International talent may well be the answer to the workforce shortage

Canada sure has its share of attractions to showcase and immigrants are not necessarily parachuted in a cave from which they will never get out. In August 2013, her Working Holiday Visa in hand, Ophélie Gainville set out to land in Vancouver and visit the Canadian Rockies before settling for good – or so she thought – in the province of Quebec, along with her life partner. They had previously come to Canada on what she considers exploratory trips over the course of which they had travelled in some parts of Quebec, before visiting Toronto and the Niagara region; they had then experienced enough to figure they wanted to settle in the province of Quebec, most notably because of the French Eastern Ontario would not back down that easily, though.

Born and raised in Normandie, France, Ophélie was seeking a position in her field, administration and staffing, as she had gained the experience needed to feel confident about performing at a high level.  She had studied business management, yet she had an unyielding passion for staffing.  That goal wasn’t withering as she had been hired at Venis clothing store, in the heart Plaza St-Hubert, in Montreal, where she did spend almost three months.

In the meantime, she submitted her application to work at Contak Staffing Solutions; that’s when it became clear to her that she could actually work in Ontario, even with what she still considers a very basic use of the English language at that time. Most certainly, she recalls, English was a thorn, at the beginning, but she took English classes for almost a year and she’s been immersing in English-language media ever since, constantly improving.  After two weeks working at the Contak Hawkesbury office, her partner and her were relocating in the region.

All things considered, the situation is both ironic and undeniably fitting : Contak recruited Ophélie for its own staffing purposes, making her a Staffing Consultant.  Yet, Contak was setting the cornerstone of what would become its International  Talent Recruiting services which have since relentlessly taken flight. Contak was thus establishing itself as a catalyst on the international scene, which proves to be crucial in the actual workforce shortage that rages on.  There’s no firmer belief than the one in which we fully invest ourselves: Contak sure knows a thing or two about that.

Ophélie’s goal was crystal clear: get a position in the field where she felt most comfortable and make Eastern Ontario her home.  She still remembers the licence plate transfer from Quebec to Ontario and getting her Ontario driver’s licence were no cakewalks, however.  Moreover, she became a Permanent Resident after three consecutive visas;  the only option she was envisioning to get her Permanent Resident status was a job, which she did with a resounding success. Her new employer, Contak, helped Ophélie and her partner find a place to stay. She vividly remembers how pleasantly surprised she was when she found out they could purchase a property even though they were only temporary workers.

There are still sparkles in her eyes, six years or so later, as Ophélie talks about the steadily warm welcome they got, which quickly instilled an unflappable sense of belonging:  The work environment is just like our family. As it turns out, the key to all this is that the community on one hand and the couple on the other hand gradually opened up to each other: if the couple then wonderfully integrated the community, in return, the community was integrated just as well by its new members. It leads one to conclude that we must shape a community that is not necessarily integrating, but absolutely integral. As a matter of fact, the couple now has two children, born in 2016 and 2018 respectively; this integral sense of community is thus most proudly and definitely passed on, as their children will forever be from here and the community will soon be entrusted with parts of their social, intellectual, emotional and professional development.


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