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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Hire a new immigrant - stop discrimination now

Hey Canada, this one's for you:

I would like all employers out there to consider dropping the phrase "Canadian experience" from their vocabularies. This subtle form of discrimination is keeping thousands of immigrants from getting work that they are fully qualified to perform.

By using this phrase, whether in an interview, or in an internal screening process, you are effectively practicing a form of discrimination through exclusion and also a very negative form of nationalism.

Think about this: Canada has one of the highest percentages of permanent residents that become citizens in the world - over 80% at last count. When you exclude a fully qualified immigrant from contributing to your company solely because they haven't worked for a Canadian employers for X-years, you are actually doing a great harm in the long term to your own country.

I've been asked the "Canadian experience" question on a number of interviews, and as soon as it's asked, I know the job isn't mine. I know that the person asking has a built-in bias that somehow all the years of experience I bring to the table mean nothing unless that experience is in Canada.

Think about how crazy that is. Let's say your hiring a Toyota mechanic. You have a choice between someone who has 10-years of experience in Japan, or someone who has two years of Canadian experience. No question of who should get the job, eh? But in Canada, subtle things come into play. Without Canadian experience, will the employee be able to "fit in to the culture"? Do they have the "soft skills" that Canadians possess?

I'm asking all employers out there to expunge the phrase "Canadian experience" from your vocabulary. Think about the long term. Heck - think about the short term too! Simply hire the best person for the job, no matter what.

It's not much to ask. 

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