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Cultural awareness and soft skills training: essential strategies for a multi-cultural country - innovate niagara

Cultural awareness and soft skills training: essential strategies for a multi-cultural country

Mar02

If a country composed of roughly 20% of immigrants intends to be on top of innovation, technology, and new sources of energy in the future as Canada aims, curtailing the time and cost of immigrants’ adaptation to the Canadian workplace is urgent. This adaptation is not simple and can be costly and, sometimes, endless. Richard Lewis, the recognized British linguist, expresses that if an individual belonging to a dialogue-oriented culture, like some Asian countries, does business with another individual who belongs to a data-oriented country, like Canada, the first must commit efforts to understand behavioral and intrinsic traces of the latter.

Meanwhile, Canada is facing a shortage of skilled workers. Research conducted by Canadian institutions[1] shows that professionals lack crucial soft skills that promote effectiveness and high workplace performance. This is considered the most significant challenge by the companies, combined with the economy’s general concern and uncertainty. Soft skills such as business management, leadership, positive attitude, strong work ethics and oral communication are the most coveted among employers and Canadian executives.

So, if, immigration is on the rise in Canada and the Canadian labor market is in shortage of skilled workers, companies are urged to adapt to become more productive. But to do so, they must be aware of some fundamental actions:

  • Permanent training: Soft-skills training and cross-cultural activities that include all employees’ nationalities are crucial not just for better company performance, but also for creating a friendly and cooperative workplace environment.
  • Soft skills: Standardizing soft skills related to ethics, high performance, productivity and communication is crucial to assess them.
  • E-Learning: 2020 was a year when individuals had to learn how to do business and study over the internet. Providing online content through gamification, combined with interactive and dynamic communication, is a faster and more affordable opportunity to train and assess people.
  • Tech tools: Technologies can learn with individuals’ actions and give them feedback on how to perform better. Artificial intelligence and cloud memory can be used to identify professional profiles and boost their skills.

The future of work in Canada will be shaped by the challenges that are rising right now. In a country where the most populated province – Ontario – expects 89% growth from immigrants by 2045[2], combined with the shortage of skilled workers and other trends, we are faced with an opportunity to offer innovative solutions to push our economy forward by leveraging online tech tools to help immigrants adapt and acclimate to Canadian culture.

Milena Moraes is the co-founder of Loonie AK, a tech eLearning start-up supported by Innovate Niagara that assesses, profiles, and adapts users to new cultures. She is passionate about helping people acclimate to the Canadian culture and labor market, supporting them in boosting the Niagara Region’s economy and Canada’s development. She envisioned online education since her experience with UNESCO (United Nations) and the Brazilian Education Ministry (MEC) when more than 200,000 people benefited from online education in poor and unreachable regions in Brazil and Africa.


[1]LMIC_LinkedIn-LMI-Insights-No-10.pdf (lmic-cimt.ca)and Career Development in the Canadian Workplace: National Business Survey | CERIC

[2]Ontario’s Long-Term Report on the Economy: Chapter 1: Demographic Trends and Projections | Ontario.ca

This article originally appeared in Business Link Niagara.