Industrial company in Sudbury hires foreign workers to fill longstanding need

Six welders from Mexico have been calling Sudbury home since November after a local manufacturing company needed skilled tradespeople and couldn’t find anyone locally to fit the bill.

An industrial company in Sudbury was desperate to fill positions until it hired 6 welders from Mexico

Welders from Mexico arrive at the airport in November. Dale Alexander from Carriere Industrial Supply says recruiting the men has been a win-win situation. (Supplied by IVEY Immigration & Employment Services Inc.)

Six men from Mexico now call Sudbury home after a local manufacturing company needed skilled tradespeople and couldn't find anyone locally to fit the bill.

Carriere Industrial Supply is located in Lively, a community in the City of Greater Sudbury. It's a global manufacturer of industrial equipment.

Dale Alexander is with Carriere Industrial. He says his company had been searching for experienced tradespeople for a number of years. When welders were needed, Carriere turned to the IVEY Group, an immigration and international recruiting agency in Sudbury. He was introduced to IVEY at a trade show in Toronto.

Working with the IVEY Group, Carriere recruited six welders from Mexico who arrived in Sudbury in November. 

Alexander says that so far, it's all been working out wonderfully. The Mexican employees are getting used to the weather, have been taken to a Sudbury Wolves hockey game, and are communicating with staff as best they can with limited English on their side, and limited Spanish on the side of Carriere employees. 

Alexander says health and safety is a top priority at Carriere Industrial Supply. For that reason, most of the company's health and safety documents have been translated into Spanish for the new employees. 

Alexander describes the recruitment of the welders from Mexico as a win-win situation. 

"We were desperate to find experienced tradespeople. And on their side, they're looking to build a future for themselves and their families and it's been very rewarding for us."

He says the company still has about 15 vacant positions and is considering foreign workers to fill them. "It is a rewarding way of helping people out as well as getting the people you need to get the work done," he added. 

Irvin Salas (right) is a welder from Mexico recently recruited to work in Greater Sudbury. He says Canada is a cold country with warm people. (Supplied by IVEY Immigration & Employment Services Inc.)

Irvin Salas is one of the welders who says he came from Mexico for the opportunities Canada offers. As for his trade, he says the procedures are not very different. What is different, though, is the weather. "It's a cold country with warm people," he said. 

Salas hopes to bring his wife and three little girls to Canada in March. 

Antonio Lopez is one of the co-founders of the IVEY Group. He says his company has partnerships in countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Poland and Ukraine. 

Lopez says that one of the challenges to recruiting foreign workers is a very complex immigration system. "We need to prove to the government that there is really a shortage and a need for people," he explained. "There's got to be proof that we've tried everything we could to hire people locally," he added.

Lopez said his company is bringing in another eight workers, possibly from Ukraine, to work in construction. "I think companies are realizing that this is a viable solution for their labour shortage," he added. 

To help foreign workers adapt to their new environment, Lopez says that the IVEY Group has temporary housing available on the second and third floors of its Cedar Street offices in downtown Sudbury. English as a Second Language training is also being offered to the new recruits. 

With files from Angela Gemmill


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