New website aims to connect immigrants with employers in Toronto

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Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) launched a the Professional Immigrant Networks website last month to help connect immigrants with jobs. Financed by Citizenship and Immigration Canada as well as Scotiabank, the networking site will connect various groups of skilled immigrant workers with Greater Toronto Area firms.

Racquel Sevilla, TRIEC's program development manager, says the new Professional Immigrant Networks website is a way for employers to seek out a broader talent pool. It will help raise awareness of immigrants offering different types of professional skills, and will collaborate with the numerous immigrant networks in the Toronto area already doing the same work along industry and cultural lines.

Its goal is to "forge connections between immigrants, employers and community agencies," with the ultimate objective of advancing immigrant employment, says manager Raquel Sevilla. TRIEC works with immigrants to help them integrate into the local labour market.

According to a 2009 survey of immigrant job networks, there were 70 such groups operating in the Greater Toronto Area. The website features a searchable directory, individual success stories, an event calendar and background on each of the 32 community groups and agencies that form the network.

"A lot of times, immigrants are not accessing the (settlement and employment) programs because they don't know they exist," explains Sevilla. "And they make their first stop within their own community. These community groups are the natural gateway. We are working with these groups to arm them with the right, relevant information and keep them up to speed. It is important that we open up the channels of communications."

As more small companies in Toronto start to realize the benefits of hiring skilled immigrants, it has become easier for them to find jobs here, says Charles Achampong, manager of corporate and stakeholder relations at TRIEC.

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