The New Brunswick Multicultural Council held a provincial event on November 17th 2016 to recognize New Brunswick employers for their best practices and leadership in the areas of fostering diversity, inclusion and integration of newcomers into the NB labour market.
Our call for nominations was a great success and we received 39 nominations for the various awards. Every single one of them deserves to be recognized for their efforts in helping newcomers and immigrants get settled, and integrated, in our communities.
Senior Watch provides a full range of home health care services to meet the needs of families caring for aging adults. Besides being a service provider, Senior Watch also has a Care-Ed Learning center: the educational division of Senior Watch Inc.
For the first time this year, the Care-Ed center offers a slow-paced course for people that need more time than usual to learn. This course was designed for people who are learning English, for people on social assistance, and those who must spend time learning to master new challenges. There are 11 students in this course, including 1 Russian and 5 Chinese students. The course is not yet completed but it has been proven to be a success already. Senior Watch intends to continue with this program in the future. At the end of the course, students acquire two certificates with Care-Ed Certificate for Personal Care Aide (PCA) and a certificate from the New Brunswick Home Support Association (NBHSA).
Senior watch also employs many immigrants on their team, roughly 11%. 35 people on the team are foreigners, including South Africans, Kenyans, British and Lebanese.
NBCC welcomes many international students every year, last year, the Miramichi campus alone welcomed 11 international students.
There is a specific international orientation at the start of the semester. The orientation includes cultural shock, climate, banking, medical attention, campus orientation, services provided at campus, and many other topics. They receive the information they need to adapt to the area. Health and safety are also important topics of the orientation. How to go around working in Canada is also discussed since these students need to do internships, co-ops or apprenticeships.
Blue olive employs 24 employees, of which 11 are foreign. The owner is an immigrant himself, he has been here 17 years and he knows that newcomers need a chance to start somewhere in the province.
“There are a lot of challenges to hiring newcomers of course. You are not only offering a job but you are also giving support in their adaptation and helping with their struggles in this new place. You are not just a boss, you are more like a godparent.”
Success story: one of their employees, an immigrant from Belgium, started working at Labatt two years ago. She had never worked in a call enter but is great at it. She got promoted quickly; in fact, she jumped two levels instead of one, because of her hard work. She is also the go-to person for information on events in Moncton or any tourism related questions. Because she isn’t from here, she wants to know all about the region and has learned more than many locals.
The school Samuel-de-Champlain is the only Francophone School in the city of Saint John. It has 35 countries represented in the complex and only last year they received more than 40 foreign new students.
The school personnel follows cultural sensitivity training to be better prepared for the challenges that can occur with such a culturally diverse group of students. The team of classroom teachers, teaching support, support staff for newcomers, education assistants, tutors, drivers, administrative assistants, etc … all go well beyond their duties to ensure that newcomers feel comfortable in school.
The school also organizes information sessions for newcomer students and their parents. Annie Soucy, Deputy Director, described the school as a big family, everyone is welcome and the school makes sure all students feel at home. “Choosing our school is choosing a family, a community.”
For several decades, Connors Bros. has proudly employed a diverse immigrants throughout our facility and continue to seek out candidates who are interested in joining the Connors Bros. family. They employ 560 people, of which 41 are foreigners.
Connors Bro. also belongs to a committee which involves a variety of local employers who gather together on a regular basis in an attempt to find recruiting strategies to fill open positions, which includes hiring additional foreign workers into the organization.
Xplornet Communications Inc. employs over 600 people in New Brunswick. In addition to offering jobs to international students and newcomers, Xplornet provides English classes delivered through the University of New Brunswick. Xplornet makes all the arrangements for the English classes, including covering all the costs and arranging for an instructor to deliver the training onsite during the employees’ work day.
Newcomers need a first work experience in the province, and Xplornet is pleased to offer them the opportunity because it believes that diversity among its team members helps with creating new ideas and ways to do things differently for continued innovation and growth.
Patrick is a Councillor with the Kingsclear First Nation Community and was a key partner in organizing and hosting play dates at the Wulastukw Elementary School for the Syrian children and kids in the Wulastukw community. He also donated, with the monetary help from Teed, Saunders, Doyle (an accounting firm who works with their community), 26 pairs of new sneakers for the Syrian children. Patrick helped organize a drumming and story-telling circle for families staying at the hotel as they were awaiting more permanent housing.
