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  • 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 naivité. 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

  • May 13, 2022 8:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A lot is going on, not only here at ASPECT but also in the sector at large. It's weeks like this when using an electronic calendar is an asset.

    In our Aspectives News, you'll see a listing of the member meetings, consultations, and professional development opportunities ahead. I wanted to draw your attention to a few of them.


    CERIC is undertaking a survey to investigate professional development in the career development sector. Part market research and part identifying gaps in much-needed training, this survey will help inform CERIC in their future offerings. Take the survey.

    One such future offering builds on CERIC's research Career Development in the Canadian Workplace: National Business Survey. The results were released in January of this year, and this last week, we had two excellent webinars helping us unpack the results. Watch the recordings. Kudos to Dr. Candy Ho of the University of the Fraser Valley for doing a fantastic job moderating both webinars. 

    Next, we will meet provincially and virtually as a community of practice on June 7th to discuss how we can collectively meet businesses' needs. This is a "cameras-on" session limited to 100 people. Reserve your spot here. The goal is to create a suite of resources and best practices for career developers.


    Later today, ASPECT is partnering with the BC Career Development Association to host a consultation about the potential Career Development Professional Institute from the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF). This is exciting as the CCDF was approached by the Future Skills Centre for a project proposal meaning possible angel funding. The consultations across Canada end today. If you can't join us this afternoon, there's still time to complete the online survey. In the meantime, check out their microsite and join the community of practice now.

    I know that this is a lot of information to process, especially when many of you are busy ramping up your spring workshops and services. Rest assured that ASPECT will endeavour to be on top of the latest national developments and news to share with you. 

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • April 29, 2022 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The early results of our stakeholder analysis show that advocacy is the number one reason why member organizations join ASPECT and renew their membership every year. As you may know, advocacy takes a ton of work and expertise to represent the collective voice of all our members. One paramount message in all our work is to remind funders, and anyone else who will listen, that our employment service providers are the experts. Employment service providers can quickly see the gaps in client services, have connections to local employers and their needs, and spot flawed policies quicker than ever.

    By all accounts, we are heading into another round of RFPs this summer over the next 12-24 months. The feedback from the experts on the ground, i.e., you, is critical to inform future funding programs and policies. That's why we are excited to offer multiple opportunities to get together virtually to have you share your thoughts.


    Our ASPECT events page, you will see that we have a lot going on in May, and I understand that what we are asking of you requires a time commitment away from your day job. Getting this right is crucial if we are to advocate for our clients, local employers, and our communities. We have information that cannot be gleaned from analyzing data collection or individual reports. Getting together to discuss some of these topics will allow us to form a collective voice, support each other, and maybe build new relationships within our community of practice.

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

  • April 22, 2022 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week ASPECT held its Annual General Meeting virtually and picked up two brand new board members. Please help me welcome our new board members:

    Katt Britton
    Kootenay Career Development Society
    Senior Manager, Employment Programs and Procurement

    Katt has worked in the sector for the last 20+ years in rural and remote communities and has a deep understanding of employment services in BC. During this time, she has amassed a variety of skills that she can contribute to the work at ASPECT. 

    Kirsty Peterson
    YMCA of Greater Vancouver
    Director, Employment and Immigrant Services
    Community Operations

    Kirsty has more than 10 years of experience in board and committee leadership within the Employment Services Sector and in other advocacy organizations. She is joining the ASPECT board because she wishes to contribute to the sector at large.

    Thank you to our current board members and to Kim Lauritsen (Community Futures North Okanagan) and Lori Forgeron (Workforce Development Consulting North) for volunteering to serve for another 2 years. 

    ASPECT is currently undertaking a stakeholder analysis that will inform our strategic planning process in June this year. 

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • April 01, 2022 11:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I can't remember when I have been so busy with ASPECT's advocacy work, which I think is a result of today's dynamic labour market. It's exhilarating, providing opportunities to inform policy and funding as we move into a post-pandemic world.

    The CERIC request for proposals for a market analysis of career development across Canada helped me identify a gap in BC that ASPECT is quickly filling. The provincial organizations aren't talking to each other enough even though we experience many of the same fundamental challenges and may be doing similar work.

    ASPECT has membership in or worked with other organizations such as the  BC Career Development Association, the Career Education SocietyBC Prior Learning Network, and Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC. However, we don't always know what the other organizations are doing and are, in many cases, doing the same work. Funding streams spread out amongst various ministries and levels of government have created silos. For research projects like CERIC's and other advocacy outreach to be successful, we need to support each other actively. 

    ASPECT will host regular "show & tell" meetings where provincial organizations share our successes, challenges, and projects. This way, when the government needs help or a research project needs to access the experts in employment and pre-employment services; we'll be able to connect each other to experts on the ground working with the clients and employers and providing community-based labour market information.

    Rest assured that while you may not see the results right away, ASPECT is madly working in the background on your behalf. Advocacy is about building understanding, collaborating with others, and ultimately supporting the clients we serve.


    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO
  • March 04, 2022 11:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sharon Ferriss from CERIC asked me to promote Wayfinder, their new reflective practice resources tool to enhance Career Development within Experiential Learning, so I thought I would try it out. All I can say is, "Wow!"

