TIMMINS -- A new bilingual online training program called "Cultural Competence in the Workplace" has been developed by l'Universite de Hearst in partnership with the Regional Research and Intervention Centre for Economic and Community Development.

According to the developers, cultural competence is a person's ability and willingness to adapt, be respectful and be open towards a person with a different cultural perspective.  

Economic officials in Timmins suggest in order to attract and attain workers to address the labour shortage, workplaces must adapt culturally.

"We had a lot of European settlers but now there's a lot of visual minorities that are coming to Timmins. That makes a difference and a lot of their language skills might be a little bit different so we need to know that and again, because they're not from Europe, they may have different practices in the work place than we do," said Christy Marinig, CEO for the Timmins Economic Development Corportation.

The Local Immigration Partnership Coordinator at the Timmins and District Multicultural Centre, Mike Scott, explained that culture displays both visible and invisible elements. 

"People have different perceptions globally of what a normal work day looks like for example. So where we are characterized by a 9-5 schedule, some people around the world are a little more flexible or a little more precise in terms of what that is so that's just one example and for an employer, it's good to be mindful of those different cultural differences and perceptions of what a work day looks like."

Anyone is welcome to complete the five, free training modules which take about an hour or two to do.  You can go at your own pace and certificates of completion are awarded. 

Officials say the biggest rewards are having employees who feel valued and respected which will also help a company's bottom line when less money is spent on having to frequently train new workers.