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Diversity : Innovation + Job News

47 Diversity Articles | Page: | Show All

Mount Sinai mentors 10 skilled immigrants through TRIEC program -- a first in Toronto hospitals

In a first for a Toronto hospital, Mount Sinai has been giving 10 skilled immigrants a boost under The Mentoring Partnership for the past several months. The program partners  working professional mentors with skilled new Canadians. Mentors introduce their partners to members of their personal network and show them the ropes of the Canadian industry and workplace.

The program, run by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), has over 50 corporate partners, including financial institutions, universities and utilities, but Mount Sinai is the first hospital to participate. According to Joanne Fine-Schwebel who is director of volunteers at the hospital, the first round has been a success (including seeing several of the immigrants finding employment). She says the program is not just a help to immigrants, either. "We decided to participate because we have a very diverse staff and patient population, and that's a real strength for the hospital," she says. "The strength is that we have staff who reflect the patient population and that's how we can better understand and care for our patients."

The program is not for workers in regulated professions such as doctors. Instead it focused on other skilled jobs, in this case including finance and human resources professionals and occupational therapy workers.

Information provided by TRIEC says that this is just the latest step in an exemplary diversity program at Mount Sinai. "A diversity census of the hospital's workforce found, for example, that 57 per cent of their workforce speaks a language other than English and one third of their employees entered Canada in the past 10 years," the organization writes in an email. The hospital has also been partnering with Care for Nurses, a bridging program for nurses trained abroad that helps them obtain their Ontario nursing license.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: TRIEC, Mount Sinai Hospital

A new tool for underemployed immigrants

There could be no greater testament to Toronto's pride in its status as a magnet for immigration than its motto: "Diversity Our Strength." The question is, are we using that diversity to our full advantage?

In a recent essay for The Mark, former Gordon Foundation President Patrick Johnson suggested the answer is no. Noting that 46 per cent of the city's population was born abroad -- and that the diversity of countries in which those immigrants originate is world-leading -- Johnson concluded we're not capitalizing on this great source of strength. "There is scant evidence that key decision makers whether in government, the corporate sector or NGOs are attempting to take advantage of that advantage," he writes.

And a recent survey of the Toronto Region by the Progress Career Planning Institute seemed to underscore that conclusion, noting in particular that small businesses are less likely than large ones to recognize the value of newcomers to building a global brand. But a new initiative by the non-profit Information and Communications Technology Council, funded by the federal government, could help to close the gap between the potential and actual value of immigrants to Toronto (and of our city to them).

The Canada Readiness Tool is an online assessment for newcomers and potential newcomers that will help them learn about the culture-specific skills needed to succeed in Canada. According to the ICTC, the key is in the "three C's": Culture, Communication and Competencies.

In a press release announcing the initiative, Minister of Human Resources Diane Finley said it would "facilitate the integration of newcomers into the work force so that they can put their skills to work sooner, helping to strengthen the labour market and improve the standard of living of all Canadians. Attracting and retaining the best international talent to address existing and future labour market challenges is critical to Canada's long-term economic success."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: The Mark, Progress Career Planning Institute, Information and Communications Technology Council

47 Diversity Articles | Page: | Show All
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