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Immigration minister tasked with attracting health workers to rural areas, developing anti-racism legislation | CBC News


Alberta’s minister of immigration and multiculturalism will be working on boosting the number of newcomers and handling anti-racism programs for the province. 

Muhammad Yaseen’s mandate letter, released Wednesday, outlines the specific tasks for those two pillars of his ministry. 

Foremost on his to-do list from Premier Danielle Smith is streamlining immigration for health care workers, with a particular emphasis on attracting people to rural communities plagued by doctor and nurse shortages. 

“We will target needed professions. For example, physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and clinical social workers,” Yaseen told CBC News in an interview. 

“The ministry is working closely with the healthcare system to ensure we understand needs as we develop this stream.”

Yaseen is also supposed to coordinate with the federal government to increase the number of provincial nominees Alberta gets each year. 

Immigration is generally a federally controlled file, but it has some provincial crossover. Provinces can select people who have applied to come to Canada for express entry based on specific training or qualifications.

For example, the premier has asked the minister to establish a dedicated immigration stream for tourism and hospitality workers. Yaseen will also monitor and improve settlement services.

Mohammad Yaseen
Muhammad Yaseen is the minister of immigration and multiculturalism. (UCP)

In 2022 Alberta received 6,500 fast track nominee spaces. This year the minister says that number is at 9,750.

“We’re doing whatever we can and we’re also making sure that when people come here, they have the necessary training … with respect to language issues, childcare, [and] other related things,” he said. 

“We want to make sure that they are fully helped with respect to moving forward with the least amount of time to make sure they reach their full potential here in this province.”

But recognizing foreign credentials has been a continuous problem in filling labour gaps in Alberta — something the minister of advanced education has been asked to fix. 

Multiculturalism and anti-racism

The second part of Yaseen’s mandate letter focuses on multiculturalism and anti-racism. 

The minister has been asked to develop and pass anti-racism legislation. Alberta already has an anti-racism advisory council, which provided a list of recommendations to the government in 2021. An action plan was released last summer, which was criticized for leaving out certain recommendations. 

Yaseen said there’s no timeline or details for that legislation yet.

Increasing funding for engaging and promoting Alberta’s ethnocultural communities is also on Yaseen’s plate.

The mandate letter for immigration and multiculturalism also includes: 

  • Ensuring access to English as a second language training for newcomers

  • Supporting settlement services for Ukrainian refugees

  • Developing legislation that allows people more flexibility to observe cultural holidays more easily, while not disadvantaging businesses


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