It’s been busy here at ASPECT since my blog post to Aspectives last week. In it, I mentioned that there was concern that some community benefit service organizations were on the verge of closing after being left out of the new WorkBC contract, or if they were included, would see their funding significantly reduced. In response to my post, I received calls and emails from ASPECT members, community stakeholder organizations, one call from the media, and an invitation to meet with Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Honorable Shane Simpson. In preparation for my meeting with Minister Simpson and for the follow-up meeting with his staff, I have spoken to 25 of our 98 ASPECT members to find out how they will proceed with the work they do. I’ve received copies of letters, emails, and presentations and spoken to the contract winners and losers (of course, this is speculative since the official announcement has not been made and it is illegal for the contractors to share any information with me). I’ve heard from large multi-service organizations and small specialized service organizations in all areas of the province; both private and non-profit. It is a sad time for many who work in the sector and the announcement of contractors for WorkBC 2.0 (as one member referred to it) will likely not be a good news announcement unless we have detailed information on the financial framework.
We still don't know what we don't know and under the rules of the procurement process, cannot take action until the official announcement.
Thank you to everyone who provided me with information and
thank you to Minister Simpson and his staff who welcomed my sometimes-uncomfortable account of what I heard. We will continue to work toward solutions to challenges in our efforts to support the government and the public service in setting policy.
Once the announcement is made, I will share more with you about what I heard, but until then I remain cautiously hopeful that the new contract will successfully meet the needs of those seeking services and those employers recruiting talent.