Supporting gender equality by addressing barriers to employment for newcomer womenWritten by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
December 9, 2022—Halifax
The Government of Canada is committed to the full and equal participation of all women and girls, which is essential to Canada’s economic growth and prosperity. That’s why Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is making it easier for racialized newcomer women to find a job by providing the support and services they need to succeed.
As part of Canada’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West, announced the Government of Canada’s intent to renew up to $5.8 million in funding until 2025 for 10 projects supported under the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot. This announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and is in addition to the $15 million over 2 years that was allocated in Budget 2021 to extend support for this pilot.
IRCC’s Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot supports the delivery of targeted employment-related settlement services, including work placements, mentorships and job counselling. The Pilot aims to help racialized newcomer women find meaningful work in Canada and progress in their careers. The Pilot supports organizations that deliver programs designed to address the barriers faced by racialized newcomer women, such as gender- and race-based discrimination, unstable employment, and lack of affordable childcare.
As part of the announcement, Lena Metlege Diab visited MetroWorks, a Halifax organization that created the Deep Roots job readiness program. Through this program, participants gain practical work experience and develop their skills and abilities in a Canadian work context, while being supported with job readiness training, employment-related workshops and job counselling to help break down barriers to finding a job.
The Government of Canada also continues to work collaboratively with organizations across Canada dedicated to ending gender-based violence for all newcomers. To help support this goal, the Gender-based Violence Settlement Sector Strategy project was created. This project is a unique coordinated partnership between the settlement and anti-violence sectors that works on gender-based violence prevention by facilitating more action, awareness and multi-sectoral collaboration. The project builds the capacity of front-line settlement sector workers to effectively respond to gender-based violence and offers enhanced services for newcomers and refugees through information, training and tailored resources related to gender-based violence. Over the next 4 years, the project will keep developing a common base of knowledge on gender-based violence across the settlement sector while offering a promising model of trauma informed gender-based violence prevention programs for clients accessing services, including those in smaller cities and rural areas.
“Racialized newcomer women face significant challenges in entering the workforce. This isn’t just about getting women jobs, it’s also about providing a sense of dignity and belonging. This support is integrated within the work the Government of Canada is doing to prevent and end gender-based violence by ensuring that gender equality is supported across all sectors. Canada’s gender equality is for all women.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
"It is a pleasure to visit MetroWorks again to hear about their Deep Roots program that helps newcomer women learn skills, get job-ready and find a rewarding career in Canada. We know there are barriers to break down to ensure all immigrants can work in jobs that align with their skills and experience. Programs funded by the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot Program are taking important steps to combat gender- and race-based discrimination, and I’m proud that the Government of Canada can be a partner in this work.”
– Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West
"We are extremely pleased the Government of Canada is supporting our work with Racilaized Newcomer Women. We have seen tremendous growth in the skills, confidence and self-sufficiency of the women in the Deep Roots program. Their connections to community and contributions to the Nova Scotia labour market strengthen as they move through the program. We are very proud of the work of the women and MetroWorks' role in their journey."
– Dave Rideout, President and CEO of MetroWorks Employment Association
The Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot supports 21 projects [including funding for the Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute in Winnipeg and the Syrian Canadian Foundation in Toronto] overall, some of which have been completed.
The pandemic significantly exacerbated existing labour market barriers—and created new challenges—for racialized newcomer women. Labour Force Survey data from January to June 2021 shows that a significant unemployment gap persists between recent immigrant women and Canadian-born women (15.2% vs. 8.0%).
Between 2019 and 2022, partners under the GBV Sector Settlement Strategy project—Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance, Ending Violence Association of Canada, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and YMCA—conducted an environmental scan of GBV supports across the settlement and anti-violence sectors in Canada, hosted a series of webinars, workshops and training sessions, and launched Bridges to Safety, an online course. They also released a Gender-Based Violence Policy and Protocol resource, as a framework for supporting staff working with newcomer, immigrant and refugee clients.
With the GBV Settlement Sector Strategy project investments, funded organizations and settlement sector staff receive nationally consistent training and information to respond to issues of gender-based violence. In turn, this allows front-line settlement workers to better identify cases of gender-based violence and provide appropriate supports and referrals for newcomers who come forward as experiencing, or as being impacted by, gender-based violence.
Canada is leading on a number of initiatives that support gender equality around the world. As a Champion country of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), encouraging a gender-responsive approach to migration management is a key priority for Canada. Given the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women—especially racialized migrant women—this lens becomes even more important as we continue our pandemic response and recovery. This is why Canada actively promotes and engages on the gender-responsive implementation of the GCM, and has committed to continue supporting the activities of the Canada-funded Gender+Migration Hub, which aims to help countries undertake gender-responsive programming in immigration and integration.