2010 ECC Summit

March 23 and 24, 2010 – The Employer Council of Champions hosted Ottawa employers at its third annual Summit, Leadership, Collaboration and Innovation: The Key to Addressing Ottawa’s Talent Needs. The first day of the Summit included a learning exchange for managers with human resources and staffing responsibilities, as well as a networking reception for employers and skilled immigrants. The second day featured a keynote address by Dr. Linda Duxbury from Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, a moving account of one immigrant’s successful journey to skills-appropriate employment, as well as the presentation of the Hire Immigrants Ottawa’s 2010 Employer Excellence Awards.

View Summit photos

March 23 – Learning Exchange: In their keynote The Innovation Advantage: How Employers in Ottawa can Benefit from Hiring Skilled Immigrants, the Conference Board of Canada’s Diana MacKay and Michelle Downey provided participants with a sneak preview of soon-to-be-released research that demonstrates the link between immigration and innovation.

Participants also heard from a panel of experts on mentoring, bridge training, inclusion, and celebrating diversity. The day’s activities concluded with a networking reception hosted by the HIO Working Groups, where employers and skilled immigrants were able to connect in an informal setting. This event offered skilled immigrants the opportunity to meet with hiring managers, improve their networking skills and learn valuable information about job search in their sectors.

March 24 – In her keynote address, Dr. Linda Duxbury called on employers to prepare themselves for the transformational changes they will need to make to survive the demographic change propelling the labour scene from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market. Citing global and local statistics, Dr. Duxbury noted that, for every retiring “workaholic” baby boomer, at the very least, two workers with the new work-life-balance orientation will be required to replace them, and Canada is only producing one. While previous generations of workers competed for jobs, employers will now be competing for skills. The enhanced diversity provided by immigration will be just one of the mechanisms needed to address the demand, she said, but without it, employers will be lost.

Alberta Lawson (pictured above), a Senior Personal Banking Officer at Scotiabank, shared her experience in traversing the challenges of securing a fulfilling job.

“We’ve known the demographics about critical labour shortages and the importance of skilled immigrants as part of the solution,” said Hicham Adra, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, National Capital Region, CGI and ECC Co-Chair. “Transformational change is required for employers to meet the coming challenges successfully.”

In the face of the considerable labour market implications brought on by rapidly changing demographics, the ECC called Ottawa’s employers to action. With declining birthrates, decreasing numbers of post-secondary graduates and a coming wave of retirements, Ottawa’s employers face impending skills shortages. They need to prepare their workplaces for the effective recruitment and integration of skilled immigrant talent. Employers will also have to collaborate with each other and other stakeholders to take full advantage of the skills that immigrants bring to the city.

What employers can start doing now:

  • Understand the need for transformational change and become change agents.
  • Take appropriate measures to make their workplaces ready for a diverse and talented workforce by:
    • making good use of HIO’s tools and resources
    • participating in HIO activities, including cross-cultural competency training and coaching/networking events
    • supporting diversity programs in their organizations
  • Use the services of the Ottawa Job Match Network to recruit skilled immigrants
  • Participate in bridge training and mentoring programs
  • Collaborate with other employers and post-secondary educational institutions
  • Introduce new employers to HIO

“We need to do more to fully integrate our highly skilled and educated immigrants into our workplace if we want to maintain our position as their destination of choice.  Communities that are best able to do this will be economic leaders,” said Rosemarie Leclair, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro Ottawa Group of Companies and ECC Co-Chair.

From left: Joanne Tapp, Revera Health Services Inc; Manu Sharma, OCRI Talent Bridge; and Catherine Frederick, City of Ottawa.

Some employers have already opened their doors to hiring and integrating skilled immigrants. The following organizations were recognized with a 2010 Employer Excellence Award:

  • The City of Ottawa was recognized in the large-employer category for outstanding practices in the recruitment of skilled immigrants. The City developed its “Equity and Inclusion Lens” as an HR tool within its hiring process. The tool guides the development of policies and programs that address systemic barriers in the recruitment and promotion of workers with diverse backgrounds, including internationally trained individuals. By increasing diversity in the workplace, the City seeks to better reflect the community it serves. The City for All Women Initiative and the community collaborated to develop the tool.
    “The City is using the Equity and Inclusion Lens to enhance its recruitment efforts and improve our focus on recruiting skilled immigrants. This approach makes good business sense and is an effective way to recruit excellent new staff from across Ottawa’s diverse communities,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.
  • OCRI Talent Bridge received an award in the small-employer category for outstanding practices in the recruitment of skilled immigrants. The Talent-Bridge internship program offers unique opportunities for young talent, including new Canadians, to foster professional skills and entrepreneurial spirit. By investing in the next generation, the program helps to ensure that Ottawa remains a hub for creative talent. The program matches candidates with small- or medium-sized enterprises, where they gain valuable paid work experience. To support candidates, OCRI TalentBridge provides full access to training and mentorship programs to support candidates in their job search or with their own business opportunities.”In a very short time Talent-Bridge has delivered immediate results that benefit the … participants and the local small companies that get involved,” said Stephen Daze, Executive Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI). “Talent-Bridge will help ensure that Ontario remains at the forefront of the competition for global talent.”
  • Revera Health Services Inc. was recognized for excellence in its HR practices in the retention of skilled immigrants in the small-employer category. Almost 50 per cent of Revera’s employees are skilled immigrants, and its HR policies ensure that all employees work in an environment free of barriers and bias. Revera provides financial and operational support to its internationally trained workers in obtaining Canadian certifications. It also offers flexible work hours to allow staff an opportunity for professional development.“The recruitment, training and development of immigrants have been important elements in our management plan for many years, and will continue to be in the future,” said Joanne Tapp, Human Resources Manager. “More than 50 per cent of our staff in the National Capital Region are immigrants, so Revera Health Services relies on our expertise to maintain high standards of excellence in the provision of in-home health care services to our clients. It is truly an honour for Revera Health Services to receive this award.”

Previous award recipients include the University of Ottawa, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), Algonquin College and GEM Health Care Services Inc.

Read about the 2009 Employer Excellence Awards winners.

Read about the 2008 Employer Excellence Awards winners

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