Employer Toolkit - A Quick Guide to Supporting Ukrainian Professionals and Others Seeking Refuge in Edmonton
April 10, 2023
Employer Toolkit - A Quick Guide to Supporting Ukrainian Professionals and Others Seeking Refuge in Edmonton
Canada has a strong and long-standing tradition of welcoming and resettling people displaced due to conflict, violence, human rights violations, persecution, and natural disasters.
On February 24, 2022, a military conflict in Ukraine has forced millions of people to flee their country. As a response to this conflict, Canada made a commitment to welcome an unlimited number of people who seek safety and protection.
Many organizations across Alberta are opening their arms to help Ukrainians seek refuge and provide them with the necessary services and resources to help ease their resettlement journey.
Here you will find information and resources geared to Edmonton employers to support the successful resettlement and employment of Ukrainians seeking refuge in Alberta.
Ukrainians arrive under temporary resident visas under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program with a 3-year open work permit and are able to access all federally funded settlement programming and supports.
There are programs, resources and services available to help Ukrainians who come to Alberta. Ongoing assistance from Alberta’s government and partnering settlement agencies is helping to ensure Ukrainians arriving in Alberta can:
- Access health coverage
- Enroll children in K-12 schools in their new communities
- Get an Alberta identification card, including a driver’s licence
- Obtain financial support
- Find licensed child care
- Here you will find information and resources geared to Edmonton employers to support the successful resettlement and employment of Ukrainians seeking refuge in Alberta.
- Get help finding work
Access community adult learning programs to improve financial and literacy skills
Visit Ukrainians in Alberta for more information.
If you are an employer and you want to support Ukrainian professionals and others seeking refuge in Alberta by offering them a job, please register your offer through the Canada Job Bank.
All jobs advertised through Jobs for Ukraine are publicly accessible and open to anyone who is legally entitled to work in Canada. Canadian citizens and permanent residents can still apply. To recruit Ukrainians on Job Bank, follow these steps:
- All are ready to work. All Ukrainians seeking refuge in Canada are arriving with open work permits valid for three years that allow them to legally work in Canada.
- Most arriving are women and children. Ukrainian men between the ages of 18-60 are not allowed to leave the country due to military conscription It is estimated that that a large proportion of the women have bachelor’s degrees and some professional experience. Employers might want to consider coupling their job offers with additional supports to women professionals, such as childcare, housing, and transportation.
- English language proficiency may be a challenge. It is anticipated that English language proficiency will be a challenge for Ukrainian professionals seeking refuge in Alberta, despite being highly skilled. English language supports are provided free of charge as part of immigration services permissible to Ukrainian newcomers.
- Need for soft skills training. Employers might want to consider soft skills and cultural sensitivity training as part of the hiring or onboarding process in order to complement the technical skills that some Ukrainian professionals are bringing along with them into the workplace.
- Talented in technology and IT. Prior to the current conflict, global technology companies like Google and Microsoft operated in Ukraine, attracted by the country’s highly educated Edmonton companies might want to seek remote services of Ukrainian English-speaking technology and IT workers who have relocated to countries neighbouring Ukraine.
- Meet your labour needs. Internationally trained workers can meet your pressing workforce needs as they continue to play an increasingly significant role in Canada’s labour force.
- Increase your competitiveness. Many internationally trained workers possess the skills, competencies and talents, including language skills, to help your organization expand its service reach, develop new local and global markets, and compete in the global marketplace.
- Make your organization more effective. Internationally trained workers can invigorate your organization’s strategies and perspectives, stimulating new thinking and new ways of doing business.
- Valid Open Work Permit: A candidate needs to have a valid open work permit.
» A candidate might have a restriction in their work permit because they might not have completed a medical exam prior to arrival. A medical exam would be required within 90 days of arriving in Canada in order to issue a new work permit without job restrictions. This service is free for all Ukrainians and their family members seeking refuge in Alberta. Go to: apply for an open work permit in Canada.
- Social Insurance Number: A candidate requires a 9-digit number known as a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in order to work in Canada.
» Service Canada is responsible for issuing SINs. Direct the candidate to apply for a SIN online by visiting: www.canada.ca/en/employment-social- development/services/sin.html or in- person at a Service Canada location.
- Canadian Bank Account: A candidate requires having opened a Canadian bank account at a bank, a credit union, or ATB Financial.
