January 13, 2017
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
House of Commons
Dear Minister Hajdu,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, it is our pleasure to congratulate you on your appointment as Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
OCASI is the umbrella organization for immigrant and refugee-serving agencies in Ontario. We are a registered charity founded in 1978, and now have 220 member agencies across the province. OCASI member agencies provide settlement and other services for immigrants and refugees.
We offer our assistance as civil society partners in implementing the priorities identified by your government with respect to labour market engagement, particularly for immigrants and refugees, as well as migrant workers and international students, as you begin to implement your vision in this new role. We have worked closely with Prime Minister Trudeau’s administration since November 2015 on the major priority of refugee resettlement, and are encouraged by the implementation of some of the other key commitments, such as ending the four-year limit for Temporary Foreign Workers.
We look to your leadership on addressing other urgent priorities recognized by your government, including many that would be of particular interest to immigrants and refugees, such as:
- Improved access to good quality job training;
- Making post-secondary education more affordable for low and middle-income students; and
- Increasing good permanent jobs for younger workers;
We look forward to engaging with you on other key priorities identified in the Minster’s Mandate letter including ensuring that a Poverty Reduction Strategy is inclusive of immigrant and refugees, and that the Social Innovation and Social Finance strategy is responsive to the experience and realities of the immigrant and refugee-serving sector. OCASI also looks forward to opportunities to engage with you on addressing Canada’s future labour needs through permanent immigration rather than low-wage temporary migrant worker recruitment.
We respectfully request an opportunity to meet with you to offer the Council’s expertise and experience in helping to meet your stated commitments, and to share some of the main priorities for Ontario’s immigrant and refugee-serving sector.
We welcome your leadership on this portfolio and wish you all success as you embark in your new role.
Debbie Douglas Ibrahim Absiye
Executive Director President