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5 tips to protect the health and safety of new Canadians

Supervisor in yellow sweater training workers outdoors in the fall.

More than 60,000 people moved to Ontario from other countries during the first quarter of 2023, according to the Provincial government. That’s a lot of people arriving within a short period of time, but it’s all part of the government’s push to boost skilled labour in the province. All of this means that there’s a good chance your workplace will soon have a new hire who is also a new Canadian. 

Jason Killoran, Manager of Industry Partnerships with WSPS, explains that the first step for a newcomer isn’t necessarily to look for a job right away. First, they need to get settled.  “Settlement agencies will help with finding a place to live, getting kids registered in school, learning the area and how to get around on transit. Once people get used to their new surroundings and routines become established, they are ready to enter the workforce.

5 tips to help new Canadians transition to working in Ontario

Workers new to the province play a valuable role in the workforce. Support their transition to working in Ontario and help them thrive with these 5 tips. 

  1. Translate and demonstrate. Translate training material, health and safety documents, and orientation information to help a new worker get started. In some cases, a simple translation app can go a long way to removing conversational language barriers as a new employee works towards fluency in English. Another way to overcome a language barrier is by demonstrating a task for a new worker. Show them how to do something and then observe them doing it to ensure they understand your instructions. 

  2. Consider cultural differences. Some things that are common to most workplaces in Ontario may not be common to workplaces in other countries. “For example, some workers who are new to Ontario may not be used to asking questions or raising concerns,” says Jason. Ensure your health and safety orientation explains workers’ rights and responsibilities, with an emphasis on a worker’s right to know, ask questions, and participate in the workplace. Encourage involvement.

  3. Provide social networking opportunities. When someone is new to the country, it can often take time for them to build a social network and develop relationships, which is an important part of integrating into the community. Facilitate social networking by getting people together and organizing some events—at work and outside of work.  

  4. Pair new workers with a mentor. Many organizations pair new workers with a mentor during their probationary period. For someone who is new to working in Ontario, a mentor can be a huge resource at work and outside of work. This is a great way for a new worker to learn about the organization’s customs and culture.

  5. Schedule informal check-in meetings. Communication is critical to building trust and developing relationships. A good way to foster open communication with a new worker is to have regular, casual meetings to see how things are going at work and at home. Getting to know each other on a personal level will help build a solid foundation for a productive working relationship.

For more resources to help new Canadians settle into work and life in Ontario, visit

How WSPS can help

Connect with WSPS experts to learn more about improving your health and safety program and creating healthy workplaces.