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An Indian Origin Woman Minister in the Government of British Columbia

As member of the British Columbia legislative assembly, she is a minister representing the Liberal Party in the government headed by Premier John Horgan.

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British Columbia, the Canadian province that is a leader in technology and has one of the fastest growing tech ecosystems in the world
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From Canada, that boasts of a first Indian-origin Defence Minister in Harjit Singh Sajjan, here is the story of another Indian-origin woman migrant who has risen to become a minister in the government of the British Columbia — the Western-most province of the country known for its tech prowess globally.

Meet Jinny Jogindera Sims, who was born in Jalandhar in Punjab and migrated at age nine to England where she got a B.Ed degree at the University of Manchester.

Then, Sims and her husband moved to Canada in 1976. The first woman President of British Columbia’s largest teachers’ union, she was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2011.

The 65-year-old mother of two, who now heads the Ministry of Citizens’ Services of British Columbia, is quite passionate about her job.

In a conversation with IANS, when asked about Canada’s inclusive nature and how emigrants like her can make it to the top in different fields including political power, pat came her reply: “If you ask me is there more we can do, my answer will be absolutely. We need to do more on aboriginals and the nations’ ethnic communities”.

“We need to do more. Inclusivism and racism is not a one-time issue. We need to do more for their education and other issues. We need to do it all the time”.

Asked about Indians and attracting the talent in the growing tech sector of British Columbia, Sims said Indians have made a name for themselves in the tech and other sectors and are in the forefront.

“I have been to India as an MP to various cities, including Bengaluru and Kolkata. Looking at the skills and talent and amazing companies, India is important in the tech sector. We are looking at new cooperation with Indian tech companies,” she emphasised.

As member of the British Columbia legislative assembly, she is a minister representing the Liberal Party in the government headed by Premier John Horgan.

The 65-year-old mother of two, who now heads the Ministry of Citizens' Services of British Columbia, is quite passionate about her job.
Then, Sims and her husband moved to Canada in 1976. The first woman President of British Columbia’s largest teachers’ union, she was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2011. Pixabay

Asked about her ministry’s work, Sims said her department has gone more digital in delivering services to citizens and that has brought its own problems.

Cyber crime, fake news and other related problems faced by the countries across the world are also her main problems.

“Digital economy is growing. More and more people are getting sophisticated and trying to commit cyber crimes. We are engaged more with businesses that are worried that more people are trying to get information online through Internet bandits.

“We are telling businesses to build extra layers of security. It is like when we construct a home, we have doors and windows which we close for security. Likewise, businesses have to build layers of security like Next-Gen anti-virus solutions and firewalls,” the minister stressed.

She said her ministry is very agile on cyber security and has become smarter with time.

“They (cyber-criminals) have got technology and are, all the time, trying to get into our systems. Nearly 300,000 systems were affected which is mind-boggling. It also shows we have to be extra-cautious, building firewalls and constantly monitoring them,” Sims said.

Asked about the problem of data stealing and stalking over social media platforms, Sims said the government’s role in this is limited.

As a mother and a grandmother, she would only advise that schools and parents have to tell children on the newer risks arising from the use of Internet.

“Parents can limit the children from accessing Internet. We can teach and guide them on cyber security. Businesses also have a responsibility,” Sims added.

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The identity cards issued by her government for accessing citizens’ services have high-security features and cannot be breached for extracting personal details.

“Our ID cards, personal details are never shared with anyone. There is nothing that goes out from our portal,” she noted.

Asked if she was aware of the controversy surrounding the Aadhaar card in India, the minister said, “a little bit”. (IANS)

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British Columbia Looking For Skilled Indian to Join Tech Related Jobs

"India would be a very crucial market for us. There are many international immigrants including Indians in Vancouver".

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British Columbia, the Canadian province that is a leader in technology and has one of the fastest growing tech ecosystems in the world
British Columbian Flag.Wikimedia commons

British Columbia, the Canadian province that is a leader in technology and has one of the fastest growing tech ecosystems in the world, is looking at a shortfall of 30,000 skilled individuals to fill tech-related jobs, with India as an important catchment area for recruiting immigrant talent.

“India, the Philippines and Nigeria are the countries we are looking for tapping talent in the Information Technology (IT) sector,” says Patrick Mackenzie, CEO of the Immigrant Employment Council (IEC) of British Columbia, the southwestern province in Canada which accounts for more than 10,000 companies and approximately $29 billion (Canadian dollars) in revenue.

Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of the third annual BCTECH Summit here, Mackenzie said there are huge openings for immigrants as information system analysts, consultants, software engineers and designers and computer system managers.

“The current supply cannot meet the industry’s growing demands for tech talent. By 2021, there will be an anticipated shortfall of over 30,000 skilled individuals to fill tech-related jobs in the province,” he noted.

Unless immediate action was taken by the provincial and federal governments, tech employers, the settlement and integration sector and other key shareholders, this employment gap will severely limit the potential growth of the industry, Mackenzie added.

The “2016 Tech Talent BC Report” identifies three talent pools — new entrants or recent graduates, immigrants and other local supply to include career transitioners and people from under-represented groups.

The focus of the report was immigrants and the country needs to source 8,500 more immigrants than are currently projected to arrive in BC by 2021 to meet the growing tech sector demand.

British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan, in his remarks at the plenary session on Wednesday, put the figure at 9,600 which the province needs to bring people from across the world into the tech sector.

British Columbia, the Canadian province that is a leader in technology and has one of the fastest growing tech ecosystems in the world
British Columbia is willing to hire numerous skilled personnel for their technical industry. Pexels

The tech and innovation sector in BC has grown rapidly over the past 10 years, transforming its economy in many ways that people could not have imagined. It is evident in the increase of technology jobs from 66,000 in 2002 to more than one lakh in 2016.

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, British Columbia, said the province is home to globally-recognised talent, trained at international renowned post-secondary institutions and some of the most successful and innovative companies in the industry.

Ralston said the government of British Columbia actively supported the tech sector to build the good, highly-skilled jobs of tomorrow and to keep their traditional sectors stay efficient, sustainable and globally competitive.

“However, we know the government cannot grow the tech sector alone, and we need strong partnerships –within the private sector, with other levels of government, with educators, and between our traditional industries and innovative tech companies- to continue to develop the emerging economy,” he added.

Mackenzie says even this year, despite the high number of openings, actually over 3,600 jobs will get unfilled till 2020-21 if we don’t find ways to fill them. “We need 8,500 immigrants with skills,” he added.

Asked about the emphasis the IEC would have on India as a pool for scouting talent, he said: “India is a leader in the tech sector and the Council has a very clear picture how to rope in talent and to tell the immigrants what they can look for and do in Canada”.

“India would be a very crucial market for us. There are many international immigrants including Indians in Vancouver”.

It is not just tech jobs and there are openings everywhere, the IEC CEO stressed.

One of the key findings of the IEC report on “Employer Challenges in Attracting and Integrating Immigrant Talent into BC’s Tech Sector” was that most employers had used at least one of the programmes to source international talent and had mixed reviews.

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The other was the alignment between immigrant talent and tech employer needs as they relate to soft skills (language) and hard skills (technical).

With a few exceptions, most employers felt that immigrants’ soft skills were in short supply and, in particular, their interpersonal communication styles often do not align with Canadian employers’ expectations.

The final theme of the report involved settlement and integration services and support for newcomers and their families.

British Columbia is home to international tech giants like Microsoft, Google and others.