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CCIS' On the Spot Interview Event

On July 25th our Employment Related Services hosted a Hiring Fair Event in our main office.

The purpose of organizing this event was to bring a sense of optimism and hope that  by attending CCIS' Hiring Fairs and with the right set of skills, newcomers will have the opportunity to obtain meaningful employment.

46 clients pre-registered for this event and almost all showed up with enthusiasm and anticipation that with  their notable preparation, their customized resumes and their sense of eagerness, they will attain success.

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Employer and client attendance at this event were great demonstration of the variety of demand for qualified employees in diverse industries of this province. The 4 companies that benefited from meeting and interviewing CCIS' talent pool were Bromwich and Smith Inc., The Network Inc. (TNI), 4Seasons Transportation, and PWM Loss Prevention Services.

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Conducting on-site interviews at the event gave clients and employers a more meaningful opportunity to assess qualifications and expectations.

Clients' confidence increased after being booked for a second round of interviews for the following week. In addition, with employers' willingness to participate in future CCIS Hiring Fairs, we are convinced that our next event in October 2017 will look just as hopeful and effective as this one. 

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CCIS Hiring Event - January 24, 2017

On Tuesday, January 24th, the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society hosted its Hiring Fair event, providing the opportunity for newcomer clients to meet with and be interviewed by employers.

The 6 well-known businesses that participated in this event demonstrated willingness to fill their permanent part-time and full-time employment positions by selecting CCIS as an organization of their choice. The employers in attendance were Garda World Company, Winners, HomeSense, Marshalls, Kaltire, and Calgary Italian Bakery.

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Based on the job openings provided by employers and following a pre-registration screening process of 158 applications, 54 applicants were approved and qualified to attend the Hiring Fair event. From those 54 clients, 47 participated and were interviewed thoroughly. As a result of this pre-screening procedure prior to the event, 30 clients will be contacted for a second round of interviews.


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CCIS would like to express its appreciation to partnered employers for supporting our vision to assist newcomers on their path to employment integration.

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SOPA Social Café

On November 23, SOPA (Settlement Online Pre-Arrival) staff successfully delivered the program's first Social Café for clients at CCIS. This informal get-together provided program participants with the opportunity to connect with their colleagues, and share their successes, challenges, and lessons learned since arriving in Alberta. For the SOPA team, the Social Café was a chance to meet many clients face to face for the first time after having worked with them online prior to their arrival in Canada.

The SOPA Social Café also enabled clients to meet and network with CCIS staff and find out more about the programs and services available to them, including Mentorship for Integration and Networking for Success. One SOPA client who found their current job through a contact made at a Networking for Success Breakfast served as a great testimonial for the program's effectiveness.

Clients mingled, took part in Human Bingo, which encouraged them to practice small talk and get to know their peers; and heard from those who had found work in their professional fields— one of whom obtained a senior-level IT position within 2 months of arriving.

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During a facilitated group discussion, SOPA clients shared their job search experiences, noting the slower pace of the Canadian hiring process, needing Canadian work experience in order to be competitive in the job market, and the challenges of obtaining unpaid internships. In addition, clients who found work in their professional fields gave advice, such as the importance of building and maintaining networks, volunteering and applying for transitional jobs.

The SOPA team wishes to thank CCIS staff and SOPA clients for attending, particularly those clients who stayed late to discuss their settlement stories and record interviews in order to help promote the program. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making the event a success. The SOPA team looks forward to hosting another Social Café in the new year.

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Networking for Success Breakfast and Mentorship for Integration Annual Event

On the morning of September 26th, the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) hosted 57 employers from 34 different companies and 38 highly-skilled, professional immigrants at the Calgary Petroleum Club. This month’s event was unique from previous months, as CCIS decided to merge the Annual Mentorship Recognition Ceremony with the Networking for Success Breakfast event and it therefore provided an opportunity for attendees to share their mentorship experiences, network, and continue building partnerships within the community.

The event began with 3 guest speakers: Osama Alshafey- Executive Board member of CCIS and active mentor of the Mentorship for Integration Program, Roshanak Saei- Consultant Engineer at Berkeley Research group LLC who is also an active mentor through CCIS, and Amit Bansal- a Mechanical Engineer who has been a CCIS client and has achieved success through the Networking and Mentorship programs.  

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Osama Alshafey talked about his involvement in CCIS as an Executive Board member, his participation in conducting workshops for clients regarding the Oil and Gas industry, and in being a mentor through the Mentorship for Integration program. He emphasized the importance of organizations such as CCIS in helping immigrant professionals integrate into the Canadian workforce. Roshanak’s inspirational speech was about her personal experience having been laid off in this tough economy, she mentioned how she started reaching out to her network and going for coffees, until one  day this gave her a great outcome: one of her previous employers’ offered her a position. By telling this story, she emphasized on the importance of networking and inspired clients and other community partners to continue getting out there and stay connected. She also talked about her involvement in the Mentorship program, and how Mentorship should be a friendship rather than just giving someone instructions.

