Building a better



TRIEC is a citizen’s response to a stubborn problem: the Greater Toronto Region will not prosper if immigrants do not.

Founded by Maytree and the Toronto City Summit Alliance (now CivicAction) in 2003, TRIEC brings together employers, regulatory bodies, educators, community groups, government and immigrants to develop local practical solutions to address the underutilization of skilled immigrants’ education, talent and experience.

Over the last 10 years, TRIEC has pursued collaborative strategies to better integrate skilled immigrants into the Greater Toronto Region.

We’ve worked with multiple stakeholders to create and champion solutions. We’ve engaged employers to make real progress towards building immigrant inclusive workplaces. And we’ve worked to enhance coordination among key stakeholders including across all levels of government, municipal, regional, provincial and national.

Thank you to all those who’ve supported TRIEC over the last ten years and joined us on our journey to build a better future for both new immigrants and the Greater Toronto Region.



A Greater Toronto Region that prospers by fully engaging the contributions of skilled immigrants.


create and champion solutions to better integrate skilled immigrants in the Greater Toronto Region labour market.


  • Leadership
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For the last ten years TRIEC has been a leader in the journey to build a more prosperous future for the Greater Toronto Region by better integrating skilled immigrants into the workplace. We are honoured to be part of the TRIEC team and to share their vision. Through TRIEC's work and the commitment and collaboration of leaders from business, education, government and immigrants themselves there have been many successes, some of which are highlighted in this report.

We have seen firsthand how skilled immigrants enrich our community when they reach their full potential – through international

work experience and networks, fresh ways of thinking and a drive to succeed, to name a few.

Yet there is still more to do. Immigration is the key to labour force growth in the GTR and Canada as a whole. The effectiveness of immigration depends on attracting skilled immigrants and ensuring they find work that leverages their education and talents. TRIEC is working to make that a reality. That is why we are pleased to continue supporting TRIEC going forward. It's rewarding to see the accomplishments of the past ten years and we are very excited by the prospects that lie ahead.

Gordon M. Nixon
Gordon M. Nixon,
President and CEO, RBC
Co-Chair, TRIEC
Zabeen Hirji
Zabeen Hirji,
Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC
Co-Chair, TRIEC

View TRIEC’s Council Members here

Chair of the board

At TRIEC’s first meeting 10 years ago, we welcomed Mayors and Ministers, business and labour leaders, community and education leaders, professional associations and more. That diverse group came together with lots of courage, passion, and a healthy dose of optimism to find solutions to better integrate immigrant talent into the Greater Toronto Region labour market.

Our optimism was not without reason. We’ve delivered - together - on many of the goals we set for ourselves that day.

We wanted more internships for new immigrants. Working with Career Edge Organization, we helped to established Career Bridge, through which over 1,850 immigrants have undertaken paid professional internships.

We wanted to scale up mentoring, a solution we knew worked. Through The Mentoring Partnership, over 8,500 skilled immigrants have been paired with mentors in their field and 70 per cent found work in their field within 6 months of their partnership.

We wanted to put immigrant employment on the public’s radar. With two ad campaigns, seven Immigrant Success Awards, and coverage in local and national media, immigrant employment is now a well-covered topic in the Greater Toronto Region.

We knew engaging employers is central to better integrating skilled immigrants into the workplace. TRIEC has worked with hundreds of employers to help them build more inclusive workplaces and recently launched the TRIEC Campus to make it even easier.

And we wanted to empower immigrants. We now work with over 40 professional immigrant networks to build their capacity to support their members in finding employment.

Through it all, we’ve grown from a project of Maytree to a fully independent non-profit organization with a committed board and a mature governance structure.

That doesn’t mean that our job is done. Immigrant unemployment still hovers at a troublesome level and new immigrants still find themselves facing many of the same challenges they did 10 years ago.

TRIEC, however, is ready for the next stage in this journey. With new leadership and a new direction, I am confident that we will reach our vision of a Greater Toronto Region that prospers by fully engaging the contributions of skilled immigrants.

