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On July 15, 2013, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) launched a new policy on removing "Canadian experience" barrier. This policy states that a strict requirement for "Canadian experience" is discriminatory, and can only be used in rare circumstances. In a statement, the OHRC said "Employers and regulatory bodies need to ask about all of a job applicant's previous work - where they got their experience does not matter. The policy also tells employers and regulatory bodies how to develop practices, policies and programs that do not result in discrimination."

Mennonite New Life Centre Newcomer Speakers Bureau graduate, Endrit Mullisi is featured and BCEP's Izumi Sakamoto is quoted in the Toronto Star article reporting the Launch this new OHRC policy (July 15, 2013):
http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2013/07/15/demanding_canadian_exp...

Read Professor Sakamoto's Op-Ed in Toronto Star (July 16, 2013), "Tearing down the ‘Canadian experience’ roadblock: Relevant experience as relevant experience, regardless of the geography": http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/07/16/tearing_down_the_ca...

UofT News: Why "Canadian experience" violates human rights
http://www.news.utoronto.ca/why-canadian-experience-violates-human-rights

The Beyond Canadian Experience Team will be collaborating with the OHRC to help develop learning tools.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Contacts for Media Inquiries:
Izumi Sakamoto, Ph.D.
(416) 946-8224
izumi.sakamoto@utoronto.ca
Language: English, Japanese

Lin Fang, Ph.D
(416) 946-8224
lin.fang@utoronto.ca
Language: English, Mandarin

May Lui, E.D., CCNTO
(416) 596-0833 ext 1
executivedirector@ccnctoronto.ca
Language: English

On the day of the event, all contacts can be reached at: 416-887-5852
Note: Media representatives do not need to register for this event

IMMIGRANT EMPLOYMENT MOVING PAST “CANADIAN EXPERIENCE”:
Ontario’s Chief Commissioner shifts the debate to human rights

For many immigrants, “Canadian experience” is the biggest barrier to finding employment, no matter what their employment history outside of Canada. And while traditional thinking has always approached the problem from the perspective of human resources, a growing movement suggests that it must be thought of in terms of human rights. Inspired by the leadership of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall, one group is meeting to do just that.

“In our conversations with newcomers, they often talk about the requirement for ‘Canadian experience’ as a big barrier to their entry into the workforce,” says Hall. “We have been learning more about how this requirement plays out in real life.”

The OHRC launched a survey last October directed at newcomers who have encountered the need for Canadian experience, as well as employers and HR professionals who require it, to try to measure its effects on them and on the Ontario job market. Both the human rights and human resources sides of the discussion have been eagerly awaiting the OHRC’s findings, and any policy changes they might lead to.

The OHRC is not the only group to be approaching the problem from the perspective of human rights. Hall, the event’s keynote speaker, will be joined by Claude Balthazard, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs of the Human Resources Professional Association, as well as community leaders and some 150 human resource professionals, service providers, human rights experts, to address, from a number of perspectives, the human rights implications of employers’ insistence on Canadian experience.

This Wednesday, the Beyond Canadian Experience Project will be hosting an event that will bring together a group of academics, human resources and community leaders dedicated to finding ways to integrate immigrants into the Canadian labour force. For project leader Izumi Sakamoto (Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Toronto), the event offers a glimpse into the future of labour relations for newcomers to the province. “It’s incredibly frustrating for many newcomers to be told that their years of experience don’t count for anything once they arrive here,” she says. “But if we shift our thinking, and learn to think of it from the point of view of human rights, it opens up a whole new way to approach the problem.”

The Beyond Canadian Experience project is a collaboration of the University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, Mennonite New Life Centre, Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter, and the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Its main purpose is to deconstruct the notion of “Canadian Experience” with an eye to reducing barriers to employment experienced by immigrants. Having Hall and the OHRC represented at the event, Sakamoto says, complements their work perfectly.

“We’ve thought about this problem from the point of view of immigrant experience, and from the point of view of employers and the economy,” Sakamoto says, “but to think about it from the perspective of human rights is new for us, and really exciting. Having the Chief Commissioner participate in the discussion, particularly since we know they’ve been thinking about it in these terms for some time now, offers the hope that we can really make some meaningful progress.”

The event titled, “Beyond ‘Canadian Experience’: Immigrant Employment from a Human Rights Perspective” takes place on Wednesday, January 16 in The Debates Room at Hart House at the University of Toronto, from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. In addition to Hall and Balthazard, speakers will include Avvy Go, Clinic Director of the Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, and Amy Casipullai, Senior Coordinator of Policy and Communications for the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), as well as the launch of a Special Edition of New Voices magazine centring on Canadian Experience, presented by journalist and writer Gerard Keledjian of the Mennonite New Life Centre in Toronto.

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Media Advisory
Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Event: Beyond “Canadian Experience”: Immigrant Employment from a Human Rights Perspective

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
5:30pm to 8:00pm

Hart House, The Debates Room (2nd floor)
7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto

The Beyond “Canadian Experience” research team is pleased to present a public event on the topic of immigrants, employment and the concept of “Canadian experience” through a human rights lens.

Keynote speaker:

Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission

Presenters:

Claude Balthazard, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Human Resources Professional Association
Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Amy Casipullai, Senior Coordinator, Policy and Communications, Ontario Council of Agencies Service Immigrants (OCASI)
Gerard Keledjian, Journalist and Writer, New Voices Magazine, Mennonite New Life Centre- Toronto

There will be a video presentation highlighting academic and community-based research by the Beyond Canadian Experience Project (BCEP).

Diversity in the workplace drives innovation and is critical to both corporate and community success. On January 16, please join us for a free event of learning and networking with a diverse group of human rights experts, human resource professionals, employers, researchers and immigrant service providers. Together, we will explore how to move beyond “Canadian experience” from a legal, academic and human rights perspective.

To register, please visit http://beyondcanadianexperiencejanuary2013.eventbrite.com/

“In our conversations with newcomers, they often talk about the requirement for ‘Canadian experience’ as a big barrier to their entry into the workforce,” commented OHRC Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall, “We want to learn more about how this requirement plays out in real life.”

For more information, or to request an interview, contact Izumi Sakamoto at 416.946.8224 or May Lui at 416.596.0833

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Diversity in the workplace drives innovation and is critical to both corporate and community success. On January 16, please join us for a free event of learning and networking with a diverse group of human rights experts, human resource professionals, employers, researchers and immigrant service providers. Together, we will explore how to move beyond “Canadian experience” from a legal, academic, and human rights perspective.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 5:30pm to 8:00pm

The Debates Room, Hart House (2nd Floor)
University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle
Toronto, Ontario

Presenters:

Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission
Claude Balthazard, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Human Resources Professional Association
Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Amy Casipullai, Senior Coordinator, Policy and Communications, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
Gerard Keledjian, Journalist & Writer, New Voices Magazine, Mennonite New Life Centre-Toronto
Video presentation highlighting academic and community-based research by Beyond Canadian Experience Project (BCEP)

To register, please visit: http://beyondcanadianexperiencejanuary2013.eventbrite.com
For more information, contact: info@beyondcanadianexperience.com
Download PDF invitation

Thanks for informing us, in advance, of any dietary, accessibility, or other special requirements you may have. We look forward to your participation!

A new survey launched today by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) asks job seekers and employers to describe how “Canadian experience” requirements in the Ontario job market have affected them.

Read the full press release at: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/news_centre/ohrc-launches-survey-canadian-exper...