Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear.
As mentioned, I am here in the capacity of chief executive officer of Engineers Canada. We're the national body of the provincial and territorial regulators of the engineering profession. I'm also here as a member of the panel on employment challenges of new Canadians.
Canada's success requires skilled immigrants. Ensuring that new Canadians reach their full potential is a complex social policy challenge. In our multicultural, democratic, market-driven country, addressing these challenges requires multi-stakeholder action to get the best outcomes for all involved.
We've all heard about a professional from abroad who comes to Canada and can only find work well below his or her economic potential. For the engineering profession, this is a particular tragedy. In most regions of the country we are experiencing a shortage of engineers with five to ten years of experience or specialized skills. By 2020 we expect about 70,000 new engineering grads to be entered into the workforce, and about 50,000 qualified newcomers. This is a significant number of engineers. We cannot let their skills and knowledge be underutilized.
Engineering is a very broad field offering a variety of career options. These skills are in high demand in many areas of our economy. While many engineering graduates practise engineering, even more become entrepreneurs and business executives and enter fields like information technology, marketing, banking, or consulting. In fact, by mid-career two-thirds of engineering graduates are applying their skills more broadly than practising engineering in traditional and emerging disciplines where public accountability is required.
Attention needs to be focused by the profession, employers, academia, and government now to address this problem.
For over a decade Engineers Canada and the engineering regulators have been working with government, immigrants, academia, and others to address the chronic problem of newcomers underutilizing their skills and knowledge. Much of what we have learned from international engineering grads, industry, and regulators is consistent with what my colleagues on the panel on employment challenges of new Canadians learned through our meetings with over 160 stakeholders last fall.
The good news is that there is a variety of programs and information sources available through many organizations that can help engineers and others find their way. The bad news is that it is still a very confusing landscape, especially for those who wish to work in a regulated profession.
Regulated professions such as engineering have improved the available information on how to navigate the licensure process. The federal government's express entry system and the requirements for assessment of academic educational credentials for certain economic classes of immigrants will help immigrants understand where their skills and knowledge fit into the Canadian economy.
Engineers Canada's road map to engineering in Canada provides guidance on the licensure process and provides potential immigrants with the sense of whether their academic qualifications will make them eligible to apply for licensure. It also provides some information on building resumés and on understanding the engineering job market.
We hope to be able to successfully link this rich information with the educational credential assessment process as part of the express entry system. But there is more to do beyond connecting regulated professions with immigration processes. We're continually working to improve the quality and detail of information to newcomers upon arrival and pre-arrival in the decision-making phase.
Immigrants need to have clear, concise, easily accessible information about the regulatory landscape and foreign credential recognition so they can plan for their success in Canada. Beyond licensure, immigrants need to know more about the economic landscape as well. Our labour market data shows that demand for engineers is higher in some parts of the country than in others. The jobs that can improve the economic outcomes for newcomers may not be in the communities they would intuitively want to immigrate to. Helping newcomers make realistic decisions about plans in Canada requires consistent detailed labour market information that is easily accessible and current. Immigrants and newcomers should not have to cobble together a picture of where best the opportunities in their fields exist.
Up to 16,000 new engineering jobs will be created in Canada between now and 2020. Employers, regulators, academia, and governments have the responsibility to provide newcomers with information on where those jobs are most likely to be located and what skills and competencies are going to be most in demand.
As I said at the outset, the panel travelled across the country and received many submissions.
The good news is that there is a stakeholder community made up of immigrant-serving agencies—and we're going to hear from those a little later—regulators, academia, federal, provincial and municipal governments, and other community groups ready and willing to help newcomers succeed. The more we all can work together to provide the best information on guidance to new Canadians at all stages of their journey, the better outcomes immigrants and the engineering profession in Canada as a whole will have.
I thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today, and I'd be very happy to answer any of your questions.