Bandoro General Manager Senior Analyst Greyback Construction Sector Partnership and Apprenticeship Kelowna, BC Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Luce Charbonneau Gatineau, Qc Foreign Credential Recognition, Skills and Innovation Agenda Yves Beaudin Economic Policy and Programs National Coordinator Selection Branch Canadian Information Centre Citizenship and Immigration Canada for International Credentials Ottawa, ON Toronto, ON Jim Clarke Silvia Bendo Vice President of Operations for Alberta Program Manager and British Columbia Construction Recruitment External Comstock Canada, Western Division Workers Services (CREWS) Edmonton, AB Toronto, ON Brian Clewes Brian Bickley CEO Manager, Industrial Relations Industrial Training Authority Syncrude Canada Ltd of British Columbia Fort MacMurray, AB Richmond, BC Vic Bodnar Darryl Cruickshank Health, Safety and Training Co-ordinator Red Seal Secretariat Carpenters’ Union Trades and Apprenticeship Division Mississauga, ON Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Manon Boucher Gatineau, Qc Reconnaissance des acquis Commission Scolaire de Saint-Hyacinthe Saint-Hyacinthe, Qc A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 37 Terry Davies David Gilday Business Manager Director, Apprenticeship International Union of Painters NWT Education Culture and Employment and Allied Trades – District Council 38 Yellowknife, NT Burnaby, BC Rod Goy Iurie Dmitrenco Training Director President International Brotherhood of Electromechanical School Inc. Electrical Workers (IBEW) (former Association of Journeypersons Vancouver, BC from Commonwealth of Independent States and Former Soviet Union) Paul Gravelle Toronto, ON National Coordinator, Education and Training, Canadian Home Builders Association George Douglas Ottawa, ON British Columbia Institute of Technology Burnaby, BC Jane Harvey Researcher/Facilitator Chantale Dubeau Newcomers Connecting to Apprenticeship Conseiller en main d’œuvre Trades Resources (NECTAR) project Conseil de la construction du Québec Centre for Foreign Trained Professionals Montréal, QC and Tradespeople Toronto, ON Shirley Dul Executive Director Melissa Heatherington Apprenticeship and Training Division Executive Director Alberta Learning Carpenters Training Centre Edmonton, AB Halifax, NB Sonia Fradette Sandi Howell Responsable de l’ingénierie Coordinator, Workplace Education and PLAR pédagogique/reconnaissance des acquis Industry Training Partnerships Ministère de l’Éducation du Québec MB Advanced Education and Training Québec, QC Winnipeg, MB Mike Gallagher Grant Jacobs Business Manager National Training Coordinator International Union of Operating Engineers, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Local 793 Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers Toronto, ON and Helpers (Boilermakers) Edmonton, AB Claude Gauthier Directrice en formation professionnelle Michelle Jay Conseil de la construction du Québec Employment Assistant Counsellor Montréal, QC PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada Charlottetown, PE 38 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Lyle Johnson Gary Lehman Leader Manager – Project Management Corunna Expansion Project and Strategic Planning Nova Chemicals Ltd. Electrical Contractors Association of Ontario Corunna, ON Toronto, ON Mary Kenny Evelyne Lemieux-Nault Executive Director Manager Atlantic Home Builders Training Board / Skilled Trades and Industry Partnerships Atlantic Home Builders and Renovators Trades and Apprenticeship Sector Council Human Resources Partnerships Directorate Halifax, NS Human Resources and Skills Development Canada Gatineau, QC Arne Johansen Trade Improvement Office Russ Lock International Association of Bridge, Industrial Installations Manager Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Wolfedale Electric Ironworkers (Ironworkers) Mississauga, ON Vancouver, BC Richard Lyall Barbara Kirby President Senior Sectoral Relations Officer RESCON Community and Corporate Relations Vaughan, ON Association of Canadian Community Colleges Ottawa, ON Sandy MacDonald Director Ron Krishka Foreign Worker Program Prior Learning Assessment and Human Resources and Skills Recognition Coordinator Development Canada Apprenticeship Branch Gatineau, QC Manitoba Advanced Education and Training Winnipeg, MB Andy Manahan Development Promotional Representative Jan Kutcher Universal Workers Union Local 183 Employment Program Coordinator Toronto, ON Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA) Shane McCarthy Halifax, NS Training Coordinator United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters, Denis