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  • 26 April 2019 12:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Pictured: Warren Bruns of Kootenay Employment Services in Creston presents during the Inspiration Panel at the 2017 ASPECT Conference about how his organization has used technology to reduce barriers and improve outcomes.

    On Tuesday, you would have received our call for presentations for the ASPECT Conference in November. It seems strange to be doing this when the ASPECT Summit (June 4 & 5, 2019) plans are not completely set. The fall conference has been going for over 25 years, but the Employer-Employment Services Summit is new, unknown, and was created to address a growing need for employers to have access to clients and services they may not have used or considered before.  New events take time.

    Both of these ASPECT events reflect our raison d'être: they provide much-needed networking for the sector, they respond to current conditions, they provide professional development by presenting best practices and innovations, and they provide a good opportunity to inform the advocacy work we do. The other benefit that is becoming increasingly important is that these events provide an opportunity for those working in the sector to hone their presentation skills.

    If you are on the fence about whether or not to present at the ASPECT Conference or the ASPECT Summit, I encourage you to give it a try. Your remuneration is presentation experience that you can pad your CV with as well as a complimentary conference registration. We also have a very small travel budget that we can dip into to help get you there.

    For the ASPECT Summit, I will be holding a video conference call to recruit panel members on Tuesday, April 30 at noon. These are the topics we are developing:
    • Using Big Data to Meet Labour Market Needs
    • Ingenious Hiring: What big business is doing?
    • Business Case for Inclusive Hires: President’s Group
    • Trends in Staff Attraction and Retention
    • Future Skills Centre - Projects & Opportunities
    • Best Ways to Recruit Seasonal & Temporary Workers
    • Business Case for Hiring Youth & Millennial Workers
    • Business Case for Hiring Immigrant Workers
    • Business Case for Hiring Indigenous Workers
    • Business Case for Inclusive Hires: President’s Group
    If you have a speciality in one or more of the above topics, please let me know. The panels will have a facilitator, a service provider, an employer, and sometimes a client.  Register now for this member discussion online meeting.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 18 April 2019 12:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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 on

    the 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.  

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 12 April 2019 10:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Earlier this week I had the opportunity to get to know our new ASPECT President, Valerie Meaney, a little better and I can happily report that ASPECT's leadership is in good hands.

    Val (at left in photo) joined me in Victoria for a meeting at the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction where we heard their plans for engaging contractors delivering the new WorkBC program. Val shined as someone who is knowledgeable, approachable, and able to discuss the details -- with statistics --  associated with going through the procurement process, startup, and a deep understanding of the delivery of the program. Although the meeting turned out to be more informative than collaborative, we both appreciated the opportunity to be invited to meet.

    Valerie Meaney is Executive Director of North Islands Endowment Foundations Society (NIEFS) in Campbell River with offices in Port Hardy and a satellite in Port McNeil. She has a vast experience in the sector and an east coast sense of humour.

    She told us a story of a visit of ministry staff to Port Hardy, where Val encouraged the tour to include a visit to Carrot Park (see photo below). With humourand a dose of reality, she was able to clearly demonstrate the frustration experienced by those in rural and remote areas to have their voices heard by government. I have never seen the wooden carrot in real life, but I certainly have the lesson of Val's funny story to remind me to keep my understanding broad when I advocate on behalf of ASPECT members.

    If I'm sounding a little like a fan-girl, you can bet I was impressed with Val during my day with her and to John Dawson who was on the board of directors for eight years and lead ASPECT as President for three years, you can rest assured that the association is in good hands.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 28 March 2019 3:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week has all been about building relationships. It’s a pet project of mine to define shared goals and work together with other groups making us all stronger and more effective in the process. I think that collaboration and mutual support will be key in serving the needs of our clients, employers, and government. If this sounds too “kumbaya” for your liking, I am guilty as charged without apology.

    Earlier this week, you received an email from both ASPECT and the BC Career Development Association.  I was speaking to their Executive Director, Lubica Keighery, and she mentioned that the BCCDA needed more sponsors for their very well attended conferencein May as it is one of the association’s significant funding streams for the year. She asked if we could promote it through a targeted email, telegraphing to members on all sides that we do in fact work together. It makes sense for ASPECT to support career development to ensure a high level of excellence amongst our community of practice.  You’ll also start to see a BCCDA section in our Aspectives newsletter and vice versa, to further develop shared communication between our two associations and our members.

    Mid-week, ASPECT organized a planning meeting to support the Contractor Solutions Team (CST) who are made up of WorkBC prime contractors. Under the last contract, CST represented all WorkBC contractors through coordinating information and communicating with the ministry; providing strategies, recommendations, and collaborating. Our Wednesday meeting was to determine if there was a still a desire to continue the CST and identify ways in which ASPECT could help. There is a small group of contractors -- all ASPECT members -- who are organizing an outreach to the 45 new/returning contractors.  If you are a prime contractor for WorkBC 2.0, you can expect to hear something from the group soon.  At that meeting, it was agreed that ASPECT would provide administrative support and advocacy support when needed.

