One of the reasons ASPECT exists is to inform government programs and policy development on your behalf. Yesterday, I had that opportunity with 28 colleagues from across Canada to do just that. Also with me on the call were ASPECT members David Lee of MOSAIC and Ken Newell of Kopar Administration Ltd. The discussion topic was the Canada Training Benefit (CTB) redesign.
Image source: https://www.budget.gc.ca/2019/docs/themes/good-jobs-de-bons-emplois-en.html
The discussion paper
, sent to stakeholders in advance, outlines the government's work to date and the research and consultations used for the discussion. For policy wonks
like me, I did a deep dive into the previous work, and it was fascinating! Our government hosts genuinely wanted to know our thoughts, with consultation leader and former ASPECT Summit speaker Rhonda Fernandes, Director General, Youth and Skills Innovation Directorate, at the helm.
Here are links to documents referenced in the discussion paper:
Our discussion questions touched on current supports, client barriers to participating in the program, information the client needs to make decisions, and what gaps should to be addressed. You can rest assured that BC's interests and the interests of employment service providers were well-represented at the discussion table.
David Lee, spoke of the WorkBC supports, Ken Newell, voiced concerns about challenges for rural and remote clients to access training and connectivity, and I focused on the need publicly-funded mid-career employment services, and changing the payment model from tax credits to upfront grants. Everyone suggested that the CTB should increase from $250 per year to at least $1000 per year. We also suggested that government use the existing network of career development professionals to help clients navigate future careers before committing to training opportunities, as community-based providers have more expertise than a wholly online tool and a better view of the local labour market landscape.
The session facilitator advised us that employer stakeholders already had their consultation session, and some of what we were saying was the same as what the employer group was saying.
Our government colleagues are policy and program development experts. ASPECT's job is to provide practical experience by providing context with the client's needs as the focus. When we get invited to consult, we endeavour to do our homework in advance and come prepared with insight and solutions whenever possible. It will be interesting to see how much of our feedback makes it into the new CTB or if the CTB continues.
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