Federal agencies should pay small business to hire immigrants, says a Privy Council think tank. Authorities yesterday would not comment on the proposal by Policy Horizons Canada to have taxpayers subsidize entry-level jobs for foreigners.
Staff in a report Feminist Government suggested cabinet fund a so-called Social Impact Bond to award cash grants to small and medium-sized sized businesses that give preferential hiring to immigrants and refugees. “The team decided on a focus that would reduce the number of immigrant and refugee women who are not making use of their qualifications and skills in their working lives in Canada,” wrote a ten-member panel that authored Feminist Government.
The study did not calculate the cost or benefits, or impact on young Canadian unemployed. Authors of the self-described “feminist government team” included employees with the departments of Foreign Affairs, Indigenous Affairs, Infrastructure and Labour, the National Research Council, Office for the Status of Women and Shared Services Canada.
“Working with our stakeholders including input from within government, the Feminist Government Team developed a primary intervention, a Feminist Newcomer Talent Hub for women, trans and non-binary people,” wrote staff.
“The Government of Canada could promote supporting newcomers with various skills and abilities by providing small and medium-sized businesses with financial incentives for hiring newcomers and supporting their professional development,” said Feminist Government. “An approach using Social Impact Bonds targeting small and medium-sized businesses could be designed to promote two outcomes. Employers would collaborate with third parties such as employment agencies to prepare and match newcomers with job opportunities to increase hiring of newcomers by small and medium-sized firms.”
“Employers would facilitate work-related learning opportunities for newcomers in their employ to be ‘laddered’ into higher-skilled jobs, turning their entry-level positions into launch pads for career paths,” said the report; “A monetary value would be assigned to each outcome, to be paid to the employer on completion, and a third-party evaluator would monitor the number of successful outcomes.”
The proposal followed consultation with “over fifty experts”, said staff. None were named. The Privy Council yesterday would not say whether any business groups or taxpayers’ advocates were asked for comment.
The Department of Immigration in 2017 data submitted to the Commons immigration committee estimated 90 percent of Syrian refugees let into Canada remained unemployed. The per capita cost of government sponsorship was $26,000 compared to $13,500 for refugees with private sponsorships, by official estimate.