TORONTO -- Ontario should put skilled immigrants on the fast track to live and work in the province, Tim Hudak says.
The Progressive Conservatives would speed up the citizenship application process for “talented” individuals in Ontario universities, he said.
“If there’s a top student at University of Toronto from India who is at the head of the engineering program, I want to offer her an accelerated path to citizenship to live in this country, to get a good job here,” Hudak said Tuesday.
“If there’s a top student at medical school at Queen’s University from China, let’s offer an accelerated path to make this the new home and work in our medical system. Let’s say Ontario’s actually open again for the best and the brightest in our schools to make them permanent residents and then citizens of this great country.”
For those new Canadians who are struggling to get their credentials recognized, the PCs would create an accelerated path that cuts through the red tape, Hudak said.
The PC leader was joined at a Scarborough, Ont., campaign stop Tuesday by federal Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, a former colleague in the Mike Harris government.
Baird said he meets a lot people through his work travels who want to move to Canada to create a new life for their families.
“But it always upsets me when the first places they rhyme off where they want to go are Alberta and Saskatchewan because far too often that’s where the jobs are,” Baird said. “What we need is an action-oriented leader with a plan that will create jobs right here in Ontario.”
Hudak was criticized during the 2011 provincial election campaign when he spoke out against a “foreign worker” program.
This time around, he said he is worried that skilled and talented new Canadians are looking to settle in other provinces instead of Ontario because the job opportunities are stronger.
“That’s what helps define Ontario, that’s what’s always made Ontario great,” Hudak said. “But I worry it’s slipping, in fact I know it’s slipping.”