Low Risk, Big Return: Using Paid Internships to Recruit Skilled Immigrant Talent

Internships are a cost-effective way for businesses to test out potential candidates, including skilled immigrants, for fit and expertise. This webinar will showcase how companies have accessed internationally-trained interns through the Career Edge Organization as well as a unique and innovative partnership between Career Edge, RBC Royal Bank and business clients of the bank.

Learn how paid internships can be a powerful recruitment strategy, a way to diversify your workforce and benefit the overall bottom-line of your company!


  • Mark Appleton, Director, Business Credit Process Transformation, RBC
  • Naguib Gouda, President, Career Edge Organization
  • Maryam Rezaie, Technical Director, C&T Steel Reinforcing Co.


  • Peter Paul, Project Leader, ALLIES, Maytree

What Employers Need to Know

  • Internships for skilled immigrants can help with immediate staffing needs. You can:
  • Hire a highly skilled and professional candidate on a low-cost trial basis;
  • Benefit from multi-lingual professionals who bring global experience to your company and can help you connect with new markets; and
  • Increase your staff’s cross-cultural communication skills and intercultural awareness.
  • Recent media articles have portrayed internships as a questionable business practice. However, internships when paid and structured appropriately, can address immediate staffing needs.  Paid internships are regulated by an employment standards act . Therefore an employer must provide at least minimum wage, overtime and vacation pay. There are very limited exceptions to hosting an unpaid internship and these are predominately restricted to vocational training for college/university students.
  • The Career Edge/RBC Associate Host Program connects skilled immigrant talent with RBC commercial clients for a six-month paid internship. Four months of the the paid internships are funded by RBC with the employer funding the remaining two months. Career Edge manages the engagement process with prospective interns and administers the payroll for employers.
  • The benefits of participating in the internship program are a win-win for all parties. The business employs a talented individual on a low-cost trial basis that can improve the company’s bottom line.  The intern lands a meaningful position that can kick-start their Canadian career. For RBC they improve the company’s productivity through HR support and assist the immigrant by launching their Canadian career. The program is a demonstration of RBC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. As of May 2014, 30 businesses were registered with the Career Edge/RBC Associate Host Program. Over 20 skilled immigrants have been able to launch their Canadian careers with 90% being hired by the host company.
  • If you are to host an intern provide coaching/mentoring support to improve their cross-cultural competency skills. This support will also increase the overall staff’s intercultural awareness. Provide networking opportunities to help expand an intern’s professional connections and improve their overall skills development.

Table of Contents

Additional Resources

Webinar slides:Download a PDF of the webinar slides.

Internship Program Toolkit (ALLIES)
Understand how to develop an internship program with strategies and guidance provided about program delivery, funding, managing relationships and communications.

Career Edge Organization
Connect job seekers with Canadian employers through paid internships.

RBC Career Bridge Associate Host Program
This program is designed to support RBC’s GTA-based business clients in connecting with high-potential, internationally qualified candidates to fit their employment needs.

Success Story: Career Bridge Internships a Win-Win for St. Michael’s Hospital
Structured program allows hospital to assess skilled immigrants’ suitability for permanent jobs.

Not all Internships are Bad (Ratna Omidvar and Margaret Eaton, Toronto Star)
Done well, paid internships break down employment barriers and function as valuable learning experiences.

Hireimmigrants.ca local resource section
Find local connections to immigrant talent and related programs including immigrant employment councils in this interactive map or download this resource sheet.

The RBC-Career Edge Associate Host Program is the winner of the Innovation Award for Career Edge’s Achievement Awards 2014. Listen to supporters and participants of the program about the value of paid internships.

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