newcomers mentor laptop
November 24, 2022

You’ve likely heard people talk about the importance of having a mentor. Mentors and mentees can build strong, mutually beneficial relationships that enable mentees to grow and mentors to strengthen their leadership skills. For newcomers, mentors are especially crucial in helping to navigate the settlement process, from reconnecting with your career to understanding the Canadian workplace culture. Mentors dedicate their time to act as a coach and teacher. Let’s look at eight benefits of having a mentor as a newcomer to Canada.  

Give You Advice 

Wouldn’t it be great to have an experienced professional to turn to when you have a question about furthering your career? This is one of the major benefits of having a mentor. Your mentor can help guide you down the right path as you embark on your career as a Canadian newcomer. The feedback they provide can be invaluable and help strengthen your abilities. Since they have had lots of experience, they can provide you with quality advice about how to best navigate a situation.  

Grow Your Network 

Having a network is important. It may take some time for newcomers to grow a network in Canada. However, having a mentor can give you a jump start on this. Mentors can introduce you to people who can help you by teaching you different things, providing feedback or sharing information with you that could lead to a job.  

Provide Accountability  

One of the biggest benefits of having a mentor is having an additional source of accountability for your goals. Mentors can help you track your progress and provide feedback for getting back on track if you find yourself taking longer than expected to achieve a goal. Additionally, mentors can use their experience to let you know if your goals are attainable or if you should consider other options.  

Give You Encouragement 

One of the greatest ways a mentor can help you is through encouragement. Making your way forward in a new place can be challenging at times. Mentors provide encouragement to let you know that you can succeed. Having a trusted mentor can help you build your confidence and provide you with methods for overcoming different challenges and obstacles you may encounter.  

Get to Know Local Business Culture  

One of the exciting yet challenging aspects of being a newcomer is learning about your new home. This may include things like new cultural expectations and new ways of doing things. Mentors are great for helping you learn about the business culture of different industries. Often, industries may have unspoken rules and expectations. Mentors can help you navigate these to better find your professional niche.  

Introduce You to Resources  

Another aspect of moving to a new area involves learning where to go when you need certain things and what organizations exist to help you meet your goals. As a newcomer in Canada, many things can help you on your professional path. You just need to know where to look. A mentor can help connect you with these valuable resources, which can greatly impact your ability to succeed and develop in your new home.  

Support Your Overall Growth 

Mentors tend to be very invested in the success of their mentees. Developing a relationship with a mentor means that you will have a strong ally and advocate. As such, mentors will often provide important feedback on how you can grow and improve. Since they come to know you personally, they are likely to be able to notice things that other people won’t. This can be very valuable when seeking personal growth.  

Important Source of Wisdom 

Mentors are much more experienced in a career area. If you are facing a difficult situation or a challenging problem, your mentor has likely had to navigate something like that at one point in their career. As such, they are likely to be able to provide advice or give you a new frame through which to approach the issue. In fact, one of the greatest things about being a mentor is helping others navigate their career paths. Mentors typically get great enjoyment out of helping someone succeed.  

Final Thoughts  

Having a mentor is generally a positive experience that can provide growth and many opportunities. Mentors are also great for helping connect you with valuable resources and assisting you with growing your network. Having a mentor as a newcomer can be even more beneficial as newcomers have a very specific experience. Getting a mentor could be one of the most positive professional decisions you can make.   

At Achēv, our Newcomer Services offer a wide range of services to help newcomers settle smoothly in Canada. Our Newcomer Information Centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville. Contact us today to register for our free newcomer services. 

immigrant and racialized women at computer
November 24, 2022

In collaboration with SEASONOVA, we recently brought together 119 immigrant and racialized women and youth to hear their stories about entering the Canadian workforce. In this blog, we will explore these women’s stories about looking for a job while facing negative experiences, from the application process to the interview stage.

Even though the Canadian government takes in skilled immigrants to address labour shortages, most participants whom we consulted in a recent focus group discussion have expressed that not having “Canadian work experience” is a major barrier to being selected for interviews. For newcomer women, this is especially challenging. One participant shared:

“Being screened out because of a lack of Canadian experience is not fair. If nobody is given a chance, how do we get Canadian experience in the first place?!”

