NEWS FOR NEWCOMERS

ADDRESSING BARRIERS TO SUCCESS FOR NEWCOMER WOMEN

Photo by:  MATTHEW HENRY/BURST

Photo by: MATTHEW HENRY/BURST

Newcomer women who are members of a visible minority group may face multiple barriers to success, including gender- and race-based discrimination, precarious or low income employment, lack of affordable childcare and weak social supports.

Recognizing these challenges, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is providing additional funding of up to $5 million to 10 service provider organizations across Canada over the next three years to increase employment supports and services for newcomer women.

The Rexdale Women’s Centre provides multi-generational supports for newcomer women and their family members so that they can become full participating members of Canadian society. The organization ensures that newcomer women can access settlement services and activities that assist in integration, foster emotional well-being and sense of belonging, and increase participation in the labour market and broader community. Although the centre serves every population of newcomers, a big proportion of their clients are newcomer women including visible minority newcomer women. The increased funding of $310,000 will enable them to serve more visible minority newcomer women in the area.

The funding announcement is part of IRCC’s three-year Visible Minority Newcomer Women Pilot, which also includes establishing new partnerships with organizations for women.

“Employment is key to the successful integration of newcomers,” said Ahmed Hussen, minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “Having a job isn’t just about making an economic contribution to Canada, it’s also about providing a sense of dignity and belonging. Visible minority newcomer women can face multiple barriers to employment, including discrimination and lack of affordable childcare. I’m proud that my department has developed a pilot program that will offer direct support and services to these newcomer women as they get ready for the Canadian workforce, look for jobs and develop their careers.”

A few quick facts:

 Visible minority newcomer women have the lowest median annual income of all newcomer groups at $26,624, compared to non-visible minority newcomer women ($30,074), visible minority newcomer men ($35,574), and non-visible minority newcomer men ($42,591).

Visible minority newcomer women are more likely to be unemployed. The unemployment rate of visible minority newcomer women (9.7 per cent) is higher than that of visible minority (8.5 per cent) and non-visible minority (6.4 per cent) newcomer men, based on the 2016 Census.

“This increase in funding will allow this organization to increase their capacity to serve more visible minority newcomer women in Etobicoke,” said Kirsty Duncan, Ontario minister of Science and Sport.

SIKH MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

The World Sikh Organization of Canada announced the launch of the Sikh Mentorship Program (SMP).

The SMP is designed to connect Sikh professionals with Sikh students (16-plus) who are seeking guidance and direction academically or professionally. Alongside mentor-mentee matching, the Sikh Mentorship Program will also include workshops, panels, and networking events. The program is sponsored in part by the government of Canada and Taking ITGlobal.

The mentor-mentee matching initiative will begin in February 2019, with applications now open for mentees and mentors. Many mentors are already registered with the SMP and hail from diverse industry backgrounds, ranging from large financial institution executives to local health care providers.

In its initial stages, mentor matching will be limited to British Columbia with an expansion to other Canadian regions in the near future.

WSO president Mukhbir Singh said, “We are very excited by the launch of the Sikh Mentorship Program. This program will connect successful Sikh professionals with students looking for guidance and advice. Creating a program that will establish networks and relationships between the younger generation and successful Sikh professionals is a need that the community has expressed to us for some time and we are thankful for the support provided by the government of Canada that has now helped make this a reality. We look forward to expanding the Sikh Mentorship Program mentor matching initiative into other provinces across Canada shortly.”

WSO board member Gurpreet Kaur added, “As a university student myself, there are many times that I have felt lost and confused, whether that be applying for jobs, applying to graduate programs, or just seeking guidance about potential career paths. Connecting with professionals, who are already established and been through similar journeys has been so helpful, and has greatly helped advance both my personal and professional goals. Providing opportunities to connect with professionals and engage in a mentor-mentee relationship through the Sikh Mentorship Program will be extremely beneficial to students.”

Full program details at world sikh.org/smp.

Desi News