Montreal , Canada

The World On Our Doorstep: Short Term Mentoring Opens Doors To Employment

Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal

November 19, 2008

The business case for mentoring helps both employers and skilled immigrants meet their bottom line

The intellectual property firm of Goudreau Gage Dubuc (GGD) decided to participate in “The World on Our Doorstep” program purely for bottom line business reasons. As a result of strong growth and the need for high skilled labor, in recent years, they have found themselves constantly scrambling to recruit qualified employees.

The World on our Doorstep is a pilot project being hosted by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. The program is designed to introduce businesses such as GGD to qualified potential candidates from immigrant and ethnic minority communities that they might not come across through their usual recruiting networks.

Unique to the program, is that these introductions are done through “mini-traineeships” lasting no more than one to three days. Unlike other mentoring programs, there is a minimum time commitment and a definitive goal: to recruit the talent they need, within a short window of time and guarantee the future prosperity of their company or business.

Planning For The Future…

In 2008, Quebec will welcome over 45,000 immigrants. Of this number, more than 25,000 will be between the ages of 25 and 40 and have equal to or greater than a college education.

“Within the Greater Montreal area, the net growth of Montreal’s labour force will depend solely on immigration. It is thus imperative that, collectively, we develop the means not only to attract but above all to retain immigrants and that we implement innovative solutions to integrate them quickly and efficiently into the business community,” declared Benoit Lanbonte, past president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

With “The World on our Doorstep” the Board of Trade hopes to overcome the cultural differences and limited networks that often prevent businesses from being able to take full advantage of the benefit that these skilled immigrants offer.

Lorraine Simard, the HR Manager for GGD, agrees that the company’s interest in this program is primarily motivated by the dearth of specialized manpower. “It’s tough to find competent people in the niche of intellectual property which requires very specific knowledge. Quebec is small and we regularly have to recruit outside the province.”

How it Works

In order to participate in these professional networking activities, new immigrant partcipants must have already taken the “Adapting to Québec’s world of work” training course offered free of charge by the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles (MICC).

In exchange, for each intern the employer hosts, the Board of Trade offers a free training workshop of their choice from among those on our schedule ($145 value).

Soropiu Coulibaly, a new immigrant who was matched with the intellectual property firm GGD added, “This program introduced me to the workplace and taught me about corporate culture in Canada and helped me build a network of professional contacts.”

The program also provides new immigrants with the opportunity to gain practical snapshots of various industries and companies that they may not have been familiar with. This can be a significant advantage for small to medium sized businesses that might normally be overlooked by skilled job seekers, new to the community.

Goudreau Gage Dubuc is impressed with the World on our Doorstep program, describing it as a useful tool for overcoming the obstacles that new immigrants have, “I think things like difficulty defining your professional profile, the language requirement, being educated outside of North America or lacking professional contacts can work against you when looking for a job in line with your qualifications.”


The World On Our Doorstep program celebrated its first anniversary on October 6, 2008. Isabelle Hudon, former president and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal comments: “The World on our Doorstep program enables us to build bridges between foreign talent and local enterprises. These in-house traineeships, lasting between one and three days, give newcomers a better understanding of the Quebec work environment while giving companies a chance to discover qualified resources educated in leading sectors.”

The World On Our Doorstep program is a fruitful collaboration between Greater Montreal’s major network of employers, municipal representatives, and the Quebec Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities, with all parties working together to promote the successful economic integration of immigrant workers. At the moment, the initiative is expected to run until 2010.

For related library resources on this Good Idea, see sidebar at right.

Making it Work for You:

  • With most of the net growth in the labour force depending on immigration, businesses need to be proactive in attracting new talent, making their business opportunities attractive and encouraging skilled immigrants to settle in our cities.
  • The business case for hiring skilled immigrants is especially strong for small to mid size companies who can access talent pools that may be overlooked by their larger competitors.
  • Early research suggests "speed" mentoring or short term placements for immigrant job candidates may be just as effective as longer mentoring relationships.
  • Successful opportunities can arise by bringing people together even for short periods of time. Find out how your organization can help organize events like this. Ask whether your local chamber of commerce or other trade and industry bodies might be interested in establishing or supporting a similar program.

For this Good Idea contact:

Marie-Pier Veilleux, Project Manager and Board of Trade
Chambre de commerce du Montréal Métropolitain
380, rue Saint-Antoine Ouest, bureau 6000
Montréal, Québec, Canada,
H2Y 3X7
514 871 4000 x4033

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