TMU receives $3 million grant for research on integrating newcomers into the Canadian workforce

Credit to Author: Canadian Immigrant| Date: Tue, 14 May 2024 00:21:44 +0000

Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU)  has secured a generous $3 million grant from BMO to support research aimed at aiding newcomers in their integration into the Canadian job market.

Newcomers to Canada help strengthen the economy and the country’s talent pipeline, but often face systemic barriers and challenges that limit social and economic opportunities. This funding will be channeled into TMU’s Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Migration and Integration program to set up the Newcomer Workforce Integration Lab. The Lab will promote effective strategies for employers to successfully incorporate newcomers into the workforce, thus addressing the persistent challenges faced by immigrants in having their international qualifications recognized in Canada.

The first collaborative initiative of its kind, the Newcomer Workforce Integration Lab will research and develop evidence-based tools, training, resources, action and policy recommendations tailored to diverse employers to better leverage the skills and talents of newcomers, from recruitment strategies to hiring and onboarding practices.

Anna Triandafyllidou, TMU’s Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration, expressed gratitude for BMO’s support, emphasizing the significance of the partnership in enhancing immigrants’ opportunities for economic and social integration in Canada.

Marshia Akbar, research lead on labour migration at CERC in Migration and Integration, will spearhead the lab’s initiatives. Akbar stressed the importance of bridging the gap between the skills immigrants possess and employers’ perceptions, underscoring the necessity for an employer-centric approach to immigrant labour market integration.

“If employers are not at the table or engaged in the process, then there is a gap and it’s a loss for Canada in terms of skill utilization,” said Akbar. “We need employers to learn about the skills migrants have, to what extent they can benefit from those skills immediately, and what training programs they can offer to facilitate migrants’ integration in specific industries.”

Initially focusing on the finance and banking sector, the lab aims to expand its scope to other industries in the future. Akbar highlighted the critical role of employers in harnessing the potential of immigrant talent and emphasized the economic imperative of retaining skilled migrant workers for the nation’s future prosperity.

In light of concerns surrounding migrant retention and citizenship, Akbar emphasized the urgency for proactive engagement with immigrant workers to fully leverage their skills and contributions to the Canadian economy.

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