Top firms battle to attract talented newcomers

Toronto Star
April 2, 2009

Paul Irish
Staff reporter

It’s taken a while, but employers are finally realizing that the best person for the job may be someone who wasn’t born or trained in Canada.

Newcomers have always been welcome in this country but when it came to getting jobs, a lot of human resource departments stuck with the tried and true, says Richard Yerema, managing editor of Mediacorp, a Toronto-based publisher of employment-related periodicals.

That has begun to change, with many companies now offering recruitment, mentoring and in-house education programs to attract talented, foreign-trained new Canadians.

“The hiring of (newcomers) can only strengthen a business,” says Yerema. “When you realize the cultural sensitivity that’s instilled by these new workers, you realize how important it is to include them. The different cultural backgrounds and languages make it easier to compete at an international level … these men and women bring their professional expertise to the table and a little something extra.”

Mediacorp has chosen the top 25 employers for new Canadians as an extension of its annual Canada’s Top Employers competition.

More than 2,100 employers applied for that award this year, which was reduced to a shortlist of 150 that had developed initiatives to assist newcomers. Mediacorp editors then reviewed that list based on three main criteria:

  • Does the company provide programs to assist newcomers and reduce employment barriers, such as recognizing foreign education and experience.
  • Does the company help newcomers get their foreign credentials formally recognized in Canada, or offer internal coaching or mentoring to help them requalify.
  • Do managers and employees receive training in cross-cultural issues or inclusiveness?

Any employer with its head office in Canada may apply for the competition, which is co-sponsored by the Maytree and McConnell Foundations – two non-profit organizations that support immigrants.

The top 25

Bank of Montreal

Bell Aliant Regional Communications

Business Development Bank of Canada

CAE Inc.


Christie Digital Systems


Energy Resources Conservation Board

Focus Corporation

Fraser Milner Casgrain

Regional Municipality of Halton


Manulife Financial

Maple Trade Finance

MDS Nordion Inc.

Nexen Inc.

Providence Health Care

Rescan Environmental Services Ltd.

Saskenergy Inc.

St. Michael’s Hospital

TD Bank Financial Group

Toronto Community Housing Corporation

Trans Canada Corp.

Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Wardrop Engineering

Stories profiling the winners

Helping others follow their lead

Top firms battle to attract talented newcomers

Halton internships bridge the barriers

Speed recruiting event opens vault to dream job

Law firm offers a hand up

Rolling out the welcome mat

Taking diversity right to the top

Engineering Canadian experience

Mentors help bridge the gap

KW firm focused on talent


Reference: Toronto Star