Helping African Francophone Women Work in Health Care

Alliance Jeunesse-Famille de l’Alberta Society is helping Edmonton’s immigrant women find fulfilling work, thanks to a grant from Status of Women.

Female immigrants who have newly arrived in Canada have the highest unemployment rate of all newcomers and are also under-represented in professions such as health care. Alliance Jeunesse-Famille de l’Alberta Society (AJFAS) has identified that, in particular, African francophone immigrant women who are trained in health professions face multiple barriers to integrating, working and getting promoted in the field.

AJFAS is launching a new project, À Votre Santé, which involves   a series of sessions to address these barriers, including discrimination based on culture, gender and language of origin.

The facilitated sessions will be held in partnership with the Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative (MHBC), supported by a $50,000 grant from Status of Women.

“Immigrant francophone women face the combined impacts of racism and sexism as they try to settle into life in Alberta. With this grant, we will work to improve their lives and help them build successful careers here.”

Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women

During the biweekly sessions, to be held over six months, participating women will have an opportunity to build their communication skills and cultural competencies to help them find and retain work in Edmonton’s health-care sector.

They will also be able to share their personal stories of overcoming language and cultural barriers to create networks and empower one another to build their health-care careers.

“À Votre Santé is a very important project focusing on African francophone women in health fields, especially auxiliary health staff facing unhealthy working conditions. The project will recruit 60 to 70 francophone women, carry out a needs assessment, create awareness of the working conditions of health-care workers, develop knowledge and skills and, finally, work closely with employers and unions.”

Luketa M’Pindou, executive director of Alliance Jeunesse-Famille de l’Alberta Society

Knowledge from this project will be shared with employers, unions and health-care educators, along with recommendations on how health-care professionals and organizations can create inclusive workplaces for francophone immigrant women.

AJFAS has partnered with MCHB, Alberta Workers’ Health Centre and Centre Collégial: Campus Saint-Jean to deliver this project. The women who participate in the sessions will receive a certificate from Centre Collégial.

About Status of Women grants

Status of Women’s first-ever grants program funds 34 innovative projects by not-for-profit and charitable organizations for a total of $1.5 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Successful projects, such as À Votre Santé by AJFAS, work to help women get good jobs and employment skills training and increase the number of women in leadership roles in the health-care sector and beyond.