Many employers of small and medium-sized businesses find it challenging to meet their staffing needs because of a shortage of knowledge and skills in the labour market. This shortage exists even in the best of economic climates and can make it very difficult for employers to achieve their business goals and boost their profit margins. An effective way of addressing the shortage is to utilize the transferrable skills available in Internationally Trained Individuals* (ITIs). This guide offers practical information and suggestions to empower employers to confidently tap into this important labour source and enhance their businesses.

* In this guide, Internationally Trained Individuals (ITIs) refer to refugees and immigrants who have been educated and/or trained outside Canada.


The guide aims to help employers of small to medium-sized businesses:

  • enhance their recruiting and hiring processes to more successfully attract ITIs
  • enhance their workplace environment by making it more equitable and inclusive to help in the retention of ITIs
  • understand the influences of culture on one’s perspective and behaviour
  • locate resources that are currently offered in Alberta to facilitate the selection and retention of ITIs.


Equity is different from equality in that it provides for a tailored means to an end that results in the same outcomes for all. Having a workplace that is diverse is just the first step in the process and does not automatically make a workplace inclusive. Inclusion is about involving diverse individuals and promoting better participation for them in all aspects of the organization. Fostering a work environment of inclusion, where every member feels valued and is assured of opportunities for success, is important and helps make the workplace more respectful, stable, and productive. The guide promotes equity and inclusion in the workplace and encourages the adoption of an employment equity approach, which can offer big dividends.

When you have diversity in your workplace, you have taken the first step. The next step is inclusion - valuing and involving your diverse personnel and increasing their participation.
Taking steps to removing barriers that disadvantage a group of employees promotes fairer and more equitable access to the outcomes that others can more easily access.

An Inclusive Approach to Diversity

  • Recognize differences and barriers.
  • Recognize the need for equity and inclusion.
  • Devise equitable ways to help facilitate the integration of ITIs.
  • Involve diversity and promote inclusion through better participation.

What are your current business practices?

Check the practices that are currently applicable to you. If you are currently implementing eight or more of the following, you are well on your way to promoting inclusion and equity in your workplace. This guide will help you further improve your employment equity approach.

Current Practices

We consider internationally trained individuals for positions at all levels.
Our employees receive opportunities for skills training at every level.
We demonstrate respect towards the different cultures that are present in our organization.
We empathize with the difficulties that our internationally trained employees might have in integrating into the workplace and provide the training that they might need.
We empathize with the difficulties our internationally trained employees might have in being accepted as valuable members of the organization.
We have intercultural competence training in place for all employees, including management, to facilitate the integration of our internationally trained employees.
We know that we have a legal obligation to make reasonable accommodations for individual employees’ needs under the provisions of the Alberta’s Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act.
We understand that we cannot ask any questions that are against the human rights legislation when we are interviewing potential candidates for a job. We follow this strictly when we are interviewing ITIs.
We have policies, procedures, and practices that ensure that our employees are treated equitably.
We recognize that there are differences among cultures, and we adjust our communication to the needs of a person from a different culture.
We show our internationally trained employees the same respect we show other employees in the organization by watching our tone and body language.
We seek suggestions from our employees about improvements to the workplace environment.
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