Strategy

The CEO Poll: Help wanted

CEOs support faster credentials recognition for foreign-trained workers.

Business leaders give the federal mini-budget high marks.

The federal government announced in late November a new policy framework to accelerate the recognition of credentials of certain foreign workers. The goal is to help new Canadians find employment in their respective fields much faster than before. Canadian CEOs surveyed in a recent COMPAS web poll applaud the measure, which singles out engineers and registered nurses, among other professions.

A majority of respondents said the change is valuable not only in the current economic climate, but particularly when the economy improves and the supply of workers with professional skills tightens.

“We need to open up to recognize more certifiable skills,” wrote one respondent. “Canada needs all the knowledge and skills we can get.”

The CEOs identified many benefits of having a larger pool of potential employees, including access to different experiences, new ideas and skills that may be more advanced than those possessed by Canadian-born workers.

In their comments, the CEOs were particularly concerned about a lack of qualified personnel in the medial community. “We have a real shortage of trained professionals, most notably healthcare, that may be compromising the quality of care being given,” wrote one.

Despite being in support of the new government initiative, some CEOs also identified a few of the challenges of employing foreign-trained workers. Most of these respondents were concerned with language barriers and cultural misunderstandings.

Others were skeptical about the quality of foreign credentials. “I interviewed and hired foreign-trained engineers and, on balance, I have an issue with their training and general competency,” wrote one respondent.

But the majority were still enthusiastic about the prospect of fast-tracking the approval process. “Canada is stronger as a result of its immigration policy,” wrote one, “and has an open society that is more respectful of each other than in many other countries.”