December is the month when we reflect on the year that has passed, as well as making resolutions for the year to come. In the spirit of the season, I wanted to share with you the things that we at TRIEC have felt have had a significant impact on the immigrant employment landscape in 2017, as well looking ahead to some of the key events on the horizon in coming months.
Highlights of 2017
- Canada is more diverse than ever before
This year we have been blessed with the gift of comprehensive Census data on population demographics as well as figures on education and employment. One of the key things this has told us is that Canada is becoming more and more diverse, not only due to “first generation” immigrants but also their children and grandchildren. The make-up of the Canadian workforce continues to change, and groups that have been considered “minorities” will soon not be minorities any more. It’s a fantastic time to be living and working in Canada, and Toronto in particular, where there are so many diverse perspectives and experiences.
- Workplace inclusion is gaining momentum
This year we’ve seen more and more conversations about inclusion in the workplace and what it means. In November, Hadiya Roderique’s powerful article, “Black on Bay Street”, started an important discussion about diversity at work and what it means to “fit in”. In our own research, we have found more and more employers are focusing on inclusion over diversity, and a growing understanding that diverse workplaces need to be inclusive to be successful. We expect this trend to continue in 2018 as employers think through how they can best leverage Toronto’s diverse working population.
- Syrian newcomers are bringing skills and potential
In April, Magnet released a report that collated data from key sources on how Syrian people arriving in Canada as refugees are settling in during the first few months. The report shares information from the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks that suggests that within a year of landing in Canada, the majority of Syrian newcomers will make huge progress in their English language proficiency. Not only this, but many are bringing high levels of education and professional experience. This sets the stage for the long-term success of this community in Canada.
- The power of great partnerships
TRIEC was built in the spirit of collaboration and one of our personal highlights from the last year is the strong relationships we have built and sustained. New partners such as Starbucks, Unilever, and Professional Engineers Ontario, Mississauga Chapter, who have been helping us recruit engineer mentors. We have also worked with partners on Leading the Conversation, and the Inclusive Workplace Competencies, not to mention the Community, Referral, and Employer Partners who are taking TRIEC Mentoring Partnership from strength to strength and our PINs associations and partners. These relationships give us many reasons to be thankful as the year draws to a close.
Coming up: trends for 2018
- Increased immigration levels
In 2018, Canada will welcome 310,000 new immigrants – that’s an increase of 10,000 on last year’s target. It’s part of the federal government’s three year plan to build up immigration levels incrementally to 340,000 by 2020, offering a boost to the economy and society as a whole. Read more about why we think this is a good thing.
- Building connections between immigrant and Indigenous communities
Earlier in the year, TRIEC’s founding Chair, Senator Ratna Omidvar, spoke eloquently in the senate about the intersection between issues faced by Indigenous people and immigrant inclusion. With increasing calls from Indigenous leaders to make the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission meaningful, what role do newcomers have to play in building stronger relationships with Indigenous communities? We have already seen small steps towards this in 2017, with some citizenship ceremonies now including pledges to honour treaties with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. In 2018, we should all be looking more deeply at this issue and asking ourselves, what more can we do?
- More tools and resources for employers and employees
Being inclusive is everyone’s job, but sometimes we need some ideas and advice to help us along in our journeys. In 2018 TRIEC will be launching more tools and resources to help people define, measure and build inclusive behaviour in the workplace. From new training offerings to a measurement tool, there are some exciting things in the works for next year – watch this space!
Thanks to all of you for your partnership and support this year – here’s to a prosperous 2018!