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  • 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

  • June 23, 2023 8:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Happy first day of summer! 

    I'm writing this week's report from a Richmond hotel room as I'm attending the Board Voice Conference. If you are unfamiliar with Board Voice, it provides peer-led support, connection and advocacy for nonprofit community boards throughout BC whose organizations are dedicated to supporting and strengthening social health in their communities (description from their website). If you are an organizational leader of a nonprofit, I encourage you to seek Board Voice membership for your organization to support the efforts of your volunteer board members. Over the past few years, Board Voice has created its Building Better Boards curriculum and has offered it free of charge. One takeaway I use for my board onboarding is the Navigating the Waters: Governance as Leadership document. It clearly articulates board members' roles and responsibilities and how they can use their position on the board to effect change. I highly recommend it. 


    Yesterday was the first day of the conference with Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Honourable Shelia Malcomlmson, as one of the first speakers. (photo at right). In particular, I was delighted to hear of her commitment to continuing the work started by former Minister Shane Simpson on the Social Services Sector Roundtable (SSSRT). As you may remember, ASPECT is a member of the SSSRT reference group, which comes together to inform the sector's needs. Just yesterday morning, on the ferry to the mainland, I was working on a collaborative memo to SDPR Deputy Minister David Galbraith. I was delighted to see some pertinent issues identified, such as decolonization, infrastructure needs, and ontology. Minister Malcolmson's speech made me feel hopeful. 


    I'm rushing a bit this morning because the first session of day two is a presentation from former Attorney General Colin Gablemann and former Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson. They will discuss what advocates need to do to get their issues included in the BC Budget and how to "use our skills, connections and influence in our help address gaps and better respond to needs" (quote from the conference program). Not to worry, I've already talked to former minister Simpson to see if he can come to the ASPECT Conference for a similar session. We will work on the logistics of making that happen.


    Before I fly off, I wanted to remind everyone that our call for conference presenters closes on Monday. I have looked at some of the outstanding proposals already submitted. Also coming on Monday is a provincial announcement I'll discuss in next week's Aspectives.


    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO


  • June 16, 2023 11:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There is a ton of information that I want to share with you this week. Our special observances and celebrations survey, the ASPECT Conference call for presenters, the research about social services and work-integrated learning, the employment strategy for youth with disabilities interface, and our latest topic for a member discussion about how we as a sector support communities when hit by natural disasters such as wildfires and floods. The one bit of important information I will profile here is the announcement of ASPECT's new president and the acknowledgement of our past president. 

    New President for ASPECT

    Lori Forgeron is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience providing employment and career development services in BC. Holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from St. Francis Xavier University, Lori has always been interested in working to bring people living with unique barriers into the workforce.
    Starting her career working with survivors of domestic violence, Lori experienced firsthand the difficulties faced by disenfranchised and under-represented individuals as they sought employment, specifically in the North-Central region of the province. Today, Lori is the owner and CEO of Workforce Development Consulting, a Northern-based employment agency that works with marginalized people and communities to provide them with a wide range of skills training, employment and career counselling, and social-emotional skills training programs.
    In addition to her degree, Lori now holds certification as a Career Development Practitioner and numerous certifications in working with specific demographics such as those experiencing barriers related to mental health and addictions, differently-abled job seekers, and youth. Additionally, Lori is certified to deliver numerous testing and assessment tools to support workers in achieving improved employability.
    Lori has been a long-term organizational member of ASPECT and a board of directors member for two two-year terms. She is honoured to move into the role of board president. She hopes to continue to support the advocacy work underway and plans to work collaboratively with the CEO and board members to ensure that ASPECT continues to represent the employment service providers community in British Columbia.  

    Thank You to our Past President

    Val Meaney came to become ASPECT's president at a time when the WorkBC 2018 contract announcement left some of our existing board members without jobs, choosing to retire, or having fulfilled maximum service terms on the board. We had an exodus of eight board members at once!

    Although I had met Val once in 2016, I didn't know her well, and when I asked others who of the new board applicants would make a good leader for ASPECT, Val's name came up several times. I remember that first phone call when I asked her to serve as president. The volunteer position is a large time commitment, and except for two fairly new returning board members (one with a new business and the other with a young child), she would be leading the 7-person board of brand new board members. A huge ask of someone you barely know!