I extend my deepest appreciation and congratulations to our Council, our Board, our staff and all who have made the last 10 years possible.

Ratna Omidvar
Ratna Omidvar,
Chair, Board of Directors, TRIEC

View TRIEC’s Board of Directors here

Executive Director

It’s been an extraordinary 10 years since TRIEC was created. Born out of necessity, TRIEC made its reputation as a practical, results-oriented organization with a single goal: to ensure skilled immigrants have equal opportunities for employment. Ten years on, much has been achieved but our work is by no means done.

We’ve been talking to our stakeholders, partners and funders, asking a key strategic question: How do we help change the working lives of more immigrants? The conversation has been as much about how we will do it as about what needs to be done.

TRIEC started as a multi-stakeholder Council - our key method to develop and implement solutions. The Council is a tremendous engine for change. Looking ahead, we want to build on the Council model to address the large-scale change that is still needed to truly integrate skilled immigrants into the labour market.

TRIEC is small, but we are mighty thanks to the power of partnerships. The high quality of our relationships with key partners – service delivery agencies, employers, funders and more – gives us the potential to be an even more powerful engine for change. We cannot do it without you.

So, on our tenth anniversary, we send a very large thank you to the organizations and individuals who took a risk with us to create a new model of collaboration. We look forward to working with you to take our collaboration to the next level.

Together, we will build a better future.

Margaret Eaton
Margaret Eaton,
Executive Director, TRIEC

View TRIEC’s staff list here

  • 2003 to 2013
  • 2003


    TRIEC launched in September by Maytree and Toronto City Summit Alliance

    Manulife's then president and CEO Dominic D'Alessandro and Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Human Resources Diana Bean named as TRIEC Co-Chairs

    Career Bridge pilot launched in partnership with Career Edge Organization

  • 2004


    Dominic D’Alessandro’s Open Letter to the Prime Minister of Canada published as an op-ed in The Globe and Mail

    The Mentoring Partnership launched in collaboration with partner community organizations

    The Mentoring Partnership

  • 2005


  • 2006


    World of Experience Week

    First ‘New Workers, New Skills’ special section in the Toronto Star

    20 Journeys Photo Exhibit launched

    Inaugural Immigrant Success and Mentoring Partnership Awards

    Living the Dream event

  • 2007



    Job Developers Network established with CASIP

    Premier Dalton McGuinty addressed TRIEC Council

    Maytree launched ALLIES to share the TRIEC model

    TRIEC established a presence in the 905

  • 2008


    TRIEC is incorporated

    Power of Networking event

    BUILD York Campaign and Ryerson University launch HR How-to Workshops

    TRIEC awareness campaign

  • 2009


    Coordinated recruitment network formed CASIP

    RBC's President and CEO Gord Nixon and Chief Human Resources Officer Zabeen Hirji take over as TRIEC Co-Chairs

    Twenty professional immigrant networks formed a Network of Networks roadmap launched

  • 2010



    BUILD IT established to connect internationally trained IT professionals to York Region employment opportunities

    ‘Achieving Success in the Workplace’ workshop for new immigrants piloted with CASIP

  • 2011



    TRIEC received charitable status

    5th annual Immigrant Success Awards

    Networking Beyond Boundaries event brought together over 200 Hispanic/Latin American professionals

  • 2012


    Portal to professional Immigrant Networks, launched

    TRIEC Campus online learning hub launched –

    TRIEC Campus

  • 2013



    The Mentoring Partnership reached over
    8000 mentoring matches

    New learning videos launched on TRIEC Campus

    New strategic direction launched to chart the course for TRIEC's future

“I see this as a critical issue both for maximizing the economic potential of Canada and for successful nation-building.”

Dominic D’Alessandro
then President and CEO, Manulife Financial
Opinion Editorial, Globe and Mail, September 15, 2004

Engaging Employers

It was clear from the beginning – employer engagement is central to accelerating positive employment outcomes for skilled immigrants. It remains an important pillar in TRIEC’s work.

TRIEC began its employer engagement efforts in small ways, by recruiting individual mentors for The Mentoring Partnership. This humble start today boasts a legacy of thousands of mentoring relationships, building tremendous social capital and labour market connections for skilled immigrants.

In 2007, TRIEC created a team dedicated to employer and stakeholder engagement, increasing our capacity to make connections between employers and the immigrant-serving sector across the Toronto Region, including the 905. Today, TRIEC works with Consortium of Agencies Serving Internationally Trained Persons (CASIP), Partnership to Advance Youth Employment (PAYE)

and many other organizations to better connect immigrants to more employment opportunities.

TRIEC has also engaged employers on immigrant employment best practices, by both celebrating leading and innovative strategies through the Immigrant Success (IS) Awards and supporting learning and development. Through initiatives like the TRIEC Campus, TRIEC is now helping employers systematically build immigrant inclusive workplaces.

Moving forward, the experience gained by engaging early employer adopters – who are at the cutting edge of leveraging our culturally diverse workforce effectively – will help TRIEC to reach new sectors, such as small and medium sized businesses. The goal? To create an environment where the integration of skilled immigrants is simply business as usual.

If Canada is a land of opportunity,
why is a doctor

driving a cab?

Championing Solutions

raising awareness

When TRIEC was established in 2003, one of its first challenges was raising awareness of wasted immigrant talent and the benefits of integrating skilled immigrants.

TRIEC tackled this challenge head on. 2006 witnessed TRIEC’s World of Experience Week, a week that launched the Immigrant Success (IS) Awards; The Mentoring Partnership Awards; 20 Journeys, an exhibit made up of powerful portraits of immigrants; and the first special section on immigrant employment in partnership with the Toronto Star. It marked the start of long and fruitful partnerships between TRIEC and the media, including the Toronto Star, CBC Toronto and Canadian HR Reporter.

World of Experience Week was followed up in 2007 with the launch of TRIEC’s public awareness campaign: TV commercials and print ads with the tag “If Canada is a land of opportunity, why is a doctor driving a cab?” But over 10 years, things change.

Today most people are aware of highly educated immigrants – like doctors – doing jobs well below their skill level – like driving taxies. TRIEC thus shifted to focus on best practices for integrating skilled immigrants into the workplace, and the inspiring stories of employers who followed them. One reflection of this new direction was the 2009 Business-to-Business ad campaign with the tagline “Do yourself a favour. Hire a skilled immigrant.”

In 2012-2013, four such stories were profiled through the 7th Annual IS Awards. Featured on the TRIEC website, through videos, and by media partners, these stories provide practical examples for others to follow. In 2012-2013, the IS Awards were:

Raising Awareness

  • Raising Awareness

For skilled immigrants who participated in a mentoring program, full-time earnings increased from $36,905 to $59,944, an improvement of


* 2013 Research report from ALLIES and Accenture.


When Riaz Shaik came to Canada from India in 2002, The Mentoring Partnership did not exist. “I could not find a professional in my field at that time who I could reach out to for help and advice,” recalls Riaz, now Supervisor, Capital Projects, City of Toronto.

Before TRIEC was born, mentoring had already proven to be a successful strategy for helping new immigrants get established in their field in Canada. Several community-based mentoring programs existed in the Toronto Region, but they were limited in scope and ability to attract employers.

That’s why in 2004, TRIEC worked with employment service providers, including community agencies and colleges, to create The Mentoring Partnership and expand their capacity to pair immigrants with established professionals in their field. From just 548 mentor matches in 2005 to over 1,200 in 2012-2013, The Mentoring Partnership has matched over 8,000 skilled immigrants with mentors in their field.

The results are undeniable for mentee, mentor and employer partners: 70 per cent of mentees find work in their field within 6 months of their mentoring relationship and 94 per cent of mentors report improvement in their ability to communicate and work effectively with colleagues from different cultures. Mentors take the skills they learn back to their employers, helping to build more inclusive workplaces.