    And today, I had a wonderful chat with Christian St. Cyr, publisher of the BC Labour Market Report (BCLMR).  He is working on a special edition of the BC Labour Market Report: Employment Services Directory.  I should tell you that I love the work that Christian is doing through his BCLMR, his Summer Labour Market Conference, his BC Labour Market Online, and his Labour Market Year-In-Review workshops. He has been a dynamic speaker at the ASPECT Conference and has now agreed to either facilitate a panel or be a panelist at the ASPECT Summit on June 4 & 5, 2018.  As a means of bringing the sector together, Christian has also offered to talk about our Summit on his weekly radio program.

    These emerging relationships are added to the long-standing formal relationships we maintain through board membership and ASPECT contributions such as BC Prior Learning Action NetworkCanadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability TrainingCanadian Council for Career Development, and more.

    In this time of transition for our sector, I remain the optimist that we are being presented with the opportunity to rally together and promote the expertise, talent, and relationships we have. If you represent a provincial or national organization in the sector and would like to investigate a reciprocal relationship with ASPECT, I invite you to reach out to me. Working together makes us all stronger!

  • 20 March 2019 2:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is with profound sadness that I write this. I have lost two colleagues this week who have touched my life in ways I could not even imagine.

    Dr. Donna E. Wood

    Dr. Donna Wood (at left above) had little time for some of my uninformed questions and although she was always polite, in my case she didn't suffer fools gladly. She, along with former ASPECT CEO Norma Strachan, would meet every few months over lunch to discuss employment devolution, funding, policy, and ways to move these issues forward through our work on the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET) board of directors. At these lunches, I would take a copious amount of notes where I would flag ideas or concepts that I didn't quite understand to google later. I felt like I was trying to direct-download a one-terabyte file with only one gigabyte of available memory.  In between our in-person meetings, Donna would contact me to share the latest research publication and participated in the video conference calls with the CCCBET board.  

    A year ago, the cumulation of her biggest research project was released in her book Federalism in Action: the Devolution of Canada’s Public Employment Service 1995-2015.  I have mentioned Donna's work in Aspectives several times and invited Donna to speak on it at our last ASPECT Conference in November. (click here to see her slide presentation) In her book, Donna breaks down the choices that individual provinces made when public employment services were devolved from the Federal government to the Provincial government. As a relative newcomer who stepped into my position after someone who had been here for almost 20 years, the historical perspective and analysis of decisions made throughout a 10-year period is golden. It's something that all new leaders, bureaucrats, and politicians responsible for leading employment programs should know. As my promise to Donna, I and my CCCBET colleagues will be carrying her legacy forward to those who make the decisions and create the policy.  Check out Donna's blog for some updates. Donna, you will be missed but your contributions to the sector are in safe hands.

    Rhonda Terbasket

    I first met Rhonda Terbasket (at right above) at the Summer Labour Market Conference in 2016 in Burnaby. Her first question to me was, "who are your people?" She then proceeded to tell me the story of how she worked with a client and a college program administrator who wanted to eject the client for his behaviour. She provided context into the client's history, the expectations of the school, and how bringing them all together, sharing indigenous perspectives, and figuring out a solution allowed this client to complete the program and thrive.

    Through telling about her experiences, Rhonda enlightened me to some of the challenges she encountered and the innovative solutions she used to serve the needs of her clients. Later at a BCCDA conference, I attended a workshop that Rhonda presented that helped me understand the complexity of bringing together indigenous and "European" work culture. Although I had attended several sessions about reconciliation, this was the first time that I didn't feel guilty for the actions of my ancestors. With Karen Abraham's (Okanagan Training and Development Council) help, we were able to bring Rhonda to the 2018 ASPECT Conference to present and were investigating presenting a series of webinars for service providers and government to educate us all in the kind patient way I experienced when I first met Rhonda. Thank you, Rhonda, for being a dear colleague and friend.  

    Please take a moment to remember Donna and Rhonda and thank them for their contributions to the sector.

  • 15 March 2019 12:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From left to right Peter Bailey (Free Rein Associates), Kim Lauritsen (Community Futures North Okanagan), Deborah Bromley (ETHOS Career Management Group), Tricia Gueulette (March of Dimes Canada), Valerie Meaney (North Island Employment - NIEFS), Raj Hundal (Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society - PICS), Lori Forgeron (WDCS North). 

