Win-win scenario: qualified refugees help employers fill gaps in the labor market with labor mobility

Canada’s Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP), a labor mobility program for refugees, matches qualified refugees looking to rebuild their lives with employers looking to fill gaps in the labor market. This concept has been particularly successful in Canada’s long-term care sector. As part of the EMPP, hundreds of jobs have been filled, and hundreds of refugees and their families have found new homes after sometimes decades of waiting.

Bahati Maganjo, one of the first refugee candidates to relocate to Canada as part of the EMPP in 2021 and now Labor Mobility Advisor at RefugePoint, spoke on a panel last month at AdvantAge Ontario’s annual conference. The session, “Immigration Pathways to Build LTC (long term care) Workforce,” highlighted how two long-term care homes in rural Ontario looked outside of the province to meet their labor needs. Panelists discussed the benefits of and differences between the EMPP and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and how Canadian long term care homes have successfully used both programs to address significant staffing shortages.

The session also highlighted how employers could strategically plan to access these programs even with limited resources and how they could help to foster and support these workers to advance professionally and remain in their new communities.
“I look at my life right now and have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming,” says Bahati. “Labor mobility has been the opportunity I craved for a long time. It enabled me to win back my dignity and be a contributing member of society, and this has meant more to me than I can ever put into words.”
Since 2018, RefugePoint has been identifying qualified and experienced refugees in Kenya and connecting them to job opportunities with employers in Canada who are facing labor market shortages that cannot be met locally. Through its engagement with EMPP, RefugePoint aims to prepare around 100 candidates per year for job matches in Canada, putting them on a path to permanent residency that also offers a lasting solution to their displacement.
Photo above, left to right: Jonathan Caya, Personal Support Worker, Rainycrest Long-Term Care/Riverside Health Care; Romulos Cabanatan, Personal Support Worker, Rainycrest Long-Term Care/Riverside Health Care; Tara Morelli, Administrator, Rainycrest Long-Term Care/Riverside Health Care; Bahati Maganjo, EMPP Candidate and Labor Mobility Advisor, RefugePoint; Lara Dyer, Canada Director, Talent Beyond Boundaries (panel moderator); Steven Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, Tri-County Mennonite Homes.