BC JobConnect: Helping integrate immigrant employees into the workforce

When workers are hard to find, one organization helps employers hire the right people and integrate them into the Canadian workplace and society.

BC’s low unemployment rate means there are close to 3,000 unfilled position in manufacturing companies. One source of prospective workers is new immigrants.

For the past 10 years, employers that wish to attract, hire and retain qualified immigrant talent have accessed solutions, tools and resources from the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC), a not-for-profit organization. According to Elizabeth Good, IEC-BC’s External Relations Strategist,

“Many companies have an interest in increasing the diversity of their staff but wonder how to hire and integrate new Canadians. That’s where we help with online tools and resources, webinars and regional seminars.”

One of IEC-BC’s online tools is BC JobConnect, a customized platform connecting BC employers with newcomer job seekers. About 18% of registered employer partners on BC JobConnect are manufacturers.

Employer partners can use the platform to identify qualified talent by searching keywords or occupations and access job seekers’ profiles. They can also post positions on BC JobConnect. The site has close to 900 registered workers, 169 of whom have indicated a desire to work in manufacturing.

When a company becomes an employer partner, IEC-BC program staff works to connect it with qualified newcomer candidates. IEC-BC also helps employers smooth the entry of workers who are new to Canada.

Using the IEC-BC Toolkit, one BC company hired 22 Syrian refugees in 2016. Customized tools and resources, developed with input from both workers and employers, helped make new hires aware of worker rights and responsibilities and employer expectations, while helping employers understand the context and value of newcomers’ previous work history.

“The benefit of such a comprehensive suite of resources and online tools,” says Elizabeth, “is that employers of any size can review resources, both before and after hiring, and discuss with us how best to use them.”

Through its daily contact with employers, the IEC-BC has a deep understanding of the unique contribution new Canadian workers can make to a company. IEC-BC acts as a strong voice bringing the employer perspective to the development of employment policies, programs and services that support the integration of immigrant talent to BC’s labour market.

For more information and examples of employer tools and resources visit iecbc.ca