    Val was amazing and led ASPECT with dedication, generosity, and a little bit of humour. Personally, she became my friend outside of work, and I feel like I am a better person for knowing her. I am not the only one who feels this way. Here are some messages for Val from her fellow board members:

    It has been truly a pleasure working with you. Your demeanour, support, and guidance are something that I will always remember. ~ Raj Hundal, Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) 
    Thank you so much for your incredible leadership, not only of ASPECT but also in our sector. You have been an amazing support! ~ Tricia Gueulette, Beacon Community Services
    Val, I so appreciated your balanced leadership as ASPECT president. Your combination of skills, sector knowledge, collaborative style, and thoughtful approach inspired trust from the sector as we navigated some challenging years. ~ Kim Lauritsen, Community Futures North Okanagan
    Val has guided us through the last few years with integrity and an innate ability to be fair and objective. She has represented ASPECT well to the community and funders with her wit, her articulation, and her enduring dedication to the industry. ~ Deborah Bromley, ETHOS Career Management Group

    What a joy it has been to work with you. Your leadership has reflected your wisdom, energy, and sense of humour. You have guided us to be a cohesive and enjoyable group. With deepest appreciation. ~ Peter Bailey, Free Rein Associates

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO
  • June 09, 2023 12:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    New Pre-Conference Workshop Announcement!

    I'm delighted to announce that we will offer a pre-conference in-person workshop before the ASPECT Conference in November. In response to the challenges facing employment service provider staff and the increase in multi-barriered clients, Dr. Catherine Hajnal and Seanna Quressette, MEd, CCDP, will present a full-day workshop for 50 attendees called Mental Health Strategies for CDPs. This workshop will take place at the conference hotel, Sheraton Vancouver Airport in Richmond, on Wednesday, November 1.

    Participants will leave this workshop with concrete strategies to support clients and CDPs with mental health challenges. Participants will gain solid information about mental health. If folks have already taken Mental Health First Aid training, this workshop will build on this content. The workshop will cover:

    ·       Neurobiology and mental health

    ·       Strategies to support mental health

    ·       Making appropriate referrals

    ·       Handling mental health conversations

    ·       Working with suicide ideation

    You must register for the workshop separately from the conference. Also, you don't need to attend the conference in order to attend the pre-conference workshop. Click here to register.

    Hotel & Travel

    The ASPECT Conference hotel room booking link is now active. We secured the room rate before the pandemic at $219 CAD plus tax for a standard room. Last year our room block sold out well before the deadline (this year's deadline is October 4) and had many of you scrambling. I encourage you to book early, especially those who are bringing your teams with you.

    We have again secured travel discounts from West Jet and Air Canada. Booking codes and details can be found on the ASPECT website.


    The Call for Presenters Continues until June 26

    You have just over two weeks to submit a presenter proposal for the ASPECT Conference. The conference is an excellent opportunity for you to share the work you have been doing with your peers. Presenters receive a complimentary conference registration (limitations apply), which is a good way to reduce your conference attendance costs and prepare you for the next step on the career ladder or add to your accomplishments on your LinkedIn profile. 

    Again, we are working on the program for the conference and will be sure to have it ready for you this summer. You can expect the ASPECT Conference to be the high-quality, engaging event that you've come to expect.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • June 02, 2023 10:03 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASPECT Communications Manager Pamela Daoust
    and me at the Legislature for ASPECT's presentation
    to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and
    Governmental Affairs.

    Did you know that ASPECT presents each year to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services our sector's priorities in the context of the provincial government's annual budget consultations? One of ten permanent committees of the Legislative Assembly, the committee listened to ASPECT's presentation, which focused this year on further investment to tackle three current issues in British Columbia:

    • The province-wide housing crisis.
    • Making BC's job market more inclusive and adapting to the changing labour market.
    • Funding inequity for rural and remote employment services

     The lack of affordable housing is a significant barrier to employment and can potentially shrink our economy. We applauded the provincial government's efforts in this area and asked for continued investment in tax rebates and economic supports.

    We also applauded the government's efforts in making BC's job market more inclusive with its new StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan. Helping people navigate their future jobs by identifying best fits and educational options can be a strong economic driver but is currently minimally funded. We asked that the government invest in mid-career career services in addition to the current pre-employment services. 

    As demonstrated in ASPECT's most recent report Refocusing the Urban Lens for Rural & Remote Employment Services, employment service providers in rural and remote locations have lived with the inequities of workforce development funding for many years when compared to that of urban areas. Per our research findings, we recommended that funding move away from population-based targets and focus on the realities of delivering services in unique regions.  

    ASPECT's team intends to focus on these priorities in its upcoming advocacy efforts, regularly including them in communication and public relations tools and pieces. Our work here is not done; we must continue until change happens. Click here for a copy of ASPECT's presentation.

    If you would like to submit your recommendations for the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Governmental Affairs, you can do so until June 16 using their online form.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO
  • May 26, 2023 12:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Let the voting begin!

    Our new communications manager, Pamela Daoust, asked me what observance and holiday celebrations ASPECT notes in our Aspectives newsletter. It's a question I have never found the right answer to in the 7 years I have been producing the Aspectives newsletter. Quite often, I'm not aware of a special day of recognition until after it has passed. I worry that my colonialist lens may be leaving important dates out when my goal for ASPECT is to be an inclusive and diverse organization that shows leadership in this area. We've noticed over the years that while some of our members punctually celebrate traditional or religious holidays, others observe few holidays, and others dutifully mark their calendars with non-traditional celebrations and observances.

    Pamela has deeply explored what days, weeks, or holidays we might observe. She has consulted the BC Government communications department for a list, the municipal lists, the UN and the UNDRIP lists, all producing an extensive collection of dates that could leave us in a perpetual state of celebration, or worse, having us grudgingly choose between a vast array of celebrations.

    Help Us Choose

    In short, we can't decide and are asking for your help to participate in this process to help us pick and choose those moments that are important to you and your community that we should recognize in Aspectives. Please take a moment to vote for what dates we should observe and add to this list if we have forgotten anything.

    Asking for your help is a community development project that could go horribly wrong, but I'm willing to take the risk. We will leave the survey open until mid-July. In the meantime, a few dates I missed, some that are in progress, and some that are yet to come: 


    Let the voting begin!
    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • May 12, 2023 12:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The province released its StrongerBC: Future Ready Action Plan last week. It is a good response to the future needs for BC, addressing the more than one million job openings in the next 9 years. If you have read the BC Labour Market Outlook 2022-2032 report, you'll know that "80 percent of job openings over the next ten years will require some form of post-secondary education or training." (p.3)

    As a lifelong learner, I'm delighted with the plan to make post-secondary education more affordable and accessible and for increased micro-credentialing. The extension of tuition waivers for all formerly in care, the expanded training for people with disabilities, augmented Indigenous training programs, and streamlining BC newcomer credential recognition are all excellent supports. The $3,500 training grant for people to train or upskill for in-demand jobs is also appealing. I also tried out the supporting website that helps people navigate their way forward to take advantage of a new career path is a valuable resource. I enjoyed playing around with the EducationPlannerBC website inputting several jobs and micro-credential options and looking at possible post-secondary programs available in one place. Such a good resource!

    Community-Based Organizations Left Out

    However, it's a pretty big "however," community-based trainers and employment services were left out of the plan except for additional funding for multi-barriered clients and international credential recognition. Private trainers were left out, and when I searched a few career paths, some of the training programs had a six to nine-month waiting time, i.e., apply for the program in January for starts in September. This is exactly why post-secondary organizations are challenged, especially in this dynamic and ever-changing labour market where community-based trainers have thrived. ASPECT members can pivot to market conditions using their connections to local employers, potential clients, economic development corporations, and local colleges and institutions to create training and opportunities quickly. 

    Here lies the opportunity for the evolution of the Future Ready Action Plan -- expand the plan to include that entire employment landscape to include community-based training and upskilling services. Extend a micro-credential framework to all training, and fund recognition of prior learning for employment. In the meantime, we will continue to work to find ways to bring post-secondary institutions under the employment-ready umbrella.

    One project that ASPECT is working on is a SPARC BC research project under the guidance of Dr. Alex Price. The research aims to bridge knowledge gaps and establish evidence-based connections between the British Columbia Social Services Sector, work-integrated learning institutions, and students to enhance capacity and sustainability, foster collaborations among stakeholders, and guide policy development and program improvements. My hope is that the results of this study will identify opportunities between community service providers and work integrated learning with funding to secure those relationships.

    The Future Ready Action Plan is good, but there are so ways for it to evolve to be much better. ASPECT will continue to work with the government to help them understand the value of the community-based sector. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • April 28, 2023 1:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In my March 10, 2023, CEO Report, I shared my experience about my mistakes on the road toward Truth & Reconciliation and how I still made mistakes even when I tried to do everything right. My intention was to share my uncomfortable teachable moment with our sector. At the discussion, some Indigenous communities see smudging as sacred and shouldn't be taught to others outside the community. 


    Well, the learning related to this post continues. 


    Lorelei Lyons of 2 Metis Women, who we contracted to deliver the smudging workshop, contacted me. To her, I had humiliated her and undermined her business which, of course, was never something I had intended to do. In addition to the smudging workshop, Lorelei has also presented workshops at the ASPECT Conference to create dreamcatchers and medicine wheels. All of these workshops have been highly reviewed by conference participants. So again, I am apologizing to Lorelei and recommending her business to you. 


    At this point, a younger version of myself might run away from the conflict and pain I've caused, but Truth and Reconcilliation are too important to do that. In other words, I will continue to make mistakes, and likely, I will continue to share them with you in the knowledge that the "settlers" among us have a lot of work to do. 


    We are not alone in this work, however. The provincial government released their Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan last year and will rely on us and our sector to help facilitate some of the difficult discussions ahead. ASPECT and other umbrella advocacy and community-serving agencies who share our mandate of removing colonialism from social services will join us to move forward. Running away isn't an option: this is too important for that.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

    Comments from previous ASPECT Conference evaluation:

    • Thank you for highlighting Indigenous teachings. Please do more of this.
    • Lorelei was knowledgeable, inclusive and a warm and inviting presenter.
    • This was an incredible experience, and I have already reached out to her to present it to my own organization.
    • Lorelei did an amazing job.
    • Immensely valuable session, highly emotional and informative - outstanding!

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