Marlene Habib

Aileen Raquel knows all too well how tough it can be for an immigrant worker to adjust in Canada and why employers need to take their struggles seriously, especially as the country prepares for a projected influx of immigrant talent over the next 20 years.

Ms. Raquel, a social worker in her homeland of the Philippines, moved to Canada in 2003 because she was told it had the best jobs and benefits. Instead, she found herself working at a factory and in the fast-food business.
“I had seven years of social work experience and I sent out countless résumés but did not receive a single response,” recalled Ms. Raquel, 37.

After three years of living below the poverty line, she turned to a bridging program at Toronto’s Ryerson University for guidance. With the help of a mentor and mock interviews with real employers, her self-confidence grew. In 2006, she landed a permanent job with her current employer, the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.

Ms. Raquel, whose success story is highlighted in a travelling photo exhibit by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), and other foreign-born workers have benefited from many groundbreaking programs to help newcomers overcome barriers in the Canadian workplace, such as language and cultural issues.

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Reference: Globe and Mail

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