Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre laid out his plan to counter government gatekeepers which he says are keeping skilled immigrants from working in professions and trades they're qualified for.
Poilievre made the announcement at a press conference on Monday morning, where he laid out points on how he would make Canada the "freest country in the world" under his leadership.
"Im running for prime minister to put Canadians back in control of their lives by making this the freest country in the world, and that freedom includes freedoms for immigrants to have the chance to put their talents and skills to work in the fields for which they were trained.
"However, right now, a government gatekeeper in regulatory bodies block newcomers from getting licenses to practice, even when they are qualified, often the wait time is in the neighbourhood of eighteen months," said Poilievre.
"During that time, newcomers to Canada are forced to accept poverty wages, while all the rest of the country is forced to accept labour shortages in key sectors."
Poilievre then announced a plan "to open up the gates of opportunity to our newcomers, to earn bigger paychecks, serving the desperately needed positions that are empty in our economy."
Poilievre's plan included incentives for provincial governments to mandate a maximum sixty-day wait time for professional and trades bodies to give a final decision on whether a new immigrant is qualified to work in the field and can get a license to do so.
"Instead of waiting... for 18 months, or years, under my plan, provinces would be incentivized to get the professional bodies to give an answer within 60 days."
Poilievre said that those who are deemed not qualified would be given a path to licensing.
Second, Poilievre said he would change the recognition of credentials away from trying to match up curriculums with universities around the world to one "based on merit," with clear testing and exams.
Third, he said that immigration settlement money would be paid out at the moment that the province gives a license to practice to a new immigrant, and that a Poilievre government would work with regulated trade professions to create modules for immigrants to work on before they even arrive to Canada.
He said that those who fall just short of qualifying would be given small loans of just under $10,000 to get trained and licensed. He said a similar program existed under the Harper government, that saw a 97 percent loan repayment rate.
"We need to unite around freedom," said Poilievre, saying that gatekeepers needed to be removed to bring people together.
Poilievre also criticized newly announced candidate Patrick Brown, saying that the former Ontario PC leader would "say and do anything" to become leader, and that the two fundamentally disagreed on the carbon tax.