Immigrant Employment Council

County of Simcoe receives provincial grant to help employers connect with skilled immigrants

 

The workforce in Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka is changing: the baby boom generation continues to age and exit the workforce and a greater number of immigration professionals are relocating to the area.  Traditional hiring strategies are not connecting with the local immigrant population.  As a result, local employers are facing labour shortages for skilled professionals and skilled professionals are without work.

The development of an Immigrant Employment Council (IEC) addresses the labour market needs of local employers and support newcomers in securing meaningful employment that utilizes their advanced education, skills and experiences.

In 2010, 30% of Ontario’s labour force was comprised of immigrants.  Between 2001 and 2006, Simcoe County had an 18.1% increase of immigrants and has continued to welcome a steady increase of newcomers.  The local population is projected to increase to 667,000 by 2031, with the majority of the increase deriving from interprovincial migration from adjacent municipalities.  It is logical to expect that the Simcoe County population increase will mirror the ethnic diversity of residents from the City of Toronto, Peel Region and York Region.

Between 2011-2012, the Simcoe County Local Immigration Partnership conducted extensive research and found trends indicating a high occurrence of immigrants who were unemployed or working significantly below their skill level.    Recent statistics from Citizenship and Immigration Canada indicated that many immigrants arriving to Simcoe County are of prime working age (25-44 years old), have post-secondary education and are trained in industries prominent in the area, including natural and applied sciences and health care.

Conversely, local employers have identified labour market shortages and challenges hiring trained professionals.  Particular staffing shortages are currently being experienced for registered nurses, practical nurses, and personal support workers.  In the industrial/construction sector, employers are indicating a need for skilled trades’ people.  At a recent event hosted with ethno cultural associations, the Simcoe County Local Immigration Partnership found that many newcomers were not familiar with the Ontario apprenticeship system.

An IEC will support local employers in recognizing the talent of internationally trained professionals, and effectively fill employment shortages with local talent from this diverse group.

IECs are a proven model, with successful councils in Toronto, Ottawa, North Bay, Waterloo, London-Middlesex and Niagara.  By working closely with local employers, an IEC can recruit the specific talent and skills required by local employers.  Programming within an IEC could support employers in recruiting and retaining immigrant talent as well as provide resources and tools to support newcomers in their new work environment.   IEC’s offer:

 

  • Information and Referrals.

  • Employment Programs and Services.

  • Marketing and Communications.

  • Opportunities for stakeholders to address systemic barriers to immigrant employment.

  • Services for employers (HR training, tax-credits,/incentives for hiring, etc).

 

Contact Carole Wright, Project Coordinator at 705-725-1011 or carole@smwdb.com for further information.