Speaking notes for Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship: New pilot to Address Multiple Barriers to Success for Women in Canada’s Job Market


Etobicoke, Ontario
December 5, 2018

As Delivered

Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to be here with you. I know this community very well. It’s a very wonderful community and what makes Etobicoke North such an amazing, dynamic community is the strong women who are here.

I know from personal experience. In this very room, I was part of a town hall many years ago for mothers, fighting very hard to improve the quality of education for their children. So I know how engaged citizens are in this riding of Etobicoke North and I’m honored that you would host us, myself and Ministers Monsef and Duncan, in this riding. Thank you.

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the fact that we’re on the traditional territory of the Mississauga of the New Credit and the Haudenosaunee.

Ladies and gentlemen, when newcomers succeed in our communities, we all win.

Over the years, highly skilled and driven immigrant women have come to Canada with their ideas, with their talents, with their passion for hard work and giving back to their community, and these women have become leaders in all fields, in all walks of like, including in business, politics, the arts, science and technology. Some of these immigrant women are now also among Canada’s leading entrepreneurs, who have employed thousands and thousands of other Canadians and, in the process, created prosperity for all of us here in Canada.

But, as much as we can speak about the achievements of newcomer women in Canada, the reality is that all women in Canada continue to face barriers towards their success – whether it is in employment, at the workplace, or whether it is trough entrepreneurship and that is why the work of Minister Monsef and the government is extremely important to ensure that women have an equal chance in this society.

This is especially true for visible minority newcomer women, who are more likely than other women to be unemployed and more likely than newcomer men to be unemployed. And so, for these visible minority newcomer women, and for those who are employed, they also consistently earn less than other newcomer groups. So in addition to gender-based discrimination, these visible minority newcomer women face other barriers to their employment, such as race-based discrimination. They also face additional challenges towards their success such as fewer social service supports or lack of affordable child care as examples. So as a government and as a democratic society, you would agree with me, that it is our responsibility to promote equal opportunities for everyone.

Because it is only through the success and the realization of the full potential of everyone that we can succeed as a country and reach our full potential. If some of us are not given the opportunity to succeed and realize their own potential, then we fail collectively as a society.

We often tell newcomers that Canada is a country where anything is possible. Where, if you have a vision, you can achieve your dreams.

Unfortunately, for many visible minority newcomer women, we’re finding that this is simply not true. As a government and as a society, this is something that we must absolutely address and we must address that now. After all, having a job isn’t just about making an economic contribution to your community and your country, it’s also about providing someone with a sense of dignity, and belonging and purpose.

And for all these reasons, I’m very pleased to announce that today we’re launching a new pilot program that will address the specific barriers faced by visible minority women towards their employment.

As of today, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is launching an expression of interest process for new service providers that are not currently funded by our department.

It gets better. IRCC will now provide funding for up to seven million dollars for new innovative programs and services that support visible minority women to access the labor market. Better yet, we will also aim to help build the capacity of smaller organizations that serve or are led by visible minority women.

And this is important because, we all know in our communities, that some of the most hard working, much needed and critical services are provided by organizations that are small, that would like to do more, but need a little bit of help with capacity-building. We hear that all the time and we’ve listened.

In addition to that, ladies and gentlemen, finally, with funding of up to an extra five million dollars, IRCC will amend our existing contribution agreements of select service providing organizations, and this funding will increase the capacity of organizations such as the Rexdale Women’s Centre.

The five million dollars from IRCC will enable organizations like the Rexdale Women’s Centre to increase their capacity, and expand their employment services and the needs that they’re able to address for visible minority newcomer women. This exciting three-year pilot program will offer direct support and services for newcomer minority women as they get ready for the Canadian workforce, look for jobs and develop their careers in whatever fields that they’re interested in.

This pilot will not only help improve the employment prospects for visible minority newcomer women, it will also support their career advancement, ensuring their long-term success in Canada’s labor market.

Ladies and gentlemen, the government of Canada recognizes that immigration is key to our continued success as a nation.

I’m proud that our Departments are able to make a real difference in the lives of visible minority newcomer women.

Thank you very much.

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