Breaking Barriers: How Companies Can Support Newcomers in the Workplace

Despite Canada’s reputation as a welcoming and inclusive country, many newcomers still face significant barriers to employment, including language barriers, lack of Canadian work experience, and discrimination.

Helping newcomers to feel comfortable and get up to speed in the workplace is vital for any organization. Every new hire should feel welcomed, supported, and adequately prepared for their new role. Inadequate onboarding or an unwelcoming atmosphere can quickly sour a new team member’s experience of the workplace. An unhappy employee can quickly feel confused and disheartened and, in some cases, may quickly move on.

Why is effective onboarding so important?

Integrating new employees is a vital part of attracting and retaining the best talent in your organization. When new employees are immigrants to the country, the onboarding process takes on an added importance. Not only will they be adjusting to working life with a new company, but they will also be adapting to a different country, culture and customs.  

By providing new employees with the tools, resources, and support they need to succeed in their roles, organizations can reduce turnover, increase productivity, improve employee engagement, enhance performance, and strengthen their brand. The support given should reflect the particular needs of the employee, which in the case of newcomers to Canada may involve a number of core skills that other employees take for granted.

With labour shortages across a number of key sectors and industries, Canadian employers and government agencies are working together to fill vacancies. Employer support will increase the chances of newcomers making a successful transition not only in the workplace but into Canadian society in general.

Building Language Confidence

Many employers who recognize the diverse nature of the Canadian workforce already provide access to language training and other resources to help newcomers strengthen their English or French. This benefits the employer and also helps newcomers build their confidence and communicate with colleagues and customers.


Mentorship and coaching programs can help newcomers navigate the Canadian workplace culture, learn about workplace expectations and norms, and develop their professional skills. By connecting newcomers with experienced mentors or coaches, companies can help them build their networks and feel more supported in their new work environment.

Mentorship will strengthen bonds within the company, helping newcomers to the workplace feel connected, and develop a sense of loyalty and shared endeavour. By doing so, companies can ultimately enjoy the rewards.

Valuing Diversity & Inclusion

One of Canada’s great strengths is its diversity. This gives the country a global perspective, with ties right across the planet and brings a breadth of perspective to the workforce. By embracing and celebrating this diversity, companies can better understand the needs of their customers and communities.

Diverse teams can lead to improved problem-solving and decision-making, as team members bring different experiences and knowledge to the table. From the outset, newcomers to the company should be given opportunities to contribute and share their perspectives. This will enable them to feel part of the team and also enable businesses to get a fresh angle on how they approach their activities.

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