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In his speech, Amit Bansal talked about his struggles having landed in Calgary during the economic downturn. He decided to join different programs and workshops at CCIS, and through the Mentorship for Integration program he was introduced to a mentor, who linked him to a professional a job with Source Rock Energy. He also emphasized on the importance of networking, as resumes and cover letters are too impersonal and there is always a need for more to make a great first impression. His biggest advice to other new professional immigrants is to persevere through the difficult times, with the right guidance and support it is possible to obtain a professional career in Canada.

After these great speeches, CCIS showcased 3 valued Mentors and acknowledged their time and dedication to the Mentorship for Integration Program. The following Mentors were commended for providing exceptional guidance to Mentorship clients: Ms. Nicole Wershler, Ms. Roshanak Saei, and Mr. Bernard Leung. The commitment and leadership of these volunteers has undoubtedly made an influential impact on the community.

CCIS would like to thank our funders for this program- Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and the Royal Bank of Canada for making this event possible.

Written by Adriana Cordero, Mentorship for Integration

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CCIS Mentorship for Integration Program

On September 1st, CCIS paid a visit to Rockwell Automation to talk about the Mentorship for Integration program. The turnout and interest shown by Rockwell staff made this a fruitful meeting for both parties.

Being part of a four-step initiative, Mentorship for Integration provides highly skilled immigrants with the opportunity to get insight into their industries and learn the necessary job search strategies to achieve their career goals in Calgary. The two-hour lunch and learn session included a presentation by Program Coordinator- Tatjana Beocanin-Donald, a speech from Bernard Leung- a Mechanical Engineer, owner of Revelar Consulting who has mentored several clients through our program, and a speech by Raafat Kasseem-  a Mechanical Engineer from Lebanon who has been mentored through this program.

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Bernard Leung has mentored three clients so far through the Mentorship for Integration program. His experience as a mentor has not only been beneficial to our clients but to Bernard himself. According to Bernard, some of the benefits of Mentorship include the need to keep updated with Calgary’s labour market, re-connecting with old networks, and the opportunity to reach out to a demographic  (newcomer professionals) that he probably wouldn’t have a connection with otherwise.  Having mentored someone from China, Iran, and now India, Bernard has had a great cross-cultural experience and he enjoys the first hand stories of their countries and cultures and how business is done aboard.


Raafat Kassem, a young mechanical engineer from Lebanon is a great example of what dedication and a good attitude can accomplish. Like most newcomers, Raafat was a little discouraged the first couple of months in Canada after looking for work with no result. He decided to access CCIS’ services and began attending networking events, volunteering and got introduced to a mentor. Rafaat sees his mentor not only as a professional connection, but also as a “life coach”, someone who keeps him motivated and teaches him not to give up. Raafat has decided to go for an alternative career opportunity and is now working in-flight services with Jazz Aviation; he is also in the process of getting his pilot license and continues to do volunteer work, this is while completes his Engineer-in-Training registration with APEGA.

CCIS looks forward to having Rockwell Automation as a partner, and to include some of its staff as future mentors to continue supporting professional newcomers and guiding them to a successful career in Canada.

If you are interested in becoming a Mentor please e-mail or

Written by Adriana Cordero, CCIS Mentorship for Integration



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CCIS Career Fair- August 3, 2016


On August 3rd our ISP Employment Services hosted a career fair in our main office.

Of the numerous career fairs we have held over the years, this one was particularly significant due to its timing and outcome. 

The high turnout at this event is a testament to the fact that the economic downturn has not discouraged newcomers in their employment search. In attendance were 76 registered clients whose resumes had been screened and tailored to the job requirements advertised by employers.

Employer attendance at this event was a great demonstration of the demand for qualified candidates and employees in diverse industries of this province. The 8 companies that benefited from CCIS' talent pool were The Hudson’s Bay Company, Lowe’s Retail Company, Starbucks Coffee Company, Loblaws, Kal Tire, Dynamic Furniture Corporation, Fairmont Palliser Calgary, and Canadian Pacific Railway.

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CCIS' clients' readiness for meeting the employers face to face left a memorable impression. Some employers conducted on-site interviews at the event, and they reported feeling confident in placing many of CCIS' clients. Others booked clients for a second round of interviews for the following week.

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All employers expressed willingness to participate in future CCIS career fairs, not only to support the organization, but also to benefit from meeting clients who could potentially add value to their companies.

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Networking for Success Breakfast - April 25, 2016


Though the weather outside was less than favourable on Monday, April 25, the atmosphere in the Petroleum Club was vibrant and warm as funders, employers and clients gathered at Calgary Catholic Immigration Society's (CCIS) Networking for Success Breakfast.

