As Syrian refugees begin to settle in the city, Mayor Naheed Nenshi sent a reminder to business owners on Wednesday.
“(Make) sure when you’re hiring people that you get rid of those dirty words ‘Canadian Experience’ from your hiring criteria – that you ensure you’re giving people that fair shake,” said the mayor, during his address to the chamber of commerce.
Calgary Catholic Immigration Society CEO Fariborz Birjandian said on the whole, businesses in this city are good about hiring new Canadians.
“We have a great business community – they are quite receptive to newcomers,” he said.
Part of that stems from when the economy was booming. Employers had no choice but to focus on skills.
Birjandian said even now, with unemployment at 6 per cent, the opportunities are out there.
“It's not as bad as people think, actually,” he said. “Entry level jobs, there are still a lot available. And that's what most refugees would look for in the beginning.
Birjandian said new Canadians have a lot of resources they can tap into once they arrive, especially refugees.
But more importantly, he said the companies are willing to hire.
“Most companies have established that diversity is a good thing – I wouldn’t say that 20 years ago,” he said.
Although the mayor was reminding businesses to diversify their workforce, a Metro story earlier this year found the City of Calgary doesn't accurately track diversity among its 20,000-plus employees, though it is working on a solution.