Welcoming New Canadians

Workplace demographics are rapidly changing. In the Spring 2017 issue of Your Workplace, Editor-in-Chief Vera Asanin wrote, “The demographic profile of our workplace is changing. There are not enough Canadian-born workers to meet the demand for skilled labour, so employers must look to other countries with large talent pools, such as India and China, to fulfill those needs. This results in workplaces looking and feeling different.” She goes on to say that conflict and misunderstanding can result if we can’t find ways to address these issues.

But how do we do that? How do we welcome newcomers into our workplace? Hospitality is a universal, age-old concept that is inherently understood by all of us. The welcome and care of strangers has long been a core value in religious and charitable organizations, and it is now finding its way into the business world. If not handled with care, welcoming newcomers to your organization may result in tension and conflict.


Many organizations already have diversity programs in place, but in some cases these programs are backfiring. You can’t just outlaw prejudice. Forcing people to be unbiased can make them feel threatened and inclined to rebel, causing a backlash that can actually worsen any bias that may exist.

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lesley taylor
Lesley Taylor, M.Ed.
Lesley Taylor, M.Ed., is a professional coach, educator and writer. She has developed and taught leadership courses in the health care and the not-for-profit sectors and in higher education.