CSCSC e-Newsletter

October 22, 2008

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Council News

Strategic Planning Meeting
The Council's Board met on September 26, partly to review strategy in a facilitated workshop. The focus of the meeting was on three essential areas:
  • Getting closer to our customers and understanding their needs;
  • Communicating what we do in a way that reflects outcomes and the value-added nature of our programs, products and services; and,
  • Identifying and committing to the most-important, most-influential strategies we can offer the industry.
The session began with an open discussion on strategic orientations of the Council, and the group was asked to consider these orientations from a values base. The results stood for the entire session as accurate representations of what the Council’s strategic focus should be in the broadest sense: vision, mission, mandate, philosophical orientation. Some of the responses were:
  • We run the Council as a business, with measurable goals and objectives, accountability to our stakeholders, and sustainability as a goal firmly in our sights.
  • We watch the horizon very carefully (being visionary and watching trends).
  • We focus a portion of our work on building the image of the industry.
  • We develop standards for Canada that are international in scope.
  • We champion the supply chain industry in all its multiplicity of sub-functions.
  • We champion and facilitate lifelong learning focused on career development.
  • We are committed to continual analysis of the sector and relationships to the economy.
Discussion ensued on what the real meaning of these statements was, and how they might drive our work. Kevin Maynard reviewed the 26 key action items that flowed from the 2005 Sector Study, almost all of which are underway or under consideration by the Council for execution in the near future.
  • We know that the things we do as a council have a demonstrable effect and measured ROI: let’s document that and get the message out to appropriate stakeholders.
  • We must build business cases for our products and services.
  • We must build scenarios to prove to employers the real value of, for example, investments in training or recruitment and retention (or costs of impacts if investments are not made).
Participants had an opportunity at the end of the session to provide their final thoughts to fuel strategic thinking and strategic direction for the Council as it moves forward. Some of those thoughts were:
  • The Council should create simple visual tools to help us market what we do.
  • We should look hard at what is on the horizon and prepare for it: act, don’t react.
  • We can’t be all things and that’s okay. Let’s focus on bite-sized, value-added strategic things, and get them into the hands of our stakeholders.
  • In order to “sell” the higher-level industry leaders on not only the value of the Council, but also the value inherent in using Council-developed products and services, our work must be quantifiable, measurable and accountable.
Next Steps
The Council's Strategic Planning Committee will review the process and move forward with recommendations. This process also helped to inform the development of new proposals for funding consideration that were presented to HRSDC on October 9.
Council Makes the Pitch for Project Concepts
Every year, the Directors of the Council work with staff to present project concepts for consideration by the Sector Council Program at HRSDC. Typically, these presentations involve an update on the Council and our activities, a briefing by the Government on direction for the coming year, and a discussion of the concepts that were presented.
New Project Initiatives
Based on feedback received from our pillar associations and directors, we developed four concepts that were presented in Ottawa on October 9. The proposed project initiatives that will commence, if approved, in 2009/2010 are:
  1. Mature Workers Engagement Survey;
  2. Outreach Program;
  3. Occupational Standards – Phase II; and
  4. Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion.
Mature Workers Engagement Survey
  • Cross-sectoral research illustrating rates of participation of older workers
  • Primary research for comparison
  • Identification of best practices
  • Opportunity to leverage creative practices
  • Eight months, $378,500 budget (in 2009/2010)
  • Development and implementation of a two-year communications strategy
  • Focus on evaluation frameworks and key performance indicators that demonstrate impact
  • Facilitate employer engagement by using case studies showcasing return on investment (ROI)
  • 24 months, $200,000 budget (2009/2010 – $80,000, 2010/2011 – $120,000)
Occupation Standards – Phase II
  • Build upon the success of Phase I
  • Utilize fast-tracked process to maintain momentum and employer/stakeholder engagement
  • Develop 7 to 14 additional occupational standards
  • Provide enhanced HR practices for all stakeholders
  • 19 months, $220,000 budget (2009/2010 – $70,000, 2010/2011 – $150,000)
Mastering Aboriginal Inclusion
  • Partnership with Asia-Pacific Gateway Skills Table, Aboriginal service providers and the Aboriginal Human Resource Council focused on lower mainland of B.C.
  • Builds on model developed by construction and mining sector councils; goal will be to replicate it elsewhere
  • Increase participation rates of Aboriginals
  • Foster an inclusive workplace culture
  • 19 months, $395,000 (2009/2010 – $175,000, 2010/2011 – $220,000)
As part of our measurement processes, we would like your opinion on the work undertaken by the Council. Please take a few moments to complete our stakeholder survey. Your opinions count!
The Alliance of Sector Councils (TASC)
CSCSC Executive Director Kevin Maynard was elected Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of TASC at its September 25 AGM.
TASC is the collaborative organization that works with all sector councils to share best practices and act as a development organization for its 34 members. For more information on TASC, visit

