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  • October 12, 2023 2:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of attending an International Credential Recognition town hall meeting, hosted by BC Premier David Eby and Minister of State for Workforce Development, Honourable Andrew Mercier. This was the event I had previously mentioned in last week's Aspectives newsletter. It was heartening to see a significant turnout of ASPECT members and association colleagues at the event.

    Amidst a wealth of valuable information, thought-provoking questions, and compelling testimonials from internationally credentialed speakers, I'd like to share three noteworthy highlights:

    1. In the coming month, we can expect new legislation aimed at dismantling unnecessary obstacles that hinder newcomers from pursuing their chosen professions. The government has recognized this as a matter of social justice and is working diligently to address these issues. They have initiated collaboration with both provincial and national credentialing bodies to expedite this effort, focusing on filling high-demand job positions.

    2. A new Secretariat role is in the works to oversee the credentialing process, ensuring that internationally trained individuals have a say in the process by contributing to certification boards. Although I'm hazy on all the finer details, it appears to be a promising development.

    3. Minister Mercier reiterated the importance of the ASPECT International Credential Recognition Fund no less than five times during the town hall meeting (yes, I counted). He championed community-based service providers as ideal for this critical work.

    The meeting featured poignant stories from attendees, shedding light on the challenges they face. For instance, a dentist from her home country, now employed as a dental assistant, humorously remarked that once her credentials are recognized, she'll be paying dentist provincial taxes instead of dental assistant provincial taxes.

    The meeting also delved into issues of access, racism, re-credentialing costs, and the prolonged wait experienced by newcomers and their families for their BC credentials. These concerns are evidently on the government's agenda.

    In case you missed its release over the summer, here is a link to the government report that has informed the coming legislation: Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills What We Heard: Public Engagement on International Credential Recognition.

    Finally, I had a chance to chat with Premier Eby and told him about ASPECT’s invitation to him to speak at the ASPECT conference. His response that it is “doable” is all I remember from that part of the conversation. I really would like him to meet you and see first-hand the passion and expertise of the people in the room and the sector. Fingers crossed!

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • October 06, 2023 11:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week, I have a couple of updates for you that I think might interest you. 
    An Invitation from the Premier
    ASPECT and several of our members and their clients have been invited to an in-person town hall focused on international credential recognition with Premier David Eby, Minister of State for Workforce Development Andrew Mercier, and Minister of Education Rachna Singh. There is also a virtual option, and I was asked to extend the invitation to you. Here is the invite:

    Please feel free to share this Zoom invite with your colleagues, staff or members of your organizations and programs so they can join us and encourage them to raise their hands in Zoom if they want to ask a question directly to the premier.

    When: Tuesday, October 10th at 10:30-11:30 AM

    Zoom Link:

    Passcode: 281307

    As you may remember, ASPECT received $1.5 million this year to establish an ICR fund where we distributed grants to 17 organizations throughout the province. Our first roundtable of all the grant recipients also happens on Tuesday, where we will take our first step toward creating a community of practice.
    Conference Accommodation – Room Block Deadline Extended
    I am delighted that the ASPECT Conference is sold out and we have established a waiting list.
    We also managed to extend the deadline for hotel room bookings until Thursday, October 12. I want to apologize to all of you who have had difficulty reserving your room and thank you for your patience. Last week we suggested that you use the online booking form but have since learned that it, too, is having technical difficulties.
    The hotel now suggests that you email or call them directly to make your reservations and to access the spectacular conference hotel rate of $219 per night. Although the room booking deadline is extended, some nights have limited availability so reserve now!
    The group code is ASPECT BC 2023.
    or call the hotel directly at (236) 305-5339

    Rooms are available for October 31, November 2, and November 3. Come to the conference early to attend the Mental Health Strategies for CDPs workshop (register here) or do a little shopping. Unfortunately, with the venue change, we could not extend the conference room rate to Saturday night this year.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • September 28, 2023 11:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New Publication for ASPECT

    Something happened last week that I thought you might find interesting. Two years ago, we conducted research with help from the Government of Canada and the Future Skills Centre about the transition of career development practitioners to virtual services, particularly in their challenges to meet the needs of clients underrepresented in the workforce. The research methods in the Competency of Career Development Practitioners for Virtual Services project included focus groups with CDPs and an online survey. We did everything right. The project went through an ethics review, our Virtual Learning Consortium made up of employment service sector leaders vetted the survey questions, and the survey launched with an incentive of a small-amount gift card. The result, however, was chaos!
    Online robots took over our survey and had us spending hours trying to combat the robots as well as refining the data, removing false answers, and setting criteria for valid answers. Since we had two research assistants working with us and had some time in the schedule as we waited for the online results, we wrote a case study about what happened. Last week, this case study, “The Bot Toolbox: An accidental case study on how to eliminate bots from your online survey” was finally published by the Journal of Social Thought.
    Not only would you find our experiences interesting if you were to do your own research, but you might also find it interesting because many of our Aspectives readers participated in that online survey. Thanks to our research assistants Bennett King-Nyberg and Erica Thomson, and our academic leads, Dr. Roberta Borgen and Cassie Taylor, for creating the article and their perseverance in getting it published. It’s a perfect example that sharing that information can be valuable to others when things go horribly wrong. 

    Conference: Register ASAP
    Finally, I want to add a note about the ASPECT Conference and our change to the new venue at the Radisson Hotel Vancouver Airport in Richmond. The conference space is smaller than what we are accustomed to at an ASPECT Conference, which means we are selling out fast, both for conference registrations and hotel rooms at our heavily discounted conference rate. If you are considering registering, please do so ASAP to avoid disappointment. Also, don’t forget to register separately for the in-person workshop: Mental Health Strategies for CDPs. Program details are now available on our website.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • 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

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