Networking for Success is one component of a four-part initiative that enables newcomers to Canada to better understand how to apply their skill set in a Canadian context, establish meaningful connections within the community and get a sense of Canadian business culture. CCIS was pleased to welcome Veliny Vaz from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Matt Adolphe, author and current instructor at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Raafat Kasseem, a Mechanical Engineer who is a newcomer to Calgary, to share their insights on their own personal experiences working in Calgary.

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Veliny Vaz has been well-immersed in the world of Business Development and Advising with RBC, and has been involved with CCIS in connecting clients with networking opportunities in their realm of expertise. Ms. Vaz's combination of professional experience and industry knowledge has given a variety of CCIS clients invaluable guidance in navigating their search for employment.

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With a background in Communication Management and a passion for guiding individuals towards career success, Matt Adolphe discussed strategies on how to gain positive exposure as an applicant, as well as techniques that assist in one of the more difficult aspects of the job search process: job retention.  

Drawing on his published work, “Canadian Workplace Culture: Mastering the Unspoken Rules” and “Would You Hire You?” Mr. Adolphe emphasized the importance of the following in securing employment:

  • Get to know people- networking gets people jobs 50% faster
  • Get to know the Canadian workplace culture
  • Analyze companies

 To learn more about Matt Adolphe’s work, please visit

Raafat Kaasem is a great example of what can be achieved through the implementation of these job search strategies. Originally from Lebanon, Mr. Kaasem has participated in many of the programs CCIS has to offer, including the Employment Communication Workshop, Calgary: A New Chapter, Mentorship for Integration and Networking for Success. By persisting in developing his own professional network, Raafat has successfully balanced part-time employment and volunteer work, has started his private pilot license training and is currently completing his Engineer-in-Training registration with APEGA. In addition, he has been offered an opportunity with Jazz Aviation in-flight services, which has the potential to re-integrate him into a position as an engineering professional. 

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It is evident that empowering clients to recognize the value of their skill set is paramount in helping them persevere throughout the settlement and integration process. By recognizing clients’ skills, employers can better understand how newcomers with international experience can be an asset, and immigrants, through their understanding of business culture, can confidently market themselves to prospective employers.

As economic conditions remain uncertain, networking is vital to both newcomers and well-established Calgarians. The time is now to be out establishing and nurturing business connections.

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Networking for Success would like to recognize the Petroleum Club in Calgary for their exemplary service in hosting this event. In addition, we are grateful to our funders, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, as well as the Royal Bank of Canada, for their generosity in making this event possible. Thank you to our employers and clients for welcoming one another, sharing great conversation and embracing how our uniqueness as individuals can really be our greatest asset.

CCIS is proud to present the next Networking for Success Breakfast on June 15, 2016.


Written by Heather Tompson, CCIS Mentorship for Integration Facilitator



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Networking for Success Breakfast - March 15, 2016


by Olivia Rocskar - Networking for Success Breakfast Event Program Coordinator

On March 15, 2016, the Networking for Success Program delivered a successful Networking for Success Breakfast at the Calgary Petroleum Club for our CCIS clients and business partners.

Our guest speakers at the March event were Jeff Griffiths, Griffiths-Sheppard Consulting Group Inc., who spoke about transferable competencies for career transitions, and Natalie Tretyak, Suncor Energy, who shared her professional journey in Canada.

Taking into consideration the challenging economic situation of our city, the downsizing of companies, and limited job options, many people are wondering, "How do I get noticed in this job market?" This question is all the more difficult for newcomers. Frustrations from job uncertainty are coupled with the challenges of learning how to navigate a new employment process.

In his presentation, "Nobody Is Their Last Job Description", Jeff stated that while academic credentials and past job titles speak to technical abilities, to stand out in the current economic market, job seekers need to also demonstrate proficiencies that go beyond their credentials. He argued that to differentiate yourself in today's business environment, it is important to also demonstrate transferable competencies or skills.

Often the actual duties that people have, or what it takes to be successful in their jobs, are not necessarily the skills that are outlined in their job descriptions. "There are lots of things that people do that aren't part of their occupation," Jeff said. Transferable competencies are the knowledge, skills and abilities used to achieve work objectives. These competencies are what differentiate employees from one another, and demonstrate what each individual brings to the job. As a result, Jeff pointed out, "There's a lot of variation in proficiency among individuals with the same credentials." Individuals who can identify their competencies and the transferability of these competencies to future job opportunities can gain a significant edge over their competitors.

By highlighting these key aspects of their professional experience, individuals can demonstrate to potential future employers that their skills match the position they are seeking and they have the competencies to best match the employers' needs, thereby increasing their chances of getting job interviews.

Natalie Tretyak knows something about transferable competencies, career change and what it takes to succeed in Canada. Originally from Siberia, Russia, Natalie's early career plans involved becoming a school teacher. However, her knowledge of English and strong communication skills provided her the opportunity to work as a translator in the developing Russian oil and gas market, and what was meant as a temporary job to pay for her studies turned into a career in the industry.

