Immigrant Employment Councils (IECs) – A “Made-in-Canada” Career Solution

Immigrants Employment Councils (IECs) have been formed right across Canada to bring together local stakeholders to address the many challenges of integrating skilled immigrants into the labour market. IECs are organizations that typically complement rather than compete with existing immigrant programs and services and most often are employer-led councils.

In some cities, IECs convene multi-stakeholder working groups including employers, community organizations, post-secondary institutions, assessment service providers, labour, immigrant professional associations, and all three levels of government to address immigrant employment issues.

IECs take on different mandates but generally they take on the following roles:

  • A catalyst or provider of immigrant employment programs and services
  • An information clearinghouse & referral service
  • A provider of communication and awareness about the benefits of hiring immigrants
  • A catalyst to strengthen relations between government ministries, industry groups, and the private-public-nonprofit sectors

Back in 2003, the first Immigrant Employment Council (the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council , known as TRIEC) was formed and since that time eight other cities have followed suit and created their very own IECs, including one in Edmonton (the Edmonton Region Immigrant Employment Council, known as ERIEC).

Thanks in part to foundations such as Maytree and the McConnell Foundation’s ALLIES Program (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies), cities are connected through a pan-Canadian network that helps to support the development of these IECs, as well as their programs and services.

Interestingly, no two IECs across Canada are alike! Each IEC determines the model that is right for its city. The growth process is organic and true to the particular nuances of each community.

ERIEC and Immigrant Professionals

With aging demographics, low birth rates and an increasingly global marketplace, many cities across Canada are recognizing how important it is that immigrants choosing to settle in their communities find employment commensurate with their education and experience.

IECs in various cities across Canada have been established to help address the many challenges of integrating skilled immigrants into the labour market including:

  • Lack of professional networks for new Canadians
  • Lack of opportunities to gain Canadian work experience
  • Recognition of international qualifications (work experience and education)
  • Lack of access to workplace language training
  • Lack of coordination between government support, programs and services
  • Lack of awareness on the part of employers of the benefits of hiring immigrants

ERIEC is an industry-led not-for-profit organization that is ‘dedicated to ensuring immigrants become fully integrated in the local labour market’. Edmonton is in the fortunate position of being home to many new skilled immigrants, whose education and training have the potential to significantly enrich the local business community.

Established in 2008, ERIEC works to provide information to employers regarding capacity building and resources to recruit, integrate and retain internationally trained workers. In 2009, ERIEC launched their Career Mentorship program which has proven to be very effective when it comes to the integration of new residents. Volunteer professional ‘mentors’ assist ‘mentees’ to become more efficient in their job search strategies and help them to improve their job readiness by introducing them to Canadian workplace norms, professional networks and providing advice related to their chosen professions.

ERIEC is committed to providing creative career solutions to internationally trained professionals and to assisting Edmonton’s employers to derive the competitive business advantages of tapping into the global workforce. These new residents are here, highly motivated and want to put their skills and expertise to work – just like Canadian-born residents.

ERIEC is here to help make this happen in the Edmonton region!

For more information about ERIEC at its programs, visit ERIEC’s website:

Get involved!

Build the careers of skilled immigrants and promote a global perspective in Edmonton's business community.