Canadian PM to help immigrants get diplomas accepted

Updated: 2011-04-07 16:25


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OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday he would help immigrants overcome the difficulties of having their diplomas accepted in Canada.

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Harper spoke while campaigning at an event in a Toronto suburb where the majority of the population was born outside Canada. Harper promised federal loans to help newcomers to Canada upgrade their skills and earn credentials that are recognized in Canada.

For years, immigrants have complained that medical degrees, PhDs and engineering qualifications from universities outside Canada, especially those from schools in the developing world, are not respected here.

That leads to many skilled immigrants being forced to take menial jobs to earn money to study in Canadian universities to qualify to work in their profession.

Last summer, Harper's Conservative government announced a program to examine the quality of foreign education for several professions to determine ways to fast-track credential acceptance. The program is estimated to cost 6 million Canadian dollars ($6.23 million) a year.

Harper's government was defeated March 25 by opposition parties' no-confidence move, which found the government in contempt of the parliament.

The parliament was dissolved the following day and the 41st federal election, the fourth over the past seven years, has been slated on May 2 when the parties will compete for 308 seats in the House of Commons.


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