Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada Commends World Skills for Providing Employment Support to Immigrants in Ottawa

ABOVE: Catherine Scott, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Settlement and Integration Sector at Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) speaking at World Skills Employment Centre’s 25th anniversary celebration ceremony on Thursday, May 25th at the Preston Events Centre. (Photo: Matt Van der velde)

(Ottawa, ON) – Over 300 people joined World Skills Employment Centre recently to celebrate its 25-year journey of connecting immigrants to employment in Ottawa, while also helping employers meet their labor market demands.

Among those in attendance on Thursday, May 25, were Catherine Scott, the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Settlement and Integration Sector at Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), MPP for Ottawa Centre, Joel Harden, employers across the city as well as other settlement organizations.

Speaking at the celebratory event, Assistant Deputy Minister Scott, congratulated World Skills for the work it has done to connect immigrants to employment and provide support through a wide range of programs.

ADM Scott said she is, “inspired by the enthusiasm and genuine support for all the work and contributions [World Skills] made in the space of newcomer employment over more than 25 years!” She added, “Immigration remains vital to our economy, our communities, and our national identity as a country that is diverse and welcoming of everyone.” She noted that currently, immigration accounts for as much as 90% of labour force growth in Canada, and approximately 75% of population growth. “The ongoing importance of immigration is well understood by everyone present here. Immigrants have contributed to Canada’s economy, filling employer needs in every sector, high tech, construction, health care, education, as well as shaping our social and cultural fabric.”

“This is evident through the Government of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025, where Canada aims to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents this year, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. And of course, these newcomers are assisted by ongoing supports funded through IRCC’s Settlement Program, and delivered by organizations such as World Skills,” Scott noted.

ABOVE: MPP for Ottawa Centre, Joel Harden speaking at World Skills’ 25th anniversary celebration. (Photo: Matt Van der velde)


For his part, MPP for Ottawa Centre, Joel Harden echoed similar sentiments, congratulating World Skills for the work the organization has done to address the needs of the workforce while simultaneously improving the lives of newcomers. “This is a great journey and achievement and World Skills has provided a solution to the growing demands of the workforce. Your have been a “solutionary” and I implore everyone one to do the same in their daily lives to create solutions similar to what World Skills has done over these 25 years.”

Executive Director at World Skills, Mengistab Tsegaye said, “it’s hard to capture everything the organization has done over the past 25 years but I am elated about the impact World Skills has had on the lives of newcomers in Ottawa and the Canadian workforce. To date, over 40,000 newcomers have benefited from our pre-employment and bridge training programs and over 15,000 newcomers secured employment. Additionally, over 500 employers are connected to our programs by participating in targeted recruitment events, coaching events or hiring talent directly from us, and over 1000 newcomers have accessed paid internship placements with over 50 federal departments.”

Attendees also got an opportunity to hear from four former and present clients who benefited significantly from World Skills’ services and were able to secure employment and also start businesses. One of the speakers, Celina Bernal implored employers to, “not be afraid of accents” when describing some of the challenges newcomers encounter on their job search journey. “We are qualified. We want to work and we bring a lot of experience and education. Do not be afraid of accents, but rather utilize the skills we bring to Canada.” Bernal urged.

ABOVE: (L-R): MPP, Ottawa Centre, Joel Harden, Board of Directors at World Skills, Kenny Leon, Sharon Kan, Abdirazak Karod, Mengistab Tsegaye, Myriam Mekni, Catherine Scott, Assistant Deputy Minister of the Settlement and Integration Sector at Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Board President, Carl Nicholson and Mary Roman (also a board director).


During the celebratory ceremony, the organization recognized employers for being champions of global talents and partnering with World Skills to deliver programs that directly impact newcomer integration into the Canadian labor market. The institutions that were recognized as “Employer Champions” are: TD Bank, RBC Royal Bank and Accenture. World Skills also recognized their employees for long service to the organization.

About World Skills:

World Skills Employment Centre was founded in 1997 by Local Agencies Serving Immigrants (LASI), a coalition of settlement agencies in Ottawa. It is a non-profit organization that is dedicated exclusively to the employment needs of immigrants and to the needs of the local labour market. The organization helps immigrants incorporate into the workforce through employment competency building, job search training and support, cultural competency building and language training. Through key federal, provincial and community partnerships, World Skills has been a leader in connecting talented, globally-trained immigrants to employment in Ontario, while simultaneously helping employers meet their labour market needs . Each year, they serve up to 3,000 immigrants in Ottawa by providing tailored employment support that spans many areas. This includes pre-arrival services, job search and readiness, workplace language training, entrepreneurship, employer engagement and our flagship Federal Internship for Newcomers Program (FINP).