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About Windmill Microlending

Founded in 2005, Windmill Microlending is Canada’s only national charity offering affordable loans to skilled immigrants and refugees. Our microloans help our clients pay for the costs of accreditation, training and career development. Funded by the public and private sectors, Windmill has helped over 7,000 newcomers convert their potential into prosperity.

Our vision is to ensure skilled newcomers are equitably integrated into the workforce while contributing their expertise to Canada’s economic and social success.

Who We Help

Windmill supports immigrants and refugees who come to Canada with education, skills and experience but struggle to achieve career success. Our clients may be under-employed, working in “survival jobs”. Often, they cannot afford the costs of Canadian accreditation, training or career development. They are likely unable to access mainstream credit in Canada because of low income and/or lack of Canadian credit history.

How We Help

Windmill provides affordable loans of up to $15,000 to help skilled immigrants and refugees achieve career success. We offer financial support to our clients as well as:

  • Client success coaching;
  • A mentorship program;
  • Financial planning and budgeting tools; and
  • Career development resources.

Our microloans can be used to pay for qualifying exams, training, assessments, books and materials, living allowance, relocation costs, professional association fees, and other expenses related to advancing your career. For all the ways a Windmill loan can be used, visit our FAQs page.

On average, our clients more than triple their incomes and unemployment decreases. To learn more about the outcomes of our work for our clients, visit Windmill’s Impact page.

Who We Are

Our people reflect our commitment to our clients. Windmill’s board, leadership team and staff reflect a broad mix of cultural diversity, countries of origin, skillsets, gender and age. Learn about our leadership team.

How Our Clients Succeed

Windmill’s skilled immigrant and refugee clients grow their incomes, reach their career advancement goals and are able to establish their lives in Canada. We help them convert their potential into prosperity.

We need your support

Get involved with others who believe in the power of microloans to help skilled immigrants and refugees achieve career success in Canada.


Have more questions?

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Dr. Maria Eriksen Windmill MicrolendingOur Founder

In 2004, Dr. Maria Eriksen, a Calgary-based clinical psychologist, was frustrated. Many of the janitorial staff at the hospital where she worked were internationally-trained health professionals, unable to practice in their professions because of obstacles in licensing and accreditation.

Together with her friends, she organized the first six loans to support the costs of training and reaccreditation. Since then, Windmill Microlending (known at the time as Immigrant Access Fund) has made over $35M in loans and has supported over 5,000 skilled immigrants and refugees.