Tips & Leads

Bridging Programs: A Guide for Newcomers

Bridge training programs are for all immigrant newcomers (and not just refugees) who already have a combination of international post-secondary education and work experience, as well as a high level of English proficiency.

Where to begin

When and what to talk about, including: pre-arrival, within a sponsorship group; and with the newcomer soon after arrival; when formulating a plan; when preparation for a job search begins; and after a first hire.

Preparing for “Month 13”

A discussion of when and how to prepare for Month 13, in terms of employment following the end of a formal private sponsorship agreement. Also included is a discussion of Ontario Works financial support and clawbacks and of Child Benefit payments.

What every prospective employee should know

Information and links on topics to discuss with a newcomer, in preparation for seeking first-time employment in Canada, including: social insurance number; employment insurance; CPP contributions; union dues; pay periods; income tax; classification as an employee vs independent contractor; employee rights; termination within the first three months; and quitting.

Employment services

An explanation of what employment service providers do and the variety of services they offer; a list of the most frequently-mentioned employment services and other non-profit organizations in the GTA which help refugee newcomers prepare for, and find, employment; eligibility to use an employment service; and how a private sponsor or other volunteer can help a newcomer select an employment service and then collaborate with that service.

Training programs in various occupations

An overview of the different types of training programs available to refugee newcomers in the GTA, some of which are specifically tailored for their circumstances and others of which are targeted to all newcomers, or to all Canadians. The include bridge training programs for internationally-trained professionals, apprenticeships for skilled trades, shorter training programs, and enhanced Language Training (ELT) with skills training.

Evaluating International Education and Work Skills

This post provides links to other websites for articles on the need to evaluate newcomer education and work skills; service providers of credential evaluation for individuals with degrees from outside of Canada; an in-depth report on the challenges facing refugee newcomers, in terms of being able to provide education and training credentials; and a guide to finding a translator in Ontario.

Elements of an employment strategy

The need for two strategies – one for the private sponsorship group, if any, and one for the newcomer. Look for collaboration and evolution. Topics to consider, from the assignment of responsibilities to the need to learn English, types of work to be considered, mentorship, training, when to start looking, use of an employment service, preparation for a search, and the search itself.

Canadian Language Benchmarks

The Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) provides a common assessment method for individuals who are learning English as a second language. This post discusses their purpose and the means of assessment. It explains the classification of 12 benchmarks into three stages and provides a link to “Can Do statements”, in terms of listening, speaking, reading, and writing abilities.

Explaining the risks of working ‘under the table’

What newcomers should understand about the disadvantages of working “under the table” in terms of employee rights, taxation, employment insurance, health and other benefits, private sponsorship eligibility, and moral responsibility.