During the consultation, 91% of immigrant and racialized women shared that they’ve had negative experiences during the job application process.

Participants noted that even if they have extensive work experience, it is dismissed since it was not locally acquired. Some women expressed that this is a barrier and potentially a form of discrimination.

I had the experience of working for international organizations and working internationally but I was astonished because I kept sending my CV and applying for jobs but no answer because I had no Canadian experience…”

Only accepting the “Canadian experience” not only affects immigrant and racialized women but employers as well. Finding an alternative to this requirement, such as years of experience, education levels or recognizing international work experience, can address this and benefit employers by accessing a large pool of untapped talent.

Another emerging theme from the focus group discussion was the impact of misleading information and the lack of feedback from interviewers or hiring managers.

Participants shared various negative experiences during and after the interview process. Women recalled being told they were not hired due to being overqualified or that the position was already filled and interviews were arranged to follow protocol. Overwhelmingly, participants said they did not receive any further communications after being interviewed or any feedback despite attempts to reach the interviewer.

As the job search process involves being engaged in multiple hiring processes that take a significant amount of time, some participants felt disrespected after not hearing back after an interview or receiving no feedback. This is further worsened by microaggressions experienced by immigrant and racialized women during the hiring process.

Many of the participants expressed receiving culturally insensitive and inappropriate comments and questions about their accent, name, and skin colour, as exemplified by one participant:

I am always told I am very articulate and that my name is so exotic. This is subtle racism.

To address these barriers, immigrant and racialized women recommend employers expedite the recruitment process and provide updates so that applicants know the status of their applications. Research participants also stated that it is highly appreciated if employers provide feedback on interviews by outlining applicants’ strengths and areas of improvement regardless of the hiring outcome.

Furthermore, making sure interviewers have access to training opportunities to increase cultural competencies and EDI awareness can positively influence the experiences of immigrant and racialized women during the interview process.

Read more on our What We Heard report here to find out the main barriers encountered and how they can be addressed by employers and policy makers.

Let’s work together to welcome immigrant and racialized women into the Canadian workforce. Join us for our knowledge Exchange sessions in January and February 2023.

Join us in January 2023 to learn more about the stories and experiences of immigrant and racialized women joining the Canadian labour market and their recommendations to employers. We want to hear about your experiences as an employer in recruiting, hiring and retaining immigrant and racialized women in your workforce.

Register for our Knowledge Exchange sessions: https://forms.gle/9GX6s3sQ7xN1foaL7

Advancing Equity for Women and Girls, funded by Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), supports a feminist response and recovery from the impact COVID-19 has had on the employment of immigrant and racialized women in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) by contributing to systemic change to promote women’s economic prosperity and equality.

For any questions regarding the project, contact us:

Hodan Mohamed, Coordinator: hmohamed@achev.ca

Mayela Lozano, Community Liaison: mlozano@achev.ca

Read more about our program here: Advancing Equity for Women and Girls – Employment Services – Achēv (achev.ca)

Thanksgiving thank you
October 7, 2022

Thankfulness is expressing gratitude towards someone or something that gives us happiness. For some of us, it’s being grateful for living in a country like Canada that welcomes newcomers from all over the world. We are able to meet people from diverse backgrounds, learn about different cultures and become part of a community where everyone belongs.

At Achēv, we are thankful for being able to help newcomers to Canada settle and thrive in their communities. On this Thanksgiving, we are glad to share this heartwarming note from our client Venetia:

“I am so thankful to the Achēv team for helping me discover my potential! Being a newcomer to Canada who landed only a few months ago, I was finding it difficult to secure employment. I was disheartened and did not know where to start. But by God’s grace and blessings, I saw the advertisement about Achēv’s Workforce Pathways for Women in Senior Care program on Google, learnt more about the program benefits on their website and registered myself for it.

I am grateful that I found this opportunity and successfully completed the course that was being offered. I had a wonderful experience. Everyone on the team was helpful, kind, caring, and respectful toward each other. I consider myself fortunate to have found this great opportunity for helping women obtain meaningful employment in the senior care sector in Canada. I wish that Achēv continues to help women and new immigrants achieve their goals by offering free employment programs that can provide high-demand job placement.

