These were the words of the President of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, Zaki Ghavitian, Eng., upon signing the memorandum of understanding with Minister Yolande James.
The funding gives the OIQ new means to develop in-depth electronic information tools for its site. Prospective immigrants and engineers will also have access to an electronic tool that will help them understand the requirements of the unique Quebec professional system and then take the appropriate steps. They will be able to prepare an interactive file on line, in preparation for submitting their application for a permit to practice engineering.
"It is definitely easier to obtain certificates and documents at home before leaving, rather than exchanging correspondence from halfway across the world to prepare their file! However, it won't happen overnight, and it will depend on the determination of future candidates to carry out the necessary steps, which are a major factor in advancing their application and the time periods involved," Ghavitian pointed out.
Other parts of the program include the design of educational software intended to help future ITP candidates prepare for the professional examination, wherever they are in the world. In addition, the OIQ will provide candidates with interactive information tools that will help them understand, even before they arrive, the concept of a regulated profession and the environment for professional practice in Quebec. As a result, they will be able to assess the personal investment required for obtaining a permit.
Mr. Ghavitian explains: "These new initiatives will be spread over two years and are part of projects already underway to promote the integration and orientation of immigrants, since we have always been concerned about their future. We are one of the first orders to take concrete steps to make it easier for internationally trained professionals to access the profession."
Rapidly growing volume of applications
The volume of permit applications has grown substantially in recent years. In 1996, permit applications from internationally trained professionals accounted for 9% (176) of all applications, while in 2006 they rose to 28% (897). Likewise, the number of ITP candidates for technical examinations has risen 270% in five years. The OIQ has already taken steps to reduce the waiting times and streamline file processing by hiring new resources and modernizing its processes. At the same time, the OIQ is working on revising is regulatory framework.
Rigor and protection of the public
All immigrants have their own reasons for leaving their country. However, the OIQ is not losing sight of its mission to protect the public. Mr. Ghavitian agrees: "Notwithstanding the new measures we have announced, we must continue to apply the same rigor to our reviews of applications from immigrant candidates, so that they meet the same criteria as those who have a degree recognized in Quebec. Foreign university-qualified engineers are welcome in the engineering profession. We are doing everything we can so that they can successfully integrate, professionally and socially."
About the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec
Founded in 1920, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec has a membership of more than 60,000 engineering professionals in all fields, except forest engineering.
The mission of the OIQ is to ensure the protection of the public by supervising the practice of the profession within the framework of its constituent laws and ensure that the profession serves the public interest.