In 2006, Natalie came to Canada to earn her MBA at the University of Calgary. After graduating, Natalie was ready to break into the Canadian workforce. Coming from the top of her career, with nearly a decade of experience in oil and gas, and armed with an MBA from a Canadian institution she believed that she would have little trouble finding work. Her excitement waned as she faced the challenges created by the province's 2008 economic downturn. After months of applying for jobs, she finally obtained an opportunity with Shell Canada.

In 2015, Natalie was among the many people who were laid off in Alberta. Although unemployment was by no means less difficult the second time around, Natalie was armed with the knowledge that she could make it through Calgary's boom and bust cycles. Persistence and perspective are the keys that gave her the ability to aspire to once again find work in her field.  

Natalie's advice for new immigrant professionals:

  • Avoid comparing where you are now to where you used to be - you might need to take a step back in your career in order to move forward.
  • Always put yourself in your employer's shoes - your resume only has your qualifications; only you can tell them what sets you apart from your competition.
  • Your Canadian peers or colleagues might have a different start, but it is not about how you start - it is about how you finish.

By following her own advice, Natalie has managed to succeed in the current economic climate and now has a position at Suncor Energy.

Both Jeff and Natalie showed how knowing your competencies can set you apart from the competition and enable you to succeed in even the most challenging economic climates.

Written by Olivia Rocskar, Networking for Success, Program Coordinator

Networking for Success Breakfasts work with employers and businesses to assist highly skilled immigrant professionals in building their professional networks and social capital in Calgary by introducing them to employers from a variety of industries. Thank you to all the people that make these events possible. The RBC Foundation for their generous support in making the event such a success, Kurt Seredynski, Sales Manager, Small Business at RBC, representing the RBC Foundation; IRCC for making the Networking for Success program possible, and the incredible people at CCIS who give their time and passion to make sure everything runs smoothly. I would also like to thank all of our guests, both employers and clients, for coming to these events and working toward building a stronger and more diverse business community in this great city.

The next Networking for Success Breakfast will be on April 25th, 2016.


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CCIS Career Fair- March 2016



On Wednesday, March 23rd, the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society hosted a Career Fair, providing the opportunity for 98 highly skilled newcomer clients and privately sponsored Syrian Refugees to engage with employers.

This hiring fair was organized to facilitate connections and the exchange of information between newcomers and our partnering employers, who had expressed interest in addressing their workforce needs through this type of event.

In attendance were 98 registered clients with pre-screened resumes. Amongst this group were 5 Syrian refugees who had been trained in employment readiness and communication through CCIS' orientation sessions and workshops. Preparation for this group was deemed necessary, and proved quite beneficial, giving clients the confidence and competence to present themselves to employers.

The newcomer clients and Syrian refugees were experienced and interested  in the diverse fields of Sales, Education, Health Care, Retail and Customer Service, and Food and Catering Services. These clients were given the opportunity to extensively learn more about and present their qualifications to the employers.

The 9 well-known business that participated in this event met with and interviewed talented newcomers for permanent part-time and full-time employment positions. The employers in attendance were the Calgary Board of Education, Budget Car Rental, the Calgary Stampede, Copeman Healthcare Center, the UPS Store, Tonic Kitchen + Bar, Hotel Clique, Pacini Italian Restaurant, and Applause Hotel.


 All employers were amazed by the clients' professional etiquette and experience. They expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to meet qualified candidates who had been pre-screened for the available positions. Clients and employers alike readily commended CCIS' career fairs for being extremely well-organized and for providing opportunities for meaningful employment.

 On behalf of CCIS, I would like to    express my gratitude to Immigration,  Refugees and Citizenship Canada and  the Government of Alberta for  providing the funding to hold such  useful events. I would also like to  extend my appreciation to our  partnered employers for supporting  CCIS in our vision to assist newcomers  on their path to integration.


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CCIS Cooking Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program

The Cooking Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program offered in partnership with SAIT, is fully funded by the Government of Canada and Government of Alberta to provide newcomers to Canada the necessary training to challenge the first year Trades Qualification exam for the Cooking Trade. To prepare trainees for this challenge, they participate in:


  • Occupational English, Math and Science Skills Upgrading Training (10 weeks)
  • First Year Cook Training at SAIT (12 weeks)
  • Work Experience Placement (6 weeks)

For our most recent intake, the students will have completed their training by February 26th and be available for a six week work experience placement from February 29, 2016 to April 8, 2016.

The work experience provides program participants the opportunity to apply their recent training within the Canadian work force. For you as an employer, it is an opportunity to access trained, and safety-conscious individuals who are interested in contributing to your company’s success. All participants will be covered under the Alberta Human Services Workers Compensation Board Agreement for the duration of the work experience.

Please contact Program Coordinator, Rob Golbeck, for more information: 


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Cultural Integration into the Canadian Workplace Initiative - Syrian Refugees

Initiative Objective

The Cultural Integration into the Canadian Workplace Initiative is focused on the labour market integration of high-skilled Syrian refugee professionals. This fast-track initiative implements the 4-step initiative developed by CCIS to address the complex needs of newcomer professionals. The objective of this approach is to introduce participants to the 4-step initiative, giving them full access to the programs outlined below and the tools that they needs to successfully prepare for Canadian labour market integration.

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The 4-Step Initiative includes:

Calgary: A New Chapter:

Interactive information sessions establish the groundwork for successful settlement and employment. The sessions introduce highly-skilled newcomer professionals to various aspects of the resettlement and integration process.

Mentorship for Integration:

Mentorship is the process of building a professional relationship, in which more experienced or knowledgeable local professionals guide immigrant professionals. Mentees receive guidance in the areas of professional development, and mentors provide insight into the professional culture in Canada, thereby facilitating newcomers' transition into the Canadian workforce. This program is also an opportunity for participants to begin building a professional network in Canada.

Networking for Success:

Networking offers newcomer professionals the opportunity to meet employers and build professional networks. The program also offers opportunities to receive coaching service and skills enhancement, including developing job search documents that meet Canadian standards, and learning how to market their skills, education, and expertise to Canadian employers.

Employer Hub:

CCIS Employer Hub is a recruitment website that offers a variety of services and information to both employer and job seeker in Southern Alberta. It is guided by many goals and that are to help and make a positive impact on the job market by screening clients' applications for our partnered employers. The individuals on our data base have been pre-screened by our qualified Employment counsellors who are skilled and have up to date knowledge of the Calgary market.

Initiative Outline

Presentation of Initiative to Syrian Refugees at St. Pius X Church, February 4, 2016

9:30 am                Welcome by Silvana Primaterra, Employment Specialist, CCIS

 9:35 am               Introduction to CCIS by Ron Volk, Employment Services Team Lead, CCIS

 10:30 am             Break

 10:45 am             Cultural Integration into the Canadian Workplace by Tatjana Beocanin-Donald,  Program Coordinator—Mentorship for Integration, CCIS

 11:00 am             Question Period

 11:15 am             Registration & One-on-One In-Takes with CCIS Staff

Participants will be introduced to CCIS and the initiative. After the presentation, interested participants can register to take part in the initiative. Registered participants will sit down with CCIS staff for a one-on-one conversation about their career objectives in Canada.


Calgary: A New Chapter

February 17, 18, 19

"CCIS’ Calgary: A New Chapter interactive information sessions have been designed to provide immigrant professionals with the necessary resources and support to resettle in Calgary and integrate into the local labour market.

Each session covers a key component of the integration process including: Housing, Finances, Family and Education, Cultural Adaptation, Civic Participation, Assessment of Foreign Credentials, and Conducting an Effective Job Search in Alberta.

The sessions are hosted by professionals from within the community who share information and advice, and answer any questions clients may have regarding their field of expertise. 

These orientation sessions provide clients with information and support for all aspects of the integration process, as well as a valuable opportunity to make contacts within the business community and Calgary at large."


Feb 17

9:30 - 11:00 am -  Ayashah Kothawala / Mortgage - Buying a house

11:30 am - 1:00 pm - Javier Vinsome / Networking & Why a Manager is Afraid to Hire You

Feb 18

9:30 - 11:00 am -  Don Wall (Volunteer for Revenue Canada) / Income Tax System in Canada

11:30 am - 1:00 pm - Yvonne Hau / Health Care System & Health Insurance

Feb 19

9:30 - 11:00 am -  Sinela Jurkova (CCIS) / Canadian Culture

11:30 am - 1:00 pm - Jeff Munday (Calgary Police) / Canadian Law


Foundational Job Search Skills Workshops:

February 24, 25, 26


Feb 24

2:00pm—4:00pm             Interview Skills

Preparation in key to a successful interview. This workshop will cover what to expect, how to research, and how to prepare for a job interview in Canada.

Presented by Wanda MacKenzie, Centralized Hiring Specialist, BMO Bank of Montreal.

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Feb 25

2:00pm—4:00pm             Resume and Cover Letter Preparation

How to prepare your resume and cover letter so that it meets Canadian standards. Presented by Chris Thomas, Human Resources Expert, The Classic Business Consulting Group.


Feb 26

2:00pm—4:00pm             Canadian Workplace Culture    

Impact of culture on communication styles and integration into the Canadian workplace culture. Presented by Anne-Marie Pham, Manager

Full Access to Programs

Once participants have completed the Cultural Integration into the Canadian Workplace Initiative they will have full access to the above mentioned programs. Qualified candidates will be:

  • Paired with a mentor
  • Invited to participate in the Networking for Success Breakfast: March 15, 2016
  • Invited to participate in a Career Fair for High Skills Immigrant Professionals: March 23, 2016

Career Fair: CCIS Career Fair will be held on March 23, 2016.

We will host employers that are looking to hire professional newcomers to Canada.

This career fair is a pre-registered event, and resumes will be pre-screened. Deadline for registration will be Friday, March 12th.

Clients are assessed based on:

  • Matching skill sets to company's job requirements
  • Level of English language proficiency
  • Quality of soft skills and communication skills

Update: February 19, 2016

  • 33 Syrian refugees attend the presentation on February 4th, 2016
  • 8 have registered in the Calgary: A New Chapter Sessions taking place February 17, 18, 19, 2016
  • Registration is currently open for the Foundational Job Search Workshops on February 24, 25, 26, 2016.

- Clients will be given a reminder phone call on Friday, February 19th about the   upcoming workshops.

  • In addition several individuals have contacted the Mentorship for Integration Program and have met with the Program Coordinator for the purpose of fining a mentor in Calgary.


Update: February 24, 2016

Calgary: A New Chapter Statistics

  • 26 clients total participated in the Calgary: A New Chapter Sessions
  • 9 of 26 clients were Syrian refugees
  • 11 Syrian Refugees registered to participate in Calgary: A New Chapter Sessions
  • 9 of 11 participated in the sessions

Foundational Job Search Skills Workshops Statistics

  • 18 clients participated in the Fundamental Job Search Skills Workshop on Feb. 24
  • 11 of 18 were Syrian refugees
  • 14 Syrian refugees registered to attend the Fundamental Job Search Skills Workshops on Feb. 24
  • 11 of 14 participated in the sessions



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Important Aspects of Network Etiquette

 10 Important Aspects of Network Etiquette

By Tatjana Beocanin Donald

1. Know your purpose for networking. It sounds obvious, but job seekers waste their contacts’ time when they don’t really know what they want to do, where they want to work or how the contact might be helpful to them. Think about what companies you want to target through networking and how you can identify connections that will lead you to those employers.

2. Do your homework. Don’t ask your contacts questions that could easily be answered by doing a little basic research. The more you know about your contacts’ companies and backgrounds, the more impressed they will be.

3. Don’t act desperate. Your contacts will be much more willing to help someone who is confident and capable than someone groveling, whining and desperate. Don’t forget that as high a priority as it is to you, your job search is not so to most of your network.

4. Listen. When someone is kind enough to offer you job advice, listen attentively. Write your contact a thank-you note and include something that tells your contact you listened.

5. Respect your contact’s time. Don’t drop into a contact’s office uninvited and when you call a current or prospective member of your network, always ask if he has time to talk. When the situation allows, bide your time before launching into networking conversation.

6. Ask for help in small doses. Don’t burden your contact with overwhelming requests for help and advice. Ask more questions than favors. You can always ask for more at a later time.

7. Get permission before using a network contact’s name to approach another prospective contact. Similarly, when you’re scouting for new members of your network, tell prospective contacts how you got their names.

8. Be careful with your use of the word networking. Some people have grown weary of being networked. Unless you are attending a function specifically earmarked for networking, it’s best not to advertise the fact that that is what you are doing. Instead, think of yourself as making connections, building relationships and seeking advice.

9. Don’t be pushy and aggressive. Be sensitive to just how much a contact is willing to do for you and don’t push beyond that limit. Be persistent but not annoying.

10. Remember that networking is a two-way street. The idea of reciprocity is perhaps the most important aspect of networking. Offer your help to your contacts and supply needed information whenever possible.




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Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA)


Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA)

CCIS, in partnership with Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), offers online pre-arrival skills development courses and settlement supports to prepare immigrants who have chosen to immigrate to Canada, specifically Alberta, for successful integration into communities and the labour market.

Through Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA), participants who have been approved to immigrate to Canada and who wish to settle in Alberta can interact with CCIS staff and access online facilitated and self-directed employment and workplace culture communication training prior to their departure.

This innovative initiativeaims to connect newcomers with settlement and employment services in Alberta, helping them arrive better prepared and more confident to search for, secure and retain employment, and integrate into the community.

Job search, job readiness and job retention are at the core of SOPA's 5 online facilitated and self-directed courses:

  • Job Search Strategies

  • Soft Skills: Professional Communication

  • Soft Skills: Working with Others

  • Canadian Workplace Integration

  • Working in Canada

By participating in SOPA, immigrants will arrive in Canada better prepared, more confident, and will enter the workforce sooner.The indirect beneficiaries of the program are employers seeking qualified, job-ready workers. Furthermore, Canada benefits by having better prepared immigrants arriving and contributing to the economy faster.

SOPA is funded by IRCC and is free of charge for eligible participants. For more information, visit or contact Mark Samcoe, SOPA Team Lead, at .



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Networking for Success Breakfast - January 26, 2016


Networking for Success Breakfast - January 26, 2016 by Olivia Rocskar - Program Coordinator, Networking for Success

On January 26, CCIS hosted the first Networking for Success Breakfast of 2016. Networking for Success Breakfasts enable employers and businesses representing a variety of industries to connect with highly skilled immigrant professionals and assist them in building their professional networks and social capital in Calgary.

Forty-one employers representing 29 different companies and 30 immigrant professionals participated in the event and were able to make valuable connections relevant to their professional fields.         

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Our guests at the January event were Cesar Poveda, Civil Engineer, Author and Researcher, and Firas Al Saidi, Architectural Technologist with Norr Architects Engineers Planners and former client of CCIS. Cesar Poveda outlined 15 points for a successful career search while Firas Al Saidi shared his inspiring success story in Canada. The theme for both presenters centered upon a successful career search.

Creating your career path is about knowing where you are going. It all starts with having a dream, a vision, or a goal. Having a dream or vision helps us know where we are going; it inspires us and gives us purpose. It is necessary to "define your goal," Cesar pointed out, "because if you don't know where you are going, there is no chance to get there." A clearly defined goal also gives us courage when things get tough. "Don't forget your goal," Cesar said, and make sure to set milestones to mark your success.

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A successful career search is also about life-long learning and personal growth. If you are a newcomer to Canada transitioning into a new culture and professional environment, a young grad at the beginning of your career, or if you are looking to make a shift in your career path, or someone who needs to adapt to changing economic conditions, you are about to embark on a journey of growth and development. As Cesar pointed out, this journey will not be without professional hardships so don’t be afraid to start over, even if it means you have to temporarily take a step back to support your goal. Also, "Learn from your experiences," as they are part of your personal narrative and personal story, and can help you find direction.

Cesar’s 15 points for a successful career search are not unlike the journey that Firas Al Saidi took upon his arrival to Canada. Firas discovered his passion at the age of 6 when his father took him to work at an architectural firm. Pursuing his dream of becoming an architect, he attended the School of Architectural Engineering in Lebanon. After graduation, he joined his father's firm as a Junior Architect, then moved on to manage a small design firm. His top accomplishment was being a Senior Architect on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (the tallest building in the world).

In 2012, Firas came to Canada as a skilled worker from Dubai. The choice to build a better life for his wife and daughters is not one that he regrets, however, it did come at a price: arriving in Canada at the top of his career yet struggling as an unknown architect to find employment. With the family savings quickly running out, Firas started knocking on doors, or more accurately, on every door of every architectural firm in the city (over 200 doors). An opportunity finally came, and Firas secured his first Canadian job as an estimator. Today, Firas works as an Architectural Technologist for Norr Architects Engineers Planners. While his journey is by no means at an end, his story reminds us that the path to success requires that we never give up.

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As always, I would like to thank the people that make these events possible: the RBC Foundation for their generous support in making the event such a success, IRCC for making the Networking for Success program possible, and the incredible people at CCIS, who give their time and passion to make sure everything runs smoothly.

I would also like to thank all of our guests, both employers and clients, for coming to these events and working toward building a stronger and more diverse business community in this great city. The next Networking for Success Breakfast will be on March 15th, 2016. I look forward to seeing you there!

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CCIS Networking for Success Breakfast Event

 CCIS hosted yet another successful Networking for Success Breakfast at the Petroleum Club on November 24, 2015. The first major snowfall of the season and terrible road conditions did not prevent our guests from attending this event. 43 employers representing 23 different companies from different sectors were in attendance. Participating companies included: NORR Architects, Engineers and Planners, ATCO Electric, ATB, RBC, Saipem, Shell, Southempton Trane, Calfrac Well Services, Suncor, CIBC, Telus, TG Engineering, and many more. 29 immigrant professionals attended the event and were able to make valuable connections with members of the business community.

The Networking for Success Program was developed by CCIS and is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Its main aim is to assist immigrant professionals in their career development through networking opportunities. The Networking for Success Breakfast events provide immigrant professionals with the opportunity to develop the necessary social capital to access the Canadian workplace and gain an understanding of how to secure and retain employment in Canada.

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On behalf of CCIS, I would like to thank the RBC Foundation for sponsoring the Networking for Success Breakfast. As result of the RBC Foundation’s generous donation, more newcomers will have the opportunity to connect with the Calgary business community and share the wealth of skills and experience they bring to our province.

Thank you to all the employers who joined us at the November 24th Networking Breakfast and our wonderful event speakers: Kurt Seredynski, Sales Manager, Small Business at RBC, and Dr. Roghoyeh Salmeh, Project Manager at ATCO Electric. Dr. Salmeh’s presentation of her journey to Canada and her career experiences here were a source of inspiration for all.

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Please contact Olivia Rocskar, Networking for Success Program Coordinator, if you would like your company to take part in our next event ().

























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CCIS Hiring Fair - October 2015

 The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society organized yet another hiring fair on Thursday, October 1st. This event was organized to facilitate connections, and exchanges of information, between newcomers and our partnering employers who had expressed their interests in addressing their workforce needs.

 In attendance were 70 registered clients with pre-screened resumes. These clients were experienced in the diverse fields of Health Care, Retail and Customer Service, Food and Catering Services, Warehouse and Construction. These newcomers were given the opportunity to learn more about well-known companies and present their qualifications to employers.

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On the other hand, the hiring fair provided a platform for 9 of our partnering employers to meet and consider talented newcomers for employment opportunities within their companies. The businesses in attendance included International Fitness Holdings (which operates 3 brands: World Health, Spa Lady and Bankers Hall Club), Nurses Next Door, HiFlyer Food Canada Inc., Budget Car Rental, Aramark, Vadel, and Canada Post.

These employers expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to meet qualified candidates who had been pre-screened for the positions available. Below are a few expressions of gratitude from two attending employers.

"I was impressed by the wide range of people that we spoke with on October 1st.  I received resumes for everything from custodial to our open Assistant Controller position. Thank-you again Mehrzad, I would love to be able to come out to your next career fair.  It was well put together and we spoke to a number of excellent people." - International Fitness Holdings

"Thank you for having us there! Great event! Awesome preparation and very warm atmosphere!...THANK YOU! We sure did meet many well skilled potential candidates and we're also hoping to be able to bring some of them onboard. I will definitely keep you updated as we go along in the process. As of now, I have just endorsed many of them to our Area Managers to see where we will need some new hires." -HiFlyer Food Canada Inc.

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CCIS Hiring Fair- May 2015

The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society was pleased to host a hiring fair on Wednesday, May 20th. This eventwas designed to assist employers in addressing their workforce needs in the areas of Sales, Transportation,Management Trainee, Customer Service, and Food Services. As always, employer engagement was exceptional and in turn, CCIS was able to help new members of our community become part of the local workforce.

The hiring fair provided a platform for our partnered employers to create diverse workplaces and enhance their business by hiring CCIS’ newcomer clients. In attendance were 71 registered clients with pre-screened resumes, as well as employers who were interested in addressing their workforce needs. In total, the event was attended by 7 businesses and companies including Cintas, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, Jimmy the Greek, Calgary Italian Bakery Ltd., Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and 7-Eleven.

One outcome of the 'highly successful turnout’ for this hiring fair was the on-the-spot hiring by employers in attendance. CCIS clients and the employers left feeling very satisfied with the hiring fair and were looking forward to future events like this.

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On Tuesday February 24th, the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, was pleased to host the Refugee Employer Challenge. This event, which was held in our Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre, was designed to raise awareness of Calgary’s refugee population and to promote employer engagement in helping these new members of our community become part of the local workforce.The event featured presentations from Canada Safeway and Ensign Energy, who have partnered with CCIS and shown an ongoing commitment to not only hiring refugees, but to creating welcoming and diverse workplaces. Also in attendance were employers who were interested in learning more about the refugee experience, as well as exploring ways to utilize this often overlooked population of job seekers to address their workforce needs. In total, the event was attended by 38 members of the business community representing a diverse range of companies including, All Seasons Mushrooms Inc., Business Consulting Group, Calgary Italian Bakery, Canada Post, Safeway, Careers in Manufacturing, Cargill, CEDA Group, Cinnzeo, Cintas, Compass Group Canada, Dynamics Furniture, EcoMex, Ensign Energy, Fairmount Hotels, FCL, Good Earth Café, Gordon Food Services, Hotel Blackfoot, International Fitness Holdings, JBS Brooks, Jugo Juice, Paladin Security, Strategic Management, Talentcor, Tania Medi Spa, Westin Calgary, and the World Health Club.

Overall, the event was a highly successful and significant step towards raising awareness of Calgary’s refugee population, and in engaging employers in offering these individuals vital opportunities to secure employment, gain financial security, integrate into their communities, and begin their new lives in Canada.


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CCIS Career Fair


With all the intentions to start year 2015 with great success, CCIS hosted an exhilarating Career Fair on January 12th wherein our newcomer clients had an opportunity to meet with representatives from 6 companies. The employers in attendance included Canada Post, Sears Warehouse, Shred-it Company, Marriott Hotel, Tim Hortons and MacDonald’s. With an amazing turnout of 102 clients, they were able to network with the company HR representatives and build their connections with the Calgary business community.

Come join us on our next Career Fair event in March 2015. For more information please contact Mehrzad Eftekhar at




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On Oct 22, 2014 the Networking for Success program organized a wonderful breakfast at the Calgary Petroleum Club. We celebrated with successful event with our business partners and CCIS clients. Over 70 guests came together and we welcomed employers from the following companies: Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Human Services, ATCO Gas, ATCO Structures and Logistics, Bantrel, CAGC, Glencore E&P (Canada) Inc., Safeway Operations, Saipem Canada Inc., Service Canada, Spectra Energy, Upside Engineering, URS and many more. 

 Please contact the Program Coordinator,Meri Pogosian with the following contact information should you want to take part in our next event: ().

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