Building Equitable Employment

What employers in Whistler said…

The majority of their workforces (some estimating 80-90%) were immigrant workers.


Key benefits and positive outcomes from a diverse workforce

  • long-term career outcomes for immigrant workers
  • improved business and workplace practices
  • immigrant workers tended to be hardworking, dedicated and reliable and bring lots of energy and passion
  • diverse skills, experience and perspectives leading to innovation and better practices and processes

Key challenges

  • Intercultural communication (e.g. how a conversation is interpreted)
  • Cultural differences in expectations, work ethic, understanding of rules and regulations, sense of humor (and what’s appropriate), and general adaptation to how things ‘work’ in Canada.
  • Language barriers (this was mentioned by four employers however the majority noted this was not a serious challenge and easily managed)
  • Immigration processes – complex questions as well as heightened stress/uncertainty
  • Housing and affordability / long-term viability of living in Whistler

Long term vs. short term employment

  • Six out of ten employers recruited immigrant workers with the intention of long-term employment.

language ability often impacted the position offered, with people with lower levels of English offered non-customer facing roles

What working effectively with immigrants from different cultures looks like

  • Open dialogue without judgement (and more of it!) and active listening
  • Clear expectations, rules and regulations
  • Thorough orientation training
  • Embracing other cultures / diversity viewed as an asset
  • Cultural competency and checking assumptions
  • Being open to different ideas and ways of doing things
  • Inclusive hiring and recruitment strategies – reviewing job descriptions and requirements, focusing on soft skills rather than technical qualifications or experience, interview techniques, addressing unconscious bias
  • Empathy – putting yourself in their shoes/understanding about adjusting to life in a new country