Amazon Canada has launched the Amazon Canada Refugee Support Program. Developed in collaboration with key immigration stakeholders across the country, including officials with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the program was created by Amazon employees and is uniquely designed to meet the four critical needs of refugees resettling in Canada: job search support, financial support, access to affordable housing, and a sense of community.
“We’re very proud of our commitment to supporting refugees in Canada and hope to offer refugees an opportunity to apply their skills and talent in a role at Amazon,” says Jesse Dougherty, VP, Amazon.
“When I first came to Canada there were not a lot of available programs to assist refugees and displaced skilled migrants,” says Bellal Faroqi, Strategy Specialist, Immigration Support, Amazon Canada. “This initiative creates pathways for success by providing the necessary tools and resources to help close the gaps and barriers that refugees face when resettling in Canada. I feel very proud to call myself an Amazonian.”
Financial Support: $250,000 Donation to Settlement Organizations
To meet the second critical need of refugees settling in Canada, financial support, Amazon is distributing $250,000 in Amazon gift cards to clients of five settlement organizations across Canada. These gift cards can be used for any items, including essential goods, household products, clothing, and more.
“Canada has a long-standing and proud tradition of welcoming the world’s most vulnerable, and we know that newcomers resettling to Canada have critical needs upon their arrival, including finding a job. Amazon and its Canada Refugee Support Program offer crucial resources to them so they can continue to enrich our communities and help grow our economy. I’m thrilled that businesses like Amazon are stepping up to support the resettlement of vulnerable individuals, and I encourage other businesses to take action and commit to helping newcomers to Canada in any way they can,” says The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
Access to Affordable Housing: Habitat for Humanity Canada Partnership
While the price of housing has started to decline across the country, it remains out of reach for many, especially refugees. Habitat for Humanity Canada provides affordable homeownership opportunities to all Canadians who meet the eligibility criteria, including those who may have come to Canada as a refugee. To help build equity through affordable housing, Amazon has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to sponsor 10 builds across the country. Amazon Habitat Build Days have taken place in Ottawa and Vancouver, with more planned for Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal throughout the year. Each build will include Amazon employees, partners, customers, and local officials to help build decent and affordable homes, from single-family houses to multi-unit developments.
“Thanks to the support of Amazon, we can provide even more families in Canada with an opportunity to build strength, stability, and independence through affordable homeownership,” says Julia Deans, President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Canada. “We are energized by their excitement to give back and appreciate their commitment to creating a long-lasting impact in the local communities where they live and work.”
Sense of Community: Affinity Group dedicated to newcomers and refugees
To further enable Amazon employees to support settlement efforts in their local communities, Amazon Canada is launching a new affinity group focused on newcomers and refugees. The group will meet regularly to identify ways to support these communities, while also planning educational events for employees. This group joins 14 other affinity groups, including Glamazon, Asians at Amazon, Amazon Black Employee Network, Families at Amazon, and more.
“Amazon is more than just a job; it’s a family of like-minded people working together to create a strong community that matters. Affinity groups are a big part of that,” says Amanda Dirk, Senior Operations Manager and Leader of the Engage Pillar of Amazon’s Operations Affinity Group Network. “We are thrilled to add Newcomers at Amazon to this important network of employees and further support the settlement of refugees and new Canadians in our communities and our workforce.”