On December 5, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal took part in a forum on promoting diversity and fighting against discrimination (Forum sur la valorisation de la diversité et la lutte à la discrimination) in Québec City. Based on its concrete expertise integrating immigrants to the job market, acquired over many years, it shared its recommendations with the government.
The Chamber developed and introduced the Interconnection program, designed to put skilled immigrants in touch with employers and help them gain their first work experience in their field. The Chamber also offers francization services to business. Since 2016, it has published two studies, one on the advancement of immigrants to executive positions.
As an organization, the Chamber has first-hand experience of the skills and contribution of immigrants. Half (49%) of its 115 employees weren’t born in Québec, and a little over one third come from ethnoculturally diverse backgrounds.
The government’s objective in holding the forum was to offer concrete solutions to concerns about employment, training, francization and the fight against discrimination. One of the cornerstones of this strategy has to be changing the dynamic of how immigrants are integrated to the job market, to make it a collective, lasting success, at a time when there is a serious shortage of skilled labour.
Immigration and ethnocultural diversity are assets for Québec. They advance our society and enrich our shared culture. In addition to being a source of value, immigration is also a demographic and economic need. Given the aging population, companies need access to a sufficiently large pool of talent to be able to invest and grow.
Here are three highlights from the Chamber’s position:
Align profiles with job market needs
Working in conjunction with businesses, the Government of Québec needs to continue to implement its selection policy based on aligning the profile of immigrants with current and future job market needs.
It is also important to ensure that mechanisms that allow for the rapid recognition of degrees are introduced and, if required, there is flexible, targeted, ready and timely access to bridge training.
Support employment integration initiatives
We need to better equip companies, and particularly SMEs, to analyze incoming résumés to select the candidates that meet their needs. This is why, in keeping with Québec’s new Policy on Immigration, Participation and Inclusion, the government has to continue to support initiatives that help employers and that put them in contact with immigrant candidates.
In such a context, the government must maintain its support for initiatives that make initial job experience possible in Québec, such as the Chamber’s Interconnection program. In ten years, the Chamber has put over 6,000 immigrants in touch with 1,100 companies, through internships and over 15,000 professional networking activities.
A concerted effort
Companies of all sizes have to complement the government’s efforts to achieve the initiative’s objectives. Internal processes need to be straightforward, including evaluating immigrant candidates and accessing training programs and opportunities for advancement.
You can consult the Chamber’s brief on its position here