Kick-Starting Employer Action

May 4th, 2017

In a competitive job market and new to Canada, many Syrian refugees, like other skilled newcomer professionals, find it difficult to connect to employers that are hiring and secure a good job.

That was the catalyst for the creation of the Syrian Refugees Jobs Agenda in December 2015, an employer roundtable convened in Toronto by Senator Ratna Omidvar and Hire Immigrants through the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX) at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management.

Representing sectoral interests of employers across the Greater Toronto Area – business, government and non-profit organizations – roundtable members focused their energies on identifying employment opportunities for Syrian newcomers and matching their talent to the needs of employers. The Syrian Refugees Jobs Agenda quickly emerged as an action-oriented group of local leaders having measurable impact on identifying and creating employment opportunities for Syrian newcomers that arrived as refugees.

One year later, the Syrian Refugee Jobs Agenda has published a new guide for employers on hiring newcomers: Kick-Starting Employer Action, offers employers and cities helpful suggestions on how they can ensure newcomers succeed in the workplace.


Job Fair – members of the roundtable put together a job fair in June that included 24 employers with pre-identified vacant positions and an intent to enthusiastically look for candidates to fill those vacancies. Many of the Syrian newcomers who participated were presented with their very first job opportunities in Canada.

Construction Trades Program – roundtable members ACCES Employment, in partnership with the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA!) and the Refugee Career Jumpstart Project (RCJP) created an initiative to support Syrian jobseekers’ entry in construction-related occupations. Participants receive sector-specific language training, pre-apprenticeship opportunities, and direct access to jobs in the construction trade industry.

Syrian Refugee Fund Project Grant – a sub-committee that formed from the roundtable led to a new project between Magnet, ACCES Employment, TRIEC and the United Way of Toronto and York Region (UWTY). The project includes: the creation of an employment network hub for Syrian refugees, and developing online tools to support the integration of Syrian refugees into the Canadian workplace.

Download the Kick-Starting Employer Guide (PDF).

Read more about the Syrian Refugee Jobs Agenda at Hire Immigrants.


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