OLIP Newsletter

City of Ottawa Professional Internship for Newcomers (PIN) Program

In the spring of 2013, the first-ever Professional Internship for Newcomers (PIN) Program was launched by the City of Ottawa. This initiative further reinforces the strong commitment and political will by the City leadership to promote meaningful opportunities for effective integration of newcomers in Ottawa, aligned with the goals of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy (OIS). Notably, City of Ottawa has institutionalized its endorsement of the OIS by incorporating its goals in City Council’s Strategic Priorities, and by the consequent development of the City Immigration Strategy.

The purpose of the paid professional internship program in the municipal government is to provide meaningful Canadian work experience to qualified newcomers, and at the same time allowing various Departments of the City to benefit from a pre-screened, qualified and experienced talent pool.

The current job market in Ottawa suffers from a lack of information exchange between available newcomer talent and employers. The PIN Program collaborates with the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) – Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Program, the Ottawa Job Match Network (OJMN) and the City’s Employment Centres to draw qualified candidates from their existing newcomer talent pools.

Bev Dewan, Manager, Resourcing and Talent Management at the City of Ottawa explains that the PIN initiative has emerged through a true community collaboration and knowledge-sharing process. The City has had a longstanding partnership with Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO), LASI WorldSkills, and Ottawa Job Match Network (OJMN), fostered by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) process.

Through this association they first heard about the FIN Program run by CIC at the HIO Employer Summit in 2011. The synergies were apparent of having a similar internship program at the municipal level to support the City’s diversity strategy directed at new immigrants. The idea of the PIN initiative was started and discussions with the CIC, OJMN and other community partners followed to establish the current model of the municipal internship program.

To date, the program has resulted in four internships within the City’s Human Resources Department to fill temporary assignments and the program continues to be widely advertised internally at the City. “We are very impressed with the calibre of the candidates and we are optimistic about expansion of the program into other departments,” says Bev Dewan.

The City of Ottawa’s PIN initiative showcases leadership, strategic vision and true community partnerships to promote the economic integration of newcomers that serves as a role model for other public and private employers.

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Issue 2: November 2013

The current issue of the OLIP PIN Newsletter focuses on the economic integration of immigrants. The articles feature good practices in the community to remove systemic barriers to access good jobs, such as new local initiatives providing internships, supports for those interested in self-employment, perspectives on the remaining challenges and ways to address them, as well as policy updates from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. News, events, tips…