Achēv gave me a ray of hope that brought a smile back onto my face. I appreciate Achēv for the effort, invaluable time, energy, and dedicated service they are offering to support newcomers to Canada. Their staff is knowledgeable, takes time to understand your situation and needs, and patiently answers all queries. Ms. Roula was a great Mentor to us.

Thank you for the personal call to confirm if I had received the study material and the link to join the classes!”

Thank you, Venetia, for taking the time to share your positive experience at Achēv. We are incredibly grateful that we are able to provide meaningful programs and services to support career development, language education and settlement success within our diverse communities.

September 28, 2022

September 30 of each year officially marks Truth & Reconciliation Day in Canada. However, newcomers to Canada are likely unfamiliar with this particular day of remembrance. Let’s take a brief look at the basics of Truth & Reconciliation Day and share some resources to help you become more familiar with this important day.  

What is Truth & Reconciliation Day? 

Truth & Reconciliation Day was created by the Canadian Parliament to provide a day to remember survivors of residential schools and those children who died. It is also a way to acknowledge the negative impact of residential schools on families and communities.  

For newcomers unfamiliar with residential schools, they refer to a system of schools that churches and the Canadian government set up to assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian and Christian ways of thinking and acting. These were boarding schools where children were sent away to live. Children were severely punished and often abused. Several thousand children died from abuse, neglect, disease, or accidents.   

Residential schools cost the lives of children while also working to actively erase the cultures of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. You may also hear Truth & Reconciliation Day referred to as Orange Shirt Day, as Canadians are encouraged to wear orange. This is intended to represent the stripping away of culture, freedom, and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children. 

Newcomers to Canada are invited to participate in this National Day of Remembrance and encouraged to learn more about Indigenous history and the importance of this day. Here are four essential resources that can help you learn more about Truth & Reconciliation Day.   

Government of Canada 

The government of Canada’s website provides basic information about Truth & Reconciliation Day. Here, people will find an overview of what the day means and what led to its creation. You will also find several helpful links that can help you better prepare to participate in Truth & Reconciliation Day.   

The site contains information such as television broadcasts of remembrances, the illumination of Parliament Hill, events associated with Orange Shirt Day, and virtual sessions aimed at school children to recognize Truth & Reconciliation Week. The site also has its own resources for those wanting to learn more about Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their languages.   

Indigenous Foundations 

Indigenous Foundations serve as a resource covering the histories, politics, and cultures of the Indigenous peoples in Canada. While initially created to support students at the University of British Columbia, it also provides more information about Indigenous people to the general public.   

This website contains a wealth of information aimed at the history of Indigenous people, including in-depth information about the residential schools. This serves as a good resource for those wanting to learn more about the residential schools, their history, their effects on Indigenous peoples, and their continued negative effects within communities today.   

It is relatively easy to navigate the site as well as easy to read. Another benefit of this website is that it serves as a vast resource for those hoping to learn more about the overall culture of Indigenous communities throughout Canada. 

Assembly of First Nations 

The Assembly of First Nations is a national organization that aims to advocate for the collective needs of all First Nations communities throughout Canada. This organization represents the approximately 900,000 First Nations in the country. Among the issues that its advocacy takes on are treaties, Indigenous rights, and stewardship of lands and resources  

This website is a good resource for those wanting to understand what issues are important to the First Nations community in Canada. While each First Nation is distinct in terms of culture and sovereignty, this organization aims to address larger-scale issues and is an interesting resource for those wanting to learn more about the current state of Indigenous persons within Canada.   

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 

The United Nations is a global organization that aims to help advance the needs of all people around the globe. Among its many works are efforts to support and protect Indigenous persons. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a document that seeks to codify the rights that all Indigenous persons should have throughout the world.   

The document was initially adopted by the UN in 2007 by a vote of 143-4, with 11 countries not voting. While one of the four nations initially voting against it was Canada, Canada later reversed their position to support this declaration. This declaration seeks to establish the minimum rights and fundamental freedoms applied to Indigenous peoples. It is worth a read to better understand the minimum commitment expected of Canada towards Indigenous persons. 

Final Thoughts 

On this Truth & Reconciliation Day, we invite you to take some time to review these resources to learn a little more about the day and what it means for all of us in Canada. 

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