    You can access so many resources at a click by searching by your role -- post-secondary staff or faculty, designer or developer, event or workshop facilitator, employer, community organization, K-12 teacher or counsellor, student or learner -- and then filtering your search by resource categories: tool, network, concept, or catalogue. 

    Funded by CERIC and developed by OneLifeTools, Wayfinder is a valuable portal that is a tool like I have never seen before. On April 8th, CERIC will be hosting a free launch event where OneLifeTools co-founders Mark Franklin (University of Toronto) and Rich Feller (Colorado State University) will walk through the tool and show how experiential learning can be integrated into your practice.

    Kudos to the CERIC team for producing this product.

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • February 25, 2022 12:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week has been an extremely busy time for labour market information. I'll try to unpack some of the highlights in case you missed them.

    Future Skills Summit

    According to Pedro Barata, CEO of the Future Skills Centre, this online event spanned 3 days with 54 speakers and 14+ sessions, attracting thousands of delegates from workers, labourers, employers, governments at all levels, committee members, educators, researchers, etc. There was so much information to process, but I'll quote Pedro in his closing remarks, who identified the reoccurring themes:
    • First and foremost, the importance of purpose in our recurring work, and the recurring theme of skills as a crucial piece of the puzzle for a reclusive recovery and shared prosperity... 
    • The second reoccurring theme, career development is our super power. It may be underappreciated, but it is our superpower that will make or break our ability for every Canadian to embrace a lifelong learning agenda. 
    • Third, we also heard example after example of the need to work with employers, but to go beyond one employer at a time, and work with whole sectors is the only way we will meaningfully embed skills development as a core business strategy and navigating change.
    • Finally, the opportunity for us to get ahead of the curve on the megatrends that will shape our economy. We will talk about this with our panel. Things like immigration, SME, and the green ship. Our work is complex, but it is our job to help make sense of it for Canadians, and to see where we go from here.

    Provincial Budget

    On Tuesday, the government announced a deficit budget that addresses some of the larger barriers to employment:
    • Childcare: Further investments in child care that include a promise of $20 a day for parents by the end of 2022, adding more licensing officers  to speed up the certification process for new daycares, more ECE training positions, and financial supports for those seeking the training. 
    • Mental Health & Addictions: Increased funding toward more emergent care supports in communities, continued funding to the Pathway to Hope program, and support for 15 First Nations Primary Health Care Centres.
    • Housing & Homelessness: Adding another $100 million to the province's 10-year plan to combat homelessness, including more staff to process applications under the Housing Hub program.
    • Labour Market Supports: Tourism & Arts are to receive $25 million for pandemic recovery and old-growth loggers can expect a $185 million fund for retraining, bridging to retirement, and community economic development to make way for the green economy.
    • Truth & Reconciliation: Creation of a new UNDRIP secretariat with an investment of $12 million over the next three years to ensure that BC follows the laws under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Act.
    • Connectivity: Further investments to connect 280 First Nations, rural and remote communities to high-speed internet. 

    Ceric RFP

    And just when I started relaxing into all this information, things got even more exciting. Ceric dropped a request for proposal for market research on the career development sector. This project is exciting in that it will provide government, researchers, and employment services providers with valuable data that has the potential to affect funding frameworks and raise the profile of employment services in Canada. I am working with some of our partners to determine how ASPECT and its members can be involved in this endeavour. 

    Janet Morris-Reade
  • February 11, 2022 12:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the excitement of Christmas morning or the arrival of the latest IKEA catalogue, the BC Government released its Labour Market Outlook 2021. It follows the release of the Canadian Government's Labour Force Survey for January last Friday. Finally, with CERIC's release of their National Employer Survey late last month and the upcoming free webinars New LMI for Career Practitioners in Canada, what we have is an abundance of labour market information.

    Labour Market Outlook 2021

    I love studying the information in the report and seeing which jobs are in demand, and in growing demand, over the coming decade. Each position has its own profile and in some cases, a little video explaining the jobs. Christian St. Cyr of the 

    BC Labour Market Report does an excellent job of unpacking labour market information, making it easy to understand and travelling deeper into what the data means. I encourage you to sign up for his webinar on February 24 where he will dive deeper into the information.

    Labour Force Survey for January - Canadian Government

    Although the unemployment rate increased slightly in January, BC is out-performing the rest of Canada in many of the labour force indicators. Click here to download a PDF of the BC highlights. 

    National Employer Survey - CERIC

    The CERIC survey provides evidence of what we are hearing from every jurisdiction in BC: employers are struggling to recruit and retain skilled staff. This survey is an update of their 2013 survey and shows how much the labour market has changed. We've been hearing about the labour market crunch for years and it is now upon us. Click here to download a copy of the executive summary. 

    Also, a helpful way to unpack the report findings is to take a look at how the media has covered it. The following are news stories posted on the CERIC website.  I think you'll agree that this is an exciting time of year for Labour Market Information. I hope you'll take the time to peruse these reports. So many interesting nuggets of information!

    Janet Morris-Reade, CEO

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