He is really happy with what he could do to help and is proud of agift he recently received, made by the Syrian children. He has their poster, full of their drawings and messages, hanging in his office. In his words, “I don’t need an award, I did what I thought those kids needed, my reward is this poster on my wall”.
M.o.r.e. Services, Inc hires international students in the Miramichi region. While they don’t go looking for them in particular, word must get around as they have gotten lots of applications from international students three years in a row. Some of the students, who have finished school, have taken full-time positions with the company.
“We are not looking for an award; we hire them because they are hard workers and have real good work ethic, we are happy to do it again.”
Garderie Roche Papier Ciseaux employs 17 people, of which 8 are immigrants. The director is herself an immigrant, she moved here from France 7 years ago. Their team is diverse because they believe children should grow up in a diverse community so they can better learn how to interact with people from all over the world. “It is good for their social development”.
Elki Imbeault, the owner of the daycare facility is a community leader in cultural diversity, participating in conferences or by helping the multicultural association of the area by offering the children’s bus to be used for transportation of newcomers to participate in activities.
Fancy Pokket employs 70 people, 31 foreign. It is increasingly difficult to recruit production line employees in the area. Without immigrants it would be very difficult for the company to stay in business. They are hardworking individuals who are thankful for their jobs. One employee at Fancy Pokket has been working with the company for 14 years. He has had some fairly serious health problems during this time here and between the owner and the management staff, on different occasions the company has assisted him with his financial obligations during times when he was unable to work. He is an extremely loyal individual.
On several occasions the company has assisted temporary workers with their paperwork to become permanent residents. A third example is an employee who found out one evening that his mother had passed away suddenly in Lebanon, the company paid for his airline ticket and gave him a loan to cover the trip and arranged an affordable repayment plan to enable him to go to his home country right away.
Ana works at the Multicultural Association of Charlotte County since 2012. She is an immigrant herself so she knows how difficult it is come to a new place without family, friends or not knowing anything about the new place.
“I was helped by my family here and so in return I like to help others as well.”
Ana supports the newcomers and immigrants in Charlotte County with paper work, community integration, moral support and advice. She treats everybody equally and is always willing to spend extra hours to make sure newcomers get the right orientation about life and work in Canada.
Albert’s draperies is going to be opening a second business, a sewing company called Cirrus Garment, which will employ over 30 newcomers. Albert’s draperies owner has been hugely involved in offering employment to newcomers and flexible to go to the local multicultural association to meet newcomers. Mr. Albert is a strong immigration advocate in the community.
The Algonquin Resort is a big employer in Saint Andrews, more than 200 employees, with 3 immigrants in their team (Manager, one Supervisor and one Room Attendant). During orientation week, new employees follow cultural sensitivity training so they can better serve their diverse clientele and also to help the team work together as a whole.
They offer housing to all employees, which is really helpful to newcomer employees.
Asif Hasan co-founded Simptek which is participating in not only the green/renewable energy economy but is creating additional jobs and bringing new people to the province of New Brunswick. He is also a strong advocate of diversity within his workplace and this can be shown by the number of co-op placements and job placements from international students over the last 2 years.
Success story: Asif convinced a Permanent Residency recipient to come to NB instead of a bigger immigration hub like Vancouver. “This place is an amazing spot to live, we need to share about it!”
The restaurant has 9 employees, with 6 immigrants on the team. One of the owners is himself an immigrant so they know how hard it is to start looking for jobs here. They take pride in providing the newcomers with their first work experience. Their last hires, 3 Syrian newcomers, were a great addition to the team. They not only know what the food is supposed to taste like but also how to prepare it. They can train the local employees and future employees on it as well.
Daniel Amegadze has been in the province for the past 10 years. He is a model for the integration of immigrants in the Chaleur region. He is currently the President of the Board of Directors of the Multicultural Association Chaleur Region. Daniel is a great promoter of cultural diversity in the region. When he arrived here, he did not get any of the services available today to newcomers. His technique to integrate was to get into as many volunteer opportunities as possible so he could get to know people. “To get integrated you have to get involved in your community”. He is now a renowned figure on multiculturalism in Chaleur region and is implicated in a variety of activities helping newcomers, especially with youth. He plays soccer with young immigrants and gives them tips on how to get better integrated in the area.
