Why We Need Support

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Immigrants regularly arrive in Canada equipped with excellent professional skills and knowledge but face significant barriers to employment. Often they fall into poverty as they become stuck in unemployment or low paying “survival” jobs.

New immigrants have both higher unemployment rates and lower wages than Canadian-born workers1, despite higher than average levels of education2.

IAF’s vision is that immigrants are equitably integrated into the workforce and contributing their expertise to Canada’s economic and social success.

IAF provides micro loans of up to $10,000 to internationally trained immigrants through a community-based program funded by both the private and public sectors. IAF micro loans are used to help with exam fees, tuition, books and supplies, assessments, living allowance while studying, and other costs immigrants incur as they work toward becoming employed in their field in Canada. IAF lends to immigrants who typically cannot access mainstream credit because they lack a credit history in Canada, and have no or low income. The IAF program is proven and efficient. Consider:

  •  Since its inception in Alberta in 2005, IAF has approved more than 2,700 micro loans totaling about $17 million
  • 97% of due funds are paid back
  • 81% of loan recipients become employed in their field with a job matching their skills and education3
  •  IAF loan recipients who completed their learning program went from $16,000 in income on average to $50,000 in income4
  • Every $1 invested in IAF’s program returns $15 in income for the Canadian economy in the first year after a borrower completes their learning plan5
  • Grants to IAF’s loan capital fund are highly leveraged – funds are loaned out, paid back, and then re-circulated to newly approved applicants.

IAF relies on contributions from individuals and organizations for loan capital, program delivery costs and special projects. Please consider supporting Canada’s immigrants by making a donation or investment today – contact Claudia Hepburn, CEO.


1 Statistics Canada Analysis of the Canadian immigrant labour market, 2008 to 2011
2 Desjardins, Dawn Immigrant labour market outcomes in Canada: The benefits of addressing wage and employment gaps. RBC Economics Research, 2011
3 Based on 288 Alberta loans for which IAF has income and employment status at intake and at point of completion of licensing plan/learning plan paid in full
4 Emery, Herbert Evaluating the Income & Tax Yield Outcomes of the Immigrant Access Fund Program in Alberta, 2015
5 Emery, Herbert Evaluating the Income & Tax Yield Outcomes of the Immigrant Access Fund Program in Alberta, 2015