Onboarding Syrian Refugees – A Toolkit for Employers


Since Fall 2015, Canada has welcomed over 30,000 Syrian refugees. Canadians across the country have provided support to help these newcomers settle. Resettling refugees is a proud and important part of Canada’s humanitarian tradition. Employers are also taking an active interest in welcoming Syrian refugees, as some of these newcomers represent an important source of potential workers.

The purpose of this Toolkit is to assist employers in Edmonton to more effectively recruit, hire, onboard and retain a diverse workforce that includes Syrian and other refugees. Employers who use the Toolkit will increase their knowledge of culturally sensitive hiring and retention practices and will boost their ability to create more inclusive workplaces.

Individuals who have lived and worked all, or most, of their lives in varying workplaces in Canada have naturally adopted and generally understand established Canadian workplace practices and norms. However, newcomers to Edmonton, including refugees, do not have that background and need assistance from their employer to integrate into the workplace and become a productive member of the workforce and, ultimately, their community. To effectively create a welcoming and inclusive workplace and successfully integrate new employees, who can contribute to productivity, employers need to take a planned approach that follows practical steps.

This Toolkit provides clear information, guidelines and best practices and tips for implementing successful onboarding practices in multiple workplace environments, including construction and hospitality, which have unique needs and practices unlike typical office environments. As well, background information about Syrian refugees is provided at the end of this document. Throughout this document, the terms newcomers and immigrants are used interchangeably and include both immigrants and refugees. It is important to note that the focus of this Toolkit is on Syrian refugees; however, many of the practices and resources could be applied to any newcomer group.

ERIEC Onboarding Syrian Refugees Toolkit for Employers 2016