Conestoga news

July 31, 2012 12:19 PM

Helping skilled newcomers find jobs

Federal and provincial government representatives visited Conestoga on July 31 to announce funding that will support more than 500 skilled newcomers in Waterloo Region get the training and support they need to find work in their fields and contribute to Ontario’s economy.

The McGuinty government is investing $1,682,378 in 3 bridge training projects in Waterloo Region: $942,378 to the University of Waterloo’s International Optometric Bridging Program; $200,000 to Conestoga College’s Bridge to Practical Nursing program for Internationally Trained Health Professionals; and $540,000 to the Immigration Partnership’s New Canadian Employment Connections Program.

Seventy Ontario bridge training projects are being offered across the province.  The projects will provide occupation-specific training, licensure preparation and Canadian work experience to skilled newcomers.

Helping skilled newcomers succeed is key to Ontario’s economic growth and prosperity.  A strong economy creates jobs for Ontarians and protects the services that mean most to families - health care and education.

“Waterloo Region’s future growth and prosperity depend on our ability to attract workers with the skills and experience needed to maintain and strengthen employers’ competitive advantage.  Internationally Trained Individuals can help close the skills shortage gap predicted for the near future and make valuable financial and cultural contributions to the Region.  The Internship Program is helping to create a bridge between Internationally Trained Individuals and employers.”
- Arran Rowles, Manager, Immigration Partnership

Conestoga’s Bridge to Practical Nursing for Internationally Trained Health Professionals provides specialized nursing education and clinical experience combined with English language training for nurses and other health-care professionals, including physicians, who want to be able to use their knowledge and skills in health care in Canada.  This accelerated program has a tremendous impact on the lives of the students, who receive the training they need to transition from unskilled work into our health-care workforce as Registered Practical Nurses. The community benefits as well, as these professionals use their skills and knowledge to contribute to the health and well-being of our citizens.
 -  John Tibbits, President, Conestoga College

“More than 200 new Canadians have completed the International Optometric Bridging Program at the University of Waterloo over the past seven years. This program is a preparatory step to becoming registered to practice optometry in Canada, and financial support from the Government of Canada and the province of Ontario has made it more accessible.”
- Feridun Hamdullahpur, President & Vice-Chancellor, University of Waterloo

“It is important that professionals who come to Canada can put their skills and experience to work as soon as possible, and contribute to our community and our economy. That’s why the Government of Canada is working with the province and community partners to support foreign credential recognition, and promote the integration of new Canadians.”
- Peter Braid, MP for Kitchener-Waterloo

“Engaging employers in the Kitchener area to support the integration of foreign-trained workers to regulated and non-regulated careers is critical.  This program achieves this initiative by providing both language training and settlement services.  I look forward to the opportunities these projects will bring to Kitchener.”
- Stephen Woodworth, MP for Kitchener Centre

"Waterloo Region is a destination for skilled workers from around the world; skilled workers we desperately need.  We have a vested interest in ensuring that every Canadian is able to contribute, and today's announcement is just one more example of how Canada's Economic Action Plan is achieving that promise."
- Harold Albrecht, MP Kitchener-Conestoga

“Skilled newcomers in our community will benefit from these bridge training projects by getting the training, skills and support they need to help them fast track their way into the workforce. They are an essential part of strengthening Ontario’s economy.”
- John Milloy, MPP for Kitchener Centre


  • More than 11,000 skilled newcomers will get training and support through these projects.
  • Over $57 million is being invested in 70 new and renewed projects across the province.
  • Ontario is investing $35 million and the Government of Canada is investing up to $22 million.
  • The projects will benefit skilled newcomers in a broad range of professions including: IT, law, healthcare, engineering, green economy and business administration.