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New network of networks builds connections for immigrant employment

Professional immigrant networks, while not often in the spotlight, can be an effective element in an immigrant’s employment strategy. The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and sponsorship from Scotiabank, recently introduced a vital new website as part of the Professional Immigrant Networks initiative (PINs) to forge better connections among these networks, as well as with immigrants, employers and community agencies – all with the goal of advancing immigrant employment.

In 2011, TRIEC engaged more than 35 professional immigrant networks organized by profession, ethnicity or both - from the Latin American MBA Alumni Network to the Chinese Professionals Association of Canada and the Association of Filipino Canadian Accountants. Collectively they serve more than 30,000 members. The new PINs website will help newcomers access these professional immigrant networks and through them build the connections they need to find meaningful employment.

“Lack of professional connections and understanding of Canadian corporate culture are the primary obstacles to meaningful employment for skilled immigrants," says Gabriel Leiva von Bovet, President of the professional immigrant network HispanoTech and a TRIEC board member. "But thousands of newcomer professionals are using immigrant networks to help themselves and each other get ahead. Our new website capitalizes on this resourcefulness.”

The new PINs website has something to offer all stakeholders. For employers, the website gives them the ability to connect to sector- and ethno-specific professional immigrant networks, communicate directly with target markets and build their brands among new, established and perspective immigrants. For immigrants, the website makes it easy to connect with and join these networks as part of their employment strategy. For service providers and other stakeholders, the website serves as a communications tool to promote their services and share information.

The PINs website meets these needs through numerous features on both a public and community side. The public side features a network directory searchable by profession or ethno-cultural group, success stories, an event calendar and background on the network of networks.

The community side is a log-in section where immigrant network leaders and partners such as employers, government, community agencies and other stakeholders can learn about the networks, connect and share resources and information. Features include messaging functions, discussion boards, a resource library and a skills and resource exchange board.

To learn more and connect with PINs, visit