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  • March 17, 2023 10:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today marks the 3rd anniversary of when the pandemic hit ASPECT. Three years ago today, we hosted our first virtual annual general meeting and had our first COVID-19 member discussion. By the following week, nearly all members had decided that their staff's health and safety came before their employment contract obligations and closed their doors.
    Next, we saw the biggest pivot of all time! Employment workshops and services that were almost wholly in-person switched to online. Computers were scavenged from workshop rooms, laptop loaning programs and policies were created, and ingenious ways of helping those without internet access received thumb drives or laptops loaded with content. The generousity of members in sharing resources was outstanding as plans for virtual services were quickly implemented and running within about three weeks. All this while others were trying to figure out how to log in remotely.
    Three years ago, my world of work seemed to have changed forever. During this time, ASPECT hosted 216 virtual meetings, webinars, and workshops, including two fully virtual conferences. It's been both a gift and a curse: a gift because we got to know our members and their needs better but a curse because it ratcheted up my workload substantially. However, we are doing interesting work that excites me to come to work every day. Our research projects, Competency of Virtual Services for CDPs and Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural and Remote Employment Services, would not have been possible without the pandemic engagement from ASPECT members. Our member contributions to CERIC's business survey mobilization project, 10 Ways Employers Can Address Their Talent Needs by Partnering with Career Development Professionals, are outstanding in that it took the expertise of our provinces' CDPs to create a practical tool kit.
    Although exciting and dynamic, innovation can be exhausting, especially for those among us supporting clients with increasing barriers to employment. That's why when additional funding for a much-needed resource was announced this week, I was so excited. BC's Hub for Workplace Mental Health has excellent resources and contacts designed for Community Social Services providers. Run by the Canadian Mental Health Association BC, I think you'll agree that they have compiled a good resource building on their BounceBack® program.
    It has been a busy three years but also an incredibly rewarding period as we continue to adjust to the changes in the way we work and the new challenges, such as the ever-changing labour market, that lie ahead. Thank you to all of you who have been with me on this wild ride.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • March 10, 2023 11:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    An Apology

    At our ASPECT conference last November, we offered a session on smudging that I have since learned was a huge misstep. Smudging is a sacred act that should not be taught to non-Indigenous people, especially by someone who is not a member of the host nation. I am horrified that I made this mistake in programming the conference and will make every effort to avoid making similar mistakes in future. My sincere apologies to those who attended the conference whose culture was disrespected. The pathway toward true reconciliation is filled with uncomfortable conversations and learning, and I would like to thank the ASPECT members who took the time to help me understand. The Federation of Community Social Services of BC is offering its Cultural Safety Training, which is a good first step of many toward understanding.

    Extreme Early Bird Conference Registration

    With fiscal year-end approaching for many of our members, we have opened up the ASPECT Conference 2023 registration and are offering Extreme Early Bird rates for those organizations that would like to invest now in their staff's professional development. We don't have a program or any presenters set right now, but a call for presenters will be going out next month. The theme this year is "Experts in Work Transformations" which reflects the work the sector does and the current labour market.

    Join us at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel on November 2 & 3 this year. We will be sure to have the same high-quality learning opportunities on which you've come to rely.  

    Advocacy of Note

    As many of you have heard, a three-year extension is coming for the WorkBC contract with details coming soon. In the meantime, ASPECT has met a few times over the last two weeks with our public service colleagues in the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. We discussed possible short-term adjustments that could be made to contract policies and what adjustment would need to be considered over the long term or the next contract.

    In response, the WorkBC Advisory Committee will meet next week to discuss possible short-term adjustments, which will also be included in the committee white paper in development. It is crucial to share information with the ministry over the next 18 months as they work on creating the WorkBC 3.0 model. Please see the member consultations and meetings listed below that are not only for current WorkBC prime contractors but also for those who have feedback about the WorkBC 2.0 procurement process.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • February 24, 2023 12:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I'm just catching up from being away, and there was excellent news in my inbox.

    As you may know, ASPECT is a member of the Social Services Sector Roundtable Reference Group, which comprises about 40-50 social service umbrella organizations that help inform the Social Services Sector Roundtable. In the past, we collectively have advocated for changes to procurement, training supports, requests for funding, adoption of Truth and Reconciliation recommendations, and issues related to staff recruitment and retention for the sector. 

    ASPECT contractors know wages, recruitment, and retention have been challenging in today's labour market. Earlier this month, David Galbraith, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, sent a letter to the Roundtable outlining plans to support contractors. Download the letter here. The following is an excerpt from the letter:

    Given the significant negotiated wage increases, provincial funders are aware that the sector is concerned about the resulting implications for the non-union agencies and management salary compression.

    Please be advised that the Province will provide the same percentage compensation funding lift to non-union and hybrid (partially unionized) agencies. Funding will also be provided to support management compensation increases consistent with the funding increases for union and non- union compensation. The funding applies to provincially funded services/positions only and are contingent on the completion of the 2022 CSSEA Employee Compensation and Turnover Survey and sharing the resulting agency-level compensation data with provincial funders.

    We don't know the details of how this wage support will be coming and the administrative details, but I can tell you that ASPECT is working with our public service colleagues to figure that out. Stay tuned.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • February 03, 2023 11:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In our Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural and Remote Employment Services research report, we identified some systemic injustices in employment service contracting for those delivering services outside of urban areas. Now it is time to expand our discussion to include the broader picture. We hope that with our collective voice, we can provide the government with solutions for upcoming procurement opportunities. 

    To this end, we will be having a series of employment service provider discussions addressing some of the areas for improvement that we have heard about. Please note that these discussions are for BC Employment Service Providers only.

    New BC Bid System
    Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 1:00 - 2:00 pm (rescheduled for March 8)
    Register Now

    Work BC 2.0 - Unsuccessful Bidders
    Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at 1:00 - 2:00 pm
    Register Now

    General Government Procurement Discussion
    Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:00 - 2:00 pm
    Register Now

    Again, these meetings will be open to all BC Employment Service Providers and will be a solutions-focus approach to answering the questions: what is working well? And what could be better? After all, you are the experts, and it's an opportunity for you to share your expertise collectively. 

    I stumbled upon this video from 4 years ago created by the Human Service Council in New York. It touches on many issues I have been hearing about for years. It's a little funny, but it may be a bit hard to watch for those at the front line of procurement for their organization. Click on the image below for the link. 

    Source: Human Service Council on YouTube 

    You may also remember that ASPECT is working with about 50 other organizations on the Social Services Sector Roundtable Reference Group on issues of procurement as well. The Human Service Council video indicates that our challenges are not unique. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 27, 2023 12:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I’m on a flight home from Ottawa and the Cannexus conference as I write this. There was so much going on at the conference that it will take me a few days to process everything properly. Here are a couple of activities that might interest you:

    Career Development Advocacy

    CERIC organized a group of 50 leaders in the world of career development and employment services to discuss seven themes as an area of advocacy. Although the theme chosen to develop excluded a significant portion of those in the room, we had valuable discussions about career development and its intersection with other sectors.

    It was evident in the advocacy meetings and many of the roundtable discussions that Career Development is an economic driver and critical in this changing world of work. The new Career Development Professional Centre (CDPC) also has advocacy as a part of its mandate, with more information coming soon. It was an exhilarating day of discussions, and I look forward to the next steps.

    CDPC Announcement

    The Career Development Professional Centre announced its plans for free core career development training. Each course will have four modules: 1, 2, & 4 will be virtual, and module 3 will be two days in-person. ASPECT is contracted to host the in-person sessions in Prince George (April), Nanaimo (May), and Kelowna (June). The BCCDA will also host a two-day session with the dates to follow. The demand for these courses is expected to be high and will likely be available by application only. Details are coming.

    Also, the new online community of practice is up and running. If you registered for the previous one, you’ll need to register again because the virtual community is on a different platform.

    Finally, I would like to thank ASPECT president Val Meaney who joined me in presenting the findings of ASPECT’s Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural and Remote Employment Services to a packed room. We heard stories of those in the room who felt validated by their practice challenges. Our call to action is to collect stories, photos, and short videos to help bring the research to life. Take a moment to share your experiences at and watch the video below from WorkBC Merritt, which is coming to an Instagram story soon.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

    L-R: Laura Heagy & Lori Forgeron of Workforce Development Consulting Services of Northern BC, Shannon Baikie of NIEFS, and Val Meaney of Val Meaney & Associates

    A packed room at our Rural & Remote session

    L-R: Sueling Ching of the Ottawa Board of Trade & Chamber of Commerce, Kris Tierney of the Human Resources Professionals Association, and Janet Morris-Reade of ASPECT in the panel "The Red Hot Labour Market: What It Means for Employers and Jobseekers"

    L-R: Kay Castelle, incoming CEO of CERIC, Candy Ho, CERIC President. Poorly-taken selfie by Janet Morris-Reade (apologies Kay & Candy) 


    Thanks to Deborah Petrovitch and Afreen Barkat of Community Futures Thompson Country for your submission.

    Share your story about delivering rural and remote employment services. 

    Read the report:

  • January 20, 2023 11:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At this week's ASPECT members' meeting, we discussed possible knowledge mobilization efforts for the ASPECT Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural and Remote Employment Services

     report. Although it represents months of community-based research, not all funders have time to read the full 46 pages. We need to help them understand the inequities succinctly and easily. The following are strategies we think may be able to help:

    TikTok-Style Videos

    Seeing is believing, and we are asking rural and remote service providers to record short TikTok-style videos for us to use in our social media campaign. We are looking for clips that follow the themes and topics of our report.
    • Story related to distance: costs, logistics, available services, training, and transportation
    • Story related to recruitment & retention of staff, clients, and community partners
    • Story related to connectivity: broadband infrastructure, digital access, digital literacy
    • Story related to contract challenges: funding suggestions, unique considerations, client type

    Written Stories
    We ask you to describe your experiences or those of your clients here. Consider one or more of the following prompts:
    • How big is your service area, and what are some of the considerations you must make to deliver services in that area?
    • How many hours do you spend coordinating out-of-town activities for you or your client to access services?
    • What services are missing in yourarea (or difficult to access) that are easily available in urban areas?
    • What is a problem faced in your community in providing wrap-around services? And how do you overcome it?
    • What solutions do you use to help clients or deliver services that are outside the internet or cell service?
    • Tell us about a client you helped that had to overcome significant obstacles to access service. For example, from our discussion groups, we heard that a service provider paid$125 for a taxi ride for a client to attend a job interview. Another placed a client at a homeless shelter because there were no accommodations available in the area they were sent to for training or assessments. 

    Upload Photos
    Upload a photo that shows your experiences delivering employment services in rural and remote regions. In this post, you will see some submitted by Workforce Development Consulting Services of Northern BC. If you are taking photos of clients, please ensure you have their permission to share. We have created an easy way to collect your stories and experiences

    Please go to We aim to inform and bring the data and recommendations within our Rural and Remote report to life.

    Next week, ASPECT president Val Meaney and I will present your work at the Cannexus conference in Ottawa. We are honoured to take your voices forward and hope to build a call to action across Canada so that those delivering employment services to rural and remote communities no longer feel like "the lone voice in the wilderness," as one project participant described it. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 12, 2023 4:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Employment service providers are the experts in their communities who can see all perspectives of the workforce: job seekers, employers, changing employment conditions, and local economic development efforts. As professional practitioners, they stay up on these latest trends and innovations in employment readiness training while keeping an eye on provincial, federal, and global changes. This body of knowledge and experience is essential and is why we conduct research. It takes a snapshot of the conditions at the moment in time and provides critical information to policy and program makers.

    The final report of our Future Skills Centre project, funded by the Government of Canada, is ready for release. The study Competency of Career Development Practitioners for Virtual Services is the cumulation of research from 2021 where we asked the questions:

    1. What competencies related to virtual learning and facilitation need to become standard knowledge and practice in the industry?
    2. What skills in offering virtual service do CDPs in BC currently have? and what do they lack?
    3. How can pilot programs, based on the answers to questions 1 & 2, develop and offer competency training in BC?

    We found that although there is a gap in competency for CDPs to deliver virtual services, this gap is widespread across all age groups. We also found that there is an opportunity to develop this training not only for BC but also across Canada. 

    To see what is possible, take a look at the video prepared by our project partner, ETHOS Career Management Group. With part one of this project complete, we are pursuing further funding to make the learning concept outlined in the video a reality. 

    Thank you to all of your who participated in this research. We couldn't have done it without you.

    Other ASPECT research:
    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • January 06, 2023 11:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome back to those of you who were able to get a break over the holidays and a pat on the back for those of you who have been proposal writing this week. Here are a few updates for you:

    Recruiting for 1 New ASPECT Board Member

    We are looking for one new board member to round out our leadership team of 9 and are now accepting applications. Go to our website for more information and to apply. 

    ASPECT Report Makes CERIC's CDP Top 10 for 2022

    Kudos to everyone involved in the creation of the Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural & Remote Employment Services report. Our work made it to CERIC's list of 10 notable career development reports from 2022. To be recognized amongst the OECD, LMIC, the Brookfield Institute, and the Canadian Career Development Foundation is a huge accomplishment. Thanks to Lindsay Purchase and CERIC for this recognition.

    At the next ASPECT member meeting on January 18, we will discuss further knowledge mobilization efforts for this research. 

    Finally, ASPECT president Val Meaney and I will present at CANNEXUS on Tuesday, January 24, from 1:30 - 2:30 pm. We are excited to take your voices to a national level as we inform decision-makers to re-focus the urban lens on employment programs. As an ASPECT member, you can register at a discount as a "supporting organization" for both the in-person and virtual conference. 

    Career Development Professional Centre Basics Training 

    At CANNEXUS, this year will be the official announcement for the CDP basic training program. It will be a fully self-paced, self-guided course that is freely available. The penultimate training sessions will take place in person. I am delighted to announce that ASPECT and the BC Career Development Association will host these sessions. The first one will be in Vancouver and follow the BCCDA Symposium. The other 3 will take place in Nanaimo, Kelowna, and Prince George, with each cohort comprising 15-20 students. I know you are all very excited about the prospect of this training. More info is coming in about 3 weeks.

    In the meantime, go to the Career Development Professional Centre website to sign up for updates: 

    As you can see, it is a busy time of year. I haven't mentioned our continuing work to introduce ASPECT to new BC ministers and public service staff, which continues throughout this month and the next.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • December 22, 2022 1:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At yesterday's member meeting, we acknowledged that employment service providers are feeling particularly fatigued this year. We all know the reasons, some of which are the increasing complexity of the job requirements, workload due to staff shortages, RFP deadlines, changing labour market needs, the uncertainty of future contracts, and rising costs in general. Sharing these challenges is an important part of healing, but we also shared some of the things that we do for ourselves: 

    1. Meditation & Mindfulness - there are lots of great apps to get you started, such as Headspace, Calm, and MindShift CBT. There are good free resources on YouTube too.

    2. Take a walk or a hike outside. Why not try forest bathing?

    3. Exercise. It boosts energy, improves mood, and can help you sleep better, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    4. Connect or reconnect with friends and family. Don't feel up to calling or messaging? Try sending memes or a link to a funny video to let them know you're alive.

    5. Massage therapy. Can't find an RMT available? There are lots of "how to" resources and videos online.

    Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, please take some time to focus on your needs and have a happy holiday!

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

    Meme source: @artmemescentral

  • December 09, 2022 11:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Photo source: CBC News

    Last week's cabinet shuffle has produced some new political leaders and a new ministry name. Whenever there are new cabinet members, ASPECT springs into action to meet with the new ministers to inform them of your work. 

    The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training is now called the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. Former Finance Minister, Hon. Selina Robinson has taken on this portfolio (including foreign credentials recognition) and is supported by Hon. Andrew Mercier, who continues as the Minister of State for Workforce Development. Hon. Mercier presented at the ASPECT conference last month.

    The ministry mandate letter outlines the complete work plan, but here are some items you might find interesting:

    • Recognizing the global trend of labour shortages, deliver StrongerBC’s Future Ready Skills plan with clear actions to continue expanding access to affordable, accessible, and relevant training, so British Columbians have the skills they need for the jobs of the future.
    • Explore the expansion of the Single Parent Employment Initiative.
    • With support from the Minister of State for Workforce Development, lead work to recruit and retain people to build a skilled and flexible workforce in B.C.’s changing economy, and support career paths for skilled immigrants and services that give immigrants and refugees a strong start.
    • With support from the Minister of State for Workforce Development, strengthen resources for the evaluation of skilled immigrants’ credentials, including the Credential Assessment Improvement Fund.
    • With support from the Minister of State for Workforce Development, take steps to ensure our government is able to respond quickly if private institutions promote or offer sub-standard education to international students, and develop protections for international students that support their fair treatment across the sector.

    The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has a new leader, Hon. Shelia Malcolmson. who previously served as Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. The ministry mandate letter items that may interest you are as follows:
    • Update the Poverty Reduction Strategy by March 2024, to continue reducing the number of people, and in particular children, who are experiencing poverty in our province. • Lead work with support from the Minister of Finance to continue addressing impacts on low-income people caused by cost-of-living increases related to global inflation.
    • Given rising costs of food, continue to lead work on food security and dignified access to food in partnership with food producers, grocery stores, food banks, schools, and not-for-profits, with support from the Minister of Agriculture and Food and the Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and NonProfits. 

    Although most of ASPECT's advocacy work is done with the above two ministries, we also consult with the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, (new minister Hon. Brenda Bailey), Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits (new Ms. Megan Dykeman, MLA), and Ministry of Education and Child Care (new minister Hon. Rachna Singh). 

    Finally, when resources allow, ASPECT tries to meet with the opposition and their shadow cabinet members. As a non-political organization, ASPECT works with everyone to ensure that all people have access to quality community-based workforce development services that support their opportunity to achieve a meaningful and sustainable livelihood. (see our vision and mission on the ASPECT website)

    For a complete listing of the new cabinet members and their mandate letters, go to the government website.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

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