What a shame to lose not only wonderful neighbours who take pride intheir home, but also two hard-working, principled individuals who willleave Canada in worse shape than they arrived.
Just over five years ago, my neighbour, her husband, and five kidsimmigrated to Canada from Poland. Apparently, they had quite alifestyle "back home," where she worked as a certified high schoolteacher and he was steadily employed in the construction industry. Herein Canada, though, she can’t get a job that pays much beyond minimumwage and her husband is working a contract position on the lines at anautomotive company. Their English is barely adequate and anycredentials or experience they had in Poland has not transferred toCanada. She and her husband are planning to move back to Poland nextyear, but their three older children, all now over 18, have integratedand will likely remain in Canada.
The sad part is,most of us probably know new Canadians like these: professional orskilled workers who not only cannot find work in their trade orprofession, but who often cannot find anything at all but minimum wagework.
The good news is that the growing concerns over loominglabour shortages have kick-started governments into funding programs toaid skilled immigrant workers in their quest both to have theiroverseas credentials and experience recognized, and also to help themmake contact with employers in need of their skills. Just this pastsummer, both British Columbia and Ontario announced major for newfunding to help skilled immigrants integrate into the workforce.
Learning how to tap into the immigrant talent pool
Happily,organizations both large and small are gradually recognizing theadvantages of hiring immigrants -- whether it’s to fill the talent gapor to gain more international insight in an increasingly globalizedeconomy. However, it’s still a struggle for many employers to know howto source, screen, and interview new Canadians effectively.
Infact, many of the ‘Canadian’ methods of evaluating potential employeesmay not be the best approach when assessing a new Canadian.Behavioural-style interview questions such as, "What are yourstrengths?" are commonplace in Canada; however, they can be difficultto answer for immigrants who come from a culture where boasting aboutyour individual success is not considered appropriate.
A newprogram at Ryerson University’s The Chang School has been created tohelp employers overcome these cultural difference and tap into the poolof highly skilled, internationally educated professionals. The TalentDevelopment for Organizational Effectiveness (TDOE) program is designedto create and deliver sector-specific, employer-based workshops toemployers’ hiring managers and HR professionals through diversecommunication modes, including face-to-face and on-line or web-baseddelivery.
Workshops effectively equip employers/hiring managersand HR professionals with recruitment strategies as well as tools andresources so they may be able to hire effectively and integrateimmigrant professionals to achieve organizational effectiveness.
TheTDOE program was developed in partnership with www.hireimmigrants.ca, aprogram of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC).Funded by the Ontario government, these half-day workshops are free toparticipants and centre on how to bring skilled immigrants into yourworkplace.
TDOE program manager Navpreet Singh notes thatemployers don’t always stop to consider whether all the requirementlisted for a job are actually real, or just a hold-over from the way‘things have always been done.’ For instance, does the job reallyrequire extensive Canadian experience? If you’re looking for an ITprofessional, for instance, a new Canadian’s overseas experience mightprovide some valuable insight to the global situation that wouldactually benefit your company’s strategic plans.
This is thetype of question the TDOE workshops ask the employers who attend.Contact information for the program can be found in the boxaccompanying this article.
RESOURCES ACROSS CANADA
BowValley College, Calgary, AB – offers the Corporate Readiness TrainingProgram (formerly known as the Work Experience for Immigrants Program),which offers new Canadians 10 weeks of language, job search,
and business culture training four times a year, followed by a six-week unpaid job placement with partner companies.
ImmigrantServices Calgary, Calgary, AB – established in 1977 as the CalgaryImmigrant Aid Society, over the past 30 years it has helped over250,000 immigrants settle in their new life and new home in Calgary.
AMSSA– Affiliation of multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC,Vancouver, BC – creates networking opportunities, disseminatesinformation, provides professional development, and buildsorganizational capacities for its members. AMSSA champions thepromotion of multiculturalism, multicultural health,
anti-racism and human rights.
S.U.C.C.E.S.S.,Vancouver, BC – a multi-service agency in British Columbia, establishedin 1973 and incorporated in 1974, its mandate is to promote the wellbeing of all Canadians and immigrants.
SuccessSkills Centre, Winnipeg, MB – the centre’s main objective is to helpremove barriers immigrants encounter which interfere with their abilityto utilize their skills and training in Canada.
TheAssociation for new Canadians, St. John’s, nl – is a non-profit,community based organization dedicated to the provision of settlementand integration services for immigrants and refugees.
MetropolitanImmigrant Settlement Association (MISA), Halifax, NS – is acommunity-based organization which welcomes newcomers and recognizestheir essential role in Canada.
Centrefor Internationally Educated Nurses (CARE), Toronto and Hamilton, ON –The CARE Centre guides internationally educated nurses through thesteps they need to take to succeed in Ontario.
TheChang School, Ryerson University Continuing Education, Toronto, ON –The Talent Development for Organizational Effectiveness workshops.
TheMentoring Partnership, Toronto, ON – a program of the Toronto RegionImmigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), is a collaboration of communityand corporate partners that bring together skilled immigrants andestablished professionals in occupation-specific mentoringrelationships. The program is delivered by a coalition of partnerorganizations in the City of Toronto and the regions of Halton, Peeland York.
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