Vancouver Island Refugee Response Team

Workplace Inclusion of Syrian Refugees

Employer Testimonies, Cultural Facts, Toolkits and Organizational Resources for Employers and their Employees in hiring Syrian Newcomers


Employer Stories

B.C. Pilot Project Looks to Find Jobs for Syrian Refugees, November 8, 2016
Key Words: workplace based training, BC Job Grant, eager applicants

This story features the Delta Company in BC and their hiring of Syrian newcomer Ahmad Hwichshan. The article highlights the way that Syrian newcomers are able to be trained in health and safety regulations, language skills and cultural workplace awareness. The training program is funded by the provincial BC government with a success of about 80 Syrian newcomers being employed and placed in jobs throughout BC. 

Toolkit Makes Hiring Syrian Refugees Less Difficult for Employers, October 13, 2016
Key Words: job carving, skills assessment, job shadowing

Formed by the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council, a toolkit was developed for employers to aid assist in hiring Syrian refugees by utilizing the skills they already have. This article features a Syrian man, Abdelbary Alsado, who worked as a doctor back in his hometown. The toolkit enabled Alsado to be hired with a focus and career path in the medical field. This is a great tool for employers to see past cultural differences and realize the beneficial skills that can be applied within their own respective organizations.

Hiring Refugees is good for Business, Say Advocates – October 20, 2016
Key Words: resilient, hardworking, mentorship, market increase

Despite language barriers, Syrians are still hard working, adaptable, and provide an expansion to company markets. A podcast given by Radio Canada International highlights how refugees were able to be connected with educational resources and skill-placement centred jobs. Because refugees are already adapting and adjusting to their new culture, they are also ready and willing to integrate within the workplace. Paid internships were provided for Syrian newcomers along with willing employer mentors to help assist in making the transition in the workplace possible.

Saint John Bike Share Lauded for Improving Syrian Newcomers’ Lives – Nov 10, 2016
Key Words: youth employment, lack of experience, profit, integration

In New Brunswick, a local bike-share business was in need of fixing and creating more bikes. With the hiring of Syrian youth, the business was able to meet the demanding needs while creating connections for the youth within the community. The Syrian youth was able to integrate effectively as well as learn a new trade. 

Employer Resources in BC for Hiring Syrian Refugees

Canada BC Job Fund Supports Refugees

Information regarding the BC Job Grant which affords businesses the monetary resources to train Syrian refugees in the workplace.

BC Refugees Jobs Connect

Through collaboration of the Immigrant Council of BC and the Refugee Response Team of Vancouver, this online tool connects ready-to-hire refugees living within BC and employers. The site is a collection of occupational profiles featuring the candidate's skills, education and work experience.

Toolkits and Practices for the Hire of Syrian Refugees

Onboarding Syrian Refugees: A Toolkit for Employers
Key Words: labour market, immigrant hire preparation, cultural sensitivity, employee readiness

A great resource created by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC, this toolkit is an exhaustive resource providing information including refugee hire preparation, cultural centred interviews, and employee integration training. This resource includes statistics and testimonies of BC business and the benefits of hiring Syrian newcomers. Links to the BC Jobs Grant and other resources are included in this toolkit.

Innovative Practices in Employment
Key Words: language training, skill assessment, webinars, training support

The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agents of BC (AMSSA) recently collated a source of materials for employers hiring Syrian refugees. The website includes how to train employees with low-level English, how to assess skills, and even workplace safety procedures. Webinars, PowerPoint presentations and links to other employer related websites are all included in this link.

Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council
Key Words: business case for hiring, skill assessment, job carving, healthy environment

Created by the Edmonton Region of Immigrant Employment Council, this document enables employers with the appropriate tools to encourage a diverse workforce and help expand market needs. While Syrian newcomers may not have the knowledge or background of working in a Canadian workforce, they are still very willing, adaptable and eager to be employed. This toolkit enables employers to see Syrians from a cultural perspective and accommodate their hire with easy transitional processes.

