Toronto Event Matches Refugee Job Candidates with Employers

TORONTO, Oct. 20, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Toronto Refugee Hiring Event will provide newcomer refugees and other forcibly displaced individuals with the opportunity to be hired by leading employers in the Greater Toronto Area. The event is sponsored by Starbucks Canada and organized by Jumpstart Refugee Talent and World Education Services in partnership with Acces Employment, Achev, Christie Refugee Welcome Centre, CIBC, City of Toronto, COSTI, New Canadians, OTEC, Tent Partnership for Refugees, WoodGreen Community Services, YMCA GTA, and The Diversity Institute.

Interviewees who attend Refugee Hiring Events often receive on-the-spot job offers. Some 70% of attendees at the 2022 Toronto Refugee Hiring Event and 85% of those at a June 2023 Moncton event received either job offers or invitations to a second round of interviews. The rest obtained one-on-one coaching to improve their interviewing skills. Some 1,161 applicants have registered for today’s event.

“Moving to an unfamiliar country and starting over can be overwhelming for refugees and other newcomers,” said the Honourable Ratna Omidvar, co-chair of the Refugee Jobs Agenda Roundtable, the interagency initiative that has designed and launched a series of these hiring events. “And we all know finding a first job can be especially challenging. The Refugee Hiring Event brings together multiple partners and creates a platform for candidates to meet employers as well as find additional support.”

Canada remains a top destination for people seeking safe haven from war, violence, and climate disaster. Many of these newcomers arrive ready to put their work experience and skills to use; however, barriers – including lack of Canadian work experience – impede their ability to get good jobs.

“Far too many forcibly displaced people across Canada struggle to find employment,” said Shamira Madhany, deputy executive director, WES and managing director, Canada. “Meanwhile, employers are struggling with labour shortages. The Refugee Hiring Event is helping to bridge the gap by connecting refugees with opportunities and connecting employers with untapped talent.” 

Effective models for refugee hiring have been in development for some years. “Starbucks Canada is committed to investing in the communities it serves and providing equal opportunity,” said Ross Anderson, head of social impact, public policy and sustainability at Starbucks Canada. “Our experience designing and implementing a hiring model that addresses the unique needs of refugee applicants since 2017 gives us great confidence that employers and community organizations across Canada can significantly improve the experience of candidates looking for meaningful work and the experience of employers seeking to fill open roles.”

The Refugee Jobs Agenda Roundtable, which envisions Refugee Hiring Events as replicable, has created a guide designed to inform and support municipalities, community agencies, and employers seeking to host their own versions of these specialized hiring events.

“This innovative hiring event model is capturing the attention of municipal governments across Canada who are interested in collaborative community-building, allowing newly settling refugee residents to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, while making it easier for local employers to fill labour gaps. The outcomes are overwhelmingly in Canada’s economic favour as we march into the future,” said Darrell Pinto, director of employment at Jumpstart Refugee Talent, which takes the lead role in ensuring that refugee job candidates are prepared for success at the event.

“The annual Refugee Hiring Event opens doors and creates bridges, showcasing the talent and potential of refugees and those who have been displaced. Empowering people isn't just an act of compassion, it’s an investment in resilience, diversity, and the strength of Toronto,” said Mayor Olivia Chow, speaking about the event.

The Refugee Hiring Event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 20, at Metro Hall in downtown Toronto; 27 prominent employers are participating, including Starbucks Canada, Bell, CIBC, and Sobeys, to hire for over 70 roles.

Members of the press are welcome to attend the Toronto Refugee Hiring Event. WES’ Shamira Madhany and representatives of partner organizations participating at the event, including Jumpstart Refugee Talent’s Darrell Pinto, will be available for media interviews from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

To learn more about the Refugee Jobs Agenda Roundtable, please visit

About the Refugee Jobs Agenda Roundtable

Co-chaired by the Honourable Ratna Omidvar, Rashmi Vohra (TD Bank Group), and Jim Estill (Danby Appliances), the Refugee Jobs Agenda Roundtable offers a platform for employers, employment and immigrant-serving agencies, and government representatives to convene with a goal to increase refugees’ access to employment opportunities that utilize the talent and skills they bring to Canada. Since it was established in 2015, the Roundtable has planned and executed multiple practical, employment-focused initiatives to support the connection of refugees to employment opportunities.

About Jumpstart Refugee Talent

Jumpstart Refugee Talent is a national refugee-led non-profit organization serving refugees seeking meaningful economic inclusion. Founded in 2016, we focus on the economic empowerment of refugees settling in Canada by facilitating meaningful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup.

About World Education Services

World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise that supports the educational, economic, and social inclusion of immigrants, refugees, and international students. From evaluating academic credentials to shaping policy, designing programs, and providing philanthropic funding, we partner with a diverse set of organizations, leaders, and networks to uplift individuals and drive systems change.

For more information, contact Mehr Tiwana, Senior Manager Social Impact Communications, World Education Services. E: T: +1.416.972.5056