Rasha Faek, Managing Editor, WENR
There are over a million job vacancies throughout Canada which, with some help, refugees may assist fill. Nonetheless, tapping into this expertise pool could require adjusting employer recruitment and hiring practices.
To assist employers join with and rent refugees, the Refugee Jobs Agenda Roundtable and greater than 50 different organizations, together with World Training Companies (WES), got here collectively to develop a brand new advocacy marketing campaign. Launched final month, the marketing campaign, titled #WelcomingEconomy for Refugees, highlights the successes of refugees and the contributions they make to Canada’s financial system and communities. It builds on earlier initiatives from the Roundtable, which is a multi-sectoral coalition of greater than 80 organizations that was initially established to attach Syrian refugees to employment alternatives in components of Ontario.
Given present labor shortages in Canada, the skills of refugees will likely be wanted throughout the nation. In accordance with a latest Statistics Canada report, job vacancies rose in lots of industries and in all Canadian provinces and territories.
“Newcomers are key to addressing Canada’s labor pressure shortages, particularly when there are multiple million unfilled job vacancies and the nation’s working-age inhabitants is older than ever and near retiring,” mentioned Shamira Madhany, WES’ deputy government director and managing director for Canada. She defined that the principle aim of this marketing campaign “is to encourage companies to recruit and rent refugee expertise by highlighting refugee’s social and financial contributions throughout Canada.”
A method the marketing campaign is doing that’s by amplifying the experiences of employers who’ve employed refugees. Their voices present compelling proof of the advantages that accrue not solely to employers and the general financial system, but in addition to the refugees themselves.
An Alternative, Not a Burden
Whereas correctly welcoming refugees requires public funding, the brand new marketing campaign hopes that the non-public sector might help as nicely. By actively working to rent refugees, employers might help these newcomers discover their footing, enhance their very own firm’s productiveness and morale, and unlock an underused pool of expertise to energy the nation’s financial system.
Already, refugees make important contributions to Canada’s financial system. In accordance with statistics from the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), inside 5 years of their arrival, refugees be a part of Canada’s center class and their annual earnings improve steadily. “Additionally they improve tax income, enhance native employee wages, and enhance innovation which stimulate the financial system, increase productiveness.”
Ruba Bilal, a regional supervisor at Acosta/Mosaic, a gross sales and advertising providers supplier, has seen the advantages of using refugees firsthand. “In my expertise the final 5 years, I employed greater than 10 refugees in numerous enterprise sectors. They all the time excel and thrive of their roles, able to help, provoke, work onerous, and all the time need to show themselves.”
Refugees contribute to Canada’s financial vitality not simply as workers, however as entrepreneurs and employers as nicely. For instance, Marcelle Aleid and her mom got here to Canada as refugees from Syria. At this time, they’re small enterprise homeowners, opening and working a restaurant that serves Syrian delicacies in midtown Toronto. Since opening the restaurant, they’ve employed many different refugees and newcomers.
“Round 90 p.c of our workers is newcomers or refugees, they don’t have expertise, some have a incapacity, however all are desirous to be taught and enhance,” Aleid mentioned in a video interview.
Hanen Nanaa, is one other Syrian refugee who arrived in Canada in 2016. She and her colleagues later based BAM, the Books Artwork Music Collective, to empower younger folks to become involved in civics by way of artwork. “Our expertise and information make us a beneficial addition to Canada, enhancing the nation’s financial, cultural, and social well-being,” she mentioned.
Nanaa views the #WelcomingEconomy for Refugees marketing campaign as a method “not simply to have fun refugees’ energy, braveness, and success tales, but in addition to spotlight the challenges we face day-after-day equivalent to racism and systemic discrimination when coming into the office and beginning our lives in new houses after fleeing violence and dropping every thing.”
Welcoming as a Key to Higher Integration
For refugees, the method of resettling in a brand new nation might be lengthy and arduous. However discovering a job shortly can quickly speed up their integration into their new neighborhood.
To assist make that occur, the #WelcomingEconomy marketing campaign web site hosts sources for employers that not solely spotlight the advantages of hiring refugees, but in addition deal with a number of the points that may come up when recruiting or searching for to retain refugees. The marketing campaign has developed sources that define methods to take away boundaries to refugee employment, deal with unconscious bias, and create a tradition of inclusion for refugees within the office. The marketing campaign additionally helps join employers with refugees, sustaining on its web site an inventory of platforms and organizations to succeed in out to refugees from totally different nationalities.
“Such campaigns will assist in elevating consciousness throughout the enterprise sector and employers that there’s a further pool of expertise desirous to be taught, work, and take part in constructing our nation and be a part of it,” Bilal mentioned, including that “it additionally reminds the employers that hiring refugees will assist the Canadian communities in lowering the unemployment charge and in addition helps in altering the stereotype towards refugees.”
Jim Estill, president and CEO of residence equipment producer Danby Merchandise Ltd, is a serious advocate for serving to and hiring refugees. Since 2016, he has sponsored and helped 80 Syrian refugee households resettle in Canada. Extra lately, he has dedicated to resettling Afghan refugees as nicely.
His firm runs a exceptional program known as Ease into Canada, which helps refugees, a few of whom Danby Home equipment has sponsored, be taught English. Over the course of 90 days, refugees work with English tutors, attend English language lessons, and full English homework. Additionally they achieve Canadian job expertise working at Danby Home equipment. “The work is gentle industrial work that anybody can do for 90 days. And in direction of the tip we assign a job coach. We do resume writing. We assist somebody go on to the job boards and discover out if there are different jobs which might be extra appropriate for his or her expertise,” he mentioned.
Omar Salaymeh, CEO at Bonfire Interactive, an e-procurement firm in Toronto, believes that having the ability to rent refugees actually improves firm morale and teamwork. “It permits us to make use of the corporate as a platform to do good, not by way of the services and products that we provide, however by way of initiatives like that. Additionally, in terms of Canadian companies in Canada, there’s a nice expertise pool on the market.”
He confirms that hiring refugees “has gone so nicely that we need to do it once more with totally different refugee populations.”
The marketing campaign plans to proceed producing video interviews with enterprise leaders that showcase their expertise hiring refugees. They hope these movies improve consciousness of the optimistic advantages that hiring refugee can haven’t only for the refugees themselves, however for communities throughout Canada.
As Shamira Madhany at WES notes: “Refugees not solely carry their training, expertise, and expertise to the workforce, however additionally they make important cultural, mental, and political contributions to Canada.”
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