I have a lot of love for newcomers to Canada.
My parents were both once newcomers to this country. My father left Czechoslovakia illegally and came to Canada by way of Traiskirchen refugee camp in Austria. My mother was recruited for the first cohort of native Japanese-speaking flight attendants based out of Vancouver International Airport. Despite their different circumstances, it was clear to me growing up that they both had to sacrifice and hustle in order to make a new life for themselves in their adopted homeland.
A newcomer’s sacrifice
According to the federal government, Canada welcomed over 321,000 newcomers in 2018—the highest number since 1913. Dee Rawat, a Solution Engineer at Traction on Demand, was one of them.
It was a move that was a long time coming. After all, he had been separated from his wife for a year by that point. She was already living in Montreal after accepting a job offer, waiting with anticipation for Dee’s paperwork to go through.
But upon arriving in “la belle province,” Dee quickly realized there was a problem. He didn’t speak French. And while he did get to the point of being able to manage his day-to-day affairs, he knew he’d have to look elsewhere in Canada if he was going to establish a career here. So this time, it was Dee who left his wife to drive across the country and see what Vancouver had to offer.
They would be apart for another year.
A newcomer’s hustle
When you’re a newcomer to Canada, sometimes you just have to take whatever job comes your way, especially at the start. I personally know of a surgeon from South Africa who delivered pizzas upon arriving in Canada, while his family of five lived in a single motel room. His son’s voice cracks as he tells me the story, and I can only imagine what that kind of experience does to one’s spirit. But Dee, who also delivered pizzas in Vancouver, took it all in stride. “I was also a car salesman,” he says with a smile.
Dee sold jeeps and delivered pizzas before joining Traction Access and becoming Salesforce certified.
Two months into selling jeeps, Dee found out that he had been selected by the nonprofit organization MOSAIC to take part in Traction Access, which is now part of Fast Track to CRM. In addition to providing employability skills training by MOSAIC, the program continues to provide Salesforce training led by Traction on Demand. After participating in Traction Access and being introduced to Salesforce, participants are encouraged to continue learning on their own and become certified. According to Dee, this is the tough part. “The most difficult part is after the program ends—to keep motivated, to keep going,” he says.
One month after the program ended, Dee passed the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam.
Fast facts: Traction Access
- Salesforce training for newcomers launched in 2019 to support in reskilling and finding employment in Canada
- Training provided by current Traction on Demand team members who volunteer their time
- Focus on technical skills, as well as building community and increasing diversity in the tech sector
Disappointment and determination
Passing the exam and applying for jobs should have been Dee’s happy ending except COVID-19 took over the world for a time. Not only did organizations freeze hiring, many of them were put in the unfortunate position of letting people go. There was no way this was going to be the start of Dee’s successful Salesforce career. He was crushed. “I was very sad that Traction on Demand was stopping their hiring. I didn’t know what to do. I promised my wife I was going to set up things and call her,” he recounts. Instead, he made his way back to Montreal.
Dee had to start all over again but by this time he had several Salesforce certifications under his belt, regular contact with a mentor at Traction on Demand and a headstart in the Salesforce ecosystem, which projects the creation of 4.2 million new jobs between 2019 and 2024. Dee kept in regular contact with his Traction Access trainers, and after a period of waiting for things to settle down, he was finally offered a job.
Happy wife, happy life
Two years after he left Montreal to find work, Dee is back in the city with his wife. They’ve bought a home with the intention of firmly planting roots there. He says in hindsight it all worked out although, “If you had told me for two years your life would be a rollercoaster I would have said no (to moving to Canada). But now I would say yes. You don’t know what’s at the other end unless you take that leap of faith. We are very happy. My wife is happy. And happy wife means happy life right?” he asks laughing.