» The candidate would require two pieces of government-issued photo ID and a SIN to open an account. See Opening a bank account.
- International Qualifications Assessment: A candidate might require getting their international credentials and qualifications assessed and/or recognized if they are seeking a position that requires certain education and professional qualifications and standards, such as an engineer, teacher, or healthcare professional or support worker, among other such jobs which require certification, licensing or licensure. Your organization could benefit by providing financial support for workers pursuing examinations, or by offering them paid time off to prepare for and write important examinations.
» For more information on International Qualifications Assessment Services, visit https://www.alberta.ca/international-qualificationsassessment.aspx
Once employed, internationally trained workers can be successfully integrated and retained within the workforce through various strategies and best practices.
Tap Into Mentorship Programs
Connect new employees and internationally trained workers to internal or external mentorship resources/programs. Mentorship extends new employees’ professional networks and awareness of the Canadian workplace culture, creates a welcoming environment, and expands diversity and cultural competence of the workplace.
Reach out to the Edmonton Regional Immigrant Employment Council - ERIEC and the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers - EMCN for guidance on starting your company’s own mentorship program or get your new internationally trained employee connected to an ERIEC or EMCN mentor.
Create Welcoming Workplace
- Encourage all employees to welcome new colleagues.
- Provide a formal orientation or onboarding program that makes new workers feel valued, included, and ready to be successful on the job.
- Create a “buddy” system where new workers are paired with colleagues who share similar cultural backgrounds to ease integration process.
- Provide newly arrived employees with resources and information about community supports to help them and their families successfully settle in Edmonton.
- Provide diversity and cross-cultural training to all your Reach out to ERIEC to assistance on this critical training.
- Recognize cultural diversity within the organizations through various communication, promotional, and social event opportunities.
- Identify “champions” within the organization who are passionate about cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.
Leverage Strengths of Internationally Trained Workers
- Tap into skills and talents of new employees to enrich the development of new processes, products or services.
- Provide customer service in multiple languages by utilizing their translation skills.
- Recognize and use new workers’ language skills and regional networks to expand service reach.
Anyone can be a target of labour trafficking, however migrant workers, and newcomers to Canada looking for work, can be at higher-risk due to language barriers. People with precarious immigration status, or working in remote areas, without access to information about their legal rights can find it even more difficult to find support.
Labour traffickers can pressure victims to work by force or through threats, including mental and emotional abuse and manipulation.
Under the Alberta Labour Relations Code, most Alberta workers have the right to form or join unions and collectively bargain with their employer; however, some unions preclude union eligibility for workers with a SIN starting with 9. To learn more about eligibility of certain visa workers, please consult legal counsel.
Whether you already have KPIs that track hiring and employment achievements or have just started, it’s important to evaluate and celebrate your efforts and then share your best practices with the membership community.
- Track numbers employed. If you have made a commitment to hire internationally trained workers, track your progress regularly and set achievable deadlines.
- Track and share success metrics. Whether relying on quantitative or qualitative metrics, it is important to share how internationally trained workers contribute to your organization. Are these workers employed according to their skill level? Are their qualifications being appropriately recognized? Do they have opportunities for career advancement within your organization? Share success stories in newsletters, press releases, blog posts, and/or reports to shareholders.
- Share best practices. Offer to present your learnings at industry workshops and conferences, community events, and/or events hosted by immigrant-serving organizations that seek to improve skills training for immigrants.
The Government of Canada is making an appeal to Canadian businesses interested in providing support to displaced Ukrainians arriving in Canada.
Canada has partnered with the Operation Ukrainian Safe Haven-Opération havre de paix pour les Ukrainiens (OUSH-OHPU) and its national network of settlement organizations to provide direct and critical support to those in need.
Albertan businesses are invited to donate goods and services through the portal Call to action: Canadian Industry for Ukraine. Donations from Canadian businesses will go to Ukrainians and other displaced persons making Canada their home.
The Government of Canada, in collaboration with settlement organizations dedicated to welcoming the new arrivals, has identified certain urgent needs:
- Temporary housing (click on the Goods and services button)
- Gift cards for the purchase of groceries, home and personal care essentials, winter clothing, snowsuits, winter boots, furniture and mattresses, linen, household appliances, child and baby items (including school supplies), and health and fitness
- Laptops, tablets, cellphones, SIM cards or gift cards for these items
- Financial aid
- Medical supplies