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Finding your footing in a new country

At age 14, Veronica Alvarado arrived in Canada from Ecuador with her mother. Her memories of that time are vivid. Immediately, everything sounded different (neither spoke English). And she recalls her mom always feeling one step behind while trying to find her footing in a new country.   

Today Veronica is a BMO Senior Branch Manager at Sheppard Centre in Toronto. She is on the national leadership team of BMO’s Latino Alliance Employee Resource Group in Canada. And she volunteers at the Working Women Community Centre (WWCC), which serves Toronto’s growing community of newcomers – specifically women and their children.   

Now 24 years after her family’s arrival as newcomers, Veronica has built a successful life in Canada – centered on creating opportunity and advocating for the Latino community. It’s a deeply personal mission for her.  

At WWCC, she volunteers her time mentoring high school students and working with women, like her mom, who are finding their footing in a new country. Veronica helps them understand the Canadian banking system, establish credit, plan for their children’s college costs, and save for their first homes. 

“I know from my mom’s own experience what a difference it makes to be able to ask questions and receive information in the comfort of your native language. Immigrants often feel too shy to ask questions in deeply-accented English,” said Veronica.  

“I recently saw someone post on social media that if someone is speaking to you in a foreign accent, they are smart enough to know two languages and brave enough to do their job in their second. I felt that deeply!” 

In 2022, newcomers to Canada accounted for 80 per cent of the country’s record population growth. Statistics Canada reports that immigrants now fuel almost 100 per cent of the country’s labour force growth.  

Last year, BMO announced a Newcomer Talent Program to make joining the BMO team seamless and attractive for qualified newcomers, helping them build financial independence and social connections as they resettle in North America. BMO’s program includes a personalized recruitment page that makes it easy for job seekers to introduce themselves to BMO and explore job opportunities in both Canada and the U.S.   

To learn more, please visit BMO recruitment pages: 

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