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  • September 22, 2023 11:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Good news for BC's economy. Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey for August 2023 reports that BC's economy is holding steady, with the growth of 12,000 jobs in August. The monthly unemployment rate for BC is 5.2%, the second-lowest in the country and below the national average. Of course, none of this surprises those in the employment services sector who work in community microcosms of the larger labour market. Each community has its ebbs and flows depending on demand, but for data wonks like me, I love spending time with the numbers. 

    A tighter labour market is forcing employers to look for non-traditional workers, and the Conference Board of Canada and the Future Skills Centre released a new report called Opportunity for all: Improving Workplace Experiences and Career Outcomes for Canadians With Disabilities. With a small sample size of 30 key informants with disabilities, the study examines the barriers Canadians with disabilities face in the workplace and offers strategies that employers and governments can undertake to improve career advancement for people with disabilities. I don't think that any of you will be particularly surprised by the results in the report. Still, it is another excellent, short, easy-to-ready document that can be used to inform employers and government. It distills many systemic challenges workers with disabilities face in getting a job and progressing along their career path. 

    Data such as the Labour Force stats and small but mighty research reports provide compelling evidence. With it, we collectively can create new opportunities for transforming the workforce to be inclusive while responding to our current dynamic labour market in BC.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • September 15, 2023 11:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    It's been an exciting week here at ASPECT.

    Change in Conference Venue

    Directly below, you'll see an announcement about a hotel change for the ASPECT Conference.  I recommend that you reserve your room ASAP, as the room block is filling up very quickly. For those attending the workshop on November 1, we've added rooms to the room block on October 31. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your room reservations now, especially to take advantage of the outstanding room rate of $219. Also, the conference venue is smaller than at the Sheraton, and Conference registrations will likely sell out. Register now!

    nullInternational Credential Recognition Fund Projects Begin

    Another exciting event this week is the launch of the International Credential Recognition Fund projects. In July, we received 29 proposals requesting $2.5 million; sadly, the fund is only $1.5 million. There were several themes amongst the accepted proposals, which were selected in accordance with the Fund's priorities and guidelines. The following is a list of themes of projects funded. Some projects span more than one theme.
    • Direct Financial Assistance, bridging gaps in funding. Paying course fees, assessment fees, exam fees, childcare and transportation costs to access services.
    • Mentorship & Target Work --expand current programming
    • Newly Funded Group of Clients including dentists, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals.
    • New Tools and Sharable Resources, or Innovation 
    • Focused on specific credentials, including dentists, nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals.
    • Direct help in navigating a complex system of regulatory bodies
    • Increased access in rural and remote areas 
    • Navigating a "pathway to credentialling" that includes all the steps needed to pursue recognition 
    • Cross referrals to other programs, ESPs and partners
    • Work-specific language training
    • Translation services
    • Mental Health supports
    To find out who was funded and more about the project, check out our website. Also, check out the funded project profile from Archway Community Services.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO


    ASPECT Workshop & Conference Update

    We have some important news to share that affects the ASPECT BC 2023 Conference. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we've had to change the conference venue from the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel to the Radisson Vancouver Airport Hotel. Here's what you need to know:

    New Conference Location: The Radisson Vancouver Airport Hotel is now our conference venue, located at 8181 Cambie Rd., Richmond, BC V6X 3X9. It's just a short distance from the previous location.

    Date and Times: The conference dates and times remain unchanged: November 2 & 3, 2023. 

    Reason for the Change: The Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel is currently experiencing a workers' strike, which would have impacted our ability to provide the services needed for the conference. We made this change with the best interests of our delegates in mind.

    Similar Amenities: The Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport offers the same amenities as the Sheraton, including a free airport shuttle, a business center, a spa, a pool, and more. It is also close to great shopping!

    Existing Reservations: If you've already booked a guestroom at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, you will receive an email from them canceling your reservation and providing a 100% refund. We understand the frustration this may cause and appreciate your patience and understanding as you rebook your hotel guestrooms.

    Pricing: The room rate remains at $219/night at the new location, Radisson Vancouver Airport Hotel. You can find the new reservation link below and on the conference website. 

    Rebooking Your Guestroom: To ensure you receive the conference rate, reserve by October 2nd. After this date, any rooms not reserved will be released for general sale, and any reservations for this function will be made based on availability and at the best available rate.
    To reserve your room, you have the following options:

  • September 08, 2023 10:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In May, we turned to you and asked for help choosing those moments in the year important to you and your community, days, weeks or months that ASPECT should recognize in Aspectives. 

    After nearly two months of voting and deliberation, you selected over 50 days of significance. I'm delighted to introduce the ASPECT Community Days of Significance Guide, a true example of community collaboration. We know it's not perfect, but we see this as a dynamic tool for employment service providers.

    Our new ASPECT Community Days of Significance Guide is available for download on our website. We encourage you to review this guide and mark your calendars to ensure you don't miss out on these meaningful opportunities. We also welcome feedback and edit suggestions by emailing us at

    Thank you to many of you for participating in this community-led project. I look forward to celebrating these special days together.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • September 01, 2023 10:42 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We're thrilled to share a sneak peek at what's in store for our upcoming 2023 Conference Program! While the full details are still in the works, we wanted to give you a glimpse of what to expect from this year's event. (The schedule is subject to change as all presenters and times have not yet been confirmed.)
    Save the Date: Register now and book your hotel room for the ASPECT Conference on November 2 & 3, 2023, at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel. Last year the conference and conference hotel sold out early, so please register/reserve now to avoid disappointment.
    Also note that this year we are offering a stand-alone one-day workshop on Wednesday, November 1, called Mental Health Strategies for CDPs.  This high-quality learning experience is presented by Dr. Catherine Hajnal and Seanna Quressette, MEd, CCDP. It is possible to sign up for the workshop and not the conference.
    High-Level Learning: Get ready for an unparalleled level of learning with sessions carefully curated to provide you with the most up-to-date and relevant material in your field. Our conference is designed to empower you with knowledge that's both cutting-edge and immediately applicable to your work.
    Relevant Material: Our team has been hard at work selecting sessions and speakers to ensure the content aligns perfectly with your needs and interests. You can count on gaining insights that will drive your professional growth.
    Community of Practice: This conference isn't just about learning; it's about coming together as a vibrant community of practice. Share ideas, network with peers, and collaborate on innovative solutions to common challenges.
    Thank You: We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who submitted proposals for this year's conference. Your contributions were outstanding, and the selection process was extremely tough due to the high quality of submissions.
    Webinars on the Horizon: While we couldn't accommodate all the fantastic proposals in the conference program, we're exploring opportunities to develop webinars and other avenues to showcase the wealth of expertise within our community. Stay tuned for updates on these exciting initiatives!
    As we put the finishing touches on our conference program, we can't wait to reveal more details in the coming weeks. Make sure to register now and stay connected with us for the latest updates.
    Thank you for being a part of our incredible community, and we look forward to seeing you at the conference!

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • August 11, 2023 11:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This past weekend, former CEO of ISSofBC and ASPECT member Patricia Woroch received the Order of British Columbia for Community Leadership, the highest honour the province can extend to its citizens. As leaders within our sector come and go, it is wonderful to see someone who works or has worked among us be recognized.  

    Patricia retired as ISSofBC CEO in August 2021. She continues to lead social service organizations such as TRAC, for which she sits on the Board of Directors as Vice-President and currently sits as co-chair on Correctional Service Canada’s Pacific Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committee.  

    During her 24-year tenure, ISSofBC became a recognized global leader in the immigrant-serving sector. Research demonstrates that focusing on the pre-employment needs of individuals with significant barriers to employment has a significant impact on their success in the workplace. ISSofBC, under Patrica’s leadership, successfully rose to the challenge with the newcomer clientele and was named Canada’s Top Settlement Agency in 2018. Patricia also oversaw the development and opening of the ISSofBC Welcome Centre and took the lead role in the largest resettlement plan in recent history by receiving over 2,000 Syrian government-sponsored refugees in 2015. It was an inspiring moment for us all in the sector.  

    Join me in congratulating Patricia for this well-deserved recognition. In this ever-changing labour market, when one of us is recognized, we all are recognized. The honour raises the profile of the vital work we all do in the sector.    

    As our leaders in community services come and go, it is inspiring to see someone who works or has worked among us be recognized. Another instance was when Her Honour, the Honourable Janet Austin, former CEO of another ASPECT member organization, YWCA of Metro Vancouver, was appointed to the controversial role of BC’s Lieutenant Governor. She spoke at the ASPECT Conference in Victoria in 2018, and I was dazzled by her account that she would not take the job unless she could use it to promote her community development projects. I became an instant fan girl!

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO 

  • August 04, 2023 11:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week has been all about the 2024 pre-budget consultations. On the provincial side, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released their report with recommendations to government. If you'll remember from my June 2 CEO report, I reported on my in-person ASPECT submission. The provincial report reflects some of our suggestions:

    ASPECT requested further investment in province-wide affordable housing. The committee recommends investment in housing development and data collection to inform local governments, housing supply investment, rental housing policies, and increasing supportive housing (pp.61-62). Further:

    "...explaining that several highly trained professionals have been lost to more affordable provinces while the Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training noted that BC is the highest priced jurisdiction in Canada." p. 59

    ASPECT requested further investment in making BC's job market inclusive and targeted for the changing labour market. The committee recommends on page 31 of the report to "increase investment in rural and remote employment services by focusing on the realities of delivering services in unique areas." It's like they were listening to us, and they were:

    "The Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training highlighted the need to invest in their mid-career services in addition to the pre-employment services it currently offers. The association explained that helping people upskill can be a strong economic driver that currently receives minimal funding. The Association of Service Providers for Employability and Career Training further noted that career development and employment service providers in rural areas have had inadequate funding to help develop the workforce in their communities and recommended that funding move away from population-based targets and focus on the realities of delivering services in rural communities." p. 26

    I look forward to seeing the 2024 Budget and how many of our recommendations and the committee's acknowledgement of those recommendations are supported through funding.

    Federally, the employment service sector is represented by the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET), of which I am the board president. We have submitted our recommendations to the federal government for their pre-budget consultations that end today. We recommend a national employment strategy, core funding for community-based service providers, and continued financial support for the Future Skills Centre. Click here to read our submission. CCBET has also introduced ourselves and requested a meeting with our new federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, Honourable Randy Boissonnault.

    In advocacy work, success is when the government meets with you, hears what you are saying, and presents a cohesive and actionable message by joining with others who want the same things. I think this was a good week for ASPECT advocacy.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • July 28, 2023 11:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Late last week, the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills released its report What We Heard: Public Engagement on International Credential Recognition. It is the cumulation of a consultation endeavour that included input from ASPECT, many of our members, the clients they serve, and the larger sector related to international credential recognition that took place in the spring of this year. Here are the eight themes identified on page 5 of the report:

    • Theme 1: Streamlining complex processes and shortening timelines 
    • Theme 2: Improving the accessibility, consistency, and transparency of information about the licensure process and requirements
    • Theme 3: Exploring alternative pathways for credential recognition 
    • Theme 4: Exploring more flexible approaches to demonstrate language proficiency 
    • Theme 5: Introducing performance standards for data and reporting
    • Theme 6: Increasing financial and other supports for internationally trained professionals and regulatory authorities
    • Theme 7: Improving coordination between government and regulatory authorities at the provincial and federal levels
    • Theme 8: Strengthening collaboration between regulatory authorities, educational institutions, employers, and immigrant-serving organizations to support licensure and integration


    I am delighted by this report as it supports the goals of the International Credential Recognition Fund, of which the call for proposals closes on Monday. 

    With a grant from the fund, employment service providers in urban, rural and remote areas can test ideas touched upon in the themes above. The data on outcomes and approaches that ASPECT collects from grant recipients will give the Ministry some ideas on responding to current labour market needs. 

    You are the experts on the ground, the ones who can see and work within the entire local labour market landscape, and you are connected to newcomers, employers, credentialling organizations, trainers, and community economic development corps in your communities. Now is your chance to expand existing programs, create new ones, or address a gap you've always wanted to fill. I look forward to seeing the proposals coming our way and championing what we all learn through our advocacy work. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • July 20, 2023 4:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASPECT was part of a significant project called "Supporting Canadians to Navigate Learning and Work" from 2018 to 2021. The aim was to update the standards and guidelines for Career Development Professionals (CDPs), which hadn't been revised since 2001. It was a massive effort reflecting over 5,000 volunteer hours nationwide. We contributed to:

    The Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) led the project, which was funded by the Canadian government's Sectoral Initiatives Program.

    Because second stage funding was not available, the CCDF had to pivot and identified three key requirements to move forward:

    1. A complete national certification program, thoroughly tested and refined, with all the necessary tools and systems. The project developed a multiple-choice exam and structured interviews to assess CDPs, but they needed some improvements before they could be used.

    2. A capable group to manage the program smoothly. The Nova Scotia Career Development Association (NSCDA) volunteered for the task since they were already running a similar program at a provincial level.

    3. A team to oversee the program and ensure its fairness and effectiveness. As there wasn't an official organization for this purpose, a National Stakeholder Committee (including ASPECT) decided to create an Advisory Committee. This committee will work with NSCDA and the Canadian Career Development Foundation to ensure everything runs smoothly.

    The National Stakeholder Committee (of which ASPECT was also a part) formed a Working Group to plan for the Advisory Committee's establishment by the end of summer 2023.

    Meanwhile, the Canadian Career Development Foundation and the Nova Scotia Career Development Association are working on a legal agreement to enable NSCDA to use the standards and materials for the national certification program. They are also integrating the assessment tools into the necessary systems.

    The plan is to start gradually, first by certifying those who are already certified through existing provincial CDP programs, then piloting the new assessments with a small group, and finally opening applications for new candidates. The goal is to offer a full range of services, including recertification, once the program runs smoothly. They are aiming for a full launch and functionality by March 2024.

    I will keep you posted as we progress through the process and rest assured, the BC Career Development Association is also at the table and contributing on this effort. What this effort can do is raise the profile of the work that CDPs do, the level of education and practice required, and ultimately attract adequate funding to compensate CDPs at the level of their professional requirements.

    Finally, don't forget to sign up for the Career Development Professional Centre's Community of Practice for everyone working in employment services, regardless of their certification or position. It's an excellent way to follow what's happening across Canada and build your contacts.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • July 14, 2023 10:19 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week I would like to profile a free resource for anyone who manages a nonprofit or volunteers on a board of directors: a new website called Law for Nonprofits. Launched last month by the Pacific Legal and Outreach Society headed by Legal Director Marth Rans, this website is a gold mine of important information. On the site, you will find a self-evaluation of all the information you should know with learning modules to fill in the blanks.


    You can see from the screenshot above that the website is divided into Societies Act, Recordkeeping, Privacy, and Employment. Please take a few minutes to navigate the site, as it clearly tells you what you don't know about what you don't know. 


    Kudos to Martha and her team for this excellent body of work. She asks that if you have questions or concerns, or if modules don't work as expected, to contact them to make updates. I would love to see funding for this type of resource continue; therefore, I encourage people to visit often to keep those website analytics high to justify long-term support. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • June 30, 2023 12:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    An exciting announcement came out from the provincial government this week that I'm delighted to share. ASPECT has been given the opportunity to grant $1.5 million to employment service providers to help those with international credit recognition challenges move to their target work faster. At right is a Facebook post from the Minister of State for Workforce Development, Honourable Andrew Mercier, spreading the good news. 

    The International Credential Recognition Fund is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with clients languishing in their survival jobs. The funds are available to answer the question, "Where are the gaps in service, and what can we do to help?" It's an opportunity to put into practice and test out those innovative ideas you've been mulling over or take an existing program and make it even better.

    Before the fund announcement, I consulted with a group of service providers and former service providers from around the province who advised where the current gaps might be and how this funding could help. Here are just a few of their ideas:

    • Establish or expand mentoring programs so clients can connect to others in their community doing their target jobs.
    • Offer language expansion work-specific programs so clients may prepare for their careers and credential exams in Canada in their chosen fields.
    • Establish a preparation club or series of virtual or in-person meetings for target recipients to meet, share progress, practice, and/or prepare for credentialling exams.

    The good news is that there are many opportunities to help clients, and for service providers, a condition of receiving the funding is to create a community of practice or incubator of great ideas. The not-so-good news is that we need to disburse all the money and have success metrics (determined by the service provider) by March 2024. So get your skates on, check out the fund information and online application form on the ASPECT website, and get ready to help newcomers with internal credentials move toward their career dreams in BC. Anyone interested in applying for this fund is invited to a virtual information session on Wednesday, July 12, at 1:00 pm. Please register to receive the link.


    Thank you to Hon. Andrew Mercier and the Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, Hon. Selina Robinson, for making this opportunity possible. I am confident we won't let you down.


    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

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