Paturel employs 160 people, of those 67 are immigrants. The location of the company (on Deer Island) makes it hard to find people to fill the vacancies so they started looking outside the borders. They started the temporary worker program in 2010 and since, they have been doing it every year. The newcomers integrate well in the community and it shows by their participation in churches or by the unions between the newcomers and locals over time. Paturel provides housing to the newcomers till they settle in the community. Once the temporary workers get their PR, they bring in family and they find their own homes. Paturel also helps their employees with the paperwork, guiding them to the good address to get their documentation work done and are happy to assist them in any way possible.
William works for the National Research Council Canada as an Industrial Technology. He is also one of the founding members of the Rotary Resurgo club. The club’s mission is to be a bilingual environment that contributes to building the global community through promoting inclusion in the community and service to youth while engaging emerging leaders in that service. William helps newcomers and youth especially to integrate in the region by giving them advice and counselling on getting jobs or creating their own business. He believes that inclusion starts with a job: “if you don’t work, it is much more difficult to integrate in the society”.
Success story: William helped Sima Eskandaryz (Oulton College), Mehdi Cheechain (Cooperators), Julia Khlack (Black Arcs Inc) and Nghia Doan (National Research Council) find suitable work positions. These individuals came from Sweden, Iran, Ukraine and Vietnam and had difficulties to find work. They are now well integrated in their work roles and are full members of the local community.
Roy Consultants, based in Bathurst, employs 90 people around the province, including one immigrant. Roy Consultants and its team believe in the potential of their community. They work with the local multicultural association and actively participate in exploratory visits and placements in the workplace program.
“We hire the right candidate, no matter their background. It is not where you are from, it is what you do that is important. What matters is if you are a good fit to our company.”
The company welcomes many foreigners to its office during their exploratory visits to the region and always dedicate time to answer questions. If they can’t offer a position to a good candidate, they refer them to other employers of the area that may be looking for people. It is a small region, so they can help newcomers with their connections. “New Brunswickers are welcoming, not threatened by immigrants. If we can help, we do it!”
Cooke Aquaculture employs around 1200 people, of which 125 are foreign. The diversity of the team is great for both the company and for the surrounding communities. When companies look for employees, they extend their search outside their borders when vacancies cannot be filled with local workers. Cooke Aquaculture helps newcomers with paperwork; housing and also offer language and other training when they first arrive in the company.
Success story: Every year, just before Christmas, Cooke’s international employees organize a huge buffet lunch hosted at their GMG maintenance shop. It’s called the GMG International Buffet and it attracts several hundred guests. Company owners, managers, office workers, tradespeople, general labourers and special guests all join together for an incredible meal featuring dishes from around the world, proudly prepared by their international employees. The company provides financial support to help cover costs. In addition to the food, the hosts gather to sing and showcase talents such as traditional dance – and of course they invite the local New Brunswickers to join in!
Northern Harvest Sea Farms employs 230 people, 10 of which are foreign workers. They are hard workers and they have a perfect work ethic and attendance.
Success story: One of the foreign employees applied for a promotion and while they didn’t receive it this time around, the next time there is a promotion available; he will get it for sure! This shows the commitment and interest in staying in the area for this employee.
The Co-operators staff and financial advisors have been making Canadian communities safer, healthier and more resilient for decades. As a co-operative, their commitment to communities is an operating principle that inspires them to take action, provide support and raise awareness when there’s a need. In 2015, The Co-operators contributed a total of $5,807,106 to various initiatives that support Canadians and our communities including those supporting immigrants and newcomers to Canada.
They employ 334 people in the Moncton region, and they are interested in attracting new and diverse talent. In additional to employing immigrants and their financial contributions, the company also subsidizes two days per year for staff to volunteer in their community and many Moncton Co-operators staff volunteers use this program to help the local multicultural organization by offering skills training to newcomers.
The parish of Saint François de Sales in Saint John and Joceline Leger are working in partnership with a local multicultural organization to help newcomers, especially young children. This year, they welcomed fifty children for summer Francophone activities. The small parish, of about 300 people, do their best to welcome and assist immigrants in their community. They offer help with job searching, resume writing, interviews, etc.
The owner of Thai Pho, Julia Park, came from Korea 8 years ago. She studied in Vancouver before moving to NB. She finds Saint John a much better place to live for newcomers, especially for individuals with limited English skills. She helps newcomers because she says “she has to”, she was in their position once. She wants to support immigrants because we need them here in the province. She supports the local multicultural organisation in any way she can.
