Effective Employer Engagement

Effective Employer Engagement in Newcomer Skills Development Programs

Employer engagement plays a key role in the delivery of successful employment programs that help newcomers find work in their fields and employers meet their talent needs. Our research project collected and synthesized evidence on emerging practices in employer engagement and developed useful resources and tools to help strengthen collaboration between Service Provider Organizations (SPOs) and employers.

About the Project

The research project was part of the Service Delivery Improvement (SDI) projects funded by the Government of Canada through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Given a lack of research on employer engagement targeting newcomer services, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) and Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) aimed to answer the following questions:

  • What are different approaches for employer engagement in immigrant-focused skills training delivery?
  • What are some effective employer engagement models that facilitate labour market integration of different immigrant groups?


In collaboration with a national network of Immigrant Employment Councils (IECs), SPOs, employers and other partners, we:

Documented effective approaches to employer engagement

Developed an employer engagement index to gauge the level of employer presence and activity, and to rank engagement across different types of programs

Identified partnership-building and stakeholder management skills settlement practitioners need to work on with employers

Developed tools for SPOs to engage employers, and for employers to navigate the settlement ecosystem to meet their talent needs

Expected outcomes

The project seeks to contribute to the delivery of responsive and coordinated settlement and community services. Specifically, through the development of insights and resources, the project aims to help:

Build understanding
of the characteristics of effective employer engagement

SPOs effectively approach employers and engage them in newcomer skills development programs

Employers navigate the settlement ecosystem and find the right partner to address their talent needs


This project used a mixed-methods approach. We collected both quantitative and qualitative data through surveys and interviews with SPOs and employers as well as inputs from a project advisory committee (PAC). The PAC included IEC, SPO, and employer representatives from across Canada.

Project Timeline

Meet the Project Team

Celia Huang, Project Manager, Employer Engagement Research
Sugi Vasavithasan, Research and Evaluation Manager/Team Lead
Ifra Zahid, Research Specialist
Contact Us: research@triec.ca

Susanna Gurr, Research Director
Taylor Shek-Wai Hui, Research Director
Kim Lehrer, Senior Research Associate
Sol Park, Researcher

Project Advisory Committee Members

Immigrant Employment Council of BC
Daisy Quon, Senior Manager, Programs & Stakeholder Relations
Eduardo Bananal, Employer Relations Coordinator

Ritu Janveja, Senior Manager, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Clifford Hennig-Pereira, Senior Manager, Inclusive Recruitment

Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
Mohja Alia, Manager, Employment & Bridging
Kyle Turner, Employer Engagement Coordinator

Halifax Partnership 
Robyn Webb, Director, Labour Market Development, Executive Director, National Connector Program

World Skills Employment Centre
Andy Rapoch, Employer Engagement Coordinator

Eric Madan, Strategy Consulting Manager (Cybersecurity & Risk Management)
Rae Li, Program & Project Management Associate Manager

WCG Services
Barb Kalashnikov, Employer and Community Coordinator

Modern Niagara Group Inc.
Megan Mathes, Senior Manager, Diversity Equity and Inclusion

ACCES Employment
Sue Sadler, Senior Vice President, Services and Program Innovation

Hire Immigrants Ottawa
Henry Akanko, Director
Lorena Costa, Manager, Employer Engagement

Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC)
Bao Ho, Director of Operations

Funded by