Labour Market Dialogues – Tapping Into the Hidden Labour Market
Key Words:  market strategy, hidden market, unemployment, economic trends

In this second edition of tapping into the hidden labour market, the Community Council of British Colombia exposes the upcoming economic challenges for employment and highlights how to include a labour market that is largely beneficial and underutilized. Conducted in 2008, the study interviewed employers, clients and community participants to inquire about the barriers of employment and the gaps in hiring immigrant or homeless communities. From this study, the Community Council offers suggestions and effective tools for creating a socially inclusive workplace. This is a great resource for meeting market trends by encouraging community development.

Ten Ways to Keep and Attract Your Staff – Labour Market Dialogues
Key Words: disabilities, hiring strategies, inclusive workplace, workplace amenities

Written by the Community Council of British Columbia, this report highlights ten local businesses and their employment models for hiring people with disabilities, language barriers and cultural differences. This report addresses how to hire persons without resumes, creating a flexible work schedule for vulnerable people, while highlighting the ease and benefits for the employer. A great real-life example to showcase local businesses and expose effective models for other businesses alike.

A Small Business Primer: A Guide to WorkSafe BC
Key Words: safe work place, registration process, injury, insurance, process claims

Provided by WorkSafe BC, this PDF answers all the questions regarding workplace safety, on-site prevention and handling of injuries, health and safety programs available and a myriad of other resources to make employer’s workplace safe and effective. 

Employment and Language Models 
Key Words:  language, work-place based language training, employer need, employee focus

The Government of Canada discusses three different language models that can be used when hiring Syrian refugees. Language based training can be done on the job site or can be carved to befit the employer’s needs and the employee’s needs. This file lists the benefits of each model and what it means for the employer to enforce either option.

Immigrant Entrepreneurship

DIY: Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Doing it for Themselves 
Key Words: entrepreneurship, language skills, community development, successful business

A report published by the North York Community House gives ample research and statistics of what immigrant entrepreneurs need in establishing their own businesses and the positive production that immigrants and their businesses can make for the community. English language skills are the biggest barrier when immigrants want to start their own businesses. By enabling new entrepreneurs with the correct skills and support, business innovation can be successful.

AMSAA: Immigrant Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship
Key Words: immigrant business, economic benefits, facilitating new business, models for success

The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agreements of BC (AMSAA) has formulated a quick reference sheet with statistics of immigrant entrepreneurship and their contribution to Canada’s economy. Resources for settlement and processes of how to help integrate new business for immigrants are all listed. A great resource if you are enabling immigrants to begin their own businesses.

Winning Strategies for Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Five Communities
Key Words: immigration trends, barriers, best practices, training programs, community development

The City of Hamilton has created an exhaustive resource for information regarding immigrant entrepreneurship. As researched within five different communities, the report exposes the barriers that immigrants face, along with financial institutions and their credit resources to new businesses. This is an effective resource for anyone seeking to create their own business or help an immigrant’s business succeed. The report includes success stories, statistics and an abundance of best practices for any interested party.

Starting a Business for BC Newcomers
Key Words: start-up VISA program, economic networking, grants/wage subsidies

Canada is known to be the fifth most-popular country to start new businesses. The Vancouver Public Library compiled a list of resources, question-and-answer responses and statistics to help new immigrant entrepreneurs or small business. The report includes many links to government wage and subsidy information, license explanation and VISA information. A great tool for anyone trying to start a new business or help a new business succeed. 

Policies to Support Immigrant Entrepreneurship
Key Words: local market, business-support, public partnership, private business policies

Immigrant Entrepreneurship has grown steadily over the last decade. Forbes magazine recently reported that over 40% of Fortune 500 Companies were founded by first and/or second generation immigrants (click here). The Migration Policy Institute’s most recent report showcases policies and practices needed in order for immigrant entrepreneurship to succeed. Immigrant entrepreneurs increase help communities develop and cause local economies to profit. This extensive report features important facts and figures that showcase the benefits and overarching reasoning to support immigrants and their businesses. A great resource for anyone unfamiliar with immigrant entrepreneurship or new to starting new businesses.

Employment Discussions

Fraser Valley Refugee Response Team Employment Facilitated Discussions

This report was made by the Fraser Valley Refugee Response Team and features highlights of a discussion panel with employers surrounding the fear and hesitancy to hire Syrian refugees. This is a great resource to address the barriers Syrians might face on the job, how to integrate Syrian employees with non-Syrian employees and suggests helpful tools to make the integration of refugees easier.