Ryan Flanagan, CTV
What appeal could quiet, rural Wellington County possibly hold for people from foreign countries?
That’s what Tom Lusis thought when he walked into a job fair for new Canadians earlier this year.
Like other rural parts of the province, they’ve been grappling with a problem unfamiliar elsewhere – very few people in need of work, while many employers are more desperate than ever for workers.
For Lusis, the unexpected success at the newcomer job fair led him to one obvious conclusion – an “untapped resource” that local businesses might never ordinarily consider as an option.
“They continue to recruit in the same old ways in the same old populations,” he said.
As he explains it, not all new Canadians are coming from big cities in their home countries, and the small-town feel and ample greenspace of places like Fergus and Palmerston may be more in line with the lifestyle some immigrants desire.
There are some challenges. Not all immigrants have strong English, or the same cultural understanding of what having a job entails that a Canadian.
But, says Lusis, that’s where people like himself come in – offering support to help bridge the gap between employer and new employee.
He says he’s already talked to some new Canadians living in the Greater Toronto Area who seem interested in getting away from the hustle and bustle.
“From the newcomer side, we’re getting a lot of interest,” he said.
“Employers are the other side of the equation. We’re still working on them.”