As for Riaz, he understands the win-win of mentoring first hand. In 2012, Riaz was recognized for having mentored over 10 new immigrants through The Mentoring Partnership. “Mentoring helps me to understand what employers are looking for and keep up with new developments in my professional field,” he explains.

In 2012-2013, TMP was funded by / financé par:


  • Mentoring
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Mentoring Moments

Resumes with english-sounding names are 35% more likely to receive callbacks than resumes with Indian or Chinese names.

Oreopoulos, P. & Dechief, D.(2011)
Why do some employers prefer to interview Matthew but not Samir?
Metropolis British Columbia.

Building Capacity

“I’m not rooting for Tarek any more than for other candidates… it’s about finding the right person and not eliminating anyone due to some unconscious bias,” exposits Dana, an HR manager, in the 2007 TRIEC learning video “Finding Talent.”

In 2003, many employers found themselves in similar positions to Dana – they knew that hiring skilled immigrants was smart but were unsure of how to do it effectively. Few resources existed, so TRIEC decided to develop learning tools for employers and HR practitioners.

Launched in 2005, was TRIEC’s first major program in this area. Transferred in 2009 to ALLIES, a national project that supports local immigrant employment councils, this website quickly became a go-to source in Toronto and across the country for practical resources on recruiting and retaining skilled immigrants. One element, the Roadmap, has been accessed by nearly 50,000 unique users and is now embedded on the Ontario Government’s website.

Meanwhile, recognizing the changing face of their leaders and employees, Toronto Region employers were starting to look beyond recruitment to focus on interactions within culturally diverse workplaces.

Enter the TRIEC Campus, an online learning hub launched in 2012.

The Campus is designed to ensure the sustainability and accessibility of immigrant integration resources, and hosts TRIEC content developed over the last 10 years. In 2013, new content was added looking at leadership, communication and teamwork in culturally diverse workplaces, a direct reflection of the changing face of the Toronto Region workforce.

To date, individuals from over 225 employers across Canada have accessed TRIEC Campus resources.

In 2012-2013, the TRIEC Campus was funded by:

Building Capacity

Preview triec campus learning materials

“We recognize the strength of this network. We had an immediate success story, a Direct hire who came through one of the professional immigrant networks and it was fantastic.”

Doug Spooner, Manager, Human Resources, Toronto 2015 Pan/ParaPan American Games


It’s not what you know but who you know that matters, or so goes the mantra of the Canadian job search. For immigrants, who have left their professional networks behind, this is a major barrier to employment and one that TRIEC hoped to help overcome.

To start, TRIEC hosted Living the Dream (2006) and The Power of Networking (2008), workshops designed to help immigrants sharpen their networking skills and connect to professional resources to advance their job search. Each event was attended by close to 500 skilled immigrants from the Greater Toronto Region.

Yet TRIEC wanted to accomplish more.

In 2007, TRIEC started to support Communications, Advertising and Marketing Professionals (CAMP), an association of internationally trained professionals. It quickly became apparent that associations like CAMP had great potential to help new immigrants establish their professional network in Canada.

In 2009, TRIEC identified over 70 professional immigrant associations in the Toronto Region and 20 of these groups decided to form a ‘network of associations.’ The Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) initiative was born.

PINs aims to build the capacity of immigrant associations; create connections between associations, employers and other stakeholders; and empower immigrant leaders. By 2013, over 40 immigrant associations and 58 partners were part of the PINs community.

In 2012-2013, the PINs initiative was sponsored by:
Networking Sponsors
and funded by / financé par:
Networking Sponsors 2

Building relationships for impact



Across all levels of Government

Enhancing Coordination

Over the last 10 years, all levels of government – national, provincial and municipal – have been active in funding and developing solutions to better integrate skilled immigrants into the Toronto Region labour market. A key element of TRIEC’s work convening stakeholders and enhancing coordination around immigrant employment was the creation in 2003 of TRIEC’s inter-governmental relations committee (IGR).

While there are many official intergovernmental tables, the TRIEC IGR created a unique informal venue for all levels of government in the GTA to come together for discussions of mutual interest around immigrant employment.

