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  • 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
  • August 14, 2020 11:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the announcements related to the transition away from the CERB to EI and another yet-to-be-named support, a familiar uneasiness came over me. When I tried to place that feeling I realized that it was the same one I had last March and April as we waited for the policy and implementation details for the creation of the CERB. The biggest difference between now and then is our proven resiliency and experience with transitioning systems. We've got this!

    Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Diversity Inclusion, Honourable Carla Qualtrough answering questions about the CERB transition in the House of Commons. Click on the image to follow the link to the video from Global News, August 12, 2020. 

    At the last two weekly member discussions, we talked about the challenges in delivering services during the transition which will officially start at the same time as many employment training programs and supports.  How are EI weeks going to be calculated? How do we negotiate supports when we can't determine client income? Will I have to re-do the intake process when the policies are changed? And, will participants lose their much-in-demand program space as we wait for verifications?  One thing that our meeting revealed is that we are all dealing with similar questions and until the federal government releases the details, we are all in the same boat, including our funders.

    Meeting with SDPR

    On Thursday, ASPECT President Val Meany and I met with staff from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, who administer the WorkBC contracts. Acknowledging that they are in the same information vacuum as everyone else, we shared the concerns from our members and some possible scenarios. I am delighted to report that they are already working on it and in discussions with their federal 
    and pan-Canadian counterparts. Assistant Deputy Minister Chris Brown and his Executive Director of Program Policy & Development, Ian Ross, and Executive Director of Operations, Val Beaman are commended for their leadership and creative approach to finding solutions to problems that we have never encountered before. As we all know, the devil is in the details and SDPR appreciated our report from the frontlines. 

    Check out the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives' deep dive into the CERB to EI transition numbers and analysis.
    ASPECT Member Discussion Epiphany

    At this week's meeting, one member shared her gratitude for having the weekly meetings. She is new to her position and was relieved to hear that she is not the only one without answers to some of the questions encountered in her work. These discussions are a safe environment to share ideas, ask questions, and become informed about what is happening throughout the province. On the calls, we have a diverse group from all corners of the province and all positions within organizations. As one Job Developer (I think) said, these calls are not just for managers. Not everything is applicable to everyone at every moment of the call, but regardless of who you are, you will learn something to inform the work you do.  We will continue these calls weekly at 1 pm on Wednesdays.

    With so much information and support within the sector, I am confident that we will thrive throughout this pandemic. In the meantime, try on this mantra, "you've got this!"

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • August 07, 2020 11:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are promoting our Values Based Leadership series, presented by Drs. Roberta Borgen (Neault) and Deirdre Pickerell that will start next month. We are also partnering with CERIC for a series delivered by Tannis Goddard. Finally, we are in the midst of a call for proposal for our ASPECT Conference 2020. As I look forward to the year ahead, my goal is to create learning opportunities for everyone who works in employment services and I think we might have the fall covered with more opportunities in development.

    I wanted to point out that Drs. Borgen (Neault) and Pickerell are generously providing another free webinar through CERIC and I have posted a registration link below. 

    In the meantime, please keep sending in your presentation ideas for the ASPECT Conference.  

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • July 31, 2020 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At the July 22nd Virtual Members Meeting, we discussed the current employment conditions within each service provider's community. It was confirmed there what I had been hearing individually, some jobs are going unclaimed. Those without impediments such has health or daycare issues would like to collect the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) rather than seek employment. The question then is, how do we create a compelling enough value proposition to encourage people to find work or to request services and training for future work? ASPECT members expect that once the CERB is removed or changed, there may be an influx of people needing assistance. 

    At this morning's press briefing, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that changes are indeed coming. 

    1. The government is working on a plan to transition those collecting the CERB to the employment insurance program.
    2. Those who do not qualify for EI would be able to access a program that is in development.
    3. The overall plan is to re-engineer the EI program to meet "21st century needs" without increasing EI premiums. 

