Free Education, July 9: Celebrating Indigenous Businesses in BC - Register Now
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Please Note: The SmartMove program has come to an end. Please contact ISSofBC to get information on any ongoing programs.

Canada is a nation of immigrants. Over 20% of us were born abroad, and the vast majority of us still have roots in other countries. We welcome the unique vibrancy and diversity immigrants bring to our country, but these newcomers face systemic challenges in gaining meaningful employment that is aligned with their skill-sets. SmartMove addresses this imbalance.

A partnership between Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC) and Small Business BC, SmartMove also helps to reduce labour market shortages by connecting small businesses with qualified newcomers to Canada. The goals are to support you, the small business owner, with hiring qualified workers, improving employment prospects for job-ready newcomers, and to support the creation of diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces.

This free pilot program, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), supports two groups.

  • Small Business Owners or Managers – Businesses in the Lower Mainland recruiting within the next four to six months
  • Immigrants to BC – Newcomers seeking employment aligned with their skills and training

What to Expect as a Small Business Owner or Manager

Entrepreneurs who participate in SmartMove receive ongoing support and unique educational opportunities designed to improve key aspects of their business. We have created approximately 6-10 hours of on-demand e-learning courses in areas such as hiring and retention best practices, diversity and inclusion training and more.

Pre-recorded webinars hosted by a Diversity & Inclusion HR specialist will reinforce the lessons delivered through e-learning. Ongoing support for employers is provided via 24/7 access to an online ‘Ask an HR Expert’ help desk. Check-ins with an Employer Relations Specialist, Julian Chae, will be scheduled throughout the process to offer support in hiring and staff retention. Employers who participate in SmartMove will be coached on accessing ISSofBC’s database to optimize job descriptions and receive tailored candidate matches for open positions.

Finally, employers will participate in training on an artificial intelligence job skills competency matching system. This unique software helps to optimize job descriptions while providing relevant, qualified candidates for your open positions.


Qualifying Criteria

  • Businesses must be located in the Lower Mainland
  • Must have 50 or fewer employees
  • Planning to hire in the next 4-6 months


This program will be cohort based. Each cohort is 3 months, with continued follow up to help small businesses find quality newcomer job seekers for their open positions. The schedule for SmartMove’s cohorts are listed below:

Apr 4 Cohort 1
Jun 1 Cohort 2
Sep 1 Cohort 3
Dec 1 Cohort 4
Mar 1 Cohort 5

Frequently Asked Questions

SmartMove is funded by the federal government’s department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and is free of charge to both small businesses and newcomers seeking work.

SmartMove learning consists of 7 e-courses and 4 pre-recorded webinars. Participants are expected to complete these over the span of the three-month cohort. After that, you will have access to e-learning course content for up to one year from your start date.

Each e-learning course may take 45-60 minutes totaling approximately 6-10 hours of material. These e-learning courses are self-paced so you can start, stop and continue anytime you want. Each pre-recorded webinar is 1 hour long and provides the opportunity to engage with others in your cohort.

All participants will receive access to review the webinar recordings for one month.

Small Business participants are encouraged to do as much learning as possible from the program, however, if you need to exit please contact ISSofBC’s Employer Relations Specialist, Julian Chae, right away to communicate the reason you cannot continue.

Yes, given the funding for this project, only businesses operating out of the regional districts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are eligible.

Yes, we welcome small businesses of any size under 50 employees as long as you plan to hire for one or more vacancies.

As many as you like but each individual will have to create their own SBBC account to access the learning. You must designate one main contact who will connect with the ISSofBC Employer Relations Specialist.

ISSofBC’s employment program works with candidates who are job-ready, legally eligible to work in Canada and at least 19 years of age.

Yes, but for an optimal learning experience, e-courses and webinars both are best accessed on a laptop or desktop. For webinars, download the Zoom app on your computer or mobile device (Android Google Play, iOS App Store) in advance. Otherwise, you will be prompted to download and install Zoom when you click the join link. You can also join a test meeting to familiarize yourself with Zoom beforehand.”

Contact Julian Chae, Employer Relations Specialist at ISSofBC for further details.

Fill out the intake form  and an ISSofBC representative will follow up with you.

We respectfully acknowledge our place of work is within the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and that we serve the Peoples of the many Nations throughout British Columbia.