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Seven innovative initiatives across Canada focus on surfacing novel solutions for newcomer integration

June 26, 2023

While immigration is responsible for as much as 90% of Canada’s labour force growth, our research shows that newcomer skills and experiences continue to be underutilized, indicating a missed opportunity for these individuals and the country more broadly.

We are supporting innovative approaches to enhance newcomer integration in the labour market by investing $2M in seven pilot projects across Canada through our Incubation Network initiative housed under the work of the Innovation Lab. We are working alongside projects to advance strategies that make the most of the talent in Canada and expand on our current insights on leveraging the skills of newcomers. 

Several of the projects explore a systems change approach that builds on the work of service providers and stakeholders while others support newcomers to acquire or leverage their existing skills to succeed in the Canadian labour market. We are convening these projects to share learnings, build peer connections across the sector, and identify additional opportunities to enhance newcomer integration in the Canadian economy. This is part of our commitment to support skills development organizations with more than funding and to uncover new ways to further innovation in skills development and the labour market. 

The seven projects are:

de Sedulous Women Leaders (Alberta)

The organization will implement an accelerator program connecting Black newcomer women entrepreneurs with big-box retailers across Canada. In addition, it will establish a physical space for these entrepreneurs to develop and showcase their products. 

DMZ (Ontario)

This world-leading tech Incubator will establish a new program for newcomer founders launching tech startups, building on DMZ’s expertise while tailoring support specifically for newcomers on the business fundamentals of launching a startup in Canada.  

KEYS (Ontario)

KEYS will facilitate a collaborative process with newcomers and key service organizations, generating ideas for a more inclusive and welcoming service delivery model for newcomers and underrepresented groups. 

Newfoundland Workforce Innovation Centre (NLWIC) (Newfoundland and Labrador)

NLWIC is building on lessons from their existing innovation project that tests an early-stage initiative focused on improving the perception, reputation, and long-term attractiveness of the Burin Peninsula region to newcomers. Lessons will be shared with other regions across the province.

North Forge (Manitoba)

North Forge is introducing a new initiative for newcomers, especially women entrepreneurs with a background in technology. Recognizing the obstacles faced by this group, North Forge created an international virtual program that is open to individuals in Canada and abroad and offers resources such as on-demand webinars, micro-credentials, and roundtables.

PurposeCo (Ontario)

PurposeCo will engage stakeholders within a specific profession to develop systemic change aimed at advancing newcomer integration.The project will be informed by evidence, result in a pilot plan, and prioritize regions outside of Ontario. 

RADIUS (British Columbia)

RADIUS will co-develop and pilot an equity-centred regional social enterprise and social impact accelerator, primarily serving racialized founders, leaders, and teams. This project builds upon RADIUS’ existing effort to better serve racialized and newcomer change makers and innovators.

FSC’s Incubation Network, under the Innovation Lab, is an initiative to enhance our reach and support for new approaches in skills development by convening projects to surface out-of-the-ordinary solutions and share a common purpose. The current work of the Network is focused on the theme of newcomer integration with the possibility to explore future themes going forward.

To learn more, visit www.fsc-ccf.ca/the-innovation-lab