Tag Archives: triec

Connector: New program helps skilled immigrants make vital connections


The Arsenal Spurs derby was a bit lame in the year 2154

Another great article today from the brilliant Prepare For Canada website. This one explains the new Connector program in the Greater Toronto Area.


Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) announced the pilot of Connector in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

“This innovative program puts professionals (Participants) who have immigrated to Canada in touch with well-connected leaders (Connectors) who want to expand their networks with new talent. The pilot is funded by the Metcalf Foundation.

“Originally founded in Halifax in 2009, Connector is an award-winning networking initiative taking place in communities across Canada, offering skilled immigrants the chance to expand their professional network. Once that first connection has been made, the Connector goes on to introduce the Participant to three of their contacts. The Participant meets these contacts, who each then introduce him or her to three more.

“‘Many skilled immigrants in the GTA are still not getting work commensurate with their education and experience,’ said Margaret Eaton, Executive Director, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council.

“‘Through Connector, we want to support more internationally educated professionals to make those contacts that are essential to progressing in their careers. Expanding their networks should better situate them in the job market. We’re very excited to be piloting this program in the GTA.'”

Full story here.


Successful Brits in Toronto: Robin Brown

The name's Brown. Robin Brown

The name’s Brown. Robin Brown

Brits are a modest lot. Even though we’re the funniest, make the best tea and once owned the world, we’re still very modest.

Robin Brown is modest. His tweet accepting our invitation to be the next featured Successful Brit in Toronto attests to that. He moved to Toronto in 2003 and is now Environics’ Senior Vice President of Consumer Insights and Cultural Markets (the SVPCICM for short).

He is also the co-author of Migration Nation about Canada’s multicultural markets. Here’s the trailer.

Apart from plugging his book to a worldwide audience of information-hungry British immigrants with money to burn who read Brits in Toronto, we also had some questions for him …

What made you decide to choose Toronto as a city of choice? Did you plan a permanent move, or wanted to “try it for a while and see how it goes” and it turned out to be longer than planned?

I had moved from the U.K. to Asia when I was in my mid-twenties and I ended up living there 10 years, meeting my wife and starting a family. The company I was working for was acquired by a global company and I approached them for a new role. I guess I shouldn’t say this here but I asked if there were any positions in the U.S. — but there weren’t. There was the position managing the Toronto office.

So you could say I did not choose Toronto. It chose me. And I am very glad it did. I love living here.

What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?

I was fortunate. I had a job here and came here on a work permit. I have acted as a mentor for newcomers seeking employment on behalf of Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)’s Mentoring for Change program and I am well aware of the challenges and the infamous “Canadian experience.” I believe it is often another way of saying, “I’m not really sure about you.”

What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?

I love Toronto. It’s a cliché but I love the diversity. My wife is Chinese and we agree that this is probably the best city in the world to raise our kids where they can feel entirely comfortable and be so connected to their twin identities. I like the values, the fact that basically if you’re nice and behave yourself you can do and be what you want. I think it is very respectful.

Also, I live near the waterfront and sometimes when I walk my dog on the beach I stop and wonder at how fortunate I am to live in a place like this.

The worst? Well you’re asking me on a day when it snowed in April so there’s that. I arrived in February and I remember in my early days eating lunch alone, sitting in a food court with my winter coat on, the floor grey with slushy footprints and thinking, “What have I done?”

And restaurants giving me a cup of lukewarm water with a tea bag on the side.

Do you make an effort to connect with other Brits in the city, or just meet them when chance allows it? Any recommended pubs/eateries/other places for homesick Brits to meet each other and network?

Not really. I was coming here from Asia so I’d already been away from home for 10 years. My neighbourhood (the Beaches) is very British. Places to meet? Not many. I remember a British colleague of mine complaining that if England won the World Cup (big if) we’d have nowhere like Little Italy to congregate and celebrate. The largest concentration of Brits I have come across would be Scallywags pub during any international rugby or football match.

A very active networking organization for ex-pats from all countries is InterNations.

Finally, I never fail to hear a British accent when I go to Cinamon Indian Bistro and I would advise any Brits nearby to go there. You may not meet anyone but they’ve got great food.

Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.

They’ve probably heard it already but my advice to those newcomers seeking employment is to network like crazy. Personal connection is important here. And while it is important to reach out beyond your community, do not be afraid to leverage connections with your fellow immigrants from the U.K. or wherever you are from.

Most of us here in Toronto are immigrants and I am always impressed with how willing people are to help those who have newly arrived if they can.

Fantastic — thank you Robin. Curries, pubs, lukewarm tea and a budget-conscious trailer for your book … this Successful Brits in Toronto post had it all!

Two good news stories about immigrants to Canada

During my 11 o’clock tea and choccy biccy break this morning I spotted two very interesting articles about skilled immigrants as it relates to Toronto and Ontario, courtesy of the brilliant Yonge Street website/e-newsletter.

Here they are:

TRIEC celebrates skilled immigrant mentors

Immigration isn’t just a matter of navigating clearly defined legal and employment constraints: getting your paperwork in order, re-credentialling, and so on. There is also a host of soft skills — cultural conventions and communication best practices, social insight and networking capacity — that anyone needs to successfully make a transition to a new country.

Helping skilled immigrants do just that: the mentors of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), who assisted 1,000 immigrants this past year via a program called The Mentoring Partnership. Mentors offer sector-specific advice (mentees and mentors are matched by occupation), but also help with the ephemeral, essential task of getting settled in a new work environment.

Full story.

Provincial and federal governments expanding opportunities for skilled immigrants

The Ontario Bridge Training Program assists skilled immigrants by providing support while they get their credentials, licenses, and professional certifications settled in their new home, and helping them find jobs in their fields once they have.

Recently, the provincial and federal governments announced that they will be “expanding and enhancing” the program over the next three years.

Details are right now scarce — representatives for Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration could not spell out any of the particulars — but we’re told that more announcements are coming soon. What we do know is that the province is putting $63.6 million into the program over three years, and the federal government is kicking in another $16.6 million; of that pot $15 million of provincial money is “additional support.”

Full story.

Cool job alert: Director, Employment Engagement at The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)

A resume may be more useful, but like your spunk

A resume may be more useful, but we like your spunk

One of the aims of this website is to try and help Brits find work in Toronto. That may sound easy, but it’s not. There’s loads of competition and, well, you may need the infamous Canadian experience too.

As an immigrant myself I have been through that journey, am doing OK for myself, and want to help others. No catch, honestly.

So, when my army of contacts across the city — OK, Fred from the pub — gets on the old dog and bone, bends my ear for a chinwag and lets me know about cool RELEVANT jobs, I will highlight them. Brits in Toronto is not Workopolis or Jobs in Toronto, and doesn’t want to be.

Here we go …

Director, Employment Engagement at The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)

From their website: TRIEC is a multi-stakeholder council that brings leadership together to create and champion solutions to better integrate skilled immigrants in the Toronto Region labour market. Founded by Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance in 2003, TRIEC is taking action on the underutilization of skilled immigrants’ education, talent and experience.

Here is the job itself. Sounds very cool; you will be helping immigrants find work opportunities. They may even hire a Brit!

The deadline to apply is Monday, October 14 at 5:00 p.m. — so get a bloody wriggle on!