From left to right: Janet Morris-Reade of BC, Ashley Boha of Saskatchewan, Mark Beckles from RBC, Rhonda Fernandez of Future Skills Centre - Government of Canada. Missing from the photo are Valerie Roy of Quebec,and Gladys Okine of Ontario.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to be a part of a pan-Canadian panel with guest-of-honour Rhonda Fernandes who is tasked with leading the Future Skills Centres across Canada. As a board member and ASPECT representative onthe Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET), I was asked to represent BC. Because of the changes anticipated to the Ontario funding system, I was very popular at the First Work Amplify Conference in Toronto where the panel took place.
From what I can gather, the funding model is not currently an outcomes model, but rather an output model. This means there is core project funding with some payments for thresholds reached. How they determine the thresholds is different from the model we have here.
With the political shift in Ontario -- you likely have heard about new premier Doug Ford's dynamic ideas -- there is a possibility that the new framework would have employment services managed and delivered by municipal governments versus community service providers. (Some community services are already being delivered this way.) Early indicators suggest that the new model will create several large shifts in the way services are offered and compensated.
All eyes are on the WorkBC 2.0 model and how things will turn out here. Telling those present that BC is only two weeks into the new contract and that we likely won't have results on the new model until the fall was met with exasperation and concern.
As a way of supporting our colleagues in Ontario and debriefing information of what we wish we had known before going into the WorkBC procurement process, I would like to invite you to provide me and the Ontario community-based service providers with your advice for them. What questions do you wish you'd asked? What partnerships did you wish you'd made? What were the unexpected SNAFUs to look out for? And most importantly, what were the positive innovations that came out of the experience? If you would like to provide your advice anonymously, just let me know and I will remove all identifying information before I share it.
Ontario is watching us, and the for the future of their service providers and more importantly, the clients they serve, please take a moment to share your thoughts.