The committee’s first task was to map the solutions to immigrant employment that then existed and identify where the gaps were. Over time, solutions became more robust and comprehensive, and the committee’s attention turned to larger issues impacting the effectiveness of interventions. For example, the committee has discussed how to measure impact at a systems level, the impact of changing selection policies by the federal government, and how to better engage employers across all levels of government.

Ten years on, IGR members continue to find value in the committee as a unique forum for government actors who have a stake in immigrant employment initiatives in the GTA. Through IGR, they are able to have new conversations, share information and enhance collaboration.

The growth of

An Idea

Growing an Idea

TRIEC started as a local idea to address the local challenge of integrating skilled immigrants into the Toronto Region labour market. But the idea didn’t stay local.

Cities across Canada have learned from the TRIEC model. In 2007, Maytree and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation launched Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies (ALLIES) to help create a national movement of locally engaged communities to provide successful employment solutions for skilled immigrants. There are now 12 immigrant employment councils across

the country that share and learn from successes and challenges to build stronger communities through the integration of skilled immigrants.

And the idea did not stop at the Canadian border. It has been shared with other countries including Finland, Germany, New Zealand and the United States.

From its local beginnings, the TRIEC model has helped to inform immigrant integration practices across the country and around the world.

Look to

The Future

Our Better Future

TRIEC and our partners have had 10 years of amazing success. Yet, skilled immigrants still face barriers to employment in the Greater Toronto Region. What is more, often they find themselves in roles that do not use their skills fully with little opportunity for growth.

For TRIEC to have another 10 years of meaningful success, we need to rethink what we are doing and how we are doing it. We need to build on the strengths of these past 10 years and chart a new course for the future as leaders in immigrant employment. There is more to be done and the work needs to be done in collaboration.

There are many potential paths to achieve our vision of a Greater Toronto Region that prospers by fully engaging the contributions of skilled immigrants. After consulting with our stakeholders, we have developed a strategic plan with three goals focused on our desired outcomes. Through a focused collaborative approach, TRIEC aims to help build our better future.

Goal 1. Lead employer culture change

We know that employer engagement is a key pillar for immigrant integration. Employer engagement, specifically with the focus of shifting employer culture towards more inclusion, will continue to be central to TRIEC's work as we seek to identify new opportunities to engage partners in advancing employer culture change.

Goal 2. Reach and empower more skilled immigrants

TRIEC's solutions to improve the working life of skilled immigrants are powerful—yet they could be even more so if we could reach even more individuals. While supporting The Mentoring Partnership and the Professional Immigrant Networks initiative, TRIEC will continue to work through partnerships to expand our ability to reach and empower immigrant talent.

Goal 3. Be an outstanding organization for today and tomorrow

In order to deliver on our goals, TRIEC needs to be an effective and sustainable non-profit organization. Looking forward, we aim to build our sustainability by diversifying our revenue sources, strengthening our staff, IT infrastructure and governance processes, while also developing our brand and implementing measurement and evaluation strategies.

The ultimate aim, as it has always been, is to build a better future for our region by fully engaging the contributions of skilled immigrants. We hope that you will continue to work with us towards this goal. For more information on TRIEC's strategic plan and how you can get involved, email or visit


Download Financial Overview in PDF format or expand below to view Financial overview

TRIEC Financial Overview

Thank you

Thank you

TRIEC would like to acknowledge and thank our funders and sponsors in 2012-2013: Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Maytree, Manulife Financial, Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Ontario Trillium Foundation, RBC and Scotiabank.

In addition, we would like to thank our IS Award supporters, including media partners Canadian HR Reporter, Toronto Star and CBC Toronto, and selection committee sponsor Steam Whistle Brewing.

We would also like to extend our appreciation to Dentons for their generous pro-bono work for TRIEC, and to the individuals who provided generous donations.

Too many individuals and organizations have supported TRIEC over the last 10 years to list them all here. To all of you, please accept our deepest appreciation.

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To learn more about TRIEC and get involved, visit