Kim is the Director of Business Services for Immigrants for the mentoring program for entrepreneurs and the Hive. She is an employee at the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Bathurst since January 2013. Her role is to support immigrants by offering them the services and tools they need to accelerate the start-up of their business; she is also responsible for coordinating the activities and training and to entice immigrants in the region to participate in the Chamber of Commerce activities. She also uses her past experience and contacts to help new immigrants find employment in the region.
Kim says it is her passion to help newcomers settle in the province. “If you have moved here, we want to ensure you succeed in your new life.” Kim believes that New Brunswickers must be continuously checking in on the immigrants, even when people seem well integrated. “We want to ensure that immigrants are successful so that they remain in our province.”
Imperial Theatre first opened in 1913. Its team of 16 staff work hard to offer a variety of performances from different backgrounds. The various artists that perform on their stage are diverse, showcasing artists representing First Nations and world cultures within each season.
Success story: Imperial Theatre invited newcomers in the city to watch a physical comedy performance by Robert Post. Since it did not depend on language, they could all enjoy it, even those with low English skills and it was a success. Another example of their commitment to diversity happened when they had a workshop on African dance. Everyone who was present from all age groups got to try out some dance moves. Their motto is “see the world in your city”, they believe that everyone should have the opportunity to interact with different cultures.
David Michaud is the Branch Manager of the National Bank of Canada in Moncton. David has built a multicultural team in his organization and shows a commitment to diversity. He always promotes the benefits of his multicultural team, focusing on quality service. He proudly displays the represented cultures and languages spoken in its branch.
“It is a question of respect. We ask them to come to us so we have to welcome them and do the best to serve them in their language, culture, etc. We must, as a major institution, be an example. How can we change as a province if public and private institutions aren’t the example to follow?”
Out of 21 employees with the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada, 11 are foreign born. The employees represent 11 different countries: Canada, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Belgium, France, Japan, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Syria.
Success story: Their employee, Yuiko Minami- Diyanova, from Japan, moved here 15 years ago. She came alone with no family and spoke no English or French when she arrived. She was lonely and isolated, culturally and linguistically. The team became worried that they were going to lose her. Then one day, she went to Walmart and she saw a family there that looked to be Japanese. She asked them and sure enough they were one of the only Japanese families in Moncton at that time. She needed friends from home and they helped her to integrate! She is now a happy employee married to another company dancer Sergiy Diyanov originally from Ukraine. They have a little one and he speaks four languages- Japanese, Russian, English and French. Yuriko and Sergiy have been with Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada for 15 years.
Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada are huge advocates for cultural diversity. It has been a proud part of their organizational identity since the company was founded in 2001. They actively promote and encourage others to hire a diverse workforce because there are only advantages to do so, our lives, workplace practices and communities are enriched with diversity.
Carlos has been in the province for the past 10 years, and he started working at the Multicultural association of Charlotte County in 2009. He is the longest serving staff member and has been a huge asset to the immigrant population in the Charlotte County region.
Carlos is an ESL educator. Other than teaching English to 10-20 students a year, he also helps newcomers build up their personal and professional networks, prepping for interviews, helping them with paperwork and much more. In addition to helping immigrants acquire the language requirement to write the citizenship tests, Carlos also organizes many community activities for newcomers such as hiking and musical programs.
Ditech Testing has partnered with MAGMA to find suitable candidates for the vacancies in their team.
Success story: To help one of their new employees to adapt in the company, Ditech Testing explored several different roles that he could play in their organization which matched his qualifications and job skills. After some creative thinking and commitment, they found him a position that works well for him and for the team. They look forward to hiring more newcomers, as they are really happy with the level of initiative they are seeing.
Keith Brunt runs a research program in transnational medicine, overseeing the collaborative work of 19 highly qualified personnel (HQP), of whom 11 are immigrants. He hires a diverse team with diverse backgrounds.
Success story: With such a diverse team, there are 5 different practicing religions in the group. Keith sees it as an enormous advantage because no one wants vacation at the same time. Everyone has various religious or cultural obligations that don’t often coincide. It is great because the lab is always buzzing with activity.
“Diversity is an easy sell! The more accommodating we are to the newcomers, the faster they will integrate into our society. And we need them here, Canada needs them, New Brunswick needs them!”