This week's CEO report comes to you from Creston after visiting ASPECT members in Penticton, Grand Forks, Trail, and Nelson. Thanks to all of you who took the time to talk to me about your COVID pivot toward delivering employment services in new ways. Again, I am astounded at the ingenuity and innovation of the sector that has not only responded to the needs of their community but also meeting the needs of their staff. This crisis has pushed us all to find new imaginative ways to take care of each other.
The pandemic also allowed ASPECT to participate in a call with Premier Horgan and Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Honorable Shane Simpson. (Thanks again to Morag Carter at Community Skills Centre in Trail for allowing me to finish the call in their boardroom.) The Premier is consulting with stakeholder groups for advice on how to "Build[ing] BC's Recovery, Together".
The group (above image) was made up mostly of provincial non-profit social service umbrella organizations. We were given three questions to discuss:
- What are some initiatives government can take to address the disproportionate impact on women, youth, Indigenous communities and people from marginalized backgrounds?
- In your opinion, what could be the impact of a long-term recovery on the future of work? Economic growth? And the make-up and diversity of BC's economy?
- Our economic recovery must be guided by continued commitments to Clean BC, Truth and Reconciliation, addressing inequity, and increasing affordability for all British Columbians. What do you see as the biggest opportunity to recommit to these principles? What is the biggest threat?
After praising the sector for its quick response to COVID-19 conditions and the generous action of service providers to reach out and serve clients and employers, ASPECT advocated for more support for childcare, connectivity, and access to technology. We also supported the discussion around tax supports to encourage charitable giving, stabilization supports for community service organizations, and living wages and sick leave for staff.
The public is asked to take part in a short survey to provide your feedback and ideas. BC's community-based employment service providers are perfectly positioned to provide valuable direction. Employment service providers are working with those looking for work and training for the new job market, and are a crucial resource for employers. All, at the same time, seeing the cracks in our social network that have become more significant through the pandemic. I encourage you to participate: the survey will remain open until 4pm on July 22.