Employers learn about accessing global talent abroad and locally

Hire Immigrants Ottawa presented an Employer Learning Forum on June 29, 2017 to a packed room at Export Development Canada to help employers better understand how to recruit, hire and integrate immigrants into their workplaces, using new as well as existing federal government programs.

Blair Patacairk from Invest Ottawa, began the panel discussion talking about the demand for skilled global talent he’s seen in local businesses in recent years.

Traditionally, Patacairk said, “we haven’t been in the talent business. We go out and get businesses and talent comes.” Now, it’s changing.

“By 2019, we need almost 10,000 jobs filled in Ottawa, primarily in the tech industry,” Patacairk said. Businesses are now looking within the country and abroad for talent, and he said they need it fast.

That’s why Express Entry is so important.

Steven Owen and Raluca Boros, from Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), explained that Express Entry and new Global Talent Stream launched in June this year are to help Canadian businesses find and hire talent globally faster.

The federal government, through the Global Talent Stream, will now establish a two-week standard for processing work permit applications for highly skilled newcomers. Before this program, people from other countries even with a job offer in Canada, still had to wait at least 6-8 months to secure a work permit.

Warren Creates, an immigration lawyer from Perley-Robertson, Hill and McDougall has dealt with many of these cases and said navigating this system, can be extremely difficult and overwhelming.

There are very strict guidelines around the definition of work that qualifies for a work permit, and both employer and employee needs to be educated and clear on required documentation, Creates emphasized.

Luckily, Heidi Hauver, HR consultant at Harrison O’Sullivan Consulting Inc., said there are many programs and resources available in Ottawa to help employers through the process of hiring global talent.

Hauver said the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) in Ottawa has an incredible pre-arrival program that works with immigrants set to arrive in Canada from a few weeks to a few months.

She emphasized the importance of the Hire Immigrants Ottawa cross-cultural competency training workshops in understanding unconscious bias and cultural differences that are vital in ensuring workplaces are diverse and inclusive.

Some say there is a talent shortage in Ottawa, but Hauver argued “we need to change our mindset and cast our net much wider.”

Invest Ottawa recognized the demand for casting a wider net and created a marketing campaign called “Work in Ottawa” which aims to attract people to the city for work. Ryan Gibson explained it is also about showcasing cultures, personal stories and lifestyles to entice people to Ottawa, because they’re seeing people are more drawn to a unique work opportunity and the lifestyle that comes with it over salary.

The similarity between speakers was the enthusiasm around the potential for Ottawa to grow businesses by recognizing and leveraging the unique and diverse skill sets of newcomers. With a full room at the Employer Learning Forum, it was clear there’s a demand for knowledge around attracting talent globally and locally for business growth in Ottawa.


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