2015 Employer Excellence Award Recipient

Congratulations to the Ottawa Catholic School Board!

OCSB_WebThere is a hiring practice at the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) called “Skills for Best.” Every individual has equal opportunity to apply and be considered for a position if they meet its criteria, regardless of whether they already work for the Board, or are a newcomer to Canada.

The Board makes every attempt to provide job candidates with fair interview practices, recognize their credentials, and create a welcoming and respectful workplace environment.

Employees are provided with the flexibility to dress according to their customs and beliefs, and observe their holidays on the days of their choice, while a variety of cultural and religious traditions are celebrated in the workplace itself.

The benefits of this approach is perhaps no more obvious than in the OCSB’s Continuing and Community Education Department, where there is a diverse, multicultural team teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), Literacy and Basic Skills, and International Languages programs.

In fact, 62 per cent of the OCSB’s ESL instructors are immigrants to Canada. In this department alone, three program administrators who were immigrants to Canada have been promoted into management positions, and all three continue to mentor newcomers, helping them to integrate.

This emphasis on diversity begins at the top, where the OCSB’s Board of Trustees manage an equity and inclusiveness policy with an active committee that meets several times a year.

Professional development activities are provided to staff throughout the year. Workshops help people of different cultural backgrounds learn to work together. The OCSB also employs a standardized performance management and improvement program for all staff.

OCSBOCSB often provides the opportunity for a first job in Canada. For example, the Board has more than 150 part-time instructors in the International Languages program at 11 locations. Each Saturday and in the summer months, these instructors teach a total of 26 languages. For the majority, it is their mother tongue.

“In my experience of 27 plus years, the Continuing Education Department of the OCSB has been welcoming of employees from all parts of the globe who have immigrated to Canada,” said Pramod Mehta, English as a Second Language (ESL) Instructor. “Many, if not most, of my colleagues came to Canada as immigrants from countries such as Bulgaria, China, India, England, Poland, Slovakia… the list goes on.”

All this has served to make OCSB one of the largest school boards in Ontario that delivers adult ESL education to newcomers.

“ESL students find it encouraging to see that immigrants such as themselves have been able to find good stable jobs with OCSB and find hope for their new life in Canada,” said Mehta.


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