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  • January 31, 2024 8:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I am writing this from the Ottawa airport after 3 days at Cannexus and another afternoon in a meeting for Ceric’s National Advocacy Committee. It has been an exhausting and successful trip. It is exhausting because there are so many people to talk to, so many ideas to share, and exceptionally full days of learning and interaction. Successful because I learned new tools, new research results released, and made new connections for my work in supporting ASPECT members.
    One of the most outstanding research announcements is the Hidden Sector, Hidden Talent: Mapping Canada's Career Development Sector project funded by Ceric and delivered by the Challenge Factory with support from the Canadian Career Development Foundation. ASPECT has been involved in this research over the past year.

    Researchers have assigned personas to the entire career development ecosystem, characterizing individuals' connections to career development, including those unaware that they are part of the field.
    I am a "Parent Parker" and a "Communicator Collette." Take a look at the personas below to see who you are. The personas are on pages 24-27 of the full report. An executive summary can be found here.
    Firstly, refer to the illustrated map with an iceberg below that appears on page 3 of the report. Government readers of this newsletter, take note that you can also find your place within it.

    Here are the personas explained:

    Did you find yourself? This research is so needed as we are sometimes divided by funding silos, while this diagram shows how we are all a part of the same ecosystem. I am certain that this information is invaluable to our advocacy work in that we can create bridges between various types of practitioners while educating those new to the sector, especially our political and government friends.

    Kudos to Lisa Taylor, Taryn Blanchard, and their team at the Challenge Factory for their outstanding work and the Canadian Career Development Foundation for their contributions.

    If you are reading the report and not just looking at the pictures, Lisa suggests you read sections 1 and 2, the regional profile on BC, and section 5, as the entire report is 330 pages.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 26, 2024 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Yesterday, we hosted the last virtual regional member meetings, and I wish to thank everyone who participated. We had a few reasons for holding regional meetings versus provincial meetings: to create connections for those within the regions, hear about the advocacy work that they are doing on behalf of clients and communities, and identify challenges and successes to inform ASPECT's future work. 


    One member suggested a phrase that resonated with us as it sums up much of your work: "One door, many services."


    Here's some of what we heard:

    1. Digital services and digital literacy are still challenging for many clients and employers. Connectivity continues to be a barrier for much of the geographical province.
    2. Rural and remote inequities persist, and more advocacy is needed to promote the ASPECT report Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural & Remote Employment Services.
    3. Employers are well engaged with community service providers but need considerable help attracting and retaining employees. Many find it difficult to adjust to the new realities of the current labour market. Much of this time-consuming work is not funded.
    4. Members are involved in exceptional advocacy work. They work within inter-agency committees to promote services, learn about other services, and problem-solve for their clients. They are active in local economic development corporations, Chambers of Commerce, and all levels of government and contribute to local task forces.
    5. They love what they do! No matter how challenging their work can be, they love helping people and creating programs to address vast and unique challenges.


    Funders, policymakers, politicians, and the public often struggle to grasp the breadth of employment service providers' work and their profound impact on communities. This daily challenge becomes apparent when meeting new individuals. To aid in overcoming this hurdle, please use the hashtag #humansofemployment in your social media posts. By doing so, we can efficiently showcase real-life examples when elucidating the diverse nature of our work.

    ASPECT is also working on two fronts: working with the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET) and CERIC to launch national campaigns spreading the word about career development and all its facets. On Sunday before Cannexus, I will work with the National Advocacy Committee to design an outreach strategy and messaging. Then, on Wednesday morning at Cannexus, I will present with my CCCBET colleagues at a session called "Employment Services at a Crossroads: Do They Need to Change?" where we will discuss the value of community-based services and the work ahead to innovate using new technologies. 

    Everything I heard from ASPECT members this month through our virtual regional meetings will inform that work, and I want to thank you again for your contributions.


    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 18, 2024 3:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In case you haven’t heard, there was a cabinet shuffle earlier this week that will likely impact the work we do, and perhaps, the future of employment programs in BC.


    The Honourable Andrew Mercier, formerly the Minister of State for Workforce Development and Future Skills, has transitioned to the role of Minister of State for Sustainable Forestry Innovation. He has shifted his support from the Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills to the Minister of Forestry. This move is a loss for us, considering Mercier's substantial contributions to the international credential recognition file, which informed new legislation.

    In response to these changes, the Minister of State position in Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills has been eliminated and replaced with the role of Parliamentary Secretary for International Credentials, now occupied by MLA George Chow. This has resulted in new mandate letters for both Minister Robinson and the parliamentary secretary, and I've requested a meeting with them on your behalf.

    Public Service

    Within the public service, a notable shuffle has occurred among top bureaucrats. David Galbraith, a highly regarded Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has been reassigned to the Ministry of Children and Family Development. In his place, Allison Bond, a former Assistant Deputy Minister and often regarded as the architect of the Employment Program of BC, has taken over the Deputy Minister role at the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

    Future of the Social Services Sector Roundtable

    Turning our attention to the Social Services Sector Roundtable (SSSRT), initiated by former SDPR Minister Shane Simpson in May 2019, there are concerns about potential disruptions due to these changes. However, there's a silver lining as David Galbraith, a key collaborator within the roundtable who has been actively addressing issues may continue in his new role with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Or, because the roundtable is led by SDPR, Deputy Minister Allison Bond may take over. Given the diverse stakeholders at the roundtable, spanning various ministries, we remain optimistic that the crucial work of the SSSRT will continue despite the shuffle. I will keep you posted.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 12, 2024 11:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I wanted to update you on ASPECT's advocacy work this week. I also encourage those who are reading this and who are not ASPECT members but deliver employment services and supports to join us to support our work. 

    National Advocacy Campaign for Career Development

    The CERIC-organized National Advocacy Steering Committee met to discuss the initiative that began a year ago at Cannexus. As a committee member, it's exciting to unite diverse career development players for a common message. We're developing "Beyond Decent Work," aligning with the UN's SDGI'm looking forward to our in-person Sunday meeting before Cannexus in Ottawa.

    National CDP Credential Program Update

    I attended a Career Development Professional Centre (CDPC) meeting this week. We discussed CDPC's ongoing work and explored the use of AI in career development. The national CDP credentialing program is progressing, including forming a national association, developing exams, and creating a competencies and delivery framework. The next phase involves testing the system with a pilot for non-certified career practitioners. If successful, the national credential program is set to launch in the fall of 2024, and provincial credentials will transfer to the national program.

    Voice for Community-Based Services

    At Cannexus this year, the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability and Training (CCCBET) board members, of which I am chair, will present a session on the importance of community-based services in an environment of increased virtual services. This topic builds on what we learned in our ASPECT research Competency of Career Development Practitioners for Virtual Services and Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural & Remote Employment Services.

    Our session "Employment Services at a Crossroads: Do They Need to Change?" will look at how the changes in the labour market, employer demands, the rise of technology, and increases in multi-barrier clients have highlighted the need for community services to rethink service delivery. Check out the program and note that the registration deadline for Cannexus is Monday, January 15. 

    Employees of ASPECT member organizations can register as a "member of a supporting organization" for a significant discount. Another reason for you to join ASPECT if you aren't already a member. Check out information about our member referral program below.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 04, 2024 3:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    It's that time of the year again when ASPECT is searching for new board members. Due to retirement and shifting job priorities, we bid farewell to former president Val Meaney, treasurer Tricia Gueulette, and directors Peter Bailey and Deborah Bromley. I extend my gratitude to these board members for their exemplary leadership over the past five years, particularly during the challenges posed by the pandemic and the evolving labour market. Val, Tricia, Peter, and Deborah made up a part of the 9-person "dream board," they worked collaboratively, focusing on ASPECT's vision and mission while putting the ASPECT members' needs before their own.  

    Now it's your turn to step up, and I invite you to apply for a board position. Complete information is on the ASPECT website, but in short, here's what you need to know:

    All board members should preferably hold a senior leadership position within their organization, such as CEO/ED or Director of Employment Programs or equivalent. However, this requirement is reviewed case-by-case in the interest of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

    • The time commitment involves approximately 2-4 hours per month for board and committee responsibilities and two in-person meetings scheduled in April and November. ASPECT will cover travel expenses and provide compensation.

    • We offer training sessions for board members, presenting opportunities to enhance your skills and expand your professional networks.

    • Applicants will be evaluated against the returning board members so that we have diverse representation. This process helps us bring in individuals with diverse experiences, especially in areas where we may require additional perspectives. You can access the evaluation matrix by clicking here. If you previously applied to join the board but weren't chosen, don't hesitate to apply again. Each year, we seek a unique blend of skills and experiences to select the most suitable candidate.

    • The application deadline is Friday, January 19, 2024. APPLY NOW!

    Correction: In a previous email addressed to our members, I erroneously stated that we were seeking five new board members; however, only four positions are available.


    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • December 22, 2023 10:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As 2023 ends, it is a good time to reflect on the employment and career training landscape in BC. It was a great year for international credential recognition in the province and a roller coaster year for the individuals delivering community-based employment services. Here are five of my favourite reports and publications. 

    British Columbia Labour Market Outlook 2023 Edition 
    Published by the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, the Labour Market Outlook, this gem is a must-read for everyone in our sector. Key insights include the primary sources of new labor supply, the necessity of post-secondary education for 75% of job openings, and five pivotal industries generating 55% of job opportunities. Love this work from our government colleagues. 

    Addressing the Market Labour Gap 
    The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, along with the BC Chamber of Commerce, unveiled survey results highlighting a notable gap between employers and job seekers in the province. Employers face challenges in finding qualified candidates, while job seekers struggle with salary expectations. The report recommends bridging the gap between employers and job seekers. Community-based employment service providers know their communities like no other and would be the perfect ally in bridging this gap. Something to think about. 

    Career Development in 2040 
    CERIC's 2040 report outlines 10 critical workforce trends in Canada, emphasizing remote work, AI, and climate change. It underscores the need for career professionals to acquire skills like digital proficiency and climate coaching, making it essential reading for sector professionals nationwide. Such excellent work from CERIC and a great read. 

    Performance Review Report 2022-2023: International Credential Recognition 
    If you've been following ASPECT news, you know about the provincial government's $1.5 million International Credential Recognition Fund. This insightful read delves into the background of BC's initiative, explaining how it addresses challenges for internationally trained professionals and introduces new legislation to streamline credential recognition, removing barriers to target work.  

    ChatGPT: Organizational and Labour Implications 
    In 2023, generative artificial intelligence, notably ChatGPT, took centre stage. The Conference Board of Canada, in collaboration with the Future Skills Centre, explores the impact on writing and programming roles. Recommendations stress understanding tools, assessing risks, driving workplace efficiency, and implementing use policies. As we enter 2024, the "vanishing AI" era, continuous learning and adaptation remain essential. 

    Whether you're dedicating the holidays to loved ones or catching up on work, it’s a good time to reflect. Let us appreciate the positive impact our sector made on communities and the province. This is the inaugural year of Community Employment Service Providers Week, celebrated November 6 to 10 province-wide, honouring those who empower people in BC to secure meaningful employment and build brighter futures. 

    The ASPECT team and I wish you a wonderful holiday and all the best for the new year! 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO 

  • December 07, 2023 8:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tuesday, December 12, is officially recognized as Christine Sinclair Day by royal proclamation (see image at right). For those unfamiliar, Christine Sinclair is a BC-born and raised soccer player who started her career with the Canadian Women's Soccer Team at 16 and recently retired at 40.
    Despite not being a soccer fan, I took my daughters to witness a world qualifying game in Vancouver against Team USA. The experience was a teachable moment for my 9- and 10-year-old daughters, allowing them to witness female athletes' strength and outstanding skills in real life. A decade ago, women's sports did not enjoy the same profile as today, making the event particularly special in a venue like Rogers Stadium. The underlying message within my memory is that representation matters not only to those in the field but also to aspiring individuals and observers.
    In the realm of employability training and employment services, Truth and Reconciliation, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are paramount. This work involves close collaboration with both service seekers and employers within the community, preparing them for the evolving workforce. A recent session on the development of a new Canadian Job Development Network underscored the importance of engaging employers to recognize the value of hiring diverse and barriered populations. Crucially, existing networks between employment service providers and employers should extend beyond wage subsidies, aiding employers in reshaping their hiring goals.
    Unfortunately, we've observed employer groups receiving funds to establish new training programs, often lacking expertise in career development. Simultaneously, the current network of experts remains underutilized and underfunded. While public funders plan to design more virtual services over larger regions, there's a concern that this may come at the expense of community service providers maintaining vital relationships between job seekers and employers.
    Leveraging these community connections is imperative to meet our province's economic needs. They play a pivotal role in helping employers comprehend the changing labour market, showcasing possibilities and financial benefits in recruiting from equity-seeking populations. Similar to how my children witnessed strong female athletes shaping their worldview through representation, community employment service providers can guide employers toward recognizing new possibilities. Indeed, representation matters, acting like a snowball effect continually building momentum.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • December 01, 2023 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It seems like a convergence of labour market information has landed in our laps over the past few weeks, giving us some idea of what is ahead for the sector.
    Last Monday, I attended the BC Labour Market Report's Year in Review, presented by Christian St. Cyr. In this day-long webinar, Christian breaks down all the latest labour market information, government announcements, legislation, and labour market research from the past year into an informative and entertaining day. I'm always impressed with his ability to parse the various data and provide a compelling perspective.
    Late last week, the government of BC released its BC Labour Market Outlook: 2023 Edition, which I think is always a fantastic feat by the public service in the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. Although slightly down from last year's projections, we can expect 998,000 job openings in the next ten years. Below is a graphic from page 10 of the report that shows how the numbers make sense. I would encourage you to examine the report closely, but know that you are already doing that. Kudos to our government friends for another outstanding publication.

    Something else announced last week that you might have missed is the Provincial Data Plan: Better Data, Better BC. In it, the goal is to map "an all-of-government approach…to advance equity, support reconciliation, increase evidence-based decision making, deliver the modern services people need, and strengthen data competency and governance" (quoted from the website). Those in our sector know first-hand some of the gaps that emerge in data collection and how quickly those gaps can be a challenge when delivering services to those within their communities. I am hopeful that with the new data plan, the government will look closer at what data is needed to make decisions rather than take a shot-gun approach to collection.
    This reminded me of the Prime project through the Canadian Career Development Foundation, in which they determined, in partnership with career development professionals, what outcomes in career development services are most important to measure. The project report from March 2021 ends with a section called "The Final Tale of Transformation: The Art of What's Possible," where they conclude that the Canadian public employment ecosystem faces systemic challenges, including inadequate assessment of clients' diverse strengths and needs, limited and insufficient metrics for reporting, a lack of comprehensive data for strategic planning among others.
    All the information gathered helps us better understand workforce development's present and future and how employment service providers can support their communities. As AI becomes more prevalent and the labour market's supply and demand shift, service providers are perfectly positioned to address gaps and showcase potential opportunities. I believe that ASPECT members are capable of adjusting to the changing needs of their communities. You are in a great position to recognize emerging trends and share your knowledge with those who can benefit from it.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • November 23, 2023 6:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week, I attended the Career Education Society Conference in Vancouver, and once again, it was a fabulous event. I am pictured at right with Jessi Zielke, CES’s Executive Director. The Career Education Society represents career educators from kindergarten to grade 12. ASPECT's presence at the conference is crucial for understanding the full workforce development spectrum to inform our advocacy work. We maintain a friendly relationship with CES and the BC Career Development Association, sharing our associations' activities, reciprocal memberships and open communication, looking for ways to support each other. Thanks to Jessi for hosting me at the CES conference this year, and kudos to her board and team for an excellent event.

    At the conference, I attended two sessions presented by the Ministry of Education and Child Care. One was about the dual credit (high school – post-secondary) program and some of the policy changes they are making to remove barriers for students. The second was an overview of the government's StrongerBC Future-Ready Action Plan: K-12 Career Connections. I was delighted by the conference delegates asking pointed questions about how the programs worked and suggesting improvements. The government presenters were receptive and genuinely welcomed the feedback.
    I also attended a fascinating session about artificial intelligence and the future of the labour market. It was surprising that the employer representatives on the panel admitted that they were surprised by the speed at which AI is being applied to the workforce and a little flummoxed by what to expect in the coming two years. We've heard the claim that many of the future jobs have not been invented yet, but hearing business leaders talk about it made an impact on me.
    One job that created an interesting conversation was the need for content creators for social media, a job with the potential for significant growth. As someone who entered the workforce in the 80s, I am regularly shocked and intrigued by how quickly the labour market is changing. The race to apply AI tech to new positions makes community-based employability trainers a crucial part of preparing the provincial population for the new workforce. Post-secondary institutions do a good job, but no one moves as quickly to respond to labour market needs as community employability trainers, filling the gaps from one step to another. I hope funders and politicians do not forget how to rely on our sector to keep things moving toward the future and avoid thinking that AI and technology will solve all the workforce and economic challenges ahead. Not everyone has the skills, competencies, and resilience needed to thrive in future work, and that's how our sector helps.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO
  • November 10, 2023 11:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week is Community Employment Service Providers Week, which the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Honourable Sheila Malcolmson, announced at the ASPECT conference. The Royal Proclamation marks the first week of November as a recognition of community employment service providers.

    On our social media channels this week, ASPECT celebrated member organizations doing some exciting work around the province. Here are just a few of them:

    • We shared the Skills Centre's good news. The Centre has recently gained approval for a new federal program, and their new programs focus on emerging technology, remote work, reducing working poverty, supporting mental health, and future-proofing the workforce.

    Congratulations and kudos to the North Island Employment Foundations Society, which showcased its team members in short videos posted on social media. We loved hearing first-hand about specialized employment counsellors' work to address specific needs in their communities, such as catering to people with disabilities and diverse backgrounds. Check it all out for yourself on social media with #HumansofEmployment.

    We are raising your profile through Community Employment Service Providers Week and encouraging members to use the #HumansofEmployment hashtag in all their social media posts. These activities are part of a larger plan to get our sector in front of the politicians and the public as we head into an election year.

    We want everyone to know how your work makes a difference. ASPECT will soon hire "community reporters" throughout the province to showcase our sector's hidden gems and success stories. Stay tuned for more information!

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

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