Lazure HVAC Local 78 Service des évaluations comparatives Brampton, ON Ministère des relations avec les citoyens et de l’immigration Québec Chris McInnis Montréal, QC Adult Education Officer International Centre of Winnipeg Winnipeg, MB A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 39 Ken McKinlay Don Rogalsky Executive Director Labour Relations Advisor Saskatchewan Homebuilders Manitoba Hydro Project Association Management Corporation Regina, SK Winnipeg, MB Kathleen Morrow Lito Romano Director Program Director International Qualifications Construction Craft Training Centre Assessment Service Universal Workers Union, Local 183 Alberta Learning Toronto, ON Edmonton, AB Paul Sandhar-Cruz Aline Munro Deputy Director Dean of Technology Economic Policy and Programs New Brunswick Community College Citizenship and Immigration Canada St. John, NB Ottawa, ON Doug Muir Olie Schell Director Director Apprenticeship and Trade Apprenticeship Initiatives Certification Commission Apprenticeship and Training Division Regina, SK Alberta Learning Edmonton, AB Gérald Nadeau Director Barb Simmons Apprenticeship and Occupational Senior Manager Certification, Program Delivery Unit NB Training and Employment Workplace Training Branch Development Ministry of Training, Colleges Fredericton, NB and Universities Toronto, ON Tim Owens Director – WES Canada Larry Slaney World Education Services Training Co-ordinator Toronto, ON United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices in the Piping Trades Wayne Peppard St. John’s, NF Executive Director BCYT Provincial Building Hugh Tackaberry Trades Council Director, Labour Relations Burnaby, BC Fluor Daniel Canada Calgary, AB Roland Rhooms Manager, Programs and Services Skills for Change Toronto, ON 40 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Lillian To Canada. Speech from the Throne. February 2, 2004. Chief Executive Officer http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/sft-ddt.asp S.U.C.C.E.S.S. (United Chinese Canadian Apprenticeship Forum. Accessing and Completing Community Enrichment Services Society) Apprenticeship in Canada: Perception of Barriers, Executive Vancouver, BC Summary. 2004. Joe Tomona Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials Associate Dean – Applied Technology (CICIC). Fact Sheet No.2: Assessment and recognition of cre- Humber Institute of Applied Technology dentials for the purpose of employment in Canada. Available at: Toronto, ON http://www.cicic.ca/factsheets/factsheet2en.stm Heather Umlah Centre for Research and Education in Human Services. Making Program Administration Officer a Change Together. A resource handbook for promoting access to Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Training professions and trades for foreign-trained people in Ontario. and Skill Development Division Construction Sector Council. Immigrant Participation in Halifax, NS the Construction Labour Supply: Canada Census 2001. Niloofar Zabihi Equal Opportunity Secretariat, Ministry Responsible for Counsellor the Public Service. Initiatives Affecting the Labour Market Credentials Recognition Integration of Foreign - Trained Professionals and Trades Workplace Training Branch workers, March 2000. Ministry of Training, Colleges Hatton, Timothy J. Explaining Trends in UK Immigration. and Universities University of Essex, April 2003. Toronto, ON Metropolis Conversation Series. Foreign Credentials Recognition and Federal Public Service Employment. Conversation Report, 2003. APPENDIX B: Bibliography Metropolis Conversation Series. Conversation Five: Economic and Social Performance outcomes of recent Research Papers and Studies immigrants: How Can We Improve Them? Available at: The Association of Canadian Community Colleges. http://canada.metropolis.net/events/conversation/ Responding on the Needs of Immigrants: Diagnostic conversation_5.html Background Report, March 2004. National Pipe Trades Human Resources Committee. The B.C. Government of Australia, Department of Employment and New Model for Industry Training and the Red Seal. June 2004. Workplace Relations. Pre-migration Trade Skills Assessments. The National Pipe Trades Human Resources Committee. Application Information and Instructions. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition: Apprenticeship Bloom Michael and Michael Grant. Brain Gain: The and Trade Certification in the Pipe Trades. March 2004. Economic Benefits of Recognizing Learning and Learning OARS Training Inc. Workplace Prior Learning Assessment Credentials in Canada. The Conference Board of Canada, and Recognition – The Manitoba Report 2002. September 2001. Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education. The Facts Are In! A Study of the Characteristics and Experiences Consultation Summary of the New Model for Industry of Immigrants Seeking Employment in Regulated Professions Training in British Columbia, May 2003. in Ontario. Summer 2002. British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education. Parmar, Jas. Access to trades for Internationally Trained Discussion Paper: A New Model for Industry Training Tradespersons. Kwantlen University College, June 2003. in British Columbia, December 2002. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 41 Prince Edward Island Associations for Newcomers to Canada. Online resources Stepping Stones to Success: Recognizing Foreign Credentials and Qualifications in Prince Edward Island. May 2003. Alaska Department of Labour and Workforce Development, http://almis.labor.state.ak.us Quebec Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. Fact Sheet 1: Do you really need an Évaluation comparative? Available at: Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, Government http://www.immigration-quebec.gouv.qc.ca/anglais/ of Alberta, www.learning.gov.ab.ca/appren/ publications/pdf/evaluation/fiche1.pdf Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, Roslyn Kunin & Associates Inc. Future Labour Supply Study www.tradesecrets.org for Canada’s Construction Industry. September 2003. Association of Canadian Community Colleges, Sangster, Derwyn. Assessing and Recognizing Foreign http://www.accc.ca/ Credentials in Canada – Employers’ Views, Canadian Labour Association for New Canadians, http://www.anc-nf.cc/ Business Centre, January 2001. Australian Human Resource Institute, www.ahri.com.au Skills Competence Canada. Skills Shortages and Labour British Columbia Industry Training Centre, Ministry of Market Trends in the Construction Industry, Issue 2. Advanced Education, www.aved.gov.bc.ca/industrytraining/ Skills for Change. Foreign-trained Tradespeople in Toronto: British Columbia Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and What About the Other Half of “Access to Professions and Women’s Services, http://www.mcaws.gov.bc.ca Trades”? March 2000. Building and Construction Industry Training Organization Smith, Martin. Recognition of Foreign Credentials: A Survey of (New Zealand), http://www.bcito.org.nz/qualifications/ Recent Community–Based and Research Projects (1995-2001) jargon.htm Funded by the Multiculturalism Program, Department of Canadian Heritage. International Comparative Research Canadian Association of PLAR, http://www.capla.ca Group, Department of Canada Heritage, October 2001. Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, http://caf-fca.org/ Statistics Canada. Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials, Canada: Process, progress and prospects. 2003. http://www.cicic.ca/indexe.stm Training and Development Associates in association with Canadian Labour and Business Centre, www.clbc.ca John Samuel & Associates Inc. Reaching Our Full Potential: Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition for Foreign- Centre for Foreign Trained Professionals and Tradespeople, trained Canadians. Le Groupe Standford Inc., June 1999. NECTAR, http://www.cftpt.org/index.asp US Department of Labor. Itemized Instructions for completing Certification Officer (UK), http://www.certoffice.org form ETA-750: Application for Alien Employment Certification, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, http://www.cic.gc.ca Employment & Training Administration, Available at: and also www.canadainternational.gc.ca http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/foreign/750inst.asp City & Guilds (UK), http://www.city-and-guilds.co.uk Will Dunning, Inc. Program Evaluation Report of Construction Recruitment External Workers Services Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ), (“CREWS”). September 2003. www.ccq.org Committee for Economic Development of Australia, www.ceda.com.au 42 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL Conference Board of Canada, National Academy of Higher Education (USA), http://www.conferenceboard.ca/ www.nahighered.org CON*NECT, National Occupational Classification, Human Resource http://www.collegeconnect.on.ca/ciite/pages/general_main.asp Development Canada, http://www23.