Those words were part of the speech the judge gave during my citizenship ceremony. They summarized the feeling of all those present in that room and voiced the reason why many Internationally Trained Professionals (ITPs) decided to move to Canada with the idea to form part of a better country where they would have the opportunity to contribute and belong.
That is “the Canadian dream.” However, it is not necessarily the dream that has come true for many ITPs. Finding a job is possible but it is tough. It is tough for Canadians and two times tougher for new immigrants especially Internationally Trained Professionals who have to learn a new culture, master a new language and make new connections and relationships.
Immigrants earn 40% less than Canadian born workers with the equivalent level of education. The called “soft skills” are not that soft… if you don’t have them you might find yourself frustrated and looking for a job for several years. This result in adding burden to the Canadian economy and frustrating your full potential regardless of the skills and training you have previously acquired.
The Conference Board of Canada estimates a shortfall of 1 million skilled workers by the year 2020.
The projected economic growth of Canada is based on immigration; immigrants are needed to keep real estate sector and construction alive, more baby boomers are aging putting more weight for the economy and we (Canadians new and old) are not having enough babies to pay for our pensions.
ITPs come here with dreams and the idea to belong and grow in “The True North strong and free!” Canada represents freedom, prosperity and justice for ITPs. In their own words: “a better future for our children”
To stay true to the prosperity, freedom and justice concepts that Canadians and ITPs share, the innovations and solutions that Canada needs according to our demographic and economic landscape will come from a combination between Canadian born, new Canadians and immigrants, especially ITPs who bring years of experience, ideas, training and dreams where all Canadians, old and new, are part of a better future.
Ricardo Roa Beltran, Guest Blogger
Internationally Trained Professionals and Volunteer Program Facilitator at Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre, Ottawa