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Top employers recognize skilled immigrants key to economic health

TRIEC and RBC announce winners of 6th Annual Immigrant Success Awards

TORONTO, April 26, 2012 - The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) and RBC are recognising top employers who are leading the way in integrating skilled immigrant talent in the Greater Toronto Region labour market at the 6th Annual Immigrant Success (IS) Awards today.

The four IS Awards winners represent different sectors of the Greater Toronto Region economy - from telecommunications to environmental testing - and share the same view: Toronto needs skilled immigrants to address skill shortages and give businesses and the region as a whole a competitive edge.

"The IS Awards winners are part of the growing momentum to embrace immigrant employment as an important part of the solution to address demographic changes and support innovation in the Toronto region," says Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer at RBC. "RBC strongly believes that the integration of skilled immigrants is essential for the well-being of our economy and we are proud to sponsor these awards for the sixth year."

Why integrating immigrant talent matters to Toronto:

  • Skilled immigrants can help address skill shortages and hard-to-find skill sets
  • International and diverse work experience can trigger innovative products and solutions
  • Knowledge of additional languages can lead to new and deeper business opportunities
  • Immigrants bring high levels of post-secondary education and training
  • 50% of Toronto's population was born outside of Canada

"Especially now when Ontario is facing more competition for skilled immigrants from western provinces, we need to step up our game in leveraging the talents of this group," says Elizabeth McIsaac, Executive Director of TRIEC. "Businesses across the region should be looking to these leaders for their novel strategies to get skilled immigrants working for them."

The four winners, three organizations and one individual selected from a pool of applicants, will be honoured at a ceremony tonight for their leadership in integrating immigrant talent.

Winners

Maxxam Analytics
Toronto Star Award for Excellence in Workplace Integration

This Mississauga testing laboratory systematically recruits skilled immigrants through their co-op program. Co-op placements gain elusive Canadian workplace experience and significant training while the company is ensured an ongoing pool of exceptionally well-prepared professionals to address skill shortages in their field and meet the demands of its fluctuating workloads. Maxxam has taken 400 placements since 2005 and has hired half of them full-time.

Huawei Technologies Canada
RBC Immigrant Advantage Award

This global telecommunications company headquartered in Shenzhen, China attributes 100% of its success in Canada to its mostly immigrant employee base. In establishing itself in Canada, Huawei embraced a strategy of hiring skilled immigrants who often had the advantage of experience with Huawei technology in other countries. In addition, brand awareness and loyalty were strong among those from abroad unlike local professionals for whom they had to compete with other big names like Google. With employees from 30 different countries, the strategy paid off. Huawei is now a major player in Canada's telecommunication industry, attracting clients like Telus and Bell among others and has established itself as a solid Canadian company with eastern cultural roots.

Career Edge Organization's Career Bridge Program
CBC Toronto Vision Award for Immigrant Inclusion

This not-for-profit organization's internship program is unparalleled. Skilled immigrants looking for their first job here in Canada get elusive access to employers and on-the-job training. Employers get highly qualified pre-screened talent sourced to fit prescribed roles. What's more, interns are paid throughout the process so that their focus is squarely on the job and their contributions respected. The best part? Eighty percent of interns find full-time employment within six months post-internship.

Zuleika Sgro, Manager, Talent Management Services, Questrade
Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award

When Zuleika Sgro had to oversee a mass hiring at the rapidly expanding online brokerage Questrade, she set her sights on skilled immigrants. She quickly connected with community agencies and immersed herself in the field, building her own library and networks. One year and 100 hires later, Sgro has emerged as an expert and advocate in the field. Today, her company is seen as an employer of choice and recognized internally and externally for the value placed on diversity among its staff.

The winners, all profiled at www.isawards.ca, will be celebrated tonight at an invitation-only reception hosted by RBC. Matt Galloway, Host, Metro Morning, CBC Radio One 99.1 will serve as MC and Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC and Co-Chair, TRIEC, will deliver the keynote address.

The IS Awards are presented by TRIEC and sponsored by RBC, with media partners Canadian HR Reporter, CBC Toronto and the Toronto Star. For complete details about the IS Awards and to view profiles of the winners visit www.isawards.ca

About TRIEC
TRIEC creates and champions solutions to better integrate skilled immigrants in the Greater Toronto Region labour market. For more information visit www.triec.ca.

For further information, please contact:
Julia Howell at julia@communityinvestmentpartners.ca or 416-402-4274 (cell) Kim Galvez at kgalvez@sympatico.ca or 416-702-0901 (cell)