This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Evidence of meeting #7 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was employers.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Jonathan Beddoes  Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba
Peter Idahosa  President, Alberta International Medical Graduates Association
Pam Nordstrom  Director, School of Nursing, Mount Royal University
Joan Atlin  Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council
Thomas Tam  Chief Executive Officer, SUCCESS

5:15 p.m.

Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

Joan Atlin

We're really focusing on the employer engagement side of the equation. TRIEC's work is primarily employer-facing. There's a wealth of organizations in Toronto that are immigrant-serving organizations. We're focused primarily on employers, and we're really working now with players like the City of Toronto, their employment services, and the various networks of employment services, to better coordinate the way we approach employers and the suite of services that we have to offer employers. Any support, in terms of a national strategy and a coherent strategy around programs to help us do that work with employers, who are ultimately the ones who are making the hiring decisions, is welcome.

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ed Komarnicki

Thank you. Your time is up.

Your comments on the provincial nominee program are interesting. The uptake is fairly good in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. It's interesting that Ontario has not quite taken up that program yet.

It's good to hear from you, Mr. Tam, that it certainly directs a lot of people to where the jobs are.

Mr. Cuzner.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Thanks very much for being here today.

Those are two pretty impressive numbers: that those who receive mentoring have a 70% success rate in landing applied work, and the 80% success ratio for those who are able to engage in internship programs.

You say you're working heavily with the City of Toronto. There's an internship program available as well with the Province of Ontario. So who are offering those internship supports right now financially?

5:15 p.m.

Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

Joan Atlin

In Toronto, there's an organization called Career Edge, which was actually established to create youth internships and internships for people with disabilities. When TRIEC started work, we partnered with them to create an internship stream for skilled immigrants, and together we've done outreach to corporate partners. It's been most successful in the public service and in the financial services. There's a lot of scope to expand that program.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

That's something to build on when you're seeing an 80% success ratio.

So that would mean there's a number of clients you deal with that aren't getting access right now. Give me, for example, how many clients you deal with don't have access to internship.

5:15 p.m.

Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

Joan Atlin

It's the vast majority. We don't serve clients directly, but I would say of all the immigrants approaching services in the city of Toronto like we're doing through the mentoring partnership, just in terms of mentoring about 1,200 mentoring matches a year, if you think about the number of immigrants coming to the GTA, it's a tiny drop in the bucket.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

What are the sectors you're really being frustrated by? Are there a couple of general job descriptions that are being frustrated by not being recognized? Are there some more than others, or are there one or two that stand out that aren't getting the recognition?

5:15 p.m.

Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

Joan Atlin

As we heard from the previous panel, the greatest challenges are in the regulated professions, absolutely, because of the licensure issues and the access to assessments, to bridging training, and in the health professions in particular to the clinical residencies that are required as part of the licensure process.

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

And you're seeing the same?

5:15 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, SUCCESS

Thomas Tam

Those health-related professions are the most difficult part for foreign-trained professionals. We see that the majority of employment opportunities are in the non-regulatory professional jobs. In that area, the most important factor is the employer's acceptance or readiness. That's why I totally agree with Joan that in dealing with the majority of the opportunities, employers are in a very important role in working with the service provider to accept and provide opportunities for the internationally trained professionals.

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

I'm fine, Mr. Chair.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ed Komarnicki

All right.

Mr. McColeman.

October 25th, 2011 / 5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Thank you.

Thank you for being here.

Ms. Atlin, I'd like to ask you just to expand a bit more on what you were talking about earlier. You were relating an example of the IT success that you had. What other professions...? Specifically, I've got a direct interest in trades and construction. Do you get much uptake from that industry?

5:20 p.m.

Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

Joan Atlin

TRIEC actually doesn't work in the trades. We've been working particularly in the white collar skilled professions. As regulated professions, the trades have some similar issues to the other professions we were talking about, engineering and health care, in the sense that there is a licensure path you have to go through and you have to be licensed in order to work in your profession.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

My experience over 25 years in that industry was that you're absolutely correct. To be a plumber, you have to do an apprenticeship and there's licensure involved at the end of that and so on to be a licensed trade. But there are a lot of semi-skilled tradespeople required. In fact, in my own community two weeks ago, I met with a business owner who wanted to hire 20 new employees in the area of restoration and historic restoration work that his company does, and he cannot find those workers.

If it's not your organization who would direct people, where would new immigrants who were semi-skilled from their own backgrounds in construction and trades go?

5:20 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, SUCCESS

Thomas Tam

For the trades, we've been working with different trade associations and the Industry Training Authority in B.C. For three years in a row, from 2004 to 2007, we worked with the roofing and sheet metal apprenticeship program helping new immigrants to get into the roofing industry. I can quote you a lot of success stories, but the problem is there's no sustainable funding. So when we've done a group of people and they get employment, then the funding stops and we have to find another amount of money to help another group of people.

In my presentation there's ten years of work SUCCESS has been doing. We can quote you the exact numbers of people who are the partners and what the result is, but every time it's very short-term funding support and we have to stop somewhere and then find another funding source to help another group of people. That's the challenge the service provider is facing.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

You've actually segued into my next question. What are your funding sources for your organizations?

5:20 p.m.

Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

Joan Atlin

TRIEC is funded in part by CIC. In the mentoring partnership, all the employment services and the services to the mentees are funded by the Employment Ontario program, which is the Ontario government's employment services program delivered through community-based agencies.

The TRIEC work we do recruiting corporate partners to recruit mentors for the program is funded by CIC and by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

It is a combination of federal and provincial funding.

5:20 p.m.

Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Is there anything from the City of Toronto?

5:20 p.m.

Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

Joan Atlin

No, there really isn't funding available from the City of Toronto for this kind of program, but the City of Toronto has been a very active participant in, for instance, the mentoring partnership and the career bridge program by engaging as an employer by providing mentors.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Tam, what about in your case?

5:20 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, SUCCESS

Thomas Tam

Of course the provincial and federal governments are our major funding sources. In the Fort St. John case we also received funding from the energy companies. We also charge the participants tuition fees. It's a combination of different sources of funding.

5:20 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

I appreciate your bringing up the example of the ultimate benefactors of your work, which are the employers who bring on individuals who will no doubt enhance their companies, their business, and all that goes along with that. It seems reasonable to me that there would be some kind of mechanism so that you could have something coming back from the industry you're helping.