“Population growth just doesn’t keep up with our job growth” - IWC community connection manager Anne McLeod. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Michael Conroy

“Population growth just doesn’t keep up with our job growth” - IWC community connection manager Anne McLeod. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Michael Conroy

Community forum on power of immigrant employment next week

IWC Welcoming Communities Coalition hosting annual community forums in Campbell River, Comox Valley

Newcomers to Canada are essential for filling the job market, and the Immigrant Welcome Centre’s Welcoming Communities Coalition is holding a series of forums to show that.

“Our population growth just doesn’t keep up with our job growth,” said IWC community connection manager Anne McLeod. “Immigrants are a very important source of labour. It’s important to remember too that they don’t just fill those lower level positions. Some of them are highly skilled and bring very particular skills and abilities to the labour market. Some of them are even eager, willing and able to be entrepreneurs and employers and business owners.”

“We want to help dispel that myth and help the community and employers in particular realize that a lot of these people are very skilled,” she said.

Next week, the IWC will be holding two virtual forums, one based in the Comox Valley on Nov. 24 from 1-3 p.m. and the other in Campbell River on Nov. 25 at the same time, to build discussion between newcomers to Canada and the communities they choose to live in. The goal is to address concerns and work towards ensuring everyone feels welcome in our communities.

“They’re an opportunity for the community to come together and discuss issues around immigration and newcomers to the community and how we can make sure that our communities are meeting their needs and are ready and willing to welcome them and help them settle here,” McLeod said.

Though the forums will be focused on the two different communities, people can attend both. The events will feature employers from the two different communities and people who can give information on the labour market.

The Comox Valley event will feature Brooke Thoburn from the Creative Employment Access Society, as well as Jen LeVesconte, the manager at the Courtenay Winners. Thoburn will speak about the labour market outlook and the role immigration will play in future labour shortages, and LeVesconte will talk about her company’s diversity and inclusion practices that contribute to worker recruitment and retention and her experiences on their regional Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

In Campbell River, NIEFS regional manager of employer services Chris Callanan will speak about future labour shortages, while HR manager at Home Depot Amy Heath will discuss the company and it’s practices.

McLeod said that the goal “is creating opportunities to talk to community members and various stakeholders in the community about their experiences and their knowledge of newcomers and immigrants, as well as hearing from them about what they need to better serve immigrants. It’s also about hearing.

“It’s a lot of community dialogue.”

People can sign up for both events online.

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