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Working Connections: Reporting on Canada’s First Pan-Canadian Symposium A Forum For Policy Developers, Career Development Leaders and Workplace Representatives. Lynne Bezanson Executive Director of the Canadian Career Development Foundation and Michel Turcotte

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Lynne bezanson executive director of the canadian career development foundation and

Working Connections: Reporting on Canada’s First Pan-Canadian SymposiumA Forum For Policy Developers, Career Development Leaders and Workplace Representatives

Lynne Bezanson

Executive Director of the Canadian Career Development Foundation


Michel Turcotte

Président de l’Ordre des conseillers d’orientation et des psychoéducateurs du Québec, consultant à Développement des ressources humaines Canada


Roberta Neault (BC), Linda Willis (Alta), Conrad Pura, (Sask), and LauraLee Noonan (PEI)

Provincial Team Members



  • The Vision

  • What and Where

  • Why, Background and Drivers

  • Pre-Symposium activities

  • Symposium

  • Post-Symposium

The vision

The Vision

  • The Symposium will not be:

    • an “event” – success will be determined by pre-work and follow-up action

    • a “conference” – but a working session

    • attended by individuals or individual organizations – but by self-organized “teams”

    • an isolated event – but connected to the international guidance movement

    • A “one-off”- but a beginning of a pan-Canadian career development, lifelong learning and workforce development strategy

Working connections what and where

Working ConnectionsWhat and Where

  • Gathering of Career Development specialists, policy makers and workplace representatives (employers and labour) whose research, work, policies, hiring and training practices influence the career aspirations, directions and labour force participation of the learner-worker

  • Bank of Montreal Learning Institute, Toronto: November 17-18, 2003

Why now background and drivers

Why now? Background and Drivers

  • Part of an International movement to connect Career Development with Public Policy

  • A response to specific recommendations from the Innovation and Learning Forums to:

    • Strengthen our Learning Culture and

    • Build an Inclusive and Skilled Workforce

International perspective

International Perspective

OECD 14 country Guidance PolicyThematic Review

“Never before have such powerful organisations, simultaneously, had the current intense interest in guidance policy and its links with practice. This is not by accident: Guidance is a pivotal part of lifelong and lifewide learning.” (OECD Newsletter)

Why such international interest

Why such international interest?

  • Lifelong learning is at the centre of public policy in many countries

  • Active labour market policies are being tested in many countries to encourage fuller workforce participation

  • Many countries are facing skill shortages in critical areas

  • A productive “learning and working force” is essential to economic growth and progress.

What had happened already in canada

What had happened already in Canada?

  • International Symposia, 1999 and 2001

  • Alberta Symposia, 2002 and 2003

  • OECD Guidance Policy Review, 2002 and 2003- Canada Country Note

  • Innovations Strategy Forums, 2002 and 2003

  • Career Development and Public Policy: Bridging the Gap – Canada/OECD Conference, 2003

  • Nova Scotia Symposium, 2003



  • Provincial and Territorial Teams (N=3-14) consisting of:

    • policy makerswith responsibility and influence in education, employment and/or social policy

    • career development leaders with responsibility and influence in research, training, practice and/or professional associations

    • workplace representatives including industries organized into Sector Councils, small to medium size employer representatives, and Labour

Participants cont

Participants (cont.)

  • A team of selected representatives from key national policy, career and employer organizations, for example: FLMM, CMEC, CLBC, CLC, CPRN, TASC, CCC, CCIP, NLWC, CCDF

  • A team of selected national and international expertsfrom the OECD Thematic Review on Career Policies and/or Research Institutes

  • An HRDC Team of representatives from selected branches whose mandates include career development, lifelong learning and workforce development

Desired symposium outcomes

Desired Symposium Outcomes

  • Effective use of career development services

    • Increased knowledge by employers and labour about practical and cost effective ways to use career development services to achieve specific human resource planning and workforce goals;

    • Increased knowledge by policy developers of the economic and social impacts of career development services and the role of policy in supporting service provision

Desired symposium outcomes cont

Desired Symposium Outcomes(cont.)

  • Increased responsiveness of career development services

    • An action agenda for career development leaders and researchers which includes responding directly to workforce priorities

Desired symposium outcomes cont1

Desired Symposium Outcomes(cont.)

  • Active ongoing partnerships

    • Sustained mechanisms in each province/ territory whereby policy developers, career development leaders, employer and labour stakeholders continue collaboration on lifelong learning and workforce issues; and

    • A permanent pan-Canadian mechanism to share career development research findings and innovations for use by all provinces/ territories, as well as pan-Canadian and international partners

Pre symposium activities

Pre-Symposium Activities

  • Provincial Roundtables

  • Formation of Teams

  • Provincial/Territorial/National Organization Pre-Symposium Papers:

    • « the largest set of data ever collected on career development in Canada »

  • Food for Thought Papers

  • Newsletters

  • Website:

Pan canadian synthesis

Pan Canadian Synthesis

Based on:

  • A Review of all pre-Symposium papers

  • Identification of similar issues across papers

  • “Naming” the issue: Grouping the Focus

    themes within each issue

  • Assembling the excerpts from the papers

  • Presenting them randomly

1 a coherent strategy for service delivery

#1 - A Coherent Strategy For Service Delivery

  • Comprehensive vision of career development services across the lifespan does not exist

  • Current model of service delivery is targeted and crisis based; more program based than user need based

  • Many are missed; employed and underemployed are ignored

4 applied research a ccess and relevance

#4 - Applied ResearchAccess and Relevance

  • Workplace issues not well understood

    i.e. motivation; work satisfaction; absenteeism; retention

  • Effectiveness of career development interventions not tested or demonstrated

  • Research agenda with Stakeholder input not developed

7 lifelong learning and career development culture

# 7 - Lifelong Learning and Career Development Culture

  • Long Term Comprehensive Strategy needed to:

