I have been hearing a lot from WorkBC contractors these past two weeks. Unfortunately for some, the guaranteed fee payments that were a part of the province's pandemic relief measures will end on March 31st.
Whether you are a WorkBC prime or subcontractor, you know firsthand that there are challenges to delivering these contracts. Compensating staff in line with the labour market and inflation pressures while adjusting programming to serve more multi-barriered clients who need longer interventions are just a few of the more significant ones. In our advocacy work, we ensure funders are aware of these types of challenges.
Yesterday, ASPECT President Val Meaney and I met with Social Development and Poverty Reduction Assistant Deputy Minister Karen Blackman and her leadership team Kerry Taylor, Val Beaman, and Ian Ross. We discussed the impact of the ending of the guaranteed fees and the concern from contractors about the financial modelling moving forward. It was a productive and informative discussion, and we were able to gain clarity on some items that can have a significant impact on contract delivery. Thank you to all of the WorkBC contractors who participated in our ad hoc survey, our WorkBC "quick adjustments" discussion last week, and those who emailed and spoke to me this week to help me understand the complexities of a very complex contract. Thanks also to Karen Blackman and her team for taking the time to meet with us to listen to the emerging issues and to help deepened our understanding of the ministry's concerns. Thanks also to Val Meaney for volunteering her time and expertise at these meetings.Janet Morris-Reade
Yesterday's meeting was a perfect example of advocacy in action, working with our public service colleagues to find paths forward that support those who access employment services and supports in BC.