Global Talent Bridge Partner Blog

News on practice and policy affecting internationally trained immigrants and refugees

Refugee Hiring Event Is First of Its Kind in Toronto

Friday November 15, 2019 | by WES Global Talent Bridge

The Toronto Refugee Hiring Event, held in October and organized by WES and other organizations, connected nearly 150 pre-screened refugee jobseekers with 15 Canadian employers. The event provided jobseekers an opportunity to interview for available roles well-suited to their skills and experience. Participating employers represented a range of different industries, offering a variety of roles from entry-level to more senior-level positions. More than 70 refugees received either an on-the-spot job offer or an invitation to a second interview.

Participating employers included: Day & Ross, FedEx Express Canada, Farren Fun Foods, HMS HOST, IKEA Canada, Martinrea Automotive, McDonald’s, Metro, Shopify, Sobeys, Sodexo, Staples, and Wealthsimple. Beyond its role as a co-organizer of the event, WES also participated as a hiring employer: Four candidates were given job offers for full-time roles at WES’s Canadian office, and eight candidates were invited to the next stage of the interview process.

The Toronto Refugee Hiring Event was a collaborative effort that came out of the Refugee Jobs Agenda Roundtable convened by Senator Ratna Omidvar and new Co-Chair, Darrell Pinto from the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association. Both co-chairs along with Toronto Mayor John Tory attended the hiring event to show their support of this important initiative to change the lives of refugees and solve a labour market challenge faced by employers and refugees alike. In her opening remarks, Senator Ratna Omidvar stressed that “hiring refugees is not only a good thing to do but it makes economic sense.”

The event participants found this experience extremely valuable, some of them just arrived in Canada and need to begin their new lives. 

“We heard from a number of successful jobseekers that day who received their first job opportunities in Canada,” said Allison Pond, President and CEO, ACCES Employment. “They were both grateful for the chance to meet a number of leading employers in one day and also excited about their future prospects. Most of all, I think that many of the jobseekers felt that the event connected them to employers that recognized the value they could bring to companies through their professional and work experience.”

With over 500 registrants for the event, and a wait-list for employers, there is a clear and immediate need for continuing initiatives like the Toronto Refugee Hiring Event. WES and community service providers are coordinating a similar event in the near future to accommodate refugee jobseekers that were unable to attend the first hiring event, and will include employers that have expressed an interest to connect with this talent pool.   


WES Global Talent Bridge is a program dedicated to helping skilled immigrants fully utilize their talents and education in the United States and Canada. Global Talent Bridge joins with institutional partners and community organizations to help skilled immigrants leverage their training, achieve their professional goals, and contribute their talents to their full potential.