When DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, an agency based in British Columbia, began its newest program, a grant to assist newcomers, it targeted women.
Launched in November 2021, the grant is designed to assist women in recertifying, completing qualifying examinations, or evaluating their credentials so they can continue working in their chosen professions in Canada.
It is a common enough story amongst immigrants; the lengthy, costly, and often complex process of having professional qualifications evaluated or obtaining licenses that facilitate a smooth transition into the Canadian workforce can be discouraging. Many newcomers tend to give up careers they are trained or qualified in, owing to various barriers they encounter, such as the high costs of evaluating their credentials or obtaining the necessary license to practice.
In most cases, where both partners need recertification or credentialing, considering all other expenses involved in starting over in Canada, only one of them would go through the process; more often than not, it would be the male.
Tina Balachandran, Manager, Employment Projects at DIVERSEcity told Immigrant Muse, that “newcomers to Canada face multiple barriers to integrate into the Canadian labour market and the social structure. Newcomer and racialized women, in particular, are disproportionately represented in the workforce. We intentionally wanted to support women who are interested in pursuing their pre-arrival career in Canada. We are grateful to Coast Capital for providing the funds and collaborating with DIVERSEcity on this initiative.”
The one-time grant of up to a maximum of $1000 per eligible candidate covers professional licensing fees and registration costs to prepare for an examination or a skill proficiency test. Balachandran explained that DIVERSEcity “offers and executes the program in collaboration with Coast Capital, to compliment other provincially funded programs in the community.”
Funding for the program is available until June 2022. Given the many inquiries DIVERSEcity has received from applicants, the Agency is hopeful for future funding to serve more applicants.
Eligible applicants should have arrived in Canada within the last five years, be thirty years or older, live in British Columbia, and be associated with an existing program offered to immigrants through Career Path or the Work BC Centre.
Applicants for the grant will have their eligibility assessed and receive a decision within five to ten days of submitting their application. DIVERSEcity will reimburse approved applicants for recertification costs after providing proof of registration or payment. At the time of publishing this article, the program has already received 30 applications.
DIVERSEcity has been operating for nearly 42 years in British Columbia, operating both in Surrey and the Lower Mainland. The Agency supports newcomers, youth, skilled immigrants, and diverse community members to carve a niche for themselves – helping them meet their family’s settlement needs or find employment. The Agency also provides services in violence prevention and mental health. To learn more about their services, visit their website.