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/ 2001/e/groups/index.shtml Construction Industry Training Board (UK), http://www.citb.org.uk National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada, www.noivmwc.org COSTI Centre for Foreign-Trained Professionals and Tradespeople, http://www.costi.org New Brunswick Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification, Department of Training and Employment CREWS, http://www.constructionworkers.ca/ Development, www.gnb.ca/ted-fde/apprenticeship/ Department of Education and Skills, Government New York State Department of Labor, of the United Kingdom, http://www.dfes.gov.uk http://www.labor.state.ny.us Electrical Workers Registration Board (New Zealand), Newfoundland and Labrador Institutional and Industrial www.med.govt.nz Training Division, Department of Education, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, www.edu.gov.nf.ca/division/ineducat/instined.htm http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca and also for information New Zealand Immigration Services, about the Red Seal program, http://red-seal.ca/ http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/ english/index_e.shtml New Zealand Qualification Authority, www.nzqa.govt.nz Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Government of the United Kingdom, http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk Northern Territories Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification, Department of Education, Culture Immigration and Nationality Directorate, and Employment, http://siksik.learnnet.nt.ca/ Home Office, Government of the United Kingdom apprenticeship/ index.html http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk Northwest Territories Department of Education, Culture International Credential Evaluation Service, and Employment, http://siksik.learnnet.nt.ca http://www.bcit.ca/ices/ Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Training Division, International Qualifications Assessment Services, Department of Education and Culture, http://www.learning.gov.ab.ca/iqas/iqas.asp http://apprenticeship.ednet.ns.ca/ Manitoba Apprenticeship Branch Office, Nunavut Adult Learning and Post-Secondary Services, Ministry of Advanced Education and Training, Department of Education, www.gov.nu.ca/education/eng/ www.edu.gov.mb.ca/aet/apprent/training_ certificationprograms/ workexperience.htm Ontario Construction Secretariat, www.iciconstruction.com Manitoba Department of Labour and Immigration, Ontario Network for Internationally Trained Professionals http://www.gov.mb.ca/labour/ http://www.onip.ca Manitoba Workplace Prior Assessment and Recognition. Ontario Workplace Support Services, Ministry of Training, Available at: http://www.wplar.ca Colleges and Universities, http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/welcome.html Ministère de l’éducation du Québec, http://www2.inforoutefpt.org/rda/ Path to Equal Opportunity, www.equalopportunity.on.ca National Academic Recognition Information Centre (UK), PLAR in Manitoba, http://www.plarinmanitoba.ca www.naric.org.uk A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry 43 Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board (New Zealand), S.U.C.C.E.S.S. (United Chinese Community Enrichment http://www.pgdb.co.nz/register.htm Services Society), http://www.success.bc.ca/ Prince Edward Island Association for Newcomers to The Maytree Foundation, http://www.maytree.com Canada, www.peianc.com Trade Recognition Australia, www.workplace.gov.au/tra/ Prince Edward Island Department of Education, UK National Reference Point for Vocational Training, Apprenticeship and Training, http://www.gov.pe.ca/educ/ http://www.uknrp.org.uk Prism Economic and Analysis, www.prismeconomics.com US Citizenship and Migration Services, Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification http://uscis.gov/graphics/index.htm Commission, www.gov.sk.ca/deptsorgs/overviews/ World Education Services, http://www.wes.org/ca/ Saskatchewan Labour Force Development Board, Yukon Territories Apprenticeship and Tradesperson www.slfdb.com Qualifications, Advanced Education Branch, Skills for Change, http://www.skillsforchange.org Department of Education, www.gov.yk.ca/ depts/education/advanceded/apprenticeship/ 44 CONSTRUCTION SECTOR COUNCIL A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry Prepared for the Construction Sector Council Submitted by the Canadian Labour Business Centre, Ottawa, ON Summer 2005 Funding for this project was provided by the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program. The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the construction Sector Council and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada. A Study of Assessment and Recognition of Foreign-Trained Worker Credentials in the Construction Industry