February 24, 2010

Edward Keenan

In a first for a Toronto hospital, mountsinai.on.ca/” target=”_blank”>Mount Sinai has been giving 10 skilled immigrants a boost under The Mentoring Partnership for the past several months. The program partners working professional mentors with skilled new Canadians. Mentors introduce their partners to members of their personal network and show them the ropes of the Canadian industry and workplace.

The program, run by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), has over 50 corporate partners, including financial institutions, universities and utilities, but Mount Sinai is the first hospital to participate. According to Joanne Fine-Schwebel who is director of volunteers at the hospital, the first round has been a success (including seeing several of the immigrants finding employment). She says the program is not just a help to immigrants, either. “We decided to participate because we have a very diverse staff and patient population, and that’s a real strength for the hospital,” she says. “The strength is that we have staff who reflect the patient population and that’s how we can better understand and care for our patients.”

The program is not for workers in regulated professions such as doctors. Instead it focused on other skilled jobs, in this case including finance and human resources professionals and occupational therapy workers.

Information provided by TRIEC says that this is just the latest step in an exemplary diversity program at Mount Sinai. “A diversity census of the hospital’s workforce found, for example, that 57 per cent of their workforce speaks a language other than English and one third of their employees entered Canada in the past 10 years,” the organization writes in an email. The hospital has also been partnering with Care for Nurses, a bridging program for nurses trained abroad that helps them obtain their Ontario nursing license.


Reference: Yonge Street