The Roundtable on immigration was a huge success! Attendees were highly engaged in what turned out to be a captivating discussion on immigration in Nova Scotia. Speakers Mohja Alia and Jan Sheppard Kutcher both with ISIS, provided attendees with an overview of the complexities of the immigration system in Nova Scotia. Some key issues that were highlighted from the round table include:
1. What do immigrants bring to the Canadian economy?
– Fresh perspectives
– Entrepreneurial spirit
2. Regulated Industries vs. Deregulated Industries: Where are immigrants going?
Approximately 80% of immigrants are recruited in to deregulated industries such as finance, and various other private sectors institutions due to less of a burden of regulation. A mere 20% however, are recruited into regulated industries such as health care. The barriers immigrants face in regulated industries are daunting and make those industries less appealing.
Also, many employers are not trained on hiring immigrants or how to make them feel welcome. Employers require training on this and need to offer incentives to make their businesses welcoming and attractive to talented immigrants.
Both the government and private sector need to make it easier for immigrants to enter the trades industry by creating programs that assist newcomers in overcoming barriers, such as transfer of skills and apprenticeship programs. Moreover, we as a government, business owners, employees, and individuals need to make the trades industry more welcoming to not only immigrant women, but women in general. Too often women face discrimination in these industries, and in order for this industry to recruit talented workers, strategies need to be implemented to make these industries more welcoming.
Overall, Nova Scotia is on the cusp of a demographic crisis and immigration is only part of the solution. Immigration is not a panacea. Government of all levels and the private sector need to work collaboratively to ensure the immigration process is not overly bureaucratic and unwelcoming. It is also important to keep in mind the enormity and complexity of the immigration system, and realize that change will not happen overnight.
Stay tuned for upcoming Roundtable sessions (click here for details), they are sure to be thought provoking!