$1.75-million employer fund to attract and integrate skilled immigrants

By IEC-BC  |  September 18, 2012

NEWS RELEASE

VANCOUVER - The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) will design, implement and
manage a new initiative that will support B.C. employers, industry and business associations in
developing initiatives and resources that address challenges in hiring, integrating and retaining
new immigrants, announced Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat Bell today.

“Our government recognizes the key role of employers and the need for employer-focused and
employer-developed resources to effectively attract, assess, integrate and retain immigrants in
B.C. workplaces,” said Bell. “Employers have unique insights and understanding of the
challenges in hiring, retaining and integrating newcomers into their workplaces. Engaging
employers in the development of targeted initiatives, resources and tools will ensure their
effectiveness in addressing immigrant employment and labour market challenges.”

The Employer Innovation Fund for Immigrants will utilize up to $1.75 million. It will be made
available between Sept. 17, 2012 and March 31, 2014.

Given the forecast that over the next decade there will be over one million job openings due to
our aging workforce and economic growth, we will not be able to meet our labour market
demands without new skilled immigrants.

The IEC-BC understands the barriers that B.C. employers face in attracting, hiring and retaining
immigrant talent as well as their connections with employers, business associations and other
key stakeholders. This makes them uniquely positioned to lead this employer-focused initiative
that will support the labour-market integration of new immigrants.

“This is an exciting employer-focused initiative that will result in innovative and practice
approaches that employers have told us they need to support the hiring and retention of skilled
immigrants,” said Bob Elton, chair, Immigrant Employment Council of BC. “Employers know we
are entering an era of unparalleled global talent scarcity and competition and want to tap into
skilled-immigrant talent. The projects and resources funded by this initiative are intended to
help employers develop new ways to meet their labour needs today and in the future.”

IEC-BC will engage key employer stakeholder groups in the development and implementation
of the fund, targeting small- and medium-sized enterprises, and business associations, such as chambers of commerce, boards of trade and Sectoral Associations. Projects will support different regions of the province, with a priority placed on key sectors of the provincial labour market highlighted in the BC Jobs Plan. This will address skills shortages that would benefit from the integration of skilled immigrants.

WelcomeBC is the Province’s strategic framework for the settlement and integration of newcomers to British Columbia. In recent consultations with employers, ensuring that employers are actively involved in developing and implementing initiatives for increasing immigrant labour market participation in B.C. was identified as a high priority. WelcomeBC is made possible through funding from the governments of Canada and British Columbia.

The Immigrant Employment Council of BC, an initiative of the Vancouver Foundation, stimulates the integration of skilled-immigrant talent into the province’s workforce by fostering solutions, building connections and being a champion to help employers attract and retain immigrants.

Learn More:
Immigrant Employment Council of B.C.: http://www.iecbc.ca/
Welcome BC Website: http://www.welcomebc.ca

Contacts:
Andy Watson
Media Relations
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training
250 356- 8177

Immigrant Employment Council of BC
Karen Zukas
Communications Manager
karen.zukas@iecbc.ca
604 630-5018

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect