A pilot program that connects skilled immigrants with employers in Quebec’s outlying regions is starting to pay off for companies in the mining city of Val d’Or.
Known by its French name, Un emploi en sol québécois, the pilot organizes job fairs with local companies in need of workers and charters travel so job-seeking immigrants can meet with them.
Initiated by Quebec’s federation of chambers of commerce (FCCQ) with funding from the provincial government, the pilot addresses labour shortages in eight regions.
The pilot’s chapter in Val d’Or, a city of 33,000 located 500 kilometres north of Montreal, is an example of the pilot’s growing success.
Here’s how it works:
Groups of around 25 skilled newcomers, many with potential job offers, are flown to Val d’Or aboard a chartered flight.
Upon landing, they are met by members of the local chamber of commerce and given a bus tour of the city to see its sites and get a feel for the quality of life that Val d’Or offers.
The job-seekers are then split into smaller groups to visit some of the city’s main employers and then meet with recruiters to discuss employment possibilities.
The interaction that the trip provides with locals is seen as key and serves to break down barriers that can prevent a newcomer from feeling welcome and wanting to stay.
‘An exceptional initiative’
In an interview with Radio-Canada, Canada’s French-language public broadcaster, one recruiter called Un emploi en sol québécois “an exceptional initiative.”
“It allows people to see the place where they’re being recruited and it increases the chances of their integration and retention in the workforce,” the recruiter said.
Stéphane Ferron, President of the Val d’Or Chamber of Commerce, said his city was one of the first to implement the Government of Quebec-funded pilot project.
“We’ve already had a number of families that have moved up here after finding work,” he said.
“If we can find jobs for all 25, it would be a total success, but even if we retain 10, that’s fine. They’ll have kids, they might help us find other workers, and they’ll become ambassadors for Val d’Or.”
To learn more about immigrating to Quebec as a skilled worker, visit this dedicated page.
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