Integrating new Canadians – Opportunities to optimize and transform workplace culture

This article was published in Your Workplace magazine, Volume 15 Issue 5

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The general consensus in Canada is that immigration benefits the economy and is good for business.  Study after study concludes that new Canadians can help businesses tap into new local and international markets and enhance creativity, productivity, and decision-making through diverse approaches.  The Conference Board of Canada, in its Report Immigrants as Innovators: Boosting Canada’s Global Competitiveness, states that immigrants are a “source of diverse knowledge and experience that can increase innovation in Canadian businesses.” [1]

However, there is evidence that suggests that much more work needs to be done to optimise the often-cited benefits that new Canadians bring to the country.

  • In a publicly funded study undertaken by the Progress Career Planning Institute (PCPI),[2]  internationally educated professionals identified several hurdles to establishing a career, including workplace acculturation, disparity in wages, underemployment, lower levels of job satisfaction and security, lack of networks and undervaluation of qualifications.
  • The CIBC Focus Report “Long-Term Immigration Approach Needed To Maximize Newcomers’ Employability” estimates that the current employment and wage gaps between new immigrants and native-born Canadians cost the economy slightly more than $20-billion in forgone earnings.[3]
  • In its report, How Canada Performs, The Conference Board of Canada recommends that in order to ensure strong employment growth for the future, annual immigration levels should be increased, the process for immigrant selection and processing should be improved and foreign credentials recognition should be reformed. [4]

But beyond these general recommendations, there is a much larger issue to be addressed.  It is the effective integration of new Canadians in the workplace in ways that are beneficial to their Canadian-born colleagues, the organizations in which they work and the Canadian economy.  This issue must be identified, understood and appropriately addressed.  Frequently cited challenges include managing resistance to change, finding appropriate tools to support integration and eliminating communication barriers.

Read the full article …

[1] The Conference Board of Canada Immigrants as Innovators Boosting Canada’s Global Competitiveness, October 2012.  Available at

[2] Progress Career Planning Institute study: Progress: IEPs’ Experience Matters, February 2012  Available at

[3] CIBC Focus Report:  Long-Term Immigration Approach Needed To Maximize Newcomers’ Employability, August 13, 2012. Available at

[4]The Conference Board of Canada: How Canada Performs: A Report Card on Canada. Available at

Published by Camille Isaacs-Morell

Enabling businesses and people to be successful. This is my mission, my life’s work. It’s always been what I have done wherever I’ve been employed, called to serve or to volunteer. An experienced business leader, my core values are truth, integrity, and respect. I believe that values-based leadership is critical for organizational success that is enabled by an engaged and empowered workforce. Working over the years in several senior marketing, communications, and executive leadership mandates for global, financial, healthcare, and non-profit organizations, it has been through times of transformation and difficult change that I have done my best work. In my blog posts, I share my perspectives on leadership, marketing and strategy that are based on my key learnings and observations over the years, all with the objective of helping others reach for success. In my spare time, I enjoy the beauty of nature which I reproduce in my pastel paintings.

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