Province targets skills shortages

Immigrant Employment Council of BC initiates supports that benefit employers and immigrants

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.

“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 Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat 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 an aging workforce and economic growth, B.C. will not be able to meet its 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.