Newcomers Get Insights from Experts at Public Sector Event


The weather was not a deterrent to our highly motivated clients who braved the chill and commuted from all over the city to attend a much-anticipated learning, coaching and networking event on Tuesday January 29, 2019.

Organized by World Skills Employment Centre and Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO), in collaboration with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the event was held in two parts:

– A Learning Event presented and moderated by World Skills

– A Public Sector Coaching Event organized by HIO

The idea at the Learning Event was to provide information on the recruitment, interviewing, and hiring practices from different organizations, levels and departments of Ottawa’s public sector, and to encourage internationally trained newcomers to Canada to explore alternative careers, depending on their interests and skills.

“It was an afternoon well-spent. It provided me with an opportunity to receive valuable tips on navigating the Canadian workplace, and also introduced me to some great people who would hopefully become part of my professional network in the future,” said Washil Maghoo, an internationally trained Policy Analyst.

The Learning Event, which was held at the Sheraton Hotel in the afternoon, had a panel comprising some established names from the public sector:

1. Allison Janota, HR Program Manager with the House of Commons Administration

2. Sheila James, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist with the City of Ottawa’s Human Resources Services Department

3. Soophia Ahmad, Senior Policy and Policy Advisor on the Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) team at IRCC

The panelists discussed and answered questions on several topics of interest to newcomer job seekers, including:

– What makes an application stand out and what are the common mistakes that candidates must avoid

– The importance of soft skills and how they are evaluated during the hiring process

– Unconscious bias and what public sector organizations were doing to tackle it

Allison, Sheila and Soophia also busted some myths that stop newcomers from applying to public sector jobs. They pointed out that their organizations were actively and intentionally working on fairness, diversity and inclusion in the workplace by training hiring managers to be culturally more sensitive and do away with the notion of “a good fit” and not rely on “gut feeling” while hiring candidates.

The Coaching Event, held at the Sir John A. MacDonald Building later in the evening, had ‘Speed-Interviews’ and networking opportunities with Ottawa employers including the House of Commons, the Library of Parliament, IRCC, Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), City of Ottawa, CBC and Province of Ontario.

“It was great to have access to a roomful of professionals from public sector organizations who took the time to answer my questions and offered me the opportunity to gain reliable information,” said Quazi Nazmul Haque, a World Skills client who is an International Development Practitioner. 

Adding hope and optimism to the evening were the personal “success stories” of two employees of the House of Commons –Tatiana Tolstsik and Aicha Chibani – who made the most of networking opportunities offered by World Skills and HIO to land their current positions!


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