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So Many Mentoring Programs – Where to Start?

Hello everyone – I hope that you are enjoying this (hot!) summer.

I am thrilled to have been invited back to talk further about mentoring. You may recall that last summer, we discussed the mentor/mentee relationship and the mutual benefits that this relationship can bring. Outcomes of positive mentoring relationships can include increased career and job satisfaction and professional confidence and possibly higher rates of promotion and compensation. For a mentor, this relationship can provide career satisfaction, recognition and respect from others, personal satisfaction as well as the feeling of “giving back”. In addition, we also talked about how to approach a potential mentor which, as always, is all about networking.

Since then, many of you have requested information about existing mentoring programs.  You asked for it, we’ve got it!

A Google search of “mentoring programs” generated almost 4.3 million hits! Even narrowing down the search to “southern Ontario mentoring programs” gave me 2.8 million hits.  Unfortunately, space prevents me from listing them all (LOL) so I thought I would focus on a cross-section of programs. As the Google count indicates, there are a large number of programs available. As a result, I have tried to be both general (programs that would have appeal to a wide range of readers) but also specific (I have excluded programs that are specific to certain groups such as engineers and entrepreneurs, given our readership). Below, you will find a list of 5 mentoring programs in the area that I felt met this criteria.

The Mentoring Partnership is an award winning program offered by TRIEC (Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council). It is designed to bring together skilled immigrants and established professionals in mentoring relationships which are occupation-specific.

The Women’s Executive Network (WXN) offers 2 mentoring programs – a group program and a 1-on-1 program which links women with a mentor from the WXN community of Canada’s Most Powerful Women award winners accompanied by 20 hours of classroom instruction. Both programs involve an application process.

Many chapters of the HRPA, including London, Halton and Toronto offer mentoring programs that members can both apply to and volunteer to be a part of. Detailed information about these programs can be found on your chapter’s website.

Your alma matter

Many colleges and universities and their alumni associations offer mentoring programs.  For example, McMaster University, my undergrad alma matter, has a number of mentoring programs available including MentorLinks, an online database of career mentors available to support students and recent grads in their career exploration.

While not a traditional mentoring program, Mentoring Canada is an online resource centre run by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. Its primary focus is to promote and support mentoring initiatives in communities across Canada. This site is targeted to those interested in mentoring and provides resources, links and training materials to support the development and implementation of mentoring programs.

In addition, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada organization manages a number of mentoring programs that readers can be involved in. For more information, please visit

While this list can’t possibly be exhaustive, I hope that it will provide a place to start if you are looking for a program to meet your needs or possibly mirror – many of these programs will exemplify best practices in mentoring.

Give us your thoughts – is there a program that I didn’t list that you would like to highlight? If so, post a comment and tell us!


  1. Great article for providing useful resources on mentoring. Thanks for sharing. There are two more resources on mentoring that I am aware of.

    1. Peel Chapter of HRPA offers a mentoring program for its members. You can get the information from Chapter website.
    2. Bridge to HR has recently started a mentoring program for internationally trained HR professionals. You can get the information from their website also.

    Thanks, Dinesh

  2. The Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) also offers a career mentorship program. The program involves pairing an internationally trained professional with a Canadian currently working in the same or a similar field. The Mentor contributes approximately one hour per week over a minimum three month period to the partnership. However, typical mentorship relationships last longer. Together the Mentor and Mentee develop an employment strategy for the Mentee. Each week they review progress, discuss questions and concerns and further define the strategy. The mentor supports the mentee in developing their professional network, developing an understanding of the Canadian working culture and in fine tuning their cover letters, resume and interviewing skills. The mentor often acts as a source of encouragement and inspiration throughout the employment search process. Mentors are required to have two years of work experience in Ottawa and to live in Ottawa.

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