October 22, 2008

The new BC Immigrant Employment Council has been created to carry out a coordinated action strategy that addresses the challenges of immigrants finding and retaining appropriate employment, building on the results of a Leaders Summit being held today at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver.

“Establishing the BC Immigrant Employment Council will create a longer term and sustainable vision for addressing immigrant employment issues,” says Faye Wightman, President and CEO of Vancouver Foundation and co-host of
today’s Summit. “We need a focused strategy that creates real results and cements a plan for collaborative action to help the 340,000-plus immigrants who have arrived in our region over the past decade and those who will come next.”

“Vancouver’s diversity is part of what makes this city such a great place to live,” says Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. “Assisting newcomers to find meaningful employment that utilizes their valuable skills and training is the best way to help them not only integrate into the community but also to contribute to our city’s economy and prosperity in the long run.”

“Many immigrants to our region are highly skilled but not able to find or retain employment in their area of training and/or experience, says Zool Suleman, Chair of Mayor’s Task Force on Immigration, City of Vancouver.

“Employers also face challenges dealing with applicants or new employees from other countries or cultures, including language barriers, adaptation to North American workplace culture and integration of immigrants into work teams.

The outcome of today’s session will offer a coordinated approach to try to solve these issues.”

The Council will engage employers and other stakeholders to come up with solution-based actions, champion the labour market integration of immigrants, and influence related government policy and program development. The Board of Directors of the Council will be composed of 10 to 12 leaders from business, labour, service providers, post-secondary institutions and regulators.

The Provincial Government, along with a start-up grant from the Maytree Foundation, will support the work of the BC Immigrant Employment Council.

The Leaders Summit was convened by the Vancouver Mayor’s Task Force on Immigration and Vancouver Foundation, with support from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. Participants include leaders from employers, labour, education, government and service providers. The one-day Summit will explore the many opportunities available to improve access to employment for new immigrants in the region and identified strategies to form a regional, multi-sectoral alliance.

About Vancouver Foundation (www.vancouverfoundation.ca)

With more than 1,100 funds, and assets of $700 million, Vancouver Foundation is Canada’s largest community foundation, and one of the oldest in North America. In 2007, Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with our donors,
distributed almost $60 million to communities and innovative projects across British Columbia.

About the City of Vancouver (www.vancouver.ca)

The City of Vancouver’s combination of economic opportunities and environmental appeal has led people from around the world to make Vancouver their home. The City’s mission is to create a great city of communities which
cares about its people, its environment and the opportunities to live, work and prosper.

For further information: Media contact: Carla S. Shore, C-Shore Communications Inc., P: (604) 731-0975, C: (604) 329-0975, carla@cshore.ca

Reference: Vancouver Foundation