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  • September 09, 2022 2:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    One of the reasons ASPECT exists is to inform government programs and policy development on your behalf. Yesterday, I had that opportunity with 28 colleagues from across Canada to do just that. Also with me on the call were ASPECT members David Lee of MOSAIC and Ken Newell of Kopar Administration Ltd. The discussion topic was the Canada Training Benefit (CTB) redesign. 

    Image source:

    The discussion paper, sent to stakeholders in advance, outlines the government's work to date and the research and consultations used for the discussion. For policy wonks like me, I did a deep dive into the previous work, and it was fascinating! Our government hosts genuinely wanted to know our thoughts, with consultation leader and former ASPECT Summit speaker Rhonda Fernandes, Director General, Youth and Skills Innovation Directorate, at the helm. 

    Here are links to documents referenced in the discussion paper:
    Our discussion questions touched on current supports, client barriers to participating in the program, information the client needs to make decisions, and what gaps should to be addressed. You can rest assured that BC's interests and the interests of employment service providers were well-represented at the discussion table.

    David Lee, spoke of the WorkBC supports, Ken Newell, voiced concerns about challenges for rural and remote clients to access training and connectivity, and I focused on the need publicly-funded mid-career employment services, and changing the payment model from tax credits to upfront grants. Everyone suggested that the CTB should increase from $250 per year to at least $1000 per year. We also suggested that government use the existing network of career development professionals to help clients navigate future careers before committing to training opportunities, as community-based providers have more expertise than a wholly online tool and a better view of the local labour market landscape. 

    The session facilitator advised us that employer stakeholders already had their consultation session, and some of what we were saying was the same as what the employer group was saying. 

    Our government colleagues are policy and program development experts. ASPECT's job is to provide practical experience by providing context with the client's needs as the focus. When we get invited to consult, we endeavour to do our homework in advance and come prepared with insight and solutions whenever possible. It will be interesting to see how much of our feedback makes it into the new CTB or if the CTB continues.

    If you are reading this and your organization is not a member, please consider joining us to support the work we do on your behalf. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • August 26, 2022 12:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are slowly moving forward in confirming our Conference program. Although we may not have all the information available right now, I can tell you that we have confirmed our opening keynote speaker, Victoria Maxwell. 

    About Victoria from her website:

    Victoria Maxwell, BFA, BPP, is a sought-after international (and funny) keynote speaker, performing artist and workshop leader. She uses her personal recovery story from mental illness to increase awareness, transform negative beliefs and ignite powerful conversations about mental health. 

    Blending 30 years as an actor and 15 as a wellness warrior, Victoria inspires people to take immediate action to improve their well-being. 

    We have selected the presenters and are setting the program. You may know that presenter applications were completed using Survey Monkey. As I was organizing the data we collected, I noticed something that might interest you: a graphic representation of who would most benefit from the ASPECT Conference. If you are trying to decide whether you should attend the conference or whom from your team you should bring with you, take a look at the following to show you who will most benefit from the programming.

    We are not recording the sessions, so if you are not there, you will miss out on some excellent and relevant learning. The in-person event's networking and partnership development opportunities cannot be underestimated either. 

    In-person conferences are expensive to produce, especially during this post-ish pandemic time. Hotel services are more expensive than ever. Please consider sponsoring our event to raise your organization's profile, attract new staff, and provide ASPECT with the funds needed to continue our work. Click here to find out how you can sponsor the ASPECT Conference.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

    Update on last week's question, "What are your plans for Disability Employment Awareness Month?" Unfortunately, I did not receive any responses to share.

  • August 19, 2022 12:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    ASPECT members are already thinking ahead to September and planning their events and services for disability employment awareness month in BC. At our last ASPECT member meeting, the question was asked, "what are you doing for disability month?"  I think that is a good question for Aspectives too.

    Please take a moment to fill out our online form to share what your organization is planning, and I will share the information I receive in next week's Aspectives. Either follow the link or use the QR code for the online form.

    With the current labour market, employers are struggling to fill positions. It is a perfect time for employment service providers to show employers how they can meet their needs. 

    At ASPECT, we have two webinars coming up next month:

         New Tool to Help Employers Gauge Disability Inclusion
         September 14, 2022 at 10:00 - 11:00 am

         Introduction to the Inclusive Employers Hiring HUB
         Webinar Date to be Confirmed

    I wanted to acknowledge Nate Toevs and his colleagues at the Neil Squire Society. They hold the WorkBC Assisted Technology Services contract. Nate will be a very busy guy during the month and has made himself available for several events across the province. If you haven't already seen it, here's the link to his latest newsletter and the WorkBC ATS website

    I look forward to hearing what you have planned.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • August 05, 2022 11:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week I touched base with one of my colleagues at the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training to get an update. I urge you to register on the new BC Bid portal now to be ready for opportunities coming this fall.

    The new BC Bid platform replaces the old one on August 31. There will be orientation workshops this fall, but again, register now to avoid the deadline rush.

    Yesterday, I updated ASPECT's BC Bid registration and here's what I learned:

    1. If everything works as it should, the process is relatively easy, but in my case, it didn't work as it should.
    2. You will be required to sign in using your BCeID; however, you must use your business BCeID (as a supplier) and not your Basic BCeID. ASPECT is a non-profit and a supplier, so we have two.
    3. If you use the wrong BCeID, you will automatically become a "purchaser" and not a "supplier," which cannot be changed by BCBid. Try to correct this on your own, and you can get locked out.
    4. The tech support people at BCeID and BCBid are excellent but not the same people.
    5. If I had read the instructions, I would have saved myself a lot of time and headache.

    The process that I thought would take a maximum of 30-minutes took much longer as I needed to step away occasionally to deal with my frustration and password resets. Once the transition is complete, the new BCBid portal has its advantages.

    • The supplier dashboard lets me update information quickly and easily.
    • The notification of opportunities is an email that directs you to the dashboard. The dashboard shows all the opportunities available at a glance.

    There are probably many more advantages to the new portal, but when I tried to log in to get a screenshot for this post, I accidentally got locked out because I logged into BCeID incorrectly again. Perhaps I need to step away again for another coffee...

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO


  • July 22, 2022 2:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Meeting at Granville Island in Vancouver. (L-R) Lubica Keighley, BC Career Development Association; Teresa Francis, Connie Corse, and Lindsay Guitard, Nova Scotia Career Development Association; and me in front in blue.

    I have discussed the possibility of a national CDP program in Aspectives, so this shouldn't surprise our readers. I'm writing today from Vancouver, where I met with Lindsay Guitard, Teresa Francis, and Connie Corse of the Nova Scotia Career Development Association (NSCA). We discussed national career development certification and the possibility of NSCDA expanding their online credentialling to include the rest of Canada. 

    My first question is why they came all this way for two meetings, mine and one with Lubica Keighley of the BC Career Development Association. The depth of our conversation answered my question right away. Not only did we discuss the impact of national certification on the profession but the challenges that are part of the bigger picture. The interesting thing is even though we are 5,800 km away from each other, we shared the following:


    1. Recruitment and retention of qualified CDPs (not necessarily credentialed). 
    2. The high level of training and experience to do the job and the sometimes low pay associated with it.
    3. The greater need for advocacy to government, funders, and the public at large regarding the economic benefits of career development, especially when it comes to employer sector councils and employers in general.

    We also talked about the possible funding for the Career Development Institute led by the Canadian Career Development Foundation and how critically it is needed right now. You might remember in May, ASPECT co-hosted a consultation session with the BC Career Development Association to discuss the feasibility. Hopefully, we will know more about the funding for the Institute this fall. If the funder -- Future Skills Centre -- is reading this, please consider the overwhelming need and that the CCDF is perfectly positioned to move forward, especially with the sector (see graphic at left from the community of practice portal. ASPECT will do everything we can to ensure that the work of the Career Development Institute will be successful. 

    After my meeting with Lindsay, Teresa, and Connie, Lubica Keighley from the BCCDA joined our meeting, and we talked about how our organizations could further collaborate, possibly in a more formal way. 

    Rest assured, we are all resolved to help those seeking meaningful work who are at the centre of what we do by ensuring a sustainable infrastructure to support their needs.

    Janet Morris-Reade

    Correction from last week's Aspectives: The cultural safety training offered by the Federation of Community Social Services of BC is not part of the $8.4M earlier this month. 

  • July 15, 2022 12:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I have more excellent resources to share with you again this week.

    Last Friday, there was a funding announcement of $8.5 million to "advance reconciliation in the BC community social services sector." This money will go toward several projects, but one I want to draw your attention to is cultural safety training. I know that many of you in the sector have already taken it, but if you have new staff or others like me who have not done the course, you can access it through the Federation of Community of Social Services of BC (FCSSBC). I am delighted at this offering because at our last Social Services Sector Roundtable Reference Group meeting in Richmond, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres executive director, Leslie Varley, talked about the early days of the cultural safety training program and the difficulty of getting it into a single health authority. Listening to her persistence and dedication throughout her career was truly inspiring. 

    I was also re-acquainted this week with a resource from the Conference Board of Canada and the Future Skills Centre. They have released two seasons of podcasts that you might want to listen to. I am impressed with the timely topics, and the 20-minute format makes them perfect for your lunch-time walk. The screenshot below shows just a small part of the offerings.

    Finally, I want to remind you that the BC Prior Learning Action Network, of which ASPECT is involved, has released some of their own podcasts with topics such as the early PLAR work, how PLAR is done at various organizations and an update from the 4th Validation of Prior Learning Biennale international conference held in Iceland in May of this year. 

    It feels impossible to keep up-to-date on everything but these resources might be helpful and relevant to you. Have sector resources to share? Please send me an email and let me know about them.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • July 08, 2022 11:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I've been away for a while, and coming back to catch up on email has shown a ton going on in the sector. I wanted to draw your attention to the following:


    We are promoting 3 surveys this week; all close very soon and are directly related to your work. I understand that many of us are survey-weary, but please take a moment to respond as the result will impact your work and, in some cases, the funding and resources available to our sector. 

    Disability Inclusive Employer Self-Assessment

    With the labour market as it is, now is the perfect time for all to focus on our diversity inclusion goals to help fill some empty positions. Open Door Group (ASPECT member) and the Presidents Group have created a self-assessment tool for employers to help them reach their diversity inclusion goals. The self-assessment takes about 15 minutes to complete and covers leading practices in a dozen categories, including Mental Health, Disability Representation, Employee Benefits, Recruitment and Digital Accessibility.

    I am so impressed with this tool that ASPECT will host a webinar on September 14 to walk through the assessment tool, learn how to use it for your organization, and help your employers recognize an underrepresented workforce. Register now for the webinar.

    Imagine Canada Tools & Resources

    Another ASPECT member, Imagine Canada, has released some really helpful tools for the sector. If you are developing HR policies and don't want to start from scratch, they have helped develop starter templates for everything you need. It's a good way to identify gaps you might have in your existing policies.

    Also, I love a good organization template; this grant management application template is fabulous. Download it into your own google drive and start customizing it. This template will help you fill gaps in tracking your annual procurement plans as it functions both as a project management and team communication tool.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • June 10, 2022 11:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the last 2.5 days, I was in Richmond with the ASPECT board of directors discussing the association's strategic plan and the present and future employment programs in BC. We discussed at length issues of JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) and ways that we can advocate to remove barriers for all to access employment services. 

    At the heart of all these discussions are the clients our members serve, which is the driving force we also have in common with our sector funders. Our meeting notes are in the process of being put together, and once ready, we will share them with you all. In the meantime, I wanted to use this opportunity to remind you of our vision and mission, which is at the centre of everything we do and especially evident at our meetings.


    The Vision of ASPECT is that all people have access to quality community-based workforce development services that support their opportunity to achieve a meaningful and sustainable livelihood.


    ASPECT provides leadership, education, advocacy and public awareness in support of its members who provide community-based workforce development services.

    I think you can all be proud of the ASPECT volunteer board of directors for their work over the past few days. They came prepared to work and stayed engaged throughout. They didn't retreat from difficult discussions, made space for everyone's opinions, and brought innovative ideas to the table. Thanks also to John Kay at Realize Strategies for helping us through the process. Yes, we are all exhausted, and it may take a couple of days for me to recover, but I am happy to say it's a good tired and not a bad tired. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • June 03, 2022 11:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This year, someone very close to me came out. It was no surprise, and quite frankly, I still wonder why it took so long, but it's made me realize that even in the most accepting situations, those of the LBGTQ2+ communities can face so much fear. It made me wonder about employment and the barriers I thought didn't exist but still do. 

    ASPECT advocates for equity-seeking groups through our efforts to make workplaces more inclusive for those with disabilities (e.g., Youth with Disabilities Employment Strategy NetworkInclusion BCCanadian Association of Supported EmploymentBC CEO Network), Youth (e.g., Canadian Council for Youth ProsperityFirst Work), newcomers/immigrants (AMSSA), and Indigenous populations (e.g., Social Services Sector Roundtable Reference GroupAboriginal Essential Skills Guiding Team). I'm always looking at what's missing, and it is now clear that I am missing formal and informal relationships with equity, diversity, and inclusion groups. I've taken a ton of training in this area, but the voices of these groups are not in my advocacy actions.


    That is going to change now, and I need your help. Please let me know if you know of employment-related advocacy organizations that work specifically with equity, diversity, and inclusion populations. Pride month reminds me that there is still a lot of work to be done at ASPECT on your and your clients' behalf.


    A story of exclusion hit close to home recently. A friend of my daughters has worked at a coffee bar located in a hospital and has loved doing so for almost four years. They will be starting their hormone transition soon, and the new manager has fired them because they no longer fit the coffee bar's "business model." I can read between the lines and am outraged that this practice still exists and shocked by my own naivit√©. Pride month and Pride season is an excellent opportunity for us to take a deeper dive into the challenges and find out how to be a better ally


    For those who may be interested in our advocacy connections and relationships, I have updated the ASPECT Advocacy & Relationship map on our website. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • May 20, 2022 12:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Yesterday I was in Richmond for my first in-person meeting since the pandemic doing advocacy work on your behalf. It was a meeting of the Social Services Sector Roundtable Reference Group, which brought together leaders in social service umbrella organizations throughout BC. Not everyone in this group was able to meet with us in person, but those who were there represented hundreds of years of experience working as advocates on behalf of their communities. It was moving to hear their stories, share successes, and figure out our next steps together. 

    For those of you who may not remember, the Social Services Sector Roundtable (SSSRT) was formed in May 2019 by the former Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Hon. Shane Simpson. It brings together seven BC government ministries and organizations and nine social service sector umbrella groups. The Reference Group has an additional thirty or so members, of which ASPECT is a member.

    As the SSSRT moves out of pandemic emergency mode, the focus is retackling the province's wicked problems associated with social services. The advisory group has identified three themes of focus: implementing Reconciliation for social services; recruitment and retention of staff within the sector; and issues related to social services procurement. I am eagerly awaiting to see how all our notes are processed and parsed and will share them with you all when they are ready. In the meantime, here is a treasure I picked up that could provide you with support for your current staffing needs or the needs of the labour market in your community.

    Sherry Baker, Executive Director of the BC Association of Community Response Networks, talked about how seniors are often an untapped resource. Many are looking to volunteer, work part-time, or on contract but need flexibility.

    I agreed because just earlier that morning, I was meeting with my Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET) colleagues with a program manager from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Norma Strachan, who used to do my job before me and has over 20 years of working in the sector, was also on the call. She volunteers her time on the CCCBET board. We tried to explain to our ESDC colleague how sector funding going directly to employer groups is not always the best way to fund programs as employer groups don't always have the skills and competencies to design programs for themselves or manage government contracts. However, the community-based service providers can see the entire workforce development landscape and quickly and inexpensively determine training and skills development pipelines in partnership with employer groups. Our ESDC colleague understood, but not entirely until Norma stepped in and provided a historical context of the work and its effectiveness. She eloquently summed up the points we were trying to make in less than a minute. It was a true rock star move, and at that moment, I realized how less effective we would have been without Norma on the call. 

    My point is that while we are in the middle of one of the most dynamic labour markets for our sector, there are many experienced people who may be happy to share their knowledge and expertise post-career. We only need to reach out to them. Thank you again to Norma, who contributed to the sector and continues to do so. 

    By the way, at our SSSRT Reference Group meeting, two people shared that they are in their 80s and a couple others are also "retired" are leading their organizations. Their contributions of the day were outstanding, as is their continued leadership. I wonder if we would be busily reinventing the wheel if we did not have them in the room with us.
     Janet Morris-Reade

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