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Effectively Employing New Canadians

Newcomers to Canada offer manufacturers a sustainable source of passionate, motivated labour for any position or department. By taking the necessary efforts to recruit and retain newly-immigrated employees, business leaders keep their workforce secure and productive.

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As the Canadian manufacturing sector’s labour crisis continues throughout the early 2020s, employers are looking for workers of any kind across the country and beyond. One labour source that has seen significant interest from business leaders in recent years is Canada’s “newcomer” population — newly-immigrated or ready-to-immigrate workers who are eager to support themselves and their families through skilled and unskilled employment. Manufacturers that put forth the effort to effectively appeal to and recruit members of this demographic will find themselves with a passionate, motivated workforce that can achieve success in a wide variety of positions, and gain access to a sustainable channel of high-quality labour. Let’s delve into the process of recruiting and retaining new Canadians, and examine how we can optimize their working — and living — experience.

There are two major forms of new Canadian that manufacturers are able to hire: economic migrants and working refugees. Economic migrants are workers that come to Canada specifically to seek employment, and can have diverse backgrounds of knowledge, skills, and wealth. Employing economic migrants is not dissimilar to employing Canadian citizens — while certain workplace accommodations for language and qualifications may be needed, these labourers have typically begun their professional or academic careers outside of Canada, and likely do not require additional assistance. In contrast, working refugees are people that have been displaced involuntarily by conflict or disaster, and usually come to Canada without any form of support network, employment experience, or applicable education. These labourers often require a certain amount of financial and social aid to begin working in a manufacturing facility, and must receive a heightened level of training and guidance from their employers to ensure that they can fulfill their roles productively. Understanding the differences between both kinds of Canadian newcomer allows business leaders to prepare workers from each demographic for success with an eye to context.

Facilitating a culture of tolerance, acceptance, and co-operation is key to optimizing the effectiveness of any newly-Canadian worker. There are an extensive variety of actions that employers and co-workers can take to make recently-immigrated employees feel comfortable and eager to meet their potential. Consider your workplace’s accessibility for labourers that don’t speak English — do your business’s activities rely heavily on written instructions, spoken directions, or lengthy manuals? Utilizing visual iconography is an excellent way of stoking a universally-understandable information channel. Also keep in mind your enterprise’s health and safety protocol. Every country has different practices of keeping their workers safe, but Canadian manufacturers must adhere to federal and provincial health and safety standards to prevent liability. Be sure that all of your employees have a strong grasp of your company’s health and safety requirements, and maintain constant worker adherence through regular inspections. Workers that feel safe, welcomed, and secure in their roles are able to better focus their efforts on performing their duties, strengthening efficiency and productivity throughout an entire organization.

Recognizing the needs, wants, and expectations of new Canadians is doubtlessly a challenge, but manufacturers that are able to address and respond to these requests will have no issue in maintaining an effective labour force and staying competitively-viable in the near and distant future. By fostering a diverse, supportive workforce, business leaders reap the benefits of employees from all backgrounds, skill levels, and ideologies, and become well-equipped to overcome labour challenges and remain consistently successful.

For further discussion on effectively recruiting and retaining newcomers to Canada, please contact Jason Bates, EMC’s Manufacturing Consortium Manager for Southwestern Ontario. Attend EMC events frequently for knowledge and expertise specialized to the Canadian manufacturing sector.

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