    In the meantime, we have taken the ideas from our members to create an infographic and social media posts. These are for you to use to spread the message that it is an excellent time to find work, change careers, and access services and support. Please feel free to use the information as you see fit. 

    We are also working on a list of value propositions for employers to use this time to hire. Thanks to all the ASPECT members who provided the content for these documents and for Kim Lauritsen at Community Futures North Okanagan and her helper for making sure the information contained within is correct.

    Go to our website to download this infographic as well as the individual social media posts.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • July 24, 2020 12:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I am excited to announce that the Call for Speakers and Presenters is now out for the upcoming ASPECT BC Conference on November 5 & 6, 2020.  This is our 30th year of offering the conference and also the 30th anniversary of the formation of ASPECT!

    As you all know, converting to a virtual format takes many considerations and I am confident we have a plan for our conference that will meet the needs of the sector. Also, we are working hard to find professional development opportunities for all who work within our member organizations and the sector at large, i.e., the ASPECT conference is not just for organizational leaders.

    Unlike several other organizations that are spreading their conferences over several days, we have decided to keep the dates that we had for the in-person conference. We have scheduled 30-minute breaks between each session and will use gamification during the event to keep you occupied if you choose to be. If you have to step away from a session, we will also provide recordings afterward. We are encouraging our presenters to use interactive elements such as polling, games, and discussion groups to keep you involved. Also, there will be no expectation to turn your video cameras on, so you can take a break from being "on" all the time. I might suggest that this virtual format might even be less exhausting as the in-person one.

    Below is a copy of the proposed schedule that will provide you with four keynote speakers and up to 24 sessions to choose from. Some speakers are already confirmed, but once the call for speakers and presenters is closed, we'll have a better idea of what will be offered. Be rest assured that we will endeavour to give you the highest quality presentations.  

    The pandemic is giving us the opportunity to use this time to learn and to collaborate while inviting speakers from the world to participate. I hope to see your presenter applications, and when registration opens later this summer, your conference registration, too.

    Janet Morris-Reade

  • July 17, 2020 8:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week's CEO report comes to you from Creston after visiting ASPECT members in Penticton, Grand Forks, Trail, and Nelson. Thanks to all of you who took the time to talk to me about your COVID pivot toward delivering employment services in new ways. Again, I am astounded at the ingenuity and innovation of the sector that has not only responded to the needs of their community but also meeting the needs of their staff. This crisis has pushed us all to find new imaginative ways to take care of each other.

    The pandemic also allowed ASPECT to participate in a call with Premier Horgan and Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Honorable Shane Simpson. (Thanks again to Morag Carter at Community Skills Centre in Trail for allowing me to finish the call in their boardroom.) The Premier is consulting with stakeholder groups for advice on how to "Build[ing] BC's Recovery, Together"

    The group (above image) was made up mostly of provincial non-profit social service umbrella organizations. We were given three questions to discuss:

    1. What are some initiatives government can take to address the disproportionate impact on women, youth, Indigenous communities and people from marginalized backgrounds?
    2. In your opinion, what could be the impact of a long-term recovery on the future of work? Economic growth? And the make-up and diversity of BC's economy?
    3. Our economic recovery must be guided by continued commitments to Clean BC, Truth and Reconciliation, addressing inequity, and increasing affordability for all British Columbians. What do you see as the biggest opportunity to recommit to these principles? What is the biggest threat?

    After praising the sector for its quick response to COVID-19 conditions and the generous action of service providers to reach out and serve clients and employers, ASPECT advocated for more support for childcare, connectivity, and access to technology. We also supported the discussion around tax supports to encourage charitable giving, stabilization supports for community service organizations, and living wages and sick leave for staff.

    The public is asked to take part in a short survey to provide your feedback and ideas. BC's community-based employment service providers are perfectly positioned to provide valuable direction. Employment service providers are working with those looking for work and training for the new job market, and are a crucial resource for employers. All, at the same time, seeing the cracks in our social network that have become more significant through the pandemic. I encourage you to participate: the survey will remain open until 4pm on July 22.


    Janet Morris-Reade

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