Conservative Party of Canada response to Question 6

Question:  How will your party support settlement services in Calgary?

Question:  How will you make it easier for new Canadians to certify their academic and professional credentials and integrate quickly into our labour force and economy?

Question:  What are your Party’s views on the Federal Government’s changes in 2014 and 2015 to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (“TFWP”)? Should the TFWP be revamped to provide a more effective way to permanent residency and citizenship?

Question:  What should Canada’s response be to the Syrian refugee crisis?

Answer:  Our Conservative government has presided over the longest sustained period of immigration in Canada’s history, having welcomed almost 2.8 million permanent residents since 2008.

We have tripled settlement services since taking office, and we are working with settlement service agencies across Canada to ensure that newcomers to Canada can integrate more quickly and more fully into Canada’s economy and Canadian society. We are ensuring that settlement funding follows where newcomers settle in Canada. To this end, we are have allocated $89.3 million to the Province of Alberta in settlement funding.

Our government has done more to improve the foreign credential recognition process than any previous federal government in Canadian history. We will continue to prioritize this important issue. A re-elected Conservative government will make it faster, fairer and more affordable for new Canadians and Canadians trained abroad to get their foreign credentials recognized in Canada. We will more than double the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans program to provide 20,000 new loans to internationally-trained professionals over the next five years. We would also work with the provinces and territories to accelerate accreditation decisions – from one year to 60 days – for high-demand occupations.

In the same vein, our Government announced reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) on June 20, 2014. The reforms to the TFWP follow in-depth consultations with the provinces and territories over several years, and more specifically since the TFWP review was announced in Economic Action Plan 2012. Our consultations with Western employers have been particularly robust, as we consulted with hundreds of employers in Alberta who use the TFWP and have met repeatedly with all the relevant provincial and national industry associations with an interest in the TFWP.

Additionally, the federal government continues to make significant investments in skills training in Alberta, to ensure that there are more Canadians trained for the jobs that are in-demand by employers. Last year the federal government invested over $109 million in Alberta through the Labour Market Development Agreement; over $25 million through the Labour Market Agreement for Persons with Disabilities; over $50 million in funding for Aboriginal people; over $19.5 million in investments for youth; and over $1.7 million for older workers. This is in addition to the $1.4 billion in Canada Social Transfer payments received by Alberta, used in part to support post-secondary education. Last year, Alberta also received $57 million through the Labour Market Agreement. As of last year, the Labour Market Agreement was transformed into the new Canada Job Grant, which allows employers to train Albertans for a guaranteed job.

With respect to refugees from Syria, our Conservative government’s response is a three pronged response: the resettling of refugees; providing humanitarian assistance; and participating with our allies in the fight against ISIS.

Canada has a very generous refugee system, we have accepted tens of thousands of refugees from Iraq and Syria – and as we have already announced this campaign, we will accept 10,000 more. Our Government will speed up processing and issue visas to more Syrian refugees by the end of this year. The overall commitment of resettling 10,000 Syrians is expected to be met by September 2016 –15 months earlier than planned. Canada's existing commitment to resettle 23,000 Iraqis will also be met by the end of this year.

Since January 2012, Canada has committed $503.5 million in international humanitarian assistance funding in response to the Syria crisis. Finally, refugee policy alone cannot solve this crisis. That is why Canada is participating with our Allies in the international coalition in the fight against ISIS, and delivering humanitarian aid‎.

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