Canada: more help needed for English-speaking minorities

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Dec 12 21:00:38 UTC 2006

Forwarded from edling-list
 Tuesday  December 12  2006

More job help needed for English-speaking minorities, study finds

Montreal Gazette Monday, December 11, 2006

Mentoring programs, easier access to capital and more language training
are needed to help eliminate barriers to good jobs and self-employment
faced by English-speaking Montrealers from cultural communities and
visible minorities. Those are among recommendations in a new report
commissioned by Youth Employment Services, an organization that helps
English-speaking Quebecers under 35 find jobs and launch small businesses
The 72-page study was made public Monday. For the report, researcher Jack
Jedwab. looked at statistics, polls and previous research. He also
surveyed 175 job-seekers, potential entrepreneurs, community leaders,
business people and human resources specialists.

Focus groups were also conducted. Among the biggest barriers cited by the
jobless and those considering self-employment are access to capital and
French-language skills, Jedwab told a news conference. Most respondents
spoke French, but Jedwab said the language problem may relate to the
quality of their French. Twenty-six per cent of those Jedwab surveyed said
it is very difficult to find work under current economic conditions.

But when asked about finding a job in their field of expertise, the number
who said very difficult jumped to 34 per cent. Its not difficult to find a
job if you want a job at, say, McDonalds or Wal-Mart or something like
that those types of jobs are available, Jedwab said. The real challenge is
finding employment that is consistent with your background, skills and
aspirations. Self-employment in particular should be encouraged because it
has a beneficial effect on communities, he said. Entrepreneurship within a
given community contributes to overall economic well-being of the
community over time. Communities with low ratios of entrepreneurs tend to
have lower overall average income.

The report in which cultural communities are defined as groups of people
who describe their ancestry as being from a particular ethnic group offers
recommendations related to:

 Networking: more interaction is needed between successful entrepreneurs
and those considering self-employment.

 Role models should also be used to create mentoring programs.

 Access to capital: info about micro-lending, community grants and
government support programs must be more effectively disseminated to
English-speaking Quebecers.

 Discrimination: governments should set an example by ensuring proper
representation from ethnocultural communities and visible minorities on
bodies that (distribute) capital for start-up projects.

 Language training: more money should be spent on providing language
training. Education: entrepreneurship training should be funded.

Iris Unger, executive director of Youth Employment Services, said the
study confirms her organization is on the right track in focusing a lot of
effort on networking events for employers and potential recruits.

She said the report will help guide planning for YES, which is funded by
the federal and provincial governments, as well as through private

We know that one of the things we need to have more of is role models from
cultural communities and visible minority communities, she said. Unger
said she hopes the study generates more awareness and dialogue about
hurdles faced by English-speaking Quebecers from visible minorities and
cultural communities, The study and more info about Youth Employment
Services are available at


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