Paramount Fine Foods CEO provides work opportunity to refugees upon their arrival in Canada
'A job for a newcomer or for a refugee is simply everything,' says Mohamed Fakih
The head of Middle Eastern food chain Paramount Fine Foods has tapped into a global refugee talent pool to hire a new team member.
CEO Mohamed Fakih hired Nabil Maati at his Paramount Crestlawn location as a chef and kitchen manager, through a non-governmental organization called Talent Beyond Boundaries.
Maati arrived in Toronto last week with his family from Iraq, and is one of 10 refugees that the company has hired upon arrival. Paramount Fine Foods has hired over 150 refugees in Canada and over 75 around the world.
Talent Beyond Boundaries has a list of nearly 11,000 available candidates from the Middle East and East Africa, and connects CEOs and companies looking for employees like Maati.
Through the organization, companies connect with skilled workers, sponsor them and bring them to Canada under a government program called the Employment Mobility Pathways Project.
In an interview with CBC Radio's Here and Now, Fakih discussed the importance of helping refugees like Maati who are seeking work in Canada.
"Nabil is a skilled worker that will go above and beyond what's asked of him," said Fakih.
He said this is the case with all refugees his company has hired.
"They do appreciate the opportunity, and they bring a great purpose to the company that hires them," said Fakih.
"For anyone that thinks bureaucratically it's difficult, I'm here to tell you it's not," said Fakih.
As an immigrant himself, providing opportunities to skilled refugees as they look for work is more than a business transaction for Fakih.
"After 20 years in Canada, I can never forget the faces of the people who have given me an opportunity," he said.
Fakih urges other CEOs and companies to look into the work of Talent Beyond Boundaries when making hiring decisions, to help out entire families like Maati's.
"This is an opportunity to get skilled people, but as well, to change lives," said Fakih.