    • connect learning and career and life goals for individuals

    • build career services into a continuum of services which support learners in making “good” choices

9 skills for employers and the workplace

#9 - Skills for Employers and the Workplace

  • Win-win strategies to meet employer and practitioner needs are not well developed

    • worker productivity (employers)

    • meaningful motivating work (practitioners)

  • Small employers have few resources to support career development for employees

11 mechanisms for stakeholder partnership

#11 - Mechanisms for Stakeholder partnership

  • Mechanisms for Stakeholder

    • collaboration

    • sharing of research and knowledge

    • problem-solving and

    • supporting innovation …… not well developed

  • Mechanisms for consumer and worker voices

    • … not well developed

12 mechanism to support and share research

#12 - Mechanism to support and share Research

  • Research exists but is hidden

  • Promising practices are abundant but not shared

  • International research and promising practices are abundant but not known

13 career development in social economic and community contexts

#13 - Career Development in Social, Economic and Community contexts

  • Career Development goals include social inclusion and equality of access and opportunity

  • In many communities, career, community and economic development are inseparable

  • Implications for roles, training and delivery models are significant

Establishing priorities

Establishing Priorities

Priority issues for action

Priority Issues For Action

Coherent strategy continuum of services define a vision

Coherent Strategy – “Continuum of Services” – define a vision:

  • Workforce development approach;

  • Individual (not program) based;

  • Action agenda, critical path, accountability measures;

  • Economic model;

  • Employers and parents as “customers”;

  • “Inventory” of career providers and planners needed

Strategic leadership find mechanisms

Strategic Leadership – Find mechanisms:

  • Secretariat function – to communicate actions and results; share implementation models

  • National Clearinghouse/International Centre – good practices, applied research, evidence-based practice

  • Periodic working symposia.

Strategic instruments use them as service builders

Strategic Instruments – use them as service builders

  • Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners-what is missing?

  • Blueprint for LifeWork Designs-for employers?

  • Organization Quality Standards (U.K.)

  • Common language “glossary”

Research panel crievat ubc cprn clbc ahrsc


  • Translate/share between English and French and regions

  • Get career research on radar screens of service providers

  • Advance the evidence base-What should we be measuring?

  • Clearinghouse function which manages, locates, sorts by stakeholder, disseminates

Provincial territorial national organization action plans

Provincial/Territorial/National Organization Action Plans

  • Working Connections: Issue No. 3

  • ...........and the day after.............

The bc team s goal

The BC Team’s Goal

  • To address skill shortage issues and contribute to workforce development goals by strengthening the role of career development services for individuals and employers in BC

Bc team objectives

BC Team Objectives

  • Raise awareness of the role and contributions of career development

  • Create more effective and extensive partnerships between career practitioners, employers and policy makers

  • Improve quality and relevance of career development services to BC’s changing economy

  • Build greater accountability for results of career development services, and build the capacity to show improvements to the “bottom line” for businesses and government

Intended outcomes for bc

Intended Outcomes for BC

  • More individuals actively implementing a meaningful future plan

  • More skilled and connected individuals

  • Increased awareness among individuals, employers and policy makers about the benefits of career development services

  • A labour market that functions efficiently (measured by reductions in the number of skills shortages, as well as reductions in skills surpluses)

What we re doing in bc

What we’re doing in BC…

  • Follow-up teleconferences

  • Roundtable on February 6

    • BC Chamber / BC Career Info Partnerships

      • Increase understanding of demographic shifts

      • Exchange info on skill shortages

      • Identify effective career development practices

      • Build relationships / Explore partnerships

      • Develop recommendations

And the cost

And the cost?

  • Realistic action planning for BC must

    • Be within existing funding

    • Leverage current resources and programs

    • Connect effectively to other initiatives

      “We really can make something happen without sea changes in policy, new programs or new money.” - Jim Howie, BC WorkInfoNet

Post symposium activities

Post-Symposium Activities

  • Symposium Proceedings – (on-line and published), will include all provincial/ territorial papers, synthesis papers and contributions from Roundtables as well as the proceedings themselves

  • - will be the ongoing resource database for profiling and sharing post-symposium work at provincial/ territorial/national levels.

Post symposium activities1

Post-Symposium Activities

  • Follow-up recommendations actioned and momentum sustained:

    • Pan-Canadian vision – collaboration among national organizations, provinces and territories

    • Secretariat Function – track Symposium results and spin-off activities

Post symposium activities2

Post-Symposium Activities

  • Follow-up recommendations actioned and momentum sustained:

    • National Clearinghouse with international connections: Research, Policy Models; Models of good practice

    • Periodic working Symposia

Post symposium activities cont

Post-Symposium Activities (cont.)

  • Outcomes reported at follow-up Innovations Summit 2004

  • International cooperation and knowledge sharing continues:

    • 3rd International Symposium Canada Team participation-Australia, 2005-06

    • International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy, Canada a founding partner.

Post symposium activities getting connected

Post-Symposium Activities-getting connected-

  • Get informed:

    • OECD Canada Note

    • Guidance studies in 36 countries

Post symposium activities getting connected1

Post-Symposium Activities-getting connected-

  • Get informed:

    • Provincial/Territorial Papers

    • Symposium Proceedings

Post symposium activities getting connected2

Post-Symposium Activities-getting connected-

  • Bring results to your organization/association

  • Host meetings/roundtables on Food for Thought articles

  • Contribute a food for Thought article

Post symposium activities getting connected3

Post-Symposium Activities-getting connected-

  • Make contact with members of your provincial/territorial team and roundtable participants

  • Become a contributor to the follow-up action plan

Lynne bezanson executive director of the canadian career development foundation and



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