Immigrants no longer see Ontario as the top destination in Canada, says Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak, adding if he is elected premier on June 12 he will work to reverse this trend and make the province attractive to skilled new Canadians.

"It always upsets me when the first places [new Canadians] say they want to go are Alberta and Saskatchewan," said Hudak, in a town hall-style speech at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Scarborough. "Because far too often, that's where the jobs are. We need an action-oriented leader with a plan to create jobs right here in Ontario. I want to make Ontario number 1 again."

Hudak said in addition to creating a low-tax environment with a focus on eliminating the provincial deficit, he would work to ensure new arrivals have their job skills and credentials recognized by Ontario employers.

"I want to cut the red tape holding back new Canadians from putting their professional experience to work," he said.

Hudak said he wants the province to make it easier for high-achieving foreign students to stay and work in Ontario once their studies conclude.

He cited as examples "that engineering student at U of T" and "that pharmacy student at University of Waterloo" as the kind of students the province should try to retain.

Hudak said reduced hydro rates and a cut to personal income taxes after the budget returns to balance would help keep skilled new Canadians working in Ontario.

He also said the province has underutilized the provincial nominee program, which allows the province to nominate individuals and their families for permanent resident status based on a pre-approved job offer.