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2nd April 2024BY Nihang Law

Breaking New Ground in Ontario: Legislation to Eliminate the Canadian Work Experience Requirement for Job Seekers

CN Tower in Toronto with the text Canadian Work Experience no longer required

Are you a newcomer in Canada struggling to find employment in the field you worked in your home country? Is the Canadian work experience requirement hindering yourself from qualifying for a specific role you otherwise feel qualified for? If these apply to you, your job search may just get easier.

The Ontario government reportedly plans to become the first province to pass legislation that will ban hiring companies from requiring Canadian work experience as part of their job postings and descriptions. This landmark move, if pushed through, not only levels the playing field for newcomers but would also further enrich Ontario's workforce with diverse talents.

While the Canadian economy added 41,000 jobs in February 2024, newcomers continued to face higher barriers to entry, exacerbated by requirements for Canadian work experience. According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate across Ontario rose to 6.5 percent in February after dropping slightly to 6.2% in January.

Statistics Canada noted that the increase in unemployment is partly due to the rapid population growth and the rise in the number of people in the labour force. Population rose by over a million, while there were 368,000 new jobs over the past year. With this, the labour market is becoming even more competitive for everyone, including newcomers entering the country.

If passed, the proposed groundbreaking legislation, which is still pending, should help address these concerns and aid newcomers in finding a job in their respective fields of study.

Measures Already In Place To Help Newcomers

As of December 2023, Ontario has already banned Canadian work experience as a requirement to get licensed in over 30 regulated professions and trades, including law, accounting, architecture, engineering, electrical, and plumbing, among others.

The province has also introduced the Working for Workers Acts 2021, 2022, and 2023 which aim to provide better protection for workers, help them earn larger paydays, and assist newcomers in contributing to the development of Ontario.

Ontario successfully issued 16,500 nominations to applicants under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) across several sectors such as health care and the skilled trades in 2023.

In addition, as of January 2, 2024, the province expanded the eligibility requirements for international students to apply under the OINP by qualifying individuals who received a one-year Ontario College Graduate Certificate into the program. Previously, OINP’s Employer Job Offer for International Students only included individuals from one-year programs from eligible institutions that required the completion of a degree as an admission requirement.

Breaking Barriers: A Brighter Future for Ontario's Newcomers Without Canadian Work Experience

So consider Maria, an experienced software developer from Brazil, who, despite her qualifications, has only been able to secure temporary retail work in Ontario due to the Canadian work experience requirement.

Maria, a software developer who found a job in her field in Canada after the Ontario government passed new legislation to ban Canadian work experience as part of job postings.

Should the Ontario government pass this new legislation, Maria will have more job prospects to choose from. This will enhance her chances of landing a job in her field, which could pay considerably better than her current retail role and hence, improve her living standards in Canada.

The expanded eligibility for the OINP, along with the removal of the Canadian work experience barrier, opens up new avenues for skilled workers like Maria to fully utilize their expertise in Ontario. These efforts by the Ontario government should further help address the unemployment rates in the province and provide newcomers with a fair chance to participate in the labour force.

If you find yourself in the same boat as Maria, don't navigate this new landscape alone. Connect with out experts at Nihang Law for immigration advice and personalized guidance and support. Stay in the loop with the latest legislation updates by visiting or get in touch with us at

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