Surrey Board of Trade receives funding to attract skilled immigrants

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. -
Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.
— image credit:

The Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) has received a huge boost in helping bring skilled workers to local jobs to the local employment market.

The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) announced that the board is one of 11 organizations to be awarded funding from the $1.4 million Employer Innovation Fund (EIF) to help attract and integrate skilled immigrants into BC workplaces.

The SBOT will pilot a year-long employer-focused program to assist small and medium-sized businesses to integrate immigrants into their labour pool. The project involves workshops, resources navigation, and immigrant human resources support for members, with a one-on-one hands-on approach by a roving human resources specialist.

Other EIF projects that received funding include the creation of resources to assist employers in assessing foreign qualifications, an onboarding program that helps employers integrate skilled immigrants into the workplace and outreach campaigns to recruit and retain skilled new immigrants to a community and an industry.


Level one Mainland/Soutwest Category (up to $200,000)
British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA)

Surrey Board of Trade

Level one Regional Business Association Category (up to $200,000)

Prince George Chamber of Commerce

Level one Regional Industry/Sectoral Organization Category (up to $200,000)

BC Construction Association (BCCA)

Northern Lights College (NLC)

Level two Regional Employer Category (up to $100,000)

Tolko Industries

Level two Regional Business Association (up to $100,000)

Kitimat Chamber of Commerce

Level two Regional Industry/Sectoral Organization Category (up to $100,000)

Central Interior Logging Association (CILA) 
go2 Tourism HR Society

Initiatives Prince George (IPG)

Level three Regional Business Association Category (up to $50,000)

Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce

“I’d like to congratulate the 11 organizations that were selected to receive funding through the Employer Innovation Fund,” said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour. “Employers understand the challenges in hiring, retaining and integrating immigrants into their workplaces, and these projects will help employers engage in the development of programs, resources and tools to allow them to better facilitate immigrant employment in meeting labour market challenges.”

Funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of BC through the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement, the Employer Innovation Fund was announced at the 2012 Leaders’ Summit on Immigrant Employment hosted by IEC-BC in the fall. EIF projects, which are employer-led, employer-driven and address employer needs to effectively attract, hire and retain skilled immigrants in BC workplaces, were funded in all regions of the province and in six key industry sectors to employers, sector organizations and business associations.

“The EIF is a unique fund that will help connect employers seeking skilled talent and BC’s skilled immigrants who are not working or who are under-unemployed,” said Kelly Pollack, Executive Director of the Immigrant Employment Council of BC. “These projects will go a long way to helping BC employers develop new and innovative ways to address labour skills shortages and facilitate the integration of skilled new immigrants into their workplaces.”

With more than one million job openings in the next decade due to an aging workforce and economic growth, skilled immigrant talent is needed to address the labour skills shortage and demand for skilled workers in BC.

In the awarding of EIF funding, priority was given to projects that impact more than just one employer, show the potential for sustainability post-project, focus on hiring and retaining immigrants who are permanent residents of BC, and demonstrate a direct benefit to small and medium-size businesses.

For a complete list of EIF-funded projects, visit

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