The Federal Election in Relation to Human Resources and Skills Development

By Andrew Cardozo
General Comments
You have all seen and read about the results of our recent federal election. This note provides you with some highlights of the election as it relates to HR and SD issues, and excerpts a few sections from the Conservative Party platform that relate to skills development that may be of interest to certain sectors or groups of sectors.
With a stronger minority government and the likelihood of a leadership race in the Liberal Party, the Conservatives will be able to operate with a lot of clout.
Skills shortages and the need for a well-skilled workforce were issues that were addressed in various ways by the government over the past 2.5 years. Issues addressed included the “knowledge advantage” agenda, apprenticeship grants for the first two years of training, immigration and foreign credential recognition (FCR), and the establishment of two sector councils (agriculture and forestry) and one skills table (Asia-Pacific gateway). During the recent campaign some other issues were addressed and these are excerpted below.
One of the immediate issues to address is the appointment of a Minister of HRSD. With the earlier-announced retirement from politics by the current minister, Monte Solberg, the appointment of the new cabinet will include a new minister. Guessing cabinet appointments is a complete mug’s game and, as the saying goes, those who know don’t talk and those who don’t know talk. So being firmly in the second category, let me project some of the candidates for this spot:
  • Alice Wong, Richmond, BC. A new Vancouver-area MP who is likely to be in cabinet. Has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of British Columbia. Her career has included being manager of international programs at Kwantlen University College, coordinator of the Centre for Small Business and manager of international projects at Vancouver Community College, as well as a college lecturer and instructor at government schools in Hong Kong.
  • Peter Kent, Thornhill, Ont. A new GTA MP who is also likely to be in cabinet. A good communicator. Has moderated two meetings for TASC and has a good understanding of skills-development issues.
  • Lynne Yelich, Blackstrap, Sask. On the theory that there will be a new minister from that province. Has been parliamentary secretary to the minister of HRSDC and has attended many events in that role across the country, including events with various sector councils and TASC. Growing skills shortages in her province also give her a good sense of the issues.
  • Gail Shea, Egmont, PEI. As the new and sole Conservative MP from that province and an experienced politician, she has a good shot at being in cabinet. Has been a provincial MLA and has occupied various cabinet posts, and was previously a school-board trustee.
Prime Minister Harper’s Six-point Agenda (media release)
PM gives update on economic action plan
Details further immediate steps as Government keeps moving forward
15 October 2008
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today reiterated that protecting the Canadian economy is his top priority, and detailed further action being taken by the Government in response to the global financial crisis.
“The No. 1 job of the Prime Minister of Canada is to protect this country’s economy, our earnings, our savings, and our jobs, during a time of global economic uncertainty,” Harper said. “The mandate we received allows us to continue moving forward.”
The Prime Minister outlined the following additional, immediate next steps to protect the Canadian economy:
  1. A commitment to take whatever appropriate steps are necessary to ensure that Canada’s financial system is not put at a competitive disadvantage.
  2. Discussing the global financial crisis and strengthening the Canada-EU economic partnership at [the October 17] Canada-European Union Summit.
  3. Summoning Parliament to meet this Fall and tabling an Economic and Fiscal Update before the end of November.
  4. Participating in the G20 finance ministers’ meeting, November 8-9, and calling for a further meeting of G7 finance ministers to build on progress made at their last meeting.
  5. Keeping government spending focused and under control by continuing with the four-year Strategic Review of departmental expenditures.
  6. Convening a First Ministers’ Meeting on the Economy to discuss with premiers and territorial leaders a joint approach to the global financial crisis.

“Canadians’ worries are understandable,” the Prime Minister said. “But I want to assure Canadians that together we will weather the storm, and we will position our economy to emerge stronger than ever.”

Conservative Party Platform
What follows are excerpts of the Conservative Party platform, “The true north strong and free,” which can be viewed in full at
Helping Aboriginal People Participate Fully in Canadian Life
A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will ensure that Aboriginals have the opportunity to fully participate in Canada's economy and society. Improving Aboriginal education is crucial to giving young members of the Aboriginal community the opportunity to succeed. We will work to complete tripartite educational agreements, modelled after the successful agreements in British Columbia and New Brunswick, with provinces and First Nations organizations across the country.
Supporting our Manufacturing Sector
A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will continue our support for strategic industries, such as the aerospace and automotive sectors. The government has already established two new funds – the $900-million Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative and the $250-million Automotive Innovation Fund. These funds emphasize leading-edge technology and innovation to ensure that Canada remains a world leader in these industries. Unlike previous governments, a Harper Government will ensure that taxpayers' investments are repaid.
A re-elected Conservative Government will also support capital investment by abolishing tariffs on a wide range of imported machinery and equipment.
Breaking Down Trade Barriers Within Canada
A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will work to eliminate barriers that restrict or impair trade, investment or labour mobility between provinces and territories by 2010. In 2007, the government announced that it was prepared to use the federal trade and commerce power to strengthen the Canadian economic union.
Since that time, we have seen progress among the provinces and territories in strengthening the existing Agreement on Internal Trade. We hope to see further progress, but are prepared to intervene by exercising federal authority if barriers to trade, investment and mobility remain by 2010.
Offering a New Incentive for Completing Apprenticeships
A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will enhance the current Apprenticeship Incentive Grant by adding an additional $2,000 completion bonus for apprentices who complete their training. The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant was created by the Conservative Government to award grants to registered apprentices who have completed the first or second year of an apprenticeship program in a nationally recognized Red Seal trade. The new bonus will provide an additional cash grant upon completion of a recognized Red Seal apprenticeship program.
Ensuring an Immigration System that Responds to Economic Needs
A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper is committed to implementing the reforms contained in the 2008 Budget to reduce the immigration processing backlog and to expedite applications from people with the skills and professions most in demand in Canada.
A re-elected Conservative Government will build on the creation of the Foreign Credentials Referral Office to work with the provinces and territories to ensure greater standardization of workplace and professional credentials across the country and standards for assessment of foreign credentials and will place this issue on the agenda of the next meeting of First Ministers.
Helping Older Workers
A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will increase support for Canadians living in one-industry communities to upgrade their skills and get back into the workforce. We will increase funding for