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Mentors help newcomers leverage their skills

Caregivers and their families will be reunited and the inventory of Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) applications will be largely eliminated by the end of 2018 said Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Great progress has been made on the backlog in recent years. As of October 1, 2017, there was a 63 per cent reduction in the number of caregivers and their family members waiting for their permanent residence applications to be finalized since reaching its highest level in May 2014.

Last fall, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) dedicated additional resources to process LCP applications and encourage caregivers and their family members to submit any documents that were missing from their applications. This focus will allow IRCC to welcome 20,000 new permanent residents in the caregiver category in total this year. 

Having taken these steps, IRCC is committing to:

  • Finalizing a minimum of 80 per cent of the cases that were in the LCP inventory as of October 1, 2017 by the end of 2018;
  • Processing 80 per cent of new, complete LCP applications submitted on or after October 1, 2017, within 12 months; and
  • Admitting high numbers of LCP caregivers and their family members as permanent residents until the remaining cases are processed.

The multi-year levels plan for 2018-2020 set out targets for the number of permanent resident admissions in the caregiver category that will allow IRCC to meet these commitments.

The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration recommended that the government deliver a plan to end the backlog of Live-in Caregiver Program applications. With this plan in place, caregivers waiting for their Live-in Caregiver Program applications to be finalized should get decisions on their cases and be reunited with their families soon.

“The commitments the Government has made will mean that many Live-in Caregiver Program applicants who have faced long delays and family separation may soon reach their goal of permanent residence,” said Hussen. “After diligently providing care for Canadians, they may soon be in the company of their own loved ones, together in Canada.”

The Live-in Caregiver Program was a program that offered a direct path from temporary status to permanent residence for caregivers. It closed to new applicants in 2014 but grandfathering provisions meant that thousands of caregivers who were already part of the temporary portion of the LCP but who hadn’t yet applied for permanent residence would still have the opportunity to do so. This means that up to 6,000 more applications for permanent residence under the LCP could still be submitted to IRCC. Further developments are expected soon to eliminate the $1,000 Labour Market Impact Assessment fee for Canadian families seeking to hire a foreign caregivers.   

Sue Chan

“I want to help others like they have helped me,” says Sue Chan who is the Vice President of Digital Delivery and Release Management at the Royal Bank of Canada. She has a Bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, she has worked at RBC for 31 years – as an IT professional for most of that time.

Why Sue decided to mentor: “Throughout my career I have had many mentors. I decided to join TRIEC Mentoring Partnership as I wanted the opportunity to give back.”  

What being a mentor means to her: “It’s being available to assist a person with getting them familiar with the Canadian professional work environment. You provide observations and coaching based on your past experience.

Mentoring highlights: “It’s very satisfying when you see that your dialogue and coaching is making an impact on the individual. I see this through all the mock interviews and workforce discussions – my mentees become a lot more confident in themselves as they gain skills.”

How mentoring has helped her own career: “Mentoring has helped me succeed in my own career. You learn a lot by teaching. Working with the mentees over a period of time, I have become a better coach. We learn from learning with our mentees – when I talk about practices of the Canadian workforce I become aware of those practices and I do them myself as well. It has increased my awareness of diversity: and working with a large range of people over the years enhances my self-awareness as well.”

What Sue’s learned about mentoring through her time with the program: “I think at the beginning it was a learning process for me to figure out how to approach the partnership and what to focus on to really help them. Over the years, I got into a rhythm and now I have a sense of comfort when I am mentoring. I find it so much easier after doing it more frequently. It gives me more confidence seeing the success my partnerships have had.”

The benefits of mentoring: “I absolutely believe that other professionals should mentor. I have learnt there are benefits to both sides of the partnership. The newcomers need a way to get into the workforce; mentors also gain a potential hiring pipeline for our own organizations. Another benefit is we gain stronger coaching and mentoring skillsets as a mentor.”

How a mentor has helped Sue in her career: “I have had many mentors over the years, although one that does stand out to me was someone who was very pictorial. He would make a complex problem into a picture, which is something that helped me and I now do it myself.”

Sue’s top tips for new mentors: “Treat your mentee as an individual who has a lot of value to contribute. In a mentor-to-mentee relationship there should be no hierarchy, just two individuals who have values, skills and experiences to share.

Joaquin Milo

 “Just start it – do it!” says Joaquin Milo. “As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn’.”

A mechanical engineer by profession, Joaquin currently works as an engineering project manager at Enbridge. 

He first registered with TRIEC Mentoring Partnership as a mentee, after accessing support from Community Partners ACCES Employment, JVS Toronto and Costi. He became a mentor in 2013 and has been mentoring with the program ever since. Joaquin completed his 10th partnership in 2017.

Why Joaquin started mentoring: “My journey of learning about the energy sector in Canada made me appreciate how difficult and complicated it can be to land a professional job in the competitive Canadian job market. After much effort, and with the help of various settlement programs, and TRIEC Mentoring Partnership, I was able to land interviews with important companies in my field.”  

Why he thinks other professionals should start mentoring: “Experience is the best teacher and is a gift that should be shared with others. It is also a way to give back to your new country. Finally, mentoring is mutually beneficial for both mentor and mentee.”  

What being a mentor means to him: “It means being able to help someone achieve their potential in their search for meaningful employment in their new country. It is also a way to show gratitude for the help that was given to me when I first came to Canada.” 

How Joaquin has changed throughout his time mentoring: “Mentoring has been a learning experience for me. At the beginning I was a little bit nervous about working with mentees who had more education and experience than me, and what I would be able to offer them. However, now I am confident that they can benefit from my experience in the Canadian workplace. Some of my mentees have successfully achieved interviews, job offers and their professional designation.” 

The impact mentoring has had on Joaquin’s own career: “Mentoring has helped me to appreciate the importance of good communication skills, and the need to be open-minded, flexible and adaptable in order to succeed in the Canadian workplace.” 

Joaquin’s mentoring highlights: “Back in 2015, one of my mentees was invited for an interview. Prior to the interview I spent a lot of time coaching him on what to expect and how to handle the interviews, especially the behavioral questions. He was very focused on his education and years of experience and didn’t place much importance on behavioral questions and the value of soft skills. I told him that education and experience are important, and that’s why they are included in the job description, but soft skills are a key complement to this. In an interview, besides the education, experience and expertise, hiring managers are looking for that potential new team member that can get along with their colleagues as well as providing results.” 

Top tips for new mentor:  “Keep in mind that people coming from different countries and backgrounds are not always aware of Canadian workplace culture and you may need to take extra time to emphasize the importance of soft skills.  

“Remember that newcomers to Canada may be facing a lot of stress in their personal and professional lives as they try to settle here. Be patient and supportive.” 

More information at www.triec.ca 


Posted: Mar 7, 2018

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