Model 4: Building Canadian Work Experience

Key components in Building Canadian Work Experience


The Building Canadian Work Experience model is designed to create paid short-term jobs to assist unemployed newcomer refugee women gain meaningful work experience with organizations. The intent of the model is to offer “on-the-job” language practice and experience in a Canadian workplace. Specifically, this model consists of a short employment readiness training and a 3-month work placement. Participating employers are eligible for a wage subsidy to cover part of the employee wages.

The approach is aimed at enhancing the participant’s employability readiness, skills, workplace culture knowledge and network by providing a Canadian work experience opportunity. This is especially valuable if the newcomer women have been unemployed for a long time or have never worked in Canada.


The intervention is designed for newcomer refugee women who are receiving social assistance benefits. This is a group fairly distant from the labour market; many only have secondary education or less.


This model consists of four key components:


• A short employment readiness training for participating women before their internships to help prepare them for the placement and to enhance their essential skills.


• A 3-month paid internship that can be part-time or full-time (30 or more hours per week). Approved organizations will receive funding to pay the salaries and benefits of participants in these short-term work placements.


• An organization responsible for coordinating and managing intake and referrals of participants, including assessing the needs and abilities of the referrals and aligning the women with the right work placement opportunities. It also provides support to the women and organizations during the placement period, as well as help with the transition afterwards to other programs or services as needed.


A committee reviews submitted work placement opportunities to ensure that they meet project requirements and their plan to provide a “meaningful” work experience and build skills. Meaningful is defined by the project partners.


This model is currently being tested by ISANS and YWCA Metro Vancouver.