    Last night I returned from Richmond where we had the final Board meeting of the 2018-2019 Board, convened our Annual General Meeting, conducted board orientation, and had the first Board meeting of the 2019-2020 Board.  I probably shouldn't admit that I was a little concerned about the turnover in the board (5 new and 2 returning members), but am delighted to report that ASPECT leadership is in very good hands! Many thanks to all board members for taking time out of their schedules during a very busy time at their agencies to dedicate to ASPECT. 

    At our meeting yesterday, the Board Executive and Committee members were decided. Thank you to everyone who stepped up into brand new roles!  They are as at right:

    Executive Committee
    President - Valerie Meaney 
    Vice President - Lori Forgeron 
    Treasurer - Tricia Gueulette
    Secretary - Kim Lauritsen 

    Personnel Committee
    Deborah Bromley 
    Kim Lauritsen 
    Lori Forgeron
    Valerie Meaney

    Finance Committee
    Tricia Gueulette
    Kim Lauritsen
    Valerie Meaney

    Governance Committee
    Lori Forgeron
    Raj Hundal
    Peter Bailey
    Tricia Gueulette
    Valerie Meaney

    We also have a Development Committee, which is a CEO advisory committee and helps identify funding and revenue development opportunities.

    During the AGM on Wednesday, we recognized and thanked those leaving the Board of Directors: Annette Borrows, Christine Willow, Robert Bryce, and John Dawson. Also leaving are Stacey Tyers, Doug Preston, Debbie Samsom, and Minakshi Bagai who weren't present. To take a look at the 2018 Annual Report, click here.

  • 08 March 2019 1:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From left to right John Dawson, Annette Borrows, Lori Forgeron, Minakshi Bagai, Doug Preston, Debbie Samsom, Robert Bryce, Stacey Tyers, Kim Lauritsen, and missing, Christine Willows.

    It's a rather melancholy time of year as I prepare to thank and say good-bye to our board members who are leaving the board of directors. Especially this group as we have accomplished so much together in the past few years.  

    Those Who Are Leaving & Have Recently Left

    John Dawson has served on the board for 8 years and in the demanding position as president for the past 3 years. He has been my partner, mentor, and teacher as I navigated the CEO position after Norma Strachan's retirement in 2016.  Thanks to his leadership, we have had a team of board members who have provided guidance through one of the financially challenging shifts for ASPECT and helped secure our future for many more years.

    Annette Borrows has been a clear voice on the board ensuring that inclusive employment stays at the front of mind. She has donated countless hours contributing to an advocacy charter and will be leaving us to focus on her duties as President of the Canadian Association of Supported Employment. 

    Minaskshi Bagai, Debbie Samsom, and Robert Bryce -- our finance committee -- have supported the financial challenges of ASPECT as we moved to more efficient operations. Robert has been serving as Treasurer and I thank him for his support and leadership. Sadly, all three board members have been affected by the new WorkBC contract awards and will not be returning.  

    Doug Preston, although retired from the sector, has been utilizing his governance expertise and helped navigate the association through the Societies Act Transition, ensuring that we have checks and balances in our policies and procedures. He has acted as Secretary for the association.

    Christine Willow has chaired our Personnel Committee and has brought a level of professionalism to my quarterly reviews while making sure that the business plans and budgets were designed for future growth. 

    Stacey Tyers, although her time was short on the board, provided guidance based on her years of board governance, providing a deep understanding of how boards make decisions.

    The Year Ahead

    Thankfully, Lori Forgeron and Kim Lauritsen have volunteered to remain on the board and take on leadership roles as chair of the governance committee and Secretary respectively. Although new at this time last year, both board members have jumped in and provided valuable and informed guidance throughout the year.

    The ASPECT AGM will take place on Wednesday, March 13 at the Four Points Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond.  There we will say good-bye and acknowledge those volunteers leaving.  Pleasejoin us to show your appreciation to these dedicated volunteers for their hard work on your behalf over the years.  With two returning board members, we will welcome 5 new board members who like their predecessors, are also leaders in the sector. At the AGM, the nominees will be voted in to serve their first 2-year term.

    On behalf of ASPECT members and myself, thank you to John, Annette, Minakshi, Debbie, Doug, Robert, Stacey, and Christine for their generosity of time, expertise and leadership to ASPECT and the employment sector.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 22 February 2019 3:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASPECT is delighted to represent your interests at the BC Budget Lock Up. This is the time when stakeholders can gain access to the budget and hear the Minister of Finance's speech before it is delivered in the legislature. At 8:30am, we surrender our phones, sign a confidentiality agreement, and promise not to use wifi until the Minister is actually in the legislature delivering the budget. With me in the room are other stakeholders, media, and government staff. It's a perfect opportunity to undertake a lot of meetings in a very short period of time. Here are some highlights:

    • This year I wanted to meet Deputy Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, David Galbraith, to introduce myself in person and find out how the answers to questions raised during the WorkBC conference call was going. He said that we can expect them soon and reiterated how the Ministry wants to work collaboratively with ASPECT and WorkBC contractors.
    • I hadn't yet met the new Executive Director for Inclusion BC, Karla Verschoor, and wanted to introduce myself, talk about her appearance on the news the night before, and chat about how we can work together on some initiatives. She's only been in the job for a few months, so we made a plan to meet when she wasn't quite so busy.
    • I also chatted with Executive Director, Rick FitzZaland, and Director of Programs and Services, Rebecca Lang from the Federation of Social Services of BC. We discussed the funding challenges for our members and possible actions we might take together after the Poverty Reduction Strategy is announced in the spring.
    • I visited with several of my contacts who represent employer groups and discussed ASPECT's plans for an Employer-Service Provider Summit in Richmond in June.
    • Finally, I sat near the front of the stakeholder group which allowed me to eavesdrop on many of the media interviews, the business stakeholder strategy sessions, and see the Vancouver Board of Trade fill out their BC Budget Report Card for all the cameras.

    There's so much that's going on during the Lock Up and I use every moment on behalf of ASPECT members to promote the association, forge partnerships with others, and deepen my understanding of the provincial budget process. This year I picked up some nugget strategies that I plan to use next year. Stay tuned!

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 15 February 2019 5:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    About a week and a half ago, ASPECT participated in a conference call with the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Hon. Shane Simpson, his Deputy Minister David Galbraith, his Assistant Deputy Minister Chris Brown, ministry staff, and successful WorkBC contractors and their subcontractors. There were approximately 140 lines dialed into the call in which the Minister and his staff walked through key changes in the WorkBC model, intended benefits, and the key performance indicators that they would be monitoring.

    The Minister and staff proposed some discussion questions and asked for further questions to be submitted in advance and after the meeting. Some questions were addressed, but the list was long and we were promised that all questions would be answered in a couple of weeks.  During the call, Minister Simpson asked for our members' to help identify and find solutions to some of the expected issues under the new contract, especially pertaining to challenges of rural and remote services providers.  

    Accordingly, I have scheduled a virtual discussion meeting to discuss rural and remote challenges under the new contract set for Friday, February 22 from 10:00-11:00 am.  For more details and to RSVP your participation, please go to our website

    Whether you are delivering a WorkBC contract or supporting one as a subcontractor, ripples of change are being felt throughout the sector.

    In an effort to support our members, ASPECT has partnered with Dr. Roberta Neault of Life Strategies Ltd. to provide a 2-session webinar with online learning resources called "Thriving Through Transition".  This workshop will:
    • Explore the impact of change, and the transition process on already full lives. 
    • Teach strategies for staying positive and optimistic during challenging times. 
    • Reflect on participants' careers, exploring what’s next and what’s possible. 
    • Examine how the interaction between capacity and challenge impacts career engagement. 
    Whether you are suffering a loss of a job or ramping up for a new contract, this professional development opportunity will provide you with the tools you need to come out on top. As always, I welcome your comments and concerns.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 04 February 2019 1:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Some Highlights and Links to Resources from Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

    It was great to see so many ASPECT members attending CANNEXUS this year. The program was huge and it was difficult to attend every session I wanted to, but here are some highlights:

    Met Anitra Winje of Kootenay Career Development Society.  At right, she is taking an "illegal" selfie with Former Governor General, The Right Honourable David Johnston. This shot is in advance of his speech where they mentioned several times to NOT take a photo with Hon. Johnston.

    Attended a panel discussion called "Demographic Shifts, Big Data, and Predictive Models." It was fascinating to learn how LinkedIn and others are using data to overcome the challenges of inclusivity and to anticipate what is expected for the biggest employment shift in generations. Sharing of Open Data at a federal level is in the works.

    The federal Future Skills rollout is coming in the next few weeks. CCCBET has a representative position on the 15-person council but I can't disclose who it is until the official announcement after the Federal Budget. This council will come up with a strategic plan to identify Canadian priorities and the Future Skills Centre activities will focus on using evidence-based research to inform new initiatives.

    At the "It's Time to Get Decent: Advocacy in Action" session presented by the Canadian Career Development Foundation, we learned that job precariousness has increased 50% in the last 20 years.  More can be found in their paper presented to the federal government.

    RBC launched the results of their study "Humans Wanted: How Canadian youth can thrive in the age of disruption" with links to online resources.  The website rbcupskill.ca is designed to identify skills-based clusters then suggest career pathways.  

    In the session called "Putting Values at the Centre of Your Leadership, Kofi Hope of the Wellsley Institute talked about knowing your own story and sharing it with others. He referenced the Simon Sinek TedTalk about finding your "why?". 

    Congratulations to CERIC CEO, Riz Ibrahim, and his staff for putting on a timely and dynamic program! 

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