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Professional Immigrants to be Protected by the New Fairness Commissioner

Jean Augustine has been nominated as Ontario, Canada's first-ever Fairness Commissioner to work with regulatory bodies to ensure that the credentials of internationally trained professionals are evaluated fairly and transparently, Ontario Citizenship and Immigration Minister Mike Colle announced.

The Fair Access To Regulated Professions Act, 2006, the first legislation of its kind in Canada, also established Global Experience Ontario, a one-stop information and resource centre helping people navigate complex systems when seeking to enter regulated professions, and promote internships and mentorships.

The Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006, is the cornerstone of the McGuinty government's comprehensive plan, to help qualified newcomers to integrate successfully into Ontario's economy and society.

"The Fairness Commissioner will play a vital role in ensuring that Ontario's regulatory bodies build fair and open registration processes so that internationally trained professionals have the opportunity to put their skills to work," said Colle. "Jean Augustine brings a depth of knowledge from the perspective of government, regulatory bodies and the immigrant experience that makes her the right person to take on this vitally important job."

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner is a key component of the landmark Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006, which became law on March 1, 2007. The Commissioner will be responsible for overseeing regular audits to ensure that the registration practices of regulated professions are transparent, objective, impartial and fair. The Commissioner will also submit an annual report to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on the implementation and effectiveness of the Act.

"We applaud the Ontario government for establishing the position of the Fairness Commissioner and supportive legislation to help internationally trained professionals integrate into the workforce," said Mario Calla, Executive Director of COSTI Immigrant Services. "Jean Augustine has the experience and personal integrity to provide the leadership required in this first-ever role. We support her nomination."

The appointment of Augustine is subject to review by the Standing Committee on Government Agencies.

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