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  • October 23, 2020 12:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last night I watched the newest Dragons Den episode because I wanted to see how business development would pivot to the pandemic. In it the show featured that businesses pivoted and thrived in the pandemic, and one company launched successfully just two months ago. The innovation and ingenuity was surprising.

    It reminded me how our members have been pivoting to support their clients through self-employment programs  and by helping those who are displaced or re-visioning their future careers. Even though service providers are generally not meeting their outcome goals, the opportunities and innovation being demonstrated by all has been inspiring! Perhaps we should host a session to feature pandemic employment stories to spread so of the success stories.

    Conference Pivot

    The ASPECT Conference will look very different this year, but already, I am seeing some huge advantages of attending a virtual event versus an in-person event.
    • I can attend all the sessions! Although I'm still limited to what session I can attend live, I can now expand my learning by "attending" all the sessions through the session recordings. We will keep the recordings available for conference delegates to access until until December 31st. That's 28 professional development sessions for the price of one webinar series. Conference delegates are  eligible for CDP learning credits, too. An exceptional value!
    • More cross-Canada, American, and international speakers: No one needs to travel to attend the conference, which means there are fewer barriers to participate. Conference delegates will be able to attend without barriers, both physical and financial. You can sleep in your own bed and kiss your kids goodnight.
    • New ways to network: We have seen through our webinars, weekly member meetings, and the Values Based Leadership series how more meaningful our relationship development can be. To this end, we have created facilitated discussions to create communities within our ASPECT community to share ideas and make acquaintances. We will also have a zoom room where people can meet up with their friends and message each other using the conference app. The idea is to create a group of people who you can share ideas with after the conference.

    Conference Facilitators Needed

    During the last block of the conference we will host some facilitated discussions. If you are interested in facilitating one of the TBD spot, please let me know. It is best if you are currently working within the group meeting.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • October 16, 2020 12:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Just in case you were wondering...

  • October 16, 2020 12:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This past week I had the opportunity to meet with the advisory committee for the Social Services Sector Roundtable to discuss election strategies.  I'm embarrassed to admit that here at ASPECT, we've been focused on launching our Values Based Leadership series and preparing for our first-ever Virtual Conference. Our organization is not alone as others on the call referred to their budget consultation proposals and the work they have been doing to address the glaring cracks in our social safety nets.  

    One thing that became apparent during the meeting was the need to get as many people out to vote as possible. Regardless of who you vote for, the election engagement numbers send messages to those who are elected to office and help form their mandates moving forward. 

    There is still time to vote by mail if you request a voting package by October 17. Of course, you can always vote in person using advance polls or on election day of October 24.  

    I have two daughters who will be voting in the provincial election for the first time. My husband and I have been dragging them to polling stations since they were babies and now they are looking forward to casting their vote. This year we'll all be walking to the mailbox together, taking selfies to mark the occasion, and celebrating with a pizza for dinner. Perhaps this might seem a little overly enthusiastic but now more than ever it's important for our collective voices to be heard. I hope you'll join me in this endeavour and celebrate the opportunity with your friends and family.

    Janet Morris-Reade

    Correction: In last week's blog, I incorrectly identified Cheryl Dill's organization. She's actually at Work BC Parksville/Port Alberni. My apologies to Cheryl.
  • October 09, 2020 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At last week's member meeting, as with every session, there's always some useful information to take away. 

    We were talking about "pandefatigue" and the feeling of losing time and ability to remember things. Nate Toevs, from Neil Squire Society and WorkBC Assistive Technology Services, told us there are apps and assistive technologies to help us remember and directed us to the Job Accommodation Network website.  On the site, you'll find accommodations and assistive technology information for all types of challenges. If you are looking for your clients, for yourself, your staff, or just interested, I encourage you to check this out. Also, contact Nate if you need information about assistive tech.

    Another tip came from Cheryl Dill at the Career Centre in Parksville (a.k.a. WorkBC Comox Valley-Powell River). We were discussing how service providers were managing their client appointments for resource rooms and in-person services. Cheryl and others recommended Active Agenda. It is Ministry approved and was created by Adrien Gilmore, who has a history of working in employment services. The app can be tailored to your needs.  ASPECT has not used this app, but because it came up as a solution to a problem that our members are having, I'm sharing the information with you here. 

    Finally, after speaking to members and receiving responses to last week's CEO report, the line between work and home life is becoming blurred, and people are feeling the long-term stress of our pandemic world. This weekend I am challenging you to take the weekend off from all things related to work (if you can).

    On Tuesday, I'll send out a poll to find out how many of you rose to the challenge. Taking the challenge means disconnecting to anything related to work, living in the moment, and focusing on your self-care. Let's see how many of our Aspectives readers will take the weekend off from work. Happy wishes for a relaxing weekend!

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • October 02, 2020 10:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you suffering from Pandefatigue? It's the feeling you get when you are tired of making accommodations in your work and home life for pandemic-related issues. With the second wave already starting to hit Quebec and Ontario, we are given insight into what will happen for BC. I think that Pandefatigue is also responsible for my inability to mark time and a general distrust in my internal clock. Something that happened two weeks ago, can feel like it happened Monday and vice versa.

    From our weekly member meetings and the meetings I have with sector stakeholders, I know that I not alone!  Many are struggling with meeting deadlines and sometimes things take longer to accomplish than when we are not Pandefatigued.

    To this end, I have extended the early bird registration rate for the ASPECT Conference for another week. The new early-bird deadline will be extended through Thanksgiving weekend to midnight on October 13.  

    There are a few registration options available to you and your organization for the two-day virtual conference, which are as follows:

    We've had some good questions about the cost of this year's conference, which I have addressed below. Our events manager, Lya Iglasias, has just finished the Canadian Association of Supported Employment (CASE) virtual conference this week and I am astounded at how much more work is involved in presenting a virtual conference than an in-person one. I attended the CASE conference and it was excellent!  Well done to Annette Borrows and her team at CASE. The CASE conference also showed me first-hand what is possible and how exciting the ASPECT conference will be. I encourage you to invest in yourself and your organization by attending our event. Attend live to participate in the discussions or watch recorded sessions at your leisure.
    Janet Morris-Reade

  • September 25, 2020 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This has been an exciting week politically both on the national and provincial levels. First, I should declare that ASPECT is apolitical and will gladly work with any government in power, advocating for our members, and promoting better programs and policies to ensure that the needs of those seeking meaningful work are met.

    Throne Speech

    While listening to Canada's Governor-General deliver the speech, I started feeling giddy like a little kid on her birthday. Plans for a national daycare system, more money for employment training programs, the creation of 1,000,000 jobs, and a structural update to the Employment Insurance program to include those who would not traditionally qualify peaked my attention. I was happy to hear that the Employer Wage Subsidy would continue throughout next summer. The devil, however, is in the details and although the vision for Canada sounds exciting, it also sounds very expensive. 

    BC Election October 24

    As much as I hoped this wouldn't happen, we will be headed to the polls later this fall. Falling under the "how-does-this-affect-ASPECT?" category, it will likely impact the government affairs part of the ASPECT Conference in November as we do not know who will be leading the province nor who the ministers will be. Of course, our advocacy work will look quite different after the election but we have nurtured relationships in government over the years, and any transitions in the government of executive-level positions will provide ASPECT with opportunities to re-introduce the work of the ASPECT and our members.

    As always, I encourage you to vote. To register to vote or request a mail-in ballot, go to  

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • September 18, 2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    We have confirmed two of our keynote speakers this week for the upcoming ASPECT Virtual Conference on November 5 & 6. The full program will be released next week. 

    Terry Small, a.k.a. the Brain Guy, is a master teacher and one of Canada's leading learning skills specialist. I saw him speak at a staff day for Pacific Community Resources Society in 2016 and was impressed at how interesting and dynamic he was as a speaker. That day I learned a lot about how my brain works, how it responds to stress, and what I can do to take care of it. Terry will also be leading one of the workshops after his keynote.

    Lisa Taylor is president of Challenge Factory and the Centre for Career Innovation. I am currently reading the book that she co-wrote with Fern Lebo called The Talent Revolution. I have gotten to know Lisa through my work on the Canadian Career Development Foundation's Supporting Canadian to Navigate Learning and Work (CDP Competence) Project National Stakeholder Committee. She has been a leader in CANNEXUS circles, and her webinar through CERIC this past spring was fascinating. She will also be leading one of the workshop sessions after her keynote.

    I was reviewing the presenter submissions yesterday and was impressed with the expanse of topics and experience that is going to be available to ASPECT Conference delegates. Just a reminder that the early bird rate ends on Monday, September 28. 

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • September 11, 2020 1:04 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It's back-to-school time, and it's an anxious time for both parents and children. Feeling powerless over our family's health in a time of rising infection numbers is not good for anyone, especially for those with the added anxiety of looking for work and the service providers helping them. Empathy and acknowledgement seem to be most needed right now in the absence of a silver bullet solution. I continue to work with the ASPECT board, our members, and our webinar development team to find ways to better serve ASPECT members.

    As difficult as it is right now, I can't help being very excited about the launch of our Values Based Leadership series next week. I just received my introduction video (see above), my access to the learning management system, and had a glance at the course materials. It looks so interesting! The first course is called "What is Leadership?" Since we've all seen first hand the difference between strong leadership and lack of leadership throughout this pandemic, I'm especially looking forward to discussing this topic with my learning cohort.   

    There are so many opportunities to learn that it can hard to keep track. See the list of ASPECT webinars below and remember to register for the ASPECT Virtual Conference. Early bird rates last until September 28th and the first 100 delegates registered are entered to win one of three $50 gift cards. The conference program will be out shortly but based on our 30 years of events, you can rest assured that it will be a great one.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • September 04, 2020 4:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Registration for the ASPECT Virtual Conference opens today and we are excited at the possibilities of delivering our event in a virtual platform. This is our 30th conference and 30th year of ASPECT. It all started with receiving a grant to have the first conference and those in attendance thinking that a provincial organization was needed. Who would have guessed that 30 years ago we would be where we are today?

    The first 100 people to register for the ASPECT Conference will be entered to win one of three $50 gift cards of their choice. Later this month, you will be given an opportunity to select your sessions. Through our events management services, we've now had experience delivering online conferences for other clients and are confident we can offer you a high-quality event. It will be different, but there will be networking and learning opportunities that you cannot find in a face-to-face event. 

    EI Information Inconsistencies

    An issue came up at our member discussion session a couple of weeks ago about the transition from CERB to the new benefits and the need to apply for the new benefits. A number of members shared that clients were getting some conflicting information from Service Canada regarding the need to apply for the new benefits. The cases discussed were people who were EI clients who started collecting the CERB. Some have been told to re-apply for EI and some have been told they don’t need to re-apply as they had already applied for EI and had their application assessed. We are awaiting a response with clarification from the government. I've included this here in case anyone who was not at the member discussions was also puzzled.

    Have a relaxing Labour Day Weekend. You all deserve it!

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • August 21, 2020 11:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The announcement that we were waiting for came yesterday from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which was expected to disappear days from now, has been extended for an additional four weeks. The following new programs were announced and will be ratified when the House of Commons sits again near the end of September.  

    The new financial plan is good news for our sector because it gives service providers some numbers to use in calculating employment service benefits for some programs. It may also be good news as those seeking employment have a month more to organize their job search and access support without service providers being overwhelmed by requests. However, the bad news is that there is still no security around the government's plan as it hasn't been debated in Parliament, and the possible political insecurity could sideline the efforts altogether. 

    I am interested in hearing the discussion at next week's ASPECT Member Discussion on Wednesday at 1 pm. I am also curious to see the policy development pertaining to employment contracts and the impact this funding change will have. 

    We live in interesting times indeed.

    Janet Morris-Reade

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