More and more people are choosing to immigrate to Canada. It feels like a blessing that people with such diverse skills and backgrounds are coming to Canada from so many different countries. But many newcomers struggle with everything from learning how to get around the city, to finding a job. Thankfully there are an increasing number of programs immigrants can access before they arrive in Canada. These programs support their transition before they connect with immigrant services in their new communities.
Two of the latest programs funded by Immigrant, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are the British Columbia Construction Association’s Integrating Newcomers (BCCA-IN) and Settlement Online Pre-arrival (SOPA). These are programs that help newcomers to Canada feel more confident about their skills and experience, and enable them to enter the workforce in British Columbia sooner.
Settlement Online Pre-Arrival Program (SOPA), which is delivered by MOSAIC, helps immigrants get a head start on job search strategies and how to communicate professionally in a Canadian context. The program offers one-on-one information sessions and five free online courses to eligible clients who are planning to immigrate to Canada, but have not yet left their home countries. To date, over two hundred SOPA BC clients have participated and finished courses. These clients are arriving better prepared for both job search and for working in Canada.
The British Columbia Construction Association’s Integrating Newcomers (BCCA-IN) program connects clients to their existing employer contacts – HR recruitment and/or hiring managers reach out to new employer contacts and based on clients’ requests provide anywhere from 3 to 10 job leads from their connected employers. Employer contacts are encouraged to skype/phone interview clients and BCCA- IN assists clients’ with their interviewing skills based on what they know about a specific employer. They will also recommend local professional LinkedIn groups for clients to join, and guide them on how to actively participate in group discussions.
“It is heart-warming for me to see that pre-arrival programs can work together by complementing each other and combining efforts in this essential process of assisting pre-arrival clients to be better prepared for their job search in Canada. And what is even better, to see how clients benefit from these partnerships.”Dina Cherevko
Sharing her experience about collaboration between the two pre-arrival programs Dina Cherevko, SOPA’s Program Coordinator in British Columbia stated: “It is heart-warming for me to see that pre-arrival programs can work together by complementing each other and combining efforts in this essential process of assisting pre-arrival clients to be better prepared for their job search in Canada. And what is even better, to see how clients benefit from these partnerships.”
Ievgeniia Rusnak, business development manager from Ukraine and a client of both SOPA and BCCA-IN, shares: “The decision to move to another country never comes easy, it’s challenging, but exciting at the same time. While you’re on your immigration journey, it’s easy to get lost or feel lonely, as you have so many things to think about.
Being contacted by Daniel from BCCA helped me feel welcome in the new country and gave me a clear understanding of what to expect in my job search. Daniel was able to provide me with many helpful consultations, reviewed my CV and made a lot of useful introductions. All of this made my immigration to Canada smooth and pleasant…
SOPA courses were helpful in understanding how to communicate and network in Canada. I consider this skill to be very helpful as it opens so many doors for you. While attending events in Canada I used the skills learned in the course and made a lot of new connections.”
If you can think of anyone who will be immigrating to Canada in the near future, or who has a family or friends who are about to immigrate to Canada, please let them know about the free SOPA and BCCA-IN programs. Our programs will help them prepare for employment in Canada, feel more confident about their job search in British Columbia and educate them about post-arrival services in the province.