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  • 07 May 2021 12:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our Future Skills Centre-funding research project, Virtual Skills for Career Development Practitioners, is at full force this week with the start of our new research assistants. Welcome to Erica Thomson and Bennett King-Nyberg!

    The research team, overseen by Dr. Roberta Borgen, has already started compiling articles for the literature review, and the researchers are learning everything they can about the sector.

    This week I had an opportunity to address the BC Career Development Association board of directors and share the work we are doing. I was delighted to hear their offers of help to get the word out about the research project by helping us find more respondents from other areas of practice to respond to our online survey. My very ambitious goal is to receive 500 completed survey responses which would provide us with a substantial data set to support our findings. This project is a community-based project where those Career Development Professionals delivering services directly to the clients are the experts and have the opportunity for their voices to inform policy. Along with our project partners, Ethos Career Management Group, and our Virtual Learning Consortium, made up of practitioners from nine ASPECT member organizations, we will collect evidence to inform sector interventions and government funding decisions.

    To those 9 CDPs from our learning consortium, you can expect to receive an invitation to our first meeting very soon. To all of you who will be participating through the online survey and/or the focus groups, we will keep you posted on our progress every week in Aspectives news. It's an exciting time, and we are moving a million miles an hour, but I am so excited to be doing this research on behalf of the sector. 

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • 23 April 2021 10:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For those of you who attended our Annual General Meeting on April 7, you'll know that we re-welcomed five board members to make up our board complement of seven. These volunteers are hardworking, thoughtful, and always put the sector's needs at the forefront of every decision they make for ASPECT members. They work on committees, attend weekly member meetings and monthly board meetings, support our conference sessions, and keep me abreast of developing issues that our members may face. I am proud of the contribution that every one of them provides ASPECT and appreciative of their support of me in this position. Although we are at the end of national volunteer week, I still wanted you all to be aware of the work they do on your behalf.

    Board of Directors

  • 16 April 2021 12:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As numbers surge into the 3rd wave of the pandemic, our Virtual Member Discussion this week touched on what organizations are doing now and what the immediate future might look like. We discussed that there are those concerned about the AstraZenica side effects amongst our community and those who are concerned that staff within their organizations will not consent to receive the vaccine at all. The concern was how to accommodate the rising level of anxieties that the promise of the vaccine brings.

    One member on the call told us how, in their remote community, an employer brought a public health expert to answer workers' concerns. The vaccine hesitancy within the group almost completely disappeared. 

    One member from the March of Dimes, which has its roots in the polio outbreaks of the mid-1900s, provided a resource that their organization produced in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Called "Mission Immunity" this web page provides a ton of resources to understand the available information. Some of the questions answered on the site are:

    1. Why get the shot?
    2. Are we sure the vaccines are safe when they were created so quickly?
    3. What if I decide not to get vaccinated?
    4. With variant strains becoming dominant, will the vaccines still be effective?
    5. What about long-term side effects?

    Some members on the call shared that their organization's policy is to give their staff the day off to get the vaccine. This, I think, is a generous encouragement going beyond the half-day being proposed by the province.

    Finally, I understand that vaccines are a charged topic for many, and I'm taking a risk writing about it in Aspectives. I know even in my own family, there are some firm opinions on both sides of the COVID-19 debate. Our common ground lies in our exhaustion with the pandemic and its effect on our lives. I hope that you will take the information that has been provided here as an act of support and encouragement rather than one of judgement.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • 09 April 2021 2:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We have two really big announcements this week.

    Future Skills Centre Research Project

    Announced last Wednesday at 6:00 am, I can now tell you that ASPECT, along with our project partner Ethos Career Management Group, was one of 64 projects chosen out of 469 proposals by the Future Skills Centre for Shockproof funding. 
    With the support of nine advisory committee organizations from the ASPECT membership and the support of all our members, we will study the current competencies of Career Development Professionals to deliver virtual services to those with barriers to employment, while looking at ways to build competencies should there be any gaps in knowledge. We are a group of community-based experts, and my concern is that in the future governments may rely on virtual services without realizing the effects on youth, Indigenous populations, women fleeing violence, refugees, immigrants, older workers, and those with diverse abilities. It is hoped that this research is phase 1 with a training pilot, that is yet to be funded, as phase 2. World-renowned scholar, Dr. Roberta Borgen (Neault), will be overseeing our research along with two research assistants. 
    The research activities will take place between May-August and are as follows:
    1. Conduct a literature review
    2. Advisory group meetings to discuss the transition to virtual services and helping clients.
    3. An online survey sent out province-wide to CDPs
    4. Conduct focus group discussions of CDPs who offer services to underrepresented clients in both urban and rural and remote locations.
    5. Report and recommendations vetted and approved by the advisory group
    Congratulations to ASPECT members who also received Shock-Proofing Project funding:
    AEST Funding for Professional Development

    Our popular procurement workshops are back, but now in a virtual format.

    The two-day in-person workshop has been transformed into 3-hour workshops in a series of four learning streams. Because of the collaborative nature of these workshops, class size is limited and the workshops will not be recorded.

    This training is free of charge with the support of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and could prove to be quite popular. For that reason we request the following:

    • No more than 3 people from one organization can register per learning stream at a time.
    • If you can't make a session, please cancel your registration so that someone else on the waiting list can attend.

    1. PROCUREMENT 101

    This workshop is intended for those who have little to no experience responding to government solicitations, or who feel that they need a refresher course on how procurement works within the BC Government. This course provides introductory information on how government procurement works. Topics covered will be:

    1. Types of Opportunities 
    2. Mandatory Requirements 
    3. Price-based Solicitations 
    4. Scored Solicitations 
    5. Asking Questions 
    6. Contract Award and Debriefs 

    Dates offered:


    This workshop is intended for those who are responsible to write proposals on behalf of their organization for government-scored solicitations.  It will be particularly useful to those who are new to this role or have not been as successful as they expected in the proposals written to date. Topics covered will be:

    1. Structure of the Proposal 
    2. What to Include 
    3. What to Avoid 
    4. Practice Writing a Proposal 
    5. Debrief the Proposals
    6. Information Available in a Debrief 

    Dates offered:


    This workshop is intended for those who are experienced in writing proposals but are unclear what happens after closing. It gives a “behind the scenes” glimpse into what Government does with proposals to determine the successful vendor. Topics covered will be:

    1. Government’s Evaluation Process 
    2. Evaluation “Rules”
    3. Practice Evaluating Proposals
    4. Which Proposal is Successful? Why? 

    Dates offered:


    This workshop is intended for those in leadership roles who make the decisions on the opportunities that the organization responds to, and who sign-off on the submissions.  his course explains the procurement framework that applies to how Government selects its contractors. Topics covered will be:

    1. Overall Procurement Framework 
    2. Legal Environment 
    3. Trade Agreements 
    4. Policy & Legislative Environment 
    5. Identify Procurement Risks 
    6. Debrief Procurement Risks
    7. Remedies for Disagreement
    Dates offered:
    For full information and to register, go to our Procurement Workshop webpage.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • 26 March 2021 11:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week I wanted to focus on an essential piece of research called the Social Service Labour Market Research Project. The project was funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, and lead by the Federation of Community Social Services of BC, the Community Social Services Employers Association of BC, and the Social Planning and Research Council of BC. 

    ASPECT served on the advisory committee, and many of our members participated in the research conducted in 2019. The results timelessly fill a void in academic investigation.

    Research Questions:
    • What is the current state of employment in BC’s community social services sector?

    • What labour market data is needed to fill in the gaps of what we know about the community social services sector in BC?

    • What are the recruitment and retention issues within the community social services sector in BC? (from p. 5)

      The research revealed the following:
    • Social services organizations are experiencing an increasing degree of complexity in their work—in the needs of clients, in their funding, and in the recruitment and retention of their employees and volunteers.

    • There is ample room for improvement when it comes to education and training within the social services sector.

    • Organizations are struggling to meet multiple and growing service demands with the limited time and resources currently available to them.

    • There is a lot of potential in terms of how people understand the sector and are welcomed into the sector as employees or volunteers and there is a lot of interest from those already within the sector to improve how this is done. (from p.8 )

    The report confirms much of what we already knew about the impact of cyclical funding and the resulting challenges to attract and retain qualified staff. Check out a Data Aggregate version of the report, too. 

    Anyone negotiating contracts that include staff compensation and/or those who search for words to describe the labour market inequities within the sector will find the report to be a gold mine of information. There is a lot to unpack in this information-rich report that I hope you'll take a moment to read.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • 18 March 2021 2:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    My CEO Report is a bit of a mixed bag this week. 

    ASPECT Conference 21

    Register now before March 31st and you'll receive a $100 discount for the ASPECT Conference 21. This is for those of you who want to spend your professional development dollars on high-quality learning before the fiscal year-end. The call for presenters will come out in April and the program will be set in June so registering now is like buying a mystery grab-bag at the corner store.

    Based on our highly reviewed offering last year, here's what you can expect:
    1. Two-days of 22 virtual sessions from which to choose.
    2. Two keynote speakers, government representation, panel discussions, and collaborative workshops.
    3. Content for frontline workers, career developers, and organizational managers and leaders.
    4. An interactive conference platform with Play-to-Win prizes and promotions.
    5. 30-minute breaks between each session to help you rest from potential zoom fatigue.

    Register Now

    AEST Appendix K

    In the recent Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training call for qualifications, there was an "Appendix K" call and many of our members are waiting for the Request for Proposal. Although an official communication is coming soon from the ministry, I can tell you that the RFP will not come within the next two weeks. 

    The processes within the government to undertake proposal evaluations, award notifications, and contract negotiations take time, especially in light of the many opportunities coming out at once. 

    ASPECT Virtual Annual General Meeting

    We have set the date for our virtual AGM on Wednesday, April 7 at 1:00 pm. This falls at the same time as our weekly member meetings and we will likely have time after the AGM to have a discussion as usual for those who wish to attend.  

    Please click on the links below to access the AGM documents:

    1. Agenda
    2. Minutes from the 2018-2019 AGM held March 17, 2020
    3. Slate of Directors
    4. Proxy Form
    5. Financial Review 2019-2020 (one will be sent upon request)
    6. Provide Feedback to the Board

    We look forward to seeing you there!

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • 05 March 2021 11:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I have been watching the Prime Minister again this morning, and we finally have some unexpected good news with regards to the pandemic: the Jansen Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved in Canada, plus the existing vaccine suppliers are promising larger, earlier deliveries allowing people to be vaccinated ahead of schedule. This news, along with statements from Dr. Bonnie Henry yesterday that we could see a return to some level of normalcy by this summer, is a nice bit of hope to start the weekend. What does this mean for employment and the demand for employment services in BC?

    We expected a surge last September, and then again in January, for demand on services that never materialized. However, with this more hopeful news, we can expect the long-awaited surge in early summer. It is likely that service industries most devastated by the pandemic might finally see significant returns. Also, on my call with the BC Chamber of Commerce last week, it was stated more than once that BC is poised for a quick recovery compared to the rest of Canada. 

    My mind is doing flips at the potential possibilities. The employment service sector has proven how quickly it can pivot in its response to the pandemic's highs and lows. It will be interesting to see how we respond to a drastic opening of the labour market. In the meantime, I will quietly celebrate the good news and imagine the opportunities in our future and how ASPECT can support the sector.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • 19 February 2021 12:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At this morning's briefing from Prime Minister Trudeau, I was expecting to hear about the vaccine rollout and the public safety legislation. What I didn't expect was extensions for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and Employment Insurance (EI).

    Here are the details:
    • CRB benefit extended from 26 weeks to 38 weeks
    • CRCB benefit also extended from 26 to 38 weeks
    • CRSB benefit is extended from 2 weeks to 4 weeks
    • EI benefit is extended from 26 weeks to 50 weeks

    As I write this, the Canada.ca website has not been updated with the new information, but you can link to the CBC news story here or watch the announcement below.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • 12 February 2021 11:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I read the Brookfield Institute's latest report with the same excitement and wonder as I did in grade 2 when reading about flying cars. There is so much to unpack that directly impacts the work our members are doing. 

    The report identifies megatrends gleaned from various sources using a horizon-scanning methodology. Many of the trends are not new to the wider conversation, but seeing them all in one place is quite exciting. Each megatrend is broken down into meso trends that are further identified as weak, emerging, and mature. 

    I was interested (okay, excited) to read the sections entitled Anti-Racism in the WorkplaceGender Equality Rollback, and Workaholic Extinction. Other sections were more concerning such as in Public Services with a Price Tag where it is suggested that lower public budgets may generate more innovation. In an environment where we've heard funders use the "I" word along with program budget-cutting, many of you will likely understand the possible implications first hand.

    Regardless of your part of the employment service sector, I encourage you to take a look at this report. The graphics are gorgeous and the writing concise making it an easy read. Perhaps if you are feeling fatigued from the pandemic, you may want to skip the content on pages 47, 50, and 51. If you identify as generation Z, work with youth, or work with employers who employ you, look for page 54 entitled Gen Z Takeover.

    The title of the report - Yesterday's Gone - tells you what to expect and in the conclusion, states that trends have been accelerated because of the pandemic. The sky is not falling, but there are certainly some interesting ideas within the report to consider.

    Janet Morris-Reade


  • 29 January 2021 12:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The long-awaited report of the BC Expert Panel on Basic Income was released this week. The Panel suggests that a basic income would not be ideal, but provided recommendations for significant changes to the social safety net. If ratified, this will have a significant impact on the employment services sector. 

    In short, here is the summary of 65 recommendations (pp. 39-42):

    Reform Disability Assistance (DA) into a targeted basic income

    1. Replace disability-related designations
    2. Reform application process
    3. Revise application forms
    4. Eliminate DA asset test
    5. Relax DA income test
    6. Reform adjudication process
    7. Eliminate reassessment
    8. Convert DA to a targeted basic income
    9. Increase DA benefit to the poverty line
    10. Lower DA benefit reduction rate and maintain income exemption
    11. Create public and community employment
    12. Integrate support for addiction and mental health
    13. Review addiction support

    Reform Temporary Assistance (TA) to reduce the “welfare wall”

    • Eliminate work-search requirement
    • Engage federal government on COVID-19 recovery benefit rationalization
    • Initially maintain current TA income test
    • Increase TA income test threshold in medium term
    • Eliminate TA asset test
    • Extend TA streamlined reapplication
    • Increase TA benefit levels by making COVID-19 emergency $300 supplement permanent
    • Lower TA benefit reduction rate and maintain income exemption
    • Evaluate training support
    • Expand earnings supplement

    Provide extended health-care benefits to all low-income individuals

    • Convert extended health supplements to a basic service
    • Provide housing support to all low-income renters
    • Combine Income Assistance support and shelter allowances
    • Expand targeted supportive housing
    • Institute a B.C. Rent Assist refundable tax credit

    Provide intensive work support to targeted groups

    • Establish Assisted to Work basic service
    • Establish a joint rehabilitation and work support agency

    Enhance support for low-income families with children

    • Refocus the Child Opportunity Benefit

    Enhance financial and support services for young adults

    • Increase Ministry of Children and Family Development resources
    • Enhance transition planning and community support capacity
    • Extend Agreements with Young Adults education and training duration
    • Enhance Agreements with Young Adults life-skills support
    • Extend Assisted to Work eligibility to former youth in care
    • Create targeted basic income for former youth in care
    • Initiate basic income with community support engagement
    • Mandate a ministry to support former youth in care
    • Establish a B.C. Learning Bond
    • Contribute to B.C. Learning Bond for children in care
    • Create a B.C. Career Trek program

    Enhance financial and support services for people fleeing violence

    • Enhance housing for people fleeing violence
    • Create a three-tiered domestic violence program

    Improve precarious employment through labour regulation reform

    • Develop gig work employment standards
    • Review Employment Standards Act exclusions
    • Enhance proactive Employment Standards Act enforcement
    • Improve employment standards for fissured work
    • Review Labour Relations Code unionization provisions
    • Proactively facilitate industry advisory councils
    • Extend Labour Relations Code successor rights
    • Rationalize employee definitions across programs

    Improve the way benefit delivery platforms function

    • Combine refundable tax credits into Dogwood Benefit
    • Rationalize income definition for income-testing purposes
    • Engage federal government to reduce tax-filing barriers
    • Engage federal government to increase tax and benefit delivery responsiveness
    • Engage federal government to streamline administrative tax data–sharing
    Develop an identification and verification platform for non–tax filers to increase benefits access
    • Automate informing applicants of eligibility for other programs
    • Enhance cross-program system navigation
    • Establish system governance
    • Index Income Assistance rates to changes in the poverty line
    • Increase Income Assistance staff resources
    • Rigorously evaluate major reforms
    • Create linked administrative data for policy development

    Make ongoing engagement a permanent part of all policies

    • Set up a human rights-based approach to engagement with those affected
    Clearly, there is a lot to unpack here but I think from a social care perspective, we can see that the report outlines forward-thinking for some of the wicked problems that we need to solve as a society. Thank you to basic income panel members for their hard work and to the provincial government for investing in this project.

    Janet Morris-Reade

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