Canada welcomes first applicants through new trades programme

On Friday, Canada officially welcomed one of the first permanent residents under the new Federal Skilled Trades Programme Eric Byrne, originally from Ireland.

Made In Canada “Our Government remains focused on job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said the country’s new Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. “The new Federal Skilled Trades Programme enables us to attract and retain skilled workers – like Eric – so we can address regional labour shortages and strengthen Canada’s economy. It gives me great pleasure to personally welcome one of Canada’s first successful immigrants through our Skilled Trades stream.”

Eric received his Ontario trades certificate of qualification in May 2012 and currently works as a plumber for University Plumbing and Heating. He first arrived in Canada through the International Experience Canada programme, which provides opportunities for international youth between the ages of 18 and 35 to travel and work in Canada.

“Canada is a great country and the people here have been exceptionally warm and welcoming,” said Eric. “I am very pleased that I qualified for the Federal Skilled Trades Programme as it recognises the value of my skill set and has allowed me to stay in Canada and integrate seamlessly into my new status as a permanent resident.”

Also on Friday, in Calgary, Employment and Social Development Minister – and former Immigration Minister – Jason Kenney welcomed another successful applicant of the Federal Skilled Trades Programme. New permanent resident Paul Lyttle has been working as an electrician for Calgary-based Unitech Electrical Contracting Inc. since June 2012.

“The new Federal Skilled Trades Programme is a significant improvement to Canada’s immigration system which, for too long, had not been open to in-demand skilled workers,” said Minister Kenney. “Immigrants like Paul are set for success and I am pleased that this new Programme will enable him, and others like him, to contribute skills to our economy on a permanent basis.”

Relocating to Canada was the right decision for me, both personally and professionally,” said Paul. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to stay here in Canada permanently and can now start making long-term plans.”

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The Government of Canada launched the Federal Skilled Trades Program in January 2013 to facilitate the immigration of skilled tradespeople who meet Canada’s current and evolving economic needs. Skilled tradespeople are assessed on relevant criteria, such as language ability, practical training and work experience rather than formal academic education. The Programme was also created in response to requests from Canadian employers for skilled workers to fill labour shortages, particularly in the natural resources and construction sectors. In order to attract and retain qualified, in-demand candidates, the goal is to process applications as quickly as possible.

“From an industry perspective, we are elated that the first ones of what we hope will be many new skilled trade professionals have been admitted to Canada under the Federal Skilled Trades Programme,” said Michael Atkinson, President of the Canadian Construction Association. “This new Programme responds directly to industry requests for a faster and more effective immigration program focused specifically on skilled trade professionals who are in short supply across Canada.”

The Federal Skilled Trades Program, along with other recent transformational changes to economic immigration programs, supports Economic Action Plan 2013 by building a fast and flexible immigration system focused on Canada’s economic and labour market needs.