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Celebrating Canada's Diversity

New Services Give Newcomer Women the Boost They Need to Succeed

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Sponsored by:
Tonie Chaltas_Achev

Tonie Chaltas

CEO, Achēv

Achēv debuts dedicated services for newcomer women across the continuum of their lives, from first jobs and settlement to charting career paths.


Navigating Canada’s social, economic, and cultural nuances can be challenging for newcomers. They may face language barriers, housing issues, and trouble finding employment. Yet, during this transitional period, it’s imperative they have access to resources that can help them build the lives they want. 

One of the largest community-based non-profits doing this is Achēv. For over 30 years, they’ve provided refugees and immigrants with the necessary supports to reach their potential, which includes newcomer, language, employment, and youth services. Their successful programming is customizable, community-based, and very accessible. It is also funded by the Federal and Ontario Governments so it is free.

The future of Canada’s labour market is top of mind for the team at Achēv. The country’s shrinking workforce may struggle to keep up with the ever-increasing demand, which is complicated by economic slowdowns. Employers have also realized their teams must reflect the communities and customers they serve. To remain competitive and continue to meet 21st-century needs, businesses must diversify their talent pool. 

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Meeting labour demands

Achēv has introduced a dedicated pillar of support for women— including newcomer women. As a demographic, they’re an under-tapped pool of extremely capable workers who can strengthen Canada’s future labour force.

Achēv’s goal is to address the unique barriers facing women. It takes newcomer and racialized women longer to find meaningful, full-time work than men. Also, they often earn less annual median income compared to non-racialized, Canadian-born women.

Achēv wants to change this. “Our dedicated Women’s pillar will allow us to provide more targeted support to the more than 50,000 women and girls who access our employment, language, and newcomer services each year,” says Tonie Chaltas, CEO of Achēv. “We’re tackling the unique barriers women face by empowering them, building community connections, and teaching essential job skills that promote economic security.”

Broadening and extending women’s workforce participation, particularly for newcomer and racialized women, is critical to addressing our current and future labour shortages.

Securing successful pathways

Participants have seen very positive results. New to the country, Venetia Paul Stephen enrolled in Achēv’s Dietary Aide in Senior Care program after realizing it specifically catered to women.

“I found what I was looking for — an organization that offered free training and could help me get employed,” Paul Stephen says. She was impressed by the staff and service providers, who maintained constant communication throughout. “They gave us unconditional support and were so approachable.” 

A trained accountant with an extensive resume, Tayo Badejo didn’t think she’d have trouble finding work when she immigrated to Canada — but the COVID-19 pandemic changed that. “I was craving something that would help me find my voice and become more confident,” explains Badejo.

Luckily, she discovered Achēv’s enhanced job programs, where she found a community of like-minded women. “Going into the program and hearing women say exactly the same thing gave me confidence,” adds Badejo. She improved her job interview skills and obtained updated certificates to pursue her passion in human resources management — a field she now works in.

Keeping Canada’s doors open to the world is advantageous to everyone, which is
why organizations like Achēv are vital. “Broadening and extending women’s workforce participation, particularly for newcomer and racialized women, is critical to addressing our current and future labour shortages,” Chaltas explains. 

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