Monthly Archives: June 2017

Canada 150 a Chance to Celebrate New Immigrants

On July 1, Canada will ring in its 150th anniversary. To usher in this momentous occasion, the Canadian government spent the better part of 2017 promoting Canada 150, a campaign designed to celebrate and promote the country’s past and present. But, Canada’s big birthday isn’t all fireworks and commemorative coins. The momentous anniversary – and the controversies surrounding Canada 150 – have also asked us to reflect on what it really means to be Canadian, what defines our country, our culture and our history.

But, Canada’s 150th is as much about praising the good as it is a chance to recognize and learn about the difficult parts of our national story. When we think about immigration in Canada, we often think about the good things – humanitarianism, open borders, tolerance and strong social services. While we focus on the good, though, we can overlook the ways we have treated immigrants in the past, the attitudes around immigration today, and the challenges newcomers still deal with. Many of those new immigrants proudly celebrating on July 1 are currently facing the difficulties of acclimatizing and establishing a new life. In our line of work, we see firsthand how getting settled – establishing a home, learning new languages and social conventions, accessing education and programs, and finding ways to support yourself and your family – isn’t easy, even in a welcoming country. That’s why on this Canada Day, we will be celebrating with and thinking about our new Canadian neighbours, keeping their experiences in mind, welcoming them, and remaining committed to offering services that make it easier to succeed in the Canadian job market.

We hope you have a safe and happy Canada Day!

If you or someone you know is new to Canada, we can help you start working now and make the transition easier. Just give us a call.

Struggling to Find the Right Employee? Hire a Scrapper!

As an employment agency, one thing many of our new clients tell us is it’s hard to find – and keep – the kind of employees they need. Reading résumés, conducting interviews, testing out and hiring new staff comes with a whole slew of costs – time, money, productivity – and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to go through the whole process again when your new hire didn’t turn out to be the right fit. So, how do you make the hiring process more effective?

The first step is to change your perspective.

In a November 2015 Ted Talk, hiring expert and VP of Human Resources at UPS’s Information Division, Regina Hartley, offered companies some valuable advice about their outlook on hiring: Resist the temptation to always hire the candidate who “looks good on paper.”

Hartley broke down potential employees into two categories: Silver Spoons – who have prestigious educational backgrounds, impressive references and predictable, uncomplicated career achievements –and Scrappers – qualified employees whose résumés don’t make a great first impression. They might have gaps in their work history, done odd jobs, changed career paths, or have a more modest education, but also have the attitude and perspective that make them valuable, dependable employees. Hartley says employers often dismiss these less “impressive” candidates, and that’s a huge mistake.

Companies who prioritize diversity and inclusivity in their hiring – companies who hire Scrappers –outperform competitors who have a less-inclusive philosophy, Hartley says. The skills they bring may not look good on paper, and may have nothing to do with career experience, but they translate into productivity and commitment. These candidates know how to adapt, handle challenges, solve problems and grow with your company, while more conventional hires, Hartley says, may have a harder time doing what needs to be done. According to Hartley’s research, success in business begins with changing the narrative of traditional hiring – start considering the candidates you might otherwise dismiss, because they might be the most valuable to your workplace.

But, how can employers differentiate one of Hartley’s Scrappers from an employee who really isn’t cut out for the job? That’s where employment experts come in. A hiring agency has the experience and the resources to distinguish the best candidates, to dig deeper than what’s on paper, and to take all of the risk out of hiring. At Alpha North Group, we successfully connect businesses with a diverse range of job candidates every day. That means we know what it really takes – above and beyond a first impression! – to find the right match of employer and employee. Once we’ve found the right candidate, we prepare and can even temporarily hire them on your behalf. It gives your business the freedom to put your hires to the real world test and the freedom to try a different approach to hiring. Alpha North Group will never let you risk overlooking your next great hire. Call us today to see what a new perspective can do.

Heat Stress Dangers!

Despite spring was pretty late this year, summer is on the way with its hot weather. Many of us cannot wait to participate in outdoor activities like camping, swimming and etc. However, with all the fun the hot weather bring to us there are a lot of dangers as well, especially for those working outside or in the workplaces with hot environment.

Our body temperature naturally maintained between 36º and 38º C and sweating is the protection mechanism that cools our body temperature down. However, it may not be enough if you are working in hot environment. When your body heats up faster than it cools itself down you can experience heat stress, which may be very dangerous. Moreover, when heat stress is combined with other stresses, such as physical work, lack of fluids, fatigue or pre-existing medical conditions, it may lead to serious disorders, potential injuries or even death.

It is really important to recognize the signs of heat stress and follow the preventive techniques to avoid or minimize it.

Follow the link to find out about causes, symptoms and treatments for different heat stress conditions. It may save your life and help people around you.

$15 Minimum Wage Increase – What will it mean for working in Ontario?

Last week, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that Ontario would become the second Canadian province to raise the minimum wage from $11.40 to $15 per hour by 2019. According to Maclean’s magazine, Ontario is home to Canada’s largest labour market, but, “has more people working at low wages than any other big economic engine of Canada (Quebec, B.C., Alberta).” That means a minimum wage increase will impact more employers and employees here than in any other province – but is it the right move for Ontario workplaces?

Minimum salary increase

The minimum wage increase, one of several amendments to employment regulations proposed by the Ontario Liberals, was greeted with immediate controversy, as Wynne predicted in an interview with the Toronto Star. Many feel the increase is long overdue, as the changes are intended to help the 30% of Ontario workers currently earning less than $15 per hour catch up and keep up with the cost of living. The significant wage hike will increase the minimum income for full-time workers by nearly $10,000/year (Statistics Canada, April 2017), and according to supporters, will reduce the number of Ontarians living in poverty and dramatically improve the financial situation of those affected. It is also anticipated that the increased minimum wage will help ease the gender gap and generally increase household spending in Ontario, driving up profits for businesses and fostering growth.

Others argue the increase will actually hurt the employees it hopes to protect, because of the potential negative impact to employers. Ontario-based businesses, like their staff, also deal with the pressure of operating in a financially demanding province. A mandatory minimum wage increase is predicted to result in price increases, forced relocations, further shifting away from full-time employment, and layoffs. Some suggest vulnerable workers – particularly young employees (age 15-24) – will hurt the most, as businesses will be forced to offer even fewer full-time and long-term opportunities, and alter non-wage benefits, in order to continue doing business in the province. It is also thought that small businesses, particularly those who rely solely on Ontario for both profit and production, will have the hardest time managing the increase.

A significant minimum wage increase is – as expected – hardly a bipartisan issue, and hardly a black and white issue. Over the years, studies have emerged arguing for and against a $15 minimum wage, and much of the discussion around the subject is fueled by politics. This time is no exception, which is why we want to hear from you – employers that are hiring and employees that are looking for work right now. What would a $15 minimum wage mean to you? Is this a wise move that will help businesses and employees thrive, or will it end up doing more harm than good? Here at Alpha North Group, we give you our best by listening to your needs, so we’d love to know what you think. Please share your thoughts in the comments, or on our Facebook page.