Tent joins KPMG, McCain Foods, and CIBC at Conference Board Canada’s Annual Immigration Summit

On May 27, the Tent Partnership for Refugees joined a conversation with industry leaders as part of the Conference Board of Canada’s “Canadian Immigration Virtual Summit 2021.” Noni Rossini, Tent’s Director of Marketing and Communications, hosted the panel entitled, “Hiring newcomers during and after the pandemic,” which featured executives from Tent Partnership members CIBC, McCain Foods, and KPMG, as well as the Canadian employer J.D. Irving Limited. 

The conversation began with each leader sharing what inspired their company to stand up for refugees. According to Stephanie Braid, Director of Inclusion & Diversity at KPMG, over a third of the firm’s employees have the lived experience of immigrating to Canada, and the desire to pay it forward to other newcomers is strong within the company. Their efforts have been aided by practices they’ve implemented to securely collect data on employees’ self-reported immigration status, and track that information against employee advancement and retention data.

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For both KPMG and J.D. Irving Limited, the drive to support refugees went beyond social impact and inclusion goals — and extends to building robust talent pipelines. Emma Flynn, Senior Immigration Specialist at J.D. Irving, said the company anticipates opening nearly 10,000 roles in the next year. Hiring internationally has proved an important strategy to the company’s recruitment efforts. 

“Certain parts of the organization wouldn’t be able to grow to the levels that they have in recent years if it hadn’t been for international newcomers filling these positions,” Flynn said. “It’s resulted in the development and transfer of skills to our Canadian workforce.”

The group went on to share best practices gathered from their refugee programs. Laura Soria, Senior Director at CIBC, shared the bank’s success with engaging its Employee Resource Groups in their refugee programming. The company’s Pride Network recently mobilized as mentors for the Tent and Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s LGBTQ refugee mentorship initiative. Devon Moir, Talent Acquisition Partner at McCain Foods, highlighted some of the strategies the company uses to support newcomer integration, including an anti-bias toolkit and training for hiring managers, and a program that pairs newcomers with existing employees. McCain Foods will also roll out a new check-in process for refugee and newcomer employees and their managers to help identify and remove barriers to employee integration and success. 

The conversation concluded with the executives sharing the benefits that their refugee and immigrant hiring programs have brought to their respective organizations. 

“A huge benefit that we’ve gotten from hiring newcomers and refugees is an empathy benefit,” said Braid. “In my mind it’s a hard metric — empathetic leadership is critical for business success going forward.” 

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