About this Toolkit

Impact North Shore conducted a research project titled Rethinking Assumptions: Unpacking Canadian Work Experience. The project critically assessed the validity of employers requiring “Canadian Work Experience” and explored how the concept of Canadian Work Experience negatively affects racialized im/migrants seeking employment in their respective fields as well as employers who are unable to find talent in the tight labour market.

Building on the research results, this Toolkit was developed to equip employers with actionable resources and strategies to ensure they are able to benefit from im/migrant talent. Employers will also find workable tools to better understand the education, skills, and talents of im/migrants in the labour market. The Toolkit also provides strategies for employers to see beyond the limiting, unnecessary, and biased requirement for Canadian Work Experience and gives concrete suggestions of how employers can onboard and retain im/migrants in their workforce.

The Toolkit is divided into several sections covering the various stages of the hiring and onboarding process, with activities, reflection questions, resources, and strategies. The first section discusses unconscious bias and strategies to address prejudices throughout the recruitment phase. The second section explores equitable hiring practices in order to determine the right candidate for the role.  And, finally, the last section offers strategies on how to create equitable workplaces.

Section 1: Working Through Unconscious Bias

Section 2: Hiring the Right Candidate

Section 3: Equitable and Welcoming Workplaces

In essence, the Toolkit provides a starting point for employers to critically assess how the concept of Canadian Work Experience creates bias and barriers, and offers a useful compilation of approaches that can connect employers to the im/migrant workforce.


Section 1: Working Through Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias, also known as implicit bias, is a learned assumption, belief, or attitude that exists in the subconscious. Implicit biases are developed over time and are a product of our environment, upbringing, and education as we accumulate life experiences and get exposed to different groups of people and stereotypes. While completely eradicating implicit biases is unlikely, every effort must be taken to minimize them in hiring processes and throughout the HR lifecycle. The following are resources to support employers to understand, assess, and reflect on unconscious biases they may harbour, and to provide strategies on how to address unconscious bias during the recruitment process.

Understanding Unconscious Bias

  • Inclusion Journey: Microsoft’s self-directed training program covers general social concepts like inclusion, bias, privilege, and allyship at an introductory level. Find access to audio-visual presentations that provide a foundational understanding of these concepts.

Key concepts: inclusion, bias, allyship, privilege, gender, sexual orientation

  • Unconscious Bias Training: the University of California – San Francisco’s interactive unconscious bias training with short videos of experts addressing different components of unconscious bias. This resource provides a more in-depth understanding of unconscious bias and strategies to assess and address unconscious bias at an individual and institutional level.

Key concepts:  bias, science on unconscious bias, Implicit Association Test

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Tools for Assessing Your Own Biases

  • Are You Aware of Your Biases?: A short personal reflection in Harvard Business Review inviting you to acknowledge your biases and embrace feedback and challenges to your assumptions. This anecdotal article shows examples of how being aware of your biases can improve your leadership and maximize your team’s potential.

Key concepts:  self-reflection, leadership, bias

  • Implicit Association Test:  A test designed by Harvard University to help identify our own implicit biases by measuring our understanding of concepts and identities, as well as attributes we might ascribe to various social groups. There are 15 tests that help uncover our automatic associations, beliefs, and attitudes about others.

Key concepts: Implicit Association Test, automatic associations, unconscious bias

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Address Unconscious Bias During the Recruitment Process

  • Actively Addressing Unconscious Bias in Recruiting: An article by Harvard Business School outlining active steps organizations can take to reduce and eliminate unconscious bias. The article identifies recruitment practices that commonly embed unconscious biases and how bias may unintentionally disadvantage certain candidates.

Key concepts: unconscious bias, remote recruiting, job description, virtual interviewing, interview structure

  • How to Reduce Personal Bias When Hiring: An article by Harvard Business Review provides strategies to circumvent personal bias among recruiters. It provides techniques on how to identify and disrupt biases when assessing a candidate’s suitability for a role.

Key concepts:  unconscious bias, affinity bias, peer pressure, conformity bias

  • Unconscious Bias in Resume Screening: Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council’s interactive and self-directed e-learning course explores how cultural differences and bias can affect the resume screening process and potentially exclude diverse candidates.  This module includes a resume screening exercise that highlights how a lack of understanding in cultural differences can distract recruiters from recognizing valid and relevant skills and experience. (Creation of an account is required to access the interactive learning module, but once your account has been created, enrolment in the training is free.)

Key concepts:  resume screening, unconscious bias, cultural awareness

  • Tapping into the North Shore Immigrant Talent Pool: The North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Partnership (NSIIP’s) fact sheet on how unconscious bias may be hindering recruitment success in relation to im/migrants. This document shares the benefits of hiring im/migrant talent.

Key concepts: unconscious bias, affinity bias, marketing, job descriptions, interviews

  • Managing Unconscious Bias: A whitepaper by Paradigm outlining strategies to manage bias and build more diverse and inclusive organizations. This resource provides an evaluation of the ways unconscious bias can negatively affect prospective and current employees throughout the many stages of the HR lifecycle.  It offers solutions for promoting an inclusive work culture and for minimizing bias at both structural and individual levels.

Key concepts:  unconscious bias, attracting, hiring, developing, retaining, career websites, job descriptions, sourcing strategies, resume review, interviews, candidate evaluations, mentorship, development opportunities, performance reviews, promotions, rewards/recognition

  • Guide to Anonymizing Applicant Materials: This is University of Wisconsin-Madison’s resource on how to anonymize applications to minimize unconscious bias during the screening process. It explains the purpose of anonymizing applications and offers a step-by-step guide to those without an applicant tracking system on redacting identifiable information on applications that may unnecessarily influence hiring decisions.

Key concepts: unconscious bias, anonymizing applicant materials, redacting, personally identifiable information

Key concepts:  racism, anti-racism, racial unconscious bias, recruitment, resume screening, interviews, job description, standardized evaluation forms, anonymized hiring techniques

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