THUNDER BAY – Business – There was an atmosphere of co-operation and working toward success at the Northwestern Ontario Immigration Forum held in Thunder Bay on February 5-6, 2019.
Employers in Northwestern Ontario will now have more help to recruit, hire and retain newcomers into their organizations. Today, a new Employer Portal was launched at movetoNWOntario.ca; an initiative between the City of Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay Multicultural Association and 32 regional municipalities. The new Employer Portal provides essential information and tools to help employers successfully diversify their workforce.
Cathy Woodbeck, Executive Director of Thunder Bay Multicultural Association says, “Northwestern Ontario faces significant labour shortages in key sectors such as healthcare, manufacturing, sales, mining and service industries. Newcomers present an untapped and exciting source of skilled labour and professional talent for our region. The Employer Portal is designed to guide employers through the process of bringing internationally trained workers into their organizations. It provides all of the resources to strengthen and diversify our regional workforce for future growth.”
The Employer Portal was developed in collaboration with regional employers, economic development and employment agencies to tackle the real barriers to recruiting newcomers. A survey of regional employers found that most didn’t know where to start when it comes to hiring newcomers. Others expressed concerns related to validating international skills and qualifications, navigating the process for visas and work permits, and matching applicants to opportunities.
Woodbeck adds, “A large percentage of internationally trained workers arrive in Canada every year with extensive skills and experience that can help employers to overcome knowledge gaps and labour shortages. Canadian immigration policy prioritizes candidates who will contribute to the economic success of our communities. When you choose to build an internationally trained workforce, you benefit from the critical skills, experiences and ambitions of diverse people who are ready to make a new life in Canada.”
The Employer Portal includes a 62-page Northwestern Ontario Employer’s Guide: Newcomers and Your Workplace. The Guide covers a variety of topics from hiring and interviewing to building a welcoming and inclusive workplace for newcomers.
“Over 70% of newcomers to Ontario have some post-secondary education or training, and many are critically underemployed when they arrive. Whether we attract newcomers from other parts of the country or from overseas, there are so many great advantages to hiring internationally trained individuals,” says Woodbeck.
The Employer Portal was funded by the Government of Ontario.