Where We’ve Been: Special EARN Member Meeting

On Tuesday, January 14th, EARN invited all its members to hear two presentations. The first was on legal considerations for employers related to Diversity and Inclusion given by Andrew Vey and Paul Willets of Vey Willets LLP. The second presentation was an update on provincial Employment Services Transformation delivered by Dr. Trina Foster, Chief Executive Officer of ONESTEP – Ontario’s umbrella organization for the employment and training sector.

The legal presentation focused on topics such as changes to Canada’s Labour Code, the dangers of fixed-term employment agreements, and reconciling workplace harassment with the Workplace and Safety Insurance Act. With respect to diversity and inclusion, the key areas addressed were common hiring mistakes, interview process best practices, affirmative action programs, and skills training and compensation rules. The presenters also clarified requirements around volunteer opportunities and unpaid placements.

Since her arrival at ONESTEP just over a year ago, Dr. Foster has focused on making the organization Ontario’s go-to resource around workforce development issues and on supporting Ontario’s workforce development practitioners as they undertake the largest transformation of employment services in the province since devolution in 2008. Her presentation delved into what the transformation will look and touched on the new provincial structure and catchment areas – with a lens on Ottawa – and a proposed timeline for the transformation. She also discussed the key role to be played by SSMs (Service System Managers), the priority on serving jobseekers, those most barriered to employment, and that job retention will be a long-term goal for the transformation.

EARN is proud to nurture and leverage relationships to both inform network members and continue to be a positive voice of integrity on disability and employment issues in our community. We thank the presenters and the over 30 members who attended and actively participated in the discussions that took place during this meeting.

If you would like a copy of either or both of these presentations, please contact Susan Forster at sforster@unitedwayeo.ca.