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Nov 25, 2003
Ontario and Canada Signal New Era of Cooperation on Immigration
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The Honourable Denis Coderre, federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and the Honourable Dr. Marie Bountrogianni, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, met today to discuss common interests and the beginning of a new relationship on immigration.

"In addition to enriching the cultural and social fabric of Canada, immigration plays an important role in our economic and labour market growth," Minister Coderre said. "I recognize that Ontario is Canada's largest immigrant-receiving province and Ontario is a leader in seeking solutions to giving skilled immigrants greater access to professions and trades."

"Our first meeting was positive and I believe this is the start of a stronger relationship between Ontario and the federal government on immigration issues," said Minister Bountrogianni. "Minister Coderre and I agreed to begin work on a federal-provincial agreement that will help new Canadians begin participating in our dynamic, diverse society as quickly as possible."

The Ministers emphasized the need to work towards improving settlement services and language training, and removing barriers many immigrants face in gaining recognition of their foreign credentials and entering the labour market. They also recognized the importance of working with employers to find better ways of using the skills and knowledge of immigrants.

Minister Bountrogianni stressed that "no workforce benefits more from immigration than ours. The large numbers of immigrants to Ontario are a clear competitive advantage in today's global economy." The province receives almost 60 per cent of all immigrants to Canada.

"I am pleased to be working with Ontario," Minister Coderre said. "All parts of the country must work together to build the Canada of tomorrow."

The Ministers agreed to meet regularly to develop a bilateral immigration agreement that will assist immigrants to integrate successfully and find jobs that use their skills and talents.

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