Dear Muneer !
Can you clarify if this "co-ops" option/ arrangment is only for Engineers or is for other professionals as well?
Check this thread by qorax. Very informative and helpful for Engineers. Thankshttp://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/-t37451.0.html
Foreign Qualified' Engineers in Canada –What to do???
(Some concrete Steps to make you Street Smart)
Barriers to foreign entry are common among the Regulated Professions in Canada like Medicine, Law, Finance & Accounts, Engineering etc. This is a fact of our life & cannot be avoided... not until some drastic policy changes happen. Governmental intervention plans are many in place, but till today the market doesn't reflect any better.
Foreign-trained Engineers who arrive in Canada with high hopes, only to have their careers derailed, have genuine reasons to crib. Ms. Marie Lemay, CEO of the CCPE (Canadian Council of Professional Engineers) said that, foreign-trained engineers have been caught in a Catch-22 situation, unable to find permanent employment because they had no domestic work experience and unable to get that experience because their degrees had no currency with Canadian employers.
The situation is:
"To get that work experience, you have to get a job, but to get the job you have to either have that work experience OR employers value your credentials [degrees & experience], which is not forthcoming". <Catch-22, you bet !
Startling Facts : Under-Utilization of Engineers
• Yearly engineering supply from all sources has grown by a factor of three, and immigration into the engineering profession has increased by a factor of twelve, in a decade in which net jobs and economic growth in Canada has been less than 20%
• More than 75% of all skilled workers immigrating to Canada who intend to work in a regulated profession are engineers: this includes the total of all doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, veterinarians, optometrists, accountants...
• A popular trend shows immigrant engineers, though well qualified, but is excluded from the workforce because his credentials are not recognized.
• Some senior engineers and engineering educators consider engineering to be the “new liberal arts education”, and have no expectation that engineering graduates should have the opportunity to work as engineers if they so choose! This attitude is not marginal- it is surprisingly widespread!
• Recent surveys have indicated that a large fraction of working engineers consider themselves to be “overqualified for the work they do”; and that about 75% of professional engineers have no defined area of work. A large fraction of engineers are not engaged in the practice of engineering as conventionally defined.
• We still hear reports of localized shortages of engineers. Why? Because some firms insist on hiring people with Canadian experience to fill certain positions that is actually entry level. And other firms wouldn't hire at the entry level with foreign-qualified engineers.
Concrete Steps we should take to Combat the above
• If you are a new immigrant, first & foremost get your ‘foreign' credentials assessed within Canada (details below ).
• Secondly, obtain memberships / certifications of Canadian bodies / institutes / associations (details below ).
• Thirdly, get yourselves ‘re-trained' from Canadian Universities / Institutions. Most, if not all universities have engineering faculties.
• Fourthly, by the time you endorse into an engineering degree program, get that certification, for sure, as mentioned in point-2 above.
• Fifthly, if you are a recent graduate of an engineering program, or you have an ‘overseas engineering education and have been unable to find suitable work as an engineer, contact your university, accredition body, professional licensing body, and let them ‘know' that you exist! Network & gather all your colleagues, peers, friends, who are in the same situation and write/approach ‘jointly' to these bodies for assistance!
 Engineering International- Education Assessment Program
While it is not part of licensing, the Engineering International-Education Assessment Program assesses the educational qualifications of individuals who were educated and trained outside of Canada by comparing their education to a Canadian engineering education. The assessment provides applicants with valuable information on how their foreign education compares to a Canadian engineering education. Few of the agencies to approach are:
1. Canadian Council of Professional Engineers (CCPE)http://www.engineerscanada.ca/e/pr_international_ieg_3.cfm
2. Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB)http://www.accreditation.org/accbodies.php?page=canada
 Memberships / Certifications from Engineering Bodies
Similar to a driver's permit, the memberships/certifications, will instantly qualify immigrants to work in an “apprenticeship capacity” as they pursue their supplementary training [Canadian re-training] toward a permanent placement. Some of the organizations you can approach are:
1. Professional Engineers Ontario licenses [PEO] http://www.peo.on.ca/
2. The Council for Access to the Profession of Engineering [CAPE]http://capeinfo.ca/
3. Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists & Geophysicists of Alberta [APEGGA] http://www.apegga.org/applicants/ieg/overview.html
Barriers to ‘Foreign Trained' Engineers...http://www.geography.ryerson.ca/hbauder/Immigrant%20Labour/immigrant_credentials.pdf
Hope the foregoing helps my engineer friends !