The HIO Initiative
Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) is a community-based initiative that brings together employers, immigrant agencies and stakeholders to enhance employers’ ability to access the talents of skilled immigrants in the Ottawa area. The initiative was launched in 2006 as a response to a growing need to identify and address barriers faced by employers in the hiring and integration of skilled immigrants into the labour force.
Changing demographics are having an impact on businesses in Ottawa and many other Canadian municipalities. The workforce is shrinking as unprecedented numbers of workers retire and fewer new workers enter the labour market. Demand for skilled labour is growing, signalling impending labour shortages. At the same time, Ottawa is becoming home to a greater proportion of Canada’s immigrants. Yet local employers are finding that it’s not always a simple matter to recruit and retain skilled immigrants as part of their workforce.
Objective and Approach
HIO’s objective is to increase the capacity of employers in the Ottawa region to effectively integrate skilled immigrants into the local workforce. This objective is being achieved through a multi-pronged approach that includes:
- An Employer Council of Champions featuring senior executives from top Ottawa employers that champions the integration of skilled immigrants into the labour force;
- Sector Working Groups that address systemic barriers in their respective sectors; and
- A local awareness initiative that promotes greater understanding of the social and economic value that immigrants bring to Ottawa.
Lead partners of Hire Immigrants Ottawa:
- City of Ottawa
- LASI World Skills Inc. (a coalition of Local Agencies Serving Immigrants)
- Le Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale (RGA)
- Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI)
- Ottawa Chamber of Commerce
- United Way/Centraide Ottawa – host of the HIO Secretariat
Hire Immigrants Ottawa is a project of the Internationally Trained Workers Partnership (ITWP), a collaboration of community stakeholders established in 2002 to develop a locally coordinated approach to integrate immigrants more effectively into Ottawa's labour market. To learn more, read the ITWP/HIO Story.