Irish Canadian Development Institute


Our Approach

Many issues and challenges arise in the course of programme implementation. We outline our approach to some of these, and hope we can stimulate discussion with other stakeholders, be it clients in Ireland or host organizations in Canada, with the objective of continually making improvements, which will maximize benefit to participants.


The criteria for recruitment have a significant impact on the outcome of a programme. We believe emphasis should be focussed on an individual’s capacity to benefit from the experience. In our experience, factors such as drive for self-development, tenacity, curiosity, and flexibility, are significant. Volunteer experience is often a very positive indicator. We welcome the opportunity for discussion on this subject with all parties.


The Client should make contact directly with the Canadian High Commission in London to begin the work permit application process. Applications should be sent to the High Commission as soon as possible after the programme commences, and at least four weeks prior to departure for Canada.

The regular Canadian Employment Authorization, which will be issued to the trainees, will have restrictions, which could be relevant to some participants. It states as follows:

“Not authorized to work in 1) child care, 2) primary or secondary school teaching, or 3) health services field occupations”.

“Child care” refers to anybody under the age of 18, and “health services” refers broadly to any health care area. These restrictions can be removed from the Employment Authorization on receipt of medical clearance. The Client will be advised by the High Commission in London of approved doctors in N. Ireland and the Republic, and the medical examination can be processed with the work permit application. A somewhat longer lead-time will be required.

Security Check

All persons working with children (under 18), within the province of Ontario, require a security clearance under provincial legislation.

If any individuals are contemplating work with children, they should request these security checks from their local police station, and allow for a number of weeks lead-time.

We recommend, in any case, that the Client obtain security checks on all potential participants, to allow for prudent screening, in order to protect the safety and integrity of all concerned with the programme.


The Client’s Supervisor normally has primary responsibility for trainees’ general welfare, including medical requirements, payment of allowances, social activities, etc. We provide whatever local advice and backup, as required.

With regard to work experience and training, we will introduce the supervisor to, and facilitate his/her monitoring of, the work placement mentors (and trainers, where relevant). We will discuss and agree with the Client the level of involvement desired by the Supervisor in this area, and coordinate this to complement our own monitoring programme.

We will provide all possible support to the Supervisor in the course of his/her work. Apart from the consultations mentioned under monitoring, we offer regular one-to-one sessions with our Programme Consultants and Project Manager, and also social get-togethers.

Our office facilities will be at the disposal of the Supervisor. We aim to establish a rapport such that we all feel part of the same team, working towards the same objectives. The Supervisor will be treated as one of the family, rather than a guest in our house, and we will tailor our services to suit the needs of the Supervisor and Client.

Trainee Contract

We believe it is important for the Client to agree a simple contract with the trainees, at the outset of the programme, which outlines a code of conduct, and consequences, if breached.

A good contract at pre-departure stage will pay dividends in terms of positive performance during the overseas phase. We are happy to give advice and tips, from our previous experience.

Placement Changes

Sometimes trainees may have an expectation of a particular type of job placement which is not feasible, either because of their lack of entry qualifications, or because of conditions in the marketplace such as union rules, regulatory restrictions, different equipment, downsizing, or whatever. If not addressed, this can lead to major disappointment and problems.

In these circumstances, we will inform the Client, and in cooperation, ask the trainee to make another choice, which will be consistent with his or her career aspirations.

After trainees arrive in Toronto, some inevitably experience problems with their placements, which, if left unchecked, will ruin their whole stay.

We make every effort during our monitoring sessions with trainees, placement mentors, and Supervisor, to solve problems as they arise and coach the trainees in the norms of the workplace. If, however, it is apparent that things will not work out in a particular case, we have a replacement policy where we will go the 'extra mile' and seek an alternative, so long as the trainee maintains a positive attitude, and participates in the process.

Personal Problems

Some trainees will inevitably experience homesickness, and some will have medical and dental problems.

In the case of homesickness, the close-quarter group accommodation, the presence of the Supervisor, group social activities, ICDI regular contact, and the Client monitor visits, all help to mitigate the problem. On the medical side we will advise on access to local medical, dental, and emergency hospital facilities, and help the Supervisor, if necessary, in organizing what ever is required.

In the case of any illness of a recurring nature, or where a benign diagnosis cannot be satisfactorily made, we would help the Supervisor and the trainee to assess whether return home may be in his/her best interest.

If the Supervisor, in conjunction with the Client Project Manager, believes that, in the interest of the individual, and/or group, he/she should return home, we will support that decision. In some cases, we may recommend such a course of action, particularly if the trainee does not wish to comply with our placement and replacement policies.


We at ICDI will treat participants with dignity and respect, no matter what the circumstances. Our experience has taught us that this approach also evokes the best response from all concerned.

However, we also believe that the Client and ICDI offer a “product” of value to trainees, and are entitled to set minimal standards of performance and behaviour, and expect a strong respect and appreciation of the host organization which provides the internship opportunity. .

We do not lose sight of the fact that, while we deal with many institutions and individuals in the course of a project, we have only one client, and we will make every possible effort to satisfy that Client.

We like to act in close partnership with our clients, and also the Canadian host organizations, in order to achieve the objective of providing the highest possible quality experience for each trainee.

At all times, in this process, we will give the highest priority to trainees’ interests.