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Inclusion is more than a numbers game, and integration is a two-way street. Mentorship may help to address both, depending on the needs of your employees. As a bonus, mentors and employers often acquire a greater understanding of the talents of many immigrants and the challenges they face.

Internal Mentorship

Internal mentorship is a cost-effective measure that supports the integration of immigrant hires, as well as cross-cultural understanding among existing staff. Research shows that when mentors are actively engaged with the people they mentor, the new hires form stronger emotional bonds with the workplace, report higher job satisfaction, and perceive greater support from the organization.

For new immigrant employees, mentoring also:

  • Fosters a sense of belonging, helping them to better adjust to their new environment
  • Allows them to learn the intangibles of what is needed to succeed in the workplace
  • Provides the opportunity to learn more about their company and Canadian workplace norms
  • Offers a proven way to help immigrants transition to Canadian workplace culture

However, employers need to be intentional about internal mentoring. Connections need to be meaningful and determined on a case-by-case basis due to cultural differences. Sometimes it’s best to let connections happen organically. 

If you want to learn how to create an internal mentorship program, this downloadable PDF offers useful guidance.

External Mentorship Programs

If the timing isn’t right for your organization to develop its own internal mentorship program, or if you don’t have the resources necessary, there are outside programs you may be able to use.

Joining an established mentorship program helps you:

  • Identify and develop potential new leaders
  • Address issues of talent shortages
  • Reduce recruiting and training costs
  • Create a culture of learning and information-sharing which can improve job satisfaction for all your employees

Online Adaptation

If the timing isn’t right for your organization to develop its own internal mentorship program, or if you don’t have the resources necessary, there are outside programs you may be able to use.

Evidence shows that mentoring via real-time videoconferencing yields outcomes equivalent to in-person mentoring. Email, chats, and text messaging allow flexibility in keeping the lines of communication open.

Source: World Education Services

Consider these regional mentorship programs:

Georgian College Career and Employment Community Services – Job Finding Club for Immigrants – Newcomer Mentorship Opportunity College offers the Job Finding Club for Immigrants, aiding newcomers in job search preparation and establishing local networks of professional contacts through mentorship.
County of Simcoe
Growing Together Mentorship Program of Simcoe Growing Together Mentorship program provides 8 industry specific mentorship opportunities. The program offers 3 mentorship structures:
– One-on-one mentoring
– Peer mentoring
– Reverse mentoring

Inclusive Leadership

Creating Inclusive Workplaces

The key to transforming an organization into a welcoming and inclusive work environment is leadership. For insights into how to create inclusive workplaces, refer to this downloadable PDF.

Source: World Education Services

Leadership Resources

Programs are available to retain immigrant talent and provide immigrant professionals the tools they need to lead. Consider partnering with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) for its free program: Career Advancement for Immigrant Professionals.

Looking for more?

  • To champion inclusion and lead by example, check out TRIEC’s Leadership courses.
  • To increase cultural competencies in your workplace, register for this free, virtual Cross-Cultural Competency Training Program offered by Hire Immigrants Ottawa.
  • To effect meaningful change in your organization, consider TRIEC’s Certificate in Inclusive Leadership.
  • To benchmark your actions with what inclusive leaders practice, check this tip sheet by Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.

Talent Retention

Studies show that meaningful employment is cited as the primary consideration in employee retention. Employees also look for professional development and career growth.

The following programs can help employers invest in staff career development:

Workforce Development Agreements programThe Government of Canada has established Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) with provincial and territorial
Immigrant Employment Council of BCIEC-BC has compiled tools and resources to help employers smoothly integrate immigrant talent and reduce
Making Rural Immigration Work: Settlement Services in Small and Rural CommunitiesThis paper offers recommendations that help to attract and retain immigrant talent in small and rural communities in
Canada-Ontario Job GrantThe Canada-Ontario Job Grant provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium-size, and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new

Source: World Education Services

Diversity Training and E-learning

The benefits of having an inclusive and respectful workplace are not only social, but financial as well. A company’s reputation and bottom line will likely improve when staff loyalty, productivity, and retention levels are high.

Essential Online Resources

Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion features reports, toolkit, learning solutions for employers.

CCDI Learning Solutions include eLearning courses, instructor-led training, and blended programs.

They are designed to build the awareness, knowledge and skills of your workforce, from front staff to senior leaders, and support the development of an inclusive work environment.

Some of CCDI most popular topics include:

  • Diversity and inclusion fundamentals
  • Unconscious bias
  • Managing bias in hiring
  • Gender in the workplace
  • Respect in the workplace

All the learning solutions can be customized to fit the unique needs of your employees. includes a section containing helpful videos, webinars, success stories, articles, and other resources including:

  • Talent Management: How to create processes to ensure all employees, including skilled immigrants, are engaged and contributing to their full potential
  • Diversity, Equity, and Accommodation: How to maximize the different perspectives and skills of diverse employees

Content-specific information related to business role, size, or sector.

Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council

features reports, toolkit, online learning solutions for employers.

Additional Toolkits:

Hiring Immigrants Makes Good Business Sen$e

is a publication of the Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board. It contains valuable information on attracting and recruiting immigrant talent.

For more information call 705-725-1011.

Building Blocks of Workplace Inclusion

is a publication of Talent development at Work (TD at Work). The document provides its readers with best practices for employee-friendly workplaces. It discusses some of the roadblocks and challenges employers may encounter and how to surmount them.

For more information, please contact the Simcoe County Local Immigration Partnership at .