Three Ottawa programs focusing on helping skilled newcomers to Canada are receiving nearly $1.7 million as a part of a $3.6-million provincial investment in bridge training programs.

“The Conference Board of Canada estimates that the costs of underutilizing the skills of internationally trained newcomers — the costs of underemployment — at between $3.4 and $5 billion each and every year,” said Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Dr. Eric Hoskins.

“Our ability to compete in this fast-moving, global economy is critical. And we need to maximize the contributions of our skilled newcomers if we are to ensure Ontario’s and Canada’s continued prosperity.”

In Ottawa, three bridge training programs receiving renewed funding include the Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology’s internationally trained civil engineering technologist program ($1 million); La Cité Collegiale’s access to construction trades program for immigrants ($275,000); and LASI World Skills’ Ottawa Job Match Network ($400,000).

“Our collective economic prosperity also lies with (newcomers),” said Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi. “I think we know how important immigration is for our country. We need to make sure we’re always working together to ensure every single person who chooses Ontario to be their home is able to prosper in their professional field.”