The British Columbia government has unveiled a $7-million grant for the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC). This funding is aimed at enhancing job accessibility for new immigrants arriving in the province.
Across British Columbia, employers have been facing challenges in filling positions within their firms due to the region’s low unemployment rate.
Moreover, with over 900,000 new job openings projected through the year 2027, the need for strategies to support immigrant employment has become even more critical.
The grant hopes to fix this problem by allowing IEC-BC to provide mentorship to underemployed and unemployed immigrants, thereby assisting them in understanding and adapting their skills and experience to the Canadian labour market – which is currently “very hot” in terms of work opportunities, according to CEO of S.U.C.E.S.S., Queenie Choo.
The BC government’s funding has also allowed the implementation of a new research initiative called Tech Connect Plus, which connects employers and new immigrants for interview and hiring opportunities. Furthermore, it addresses factors affecting newcomer employment.
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“We want newcomers to find good jobs here, and we want employers to have an easier time finding workers,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.
“With this funding, more newcomers and immigrants will find good jobs, more employers will find skilled workers ready to join the workforce.”
The not-for-profit IEC-BC is an organization providing BC employers with the solutions, tools, and resources they would require to attract, hire, and retain qualified international talent.
The programs it offers remove guesswork for both small and large business employers, and gives job seekers an opportunity to showcase their skills.
“Non-profits like IEC-BC play a critical role in connecting businesses with people new to the province,” said Megan Dykeman, Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits.
“The funding demonstrates how we are actively working with non-profits to open opportunities that newcomers and immigrants need to build their lives in our great province.”
IEC-BC CEO Patrick MacKenzie also weighed in on this news, arguing that the funding would allow the not-for-profit to extend to small- and medium-scale firms in communities lying outside of urban centres.
The Government of Canada invests more than $2 million every year through the Labour Market Development Agreements (LMDAs) program, which is a federal initiative to help Canadians get the training they need to find and keep jobs.
It thus assists provinces and territories so that they can support Canadians with Employment Insurance (EI)-funded skills training and employment help.
In this case, the grant comes from the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement, under which BC receives more than $300 million each year to fund employment services and supports. These include those provided through the 102 WorkBC centres throughout the Province.