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Career Edge Organization goes “Beyond Canadian Experience”

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Last Friday, a diverse group of leaders from the business and academic community joined forces with immigrant-serving organizations to present a series of innovative ideas to promote the meaningful and sustainable integration of immigrants into the Canadian labour market at the Beyond “Canadian Experience”: Mobilizing Diverse Talent for Corporate and Community Success conference.

This conference was planned as a result of the Beyond “Canadian Experience” Project, a collaboration of the University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, the Mennonite New Life Centre, and the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter. The project is also funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Presenters at the conference included:

  • Keynote: John Tory, Chair, CivicAction
  • Charles Achampong, Manager, Corporate & Stakeholder Relations, TRIEC
  • Dr. Izumi Sakamoto, Lead researcher, Canadian Experience Research Project
  • Adriana Salazar, Mennonite New Life Centre, Newcomer Skills at Work Project
  • Matt Petersen, Director of Diversity Strategies, CIBC

In addition to these trailblazers in the diversity hiring community, our own President & CEO, Anne Lamont, presented on the topic of “Immigrant Internships as Promising Practice.” Throughout Anne’s presentation, the theme of “predictability” tended to resonate with much of the audience, as this concern is often ubiquitous when recruiting and integrating internationally qualified professionals.

“Canadian experience” generally lessens a hiring manager’s apprehension around a candidate’s “predictability”, yet this qualification is one of the most common barriers faced by immigrants trying to break into the Canadian workforce. Furthermore, the definition of “Canadian experience” is often vague and misconstrued by immigrants and employers alike, as revealed by the research from Beyond “Canadian Experience” Project.

During the course of Anne’s presentation, it became clear that paid internships for internationally qualified professionals truly mitigate the concern for “predictability” and finding the right fit for the job by providing employers with a flexible and risk-averse recruitment solution.

From John Tory’s perspective, it is critical that – whether through internships or other forms of onboarding – Canadian businesses start integrating this group of highly skilled immigrants to sustain and expand both the labour and consumer market.

At Career Edge Organization, we couldn’t agree more.

Deloitte on “unlocking the potential of immigrants for business growth and innovation” [VIDEO & White Paper]

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“Welcdeloitte diversityome to Canada. Now what?”

Deloitte released a white paper summary this month of what they are calling their 2011 “dialogue on diversity.”

The paper tackles issues such as how to set the stage to successfully integrate newcomers into the Canadian workforce, and draws upon recent stats on immigration and unemployment to make a business case for change.

The paper takes balanced approach by presenting the unique perspectives of both businesses as well as newcomers, addressing issues such as labour shortages, tolerance, “fit” and risk.

We commend Deloitte for tackling this important but sometimes cumbersome issue, and shedding new light on it, complete with stats, anecdotes and sound business advice. It is also apparent that Deloitte is a clear supporter of the internship model as a way for newcomers to gain meaningful, relevant work experience.

I’d also like to recommend the following video, from the Maytree Foundation, Toronto’s YouTube channel, which features Jane Allen, Partner and Chief Divrsity Officer at Deloitte talking about the barriers to employment immigrants face, and how employers can remove them:

Helping Immigrants overcome employment barriers

Do you know a company that is leveraging diverse skills?

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TRIEC (the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council) is calling upon employers, internationally qualified professionals, and partner organizations (like us) to help shine the spotlight on deserving organizations and individuals who have shown leadership and innovation in recruiting and retaining skilled immigrants.

The IS (immigrant success) Awards present an annual opportunity to give GTA champions the recognition they deserve.

In 2009, we nominated St. Michael’s Hospital for the Toronto Star Award for Excellence in Workplace Integration, and they won! St. Michael’s Hospital was honoured by TRIEC, in partnership with the Toronto Star, for going beyond visionary but actually implementing and embedding practices – in this case, the Career Bridge paid internship program for Internationally Qualified Professionals.

To date 25 trailblazers, employers and individuals, have been recognized. If you or your organization deserve to be recognized, don’t miss your chance this year. Tell your story by filling out a short nomination form online by Thursday, December 1, 2011.

Visit for details or to submit your nomination today!

Poll: Should Remembrance Day be a statutory holiday?

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When we blogged about Remembrance Day last year, we had no idea that almost a full year later this issue would continue to be a contentious topic among employers, workers, war veterans and average citizens alike. But our blog stats show that this post remains one of our most visited pages to date – evidence that the topic is still hot.

Click here to read the original blog post.

Tell us what you think – take the poll!

Lest we forget.

Sound bites from the 2011 Recruitment Innovation Summit

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panel smallLast September we announced our upcoming panel session at the 2011 Recruitment Innovation Summit. The conference took place this past week and, not surprisingly, was a great success for the Human Resources Networking Group (HRNG) who hosted the event, attended by hundreds of senior level recruitment and HR professionals from organizations across Canada.

Career Edge Organization was one of a handful of exhibitors, representing the only not-for-profit, diverse talent solution there.

In addition to our booth, Career Edge Organization hosted a break-out session, Global Markets, World Class Talent, which featured a diverse panel of employers who spoke about their successes and challenges in hiring internationally qualified professionals.

Attendees were highly engaged, actively participating in the Q&A following the panel discussion. Many joined us at our booth during the networking reception that followed.

Here is what our panellists had to say during the session:

“We serve over 150 ethnicities within our hospital doors; [there is no] better way to provide culturally competent care than to have health professionals that reflect the patients that walk in the door.”

Kate Wilson
Manager, Corporate Staffing Strategies, St. Michael’s Hospital

“We have an imperative as a government to ensure we are serving [our] communities in a manner that is equitable and which takes into consideration the diversity of its people… There is a commitment to both equity and diversity by the City of Toronto both as a service provider but also as an employer.”

Uzma Shakir
Director, Equity, Diversity & Human Rights, City of Toronto

“We seek to leverage diversity as we reach out to cultural markets within cities like Toronto; leveraging the knowledge and the experience of internationally educated professionals is critical in doing so.”

Blair Crichlow
Manager, Diversity Recruitment, RBC

“[Diversity] is not something we’re striving towards, it’s the basis and foundation of our business. We simply could not exist or compete internationally without internationally educated and qualified professionals”

Peter Kelk
President, George Kelk Corporation

The return to work – 5 tips for welcoming back employees with disabilities

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Coinciding with National Disability Employment Awareness Month (October, for both US and Canada), I attended a conference earlier this week to listen to Rona Maynard (author, speaker and former editor-in-chief of Chatelaine) speak to employers about “the healing power of work,” and working with employees who have mental health disabilities.

The True Cost of Workplace Mental Health was the 4th annual conference held by Business Takes Action (BTA), a program of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) funded by the government of Ontario.

Rona Maynard who herself has battled with depression and was widely known as a voice to Canadian women (and men) during her reign at Chatelaine, was an ideal choice for keynote speaker, as she had also encountered under her leadership employees with mental illnesses such as severe depression. She candidly shared her successes and failures, as well as things she wished that she – as an employer – had done differently.

One of the things Rona touched upon was managing an employee’s return to work. This needs to be taken into consideration with any employee returning to work after any leave of absence due to illness, maternity leave, etc. But it is especially important when mental health is involved simply because of the stigma that still exists around illnesses such as depression.

If handled well, an employee’s return-to-work following illness could be a great success. Many organizations have written policies on how to handle this but even those with the best of intentions can sometimes miss the mark when it comes to reintegrating the employee into the team. Here are 5 tips for reintegrating employees with disabilities – mental, physical or any kind!

Read More

Why employers choose Career Edge Organization

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Earlier this year, Environics Research Group conducted a Client Satisfaction Survey on our behalf. The results were overhwhelmingly positive, and though it’s seldom that we toot our own horns, we thought it’d be ok to make an exception just this once: Toot, toot!

Here are some highlights from the results:

  • 91% felt that Career Edge Organization has exceeded or met their expectations and business needs so far
  • 85% say that they would be likely to recommend our internship programs to colleagues or their network
  • The most important factors in making working with us worthwhile for clients were:
    • access to unique quality and diverse talent,
    • finding cost effective recruitment options, and
    • working with a not-for-profit that contributes to launching the careers of those who face employment barriers.

If you work with CEO and want to make your voice heard, let us know – why do you choose CEO?

3 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Hire New Graduates This Year

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By Anne Lamont, President and CEO, Career Edge Organization

Excerpt from Anne’s blog post for the Toronto Board of Trade’s VoteOntario2011 campaign.

  1. The first good reason to hire young graduates is likely also the most obvious one; without them businesses risk eroding their knowledge foundation. Let’s face it, our workforce is aging – and at an alarming rate for some organizations. Eventually, that knowledge housed within the senior ranks needs to be transferred, or it risks disappearing altogether. Keeping the talent pipeline fresh with new hires allows organizations to plan, build and transfer expertise and knowledge more seamlessly while mitigating timing delays or productivity.
  2. The second great reason to hire young workers is to help grow and develop your middle level managers. By creating coaching and mentoring roles for middle managers, exceptional opportunities for learning and professional development are also created that can only be achieved through first hand experience. When organizations encourage the development of these leadership skills, they are also fostering a supportive and positive workplace culture, in turn improving productivity, enabling the transfer and sharing of knowledge and driving innovation too.
  3. The third very compelling reason for hiring recent graduates is because they bring the latest training to their employers, fresh perspectives, can-do attitudes, and in many case, hands-on experience. Although it may sound trite, an investment in recent graduates is an investment in our future. Through their post secondary educations, university and college students today are not only getting exposed to traditional best practices, but more importantly they’re participating in and contributing to leading edge innovations and emerging technologies through living labs, think tanks, innovation centres, private/public sector partnerships and joint ventures – whether it’s through Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, Queen’s University’s Innovation Park, University of Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience or George Brown’s Institute of Entrepreneurship and Community Innovation, just to name a few.

To read the full article on the VoteOntario2011 blog, click here.

Toronto Board of Trade makes an interactive “splash” on the campaign trail with VoteOntario2011

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TBOT Splash pageIn February 2011 the Toronto Board of Trade launched its VoteOntario2011 campaign.

The microsite’s splash page is an interactive hub of campaign-related social activity, complete with a Nexalogy-powered lexical “heat” map, that shows the connections between twitter conversations and tells you what’s hot and what’s just…lukewarm in the 2011 Ontario elections.

In addition to staying on top of the campaign trailwhat twitter is saying and what the media is saying, TBOT’s VoteOntario2011 campaign has also tapped into the minds of its members and stakeholders, GTA thought leaders like Councillor Joe Mihevc, Carol Wilding and our very own President & CEO, Anne Lamont.

TBOT also looked to Career Edge Organization for an official response to its Challenge PaperShifting Into High GearClick here to see how Anne and other thought leaders responded.

Now, as we inch closer to election day, is the perfect time to get up to speed on the issues. Click here to read Anne Lamont’s post on the VoteOntario 2011 blogThree Reasons Why Your Business Needs To Hire New Graduates This Year.