Three organizations in Southwestern New Brunswick awarded for being the Newcomer Employment Champions

Saint John, NB — The YMCA of Southwestern New Brunswick’s Newcomer Connections hosted the second annual Newcomer Employment Champions [NEC] Gala on Friday, March 22, at the Delta Hotels by Marriott, Saint John. Representatives from more than 25 organizations attended the [NEC] Gala to celebrate the employers who took a step beyond the Intercultural Competency Training to support newcomers to grow and thrive in their organizations, thus becoming an employer of choice for newcomers.

“I would like to congratulate all the employers who have participated in the [NEC] program and continue to support newcomers in their organization,” said Shilo Boucher, President & CEO, YMCA of Southwestern New Brunswick. “Our YMCA continues to be an advocate for creating a more diverse, inclusive, caring, and welcoming community for all newcomers and is dedicated to supporting newcomers from all walks of life to settle in our region. I thank all the organizations in the community who partner with us to welcome newcomers, and we look forward to continuing to work together.”

To recognize their commitment and for effectively implementing the recommended best practices, nine organizations in Southwestern New Brunswick were nominated in three Newcomer Employment Champions [NEC] Awards categories. Our 2024 nominees were: J.D. Irving, Limited (JDI) – Construction and Equipment companies, Envision Saint John, OSCO Construction Group, HydroKleen Saint John, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work (CCRW), Senior Watch Inc., Homestar Group, Kindred Homecare, Crosby Molasses Co Ltd. The [NEC] Awards volunteer selection committee had the final say in determining the winners.

This year’s [NEC] Advocacy Award recipient is Crosby Foods LTD. for their community impact, workplace integration, rapid implementation of their recommendations and employer settlement support.

“It’s an honor to represent Crosby Foods Ltd and our entire team including our newcomers! Being a newcomer advocate is a natural extension of who we are and our values…”we care”. We care about our community, our employees and supporting population growth through newcomer settlement and employment,” said Jeanette Howley, COO, Crosby Foods Ltd. “Newcomers add such rich diversity to our work environment, diverse thought, perspectives and experiences, not to mention immense gratitude and incredible work ethic. We are proud to support these folks in their journey.”

The [NEC] Engagement Award Recipient is Homestar INC. for their commitment to supporting newcomers and always being ready to provide referrals for Settlement Resources, support Language Learning, Employee Training and foster effective communication in the workplace.
The [NEC] Employer of Choice Award recipient, for the second year in a row, is the OSCO Construction group for taking a step further by celebrating newcomers for every milestone covered in their immigration journey, providing Spousal & Family Support, training supervisors, and always engaging other employers to support newcomers.

“We’re grateful to have won the Employee of Choice Award two years in a row. It’s a testament to the incredible work our community at OSCO has done in implementing initiatives that foster diversity,” said Camille Ugarte, Corporate Recruiter, OSCO Construction group. “Cultural audits helped us identify gaps, enabling us to better support newcomer employees. With leadership support, we’re motivated to continue with bigger and better initiatives. Grateful to YMCA and NEC for this award.”

The [NEC] Gala recognized all [NEC] participants for their commitment to supporting newcomers in their organization. Prior to the [NEC] Gala, 45 organizations had signed up for the [NEC] program, and more attendees showed their interest in signing up later. The [NEC] program, funded by Working NB, was developed by Saint John Local Immigration Partnership to help address employers’ concerns regarding hiring, onboarding, and retaining newcomers. By providing them with best practices, tools, and resources, employers will feel more confident integrating newcomers into their organizations.

“The Newcomer Employment Champions [NEC] program, originally developed in 2019 by the Employment and Training Working Group of the Saint John Local Immigration Partnership (SJLIP), exemplifies the positive impact of collaborative community efforts. At the core of SJLIP’s mission, these initiatives aim to enhance newcomer settlement and integration outcomes while addressing their specific needs,” said Kathryn Melvin, Project Manager, Saint John Local Immigration Partnership. “The NEC’s success serves as a key component of the 10-year Succeed and Stay Immigration Strategy, which the SJLIP and its working groups actively pursue in our region.”


About YMCA Newcomer Connections

For over 30 years, YMCA Newcomer Connections has welcomed immigrants and refugees, assisting with their settlement needs and facilitating their integration and participation in the community. We do this through a diverse range of programs and services, like English language classes, employment readiness programs, Canadian cultural orientation, settlement and refugee resettlement assistance, pre-employment services, school readiness programs, and one-on-one support for all newcomers looking for their first jobs and building community connections in Southwestern New Brunswick. With a multilingual team of more than 90 staff representing 30 countries, we make every effort to provide services in a client-centric manner that is inclusive and respectful of the rights, dignity, and diversity of all newcomers to Canada.

About Newcomer Employment Champions [NEC] Program

Many newcomers seeking jobs in Canada have a wealth of training and work experience. In addition, newcomers can bring new ideas and global connections to an organization. However, newcomers face many barriers when trying to access employment.

The Newcomer Employment Champions program [NEC] is a program funded by Working NB and delivered by YMCA Newcomer Connections to support employers in the Southwestern New Brunswick area in addressing challenges around the hiring, onboarding, and retention of newcomer employees by providing tools and resources in the form of best practices and training that they can implement within their organizations.