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Newcomer perspectives on Diversity in Employment

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In an insightful conversation with Jaime Chinchilla, a seasoned Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisor and Consultant, we delved into his experiences as a newcomer in Canada and his vision for fostering diversity in the workplace. With 17 years of living in Canada under his belt, Chinchilla brings a unique perspective to the table.

Chinchilla’s journey to Canada began with the pursuit of a master’s degree in music from a Canadian university. Despite his musical background, he is actively involved in managing various projects. This blend of academia and community engagement showcases the multifaceted nature of newcomers who contribute not only economically but also socially and culturally to their adopted countries.

According to Chinchilla, the need for immigrants in Canada stems from structural reasons, including economic requirements and sustaining systems like healthcare and pensions. However, he emphasizes that newcomers bring contributions beyond the economic sphere. In a multicultural country like Canada, immigrants play pivotal roles across various sectors, including government, community, leadership, entrepreneurship, and more.

Diversity, as Chinchilla explains, goes beyond just cultural dimensions. While cultural diversity is crucial, he introduces the concept of intersectionality, where different aspects such as gender, culture, religion, and language intersect. This holistic view of diversity recognizes the multifaceted identities of individuals, a concept he notes may not be as widely recognized in some of their countries of origin.

In his role as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion advisor, Chinchilla works with equity-deserving groups, including newcomers, to create inclusive and welcoming workplaces. He underlines the importance of analyzing workplace dynamics through the lens of diversity, ensuring representation from various backgrounds, genders, ages, religions, and languages. Chinchilla acknowledges the challenges faced by newcomers, particularly in career progression. While entry and mid-level positions may be accessible, breaking through the glass ceiling can be an uphill battle. He stresses the need for companies to create environments that support the growth of newcomers beyond entry-level roles.

For newcomers entering the Canadian workforce, Chinchilla offers valuable advice – work harder than anyone else. He encourages turning disadvantages into advantages, citing the resilience developed in underdeveloped countries as a strength. Having an accent, for instance, is not a hindrance but an asset, showcasing the ability to communicate in multiple languages.

Chinchilla’s journey and insights serve as an inspiration for newcomers navigating the complexities of the Canadian job market. As a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion advocate, he continues to contribute to making workplaces more welcoming and inclusive for individuals from diverse backgrounds, ensuring that every voice is heard and valued.

– Yuliia Kovalenko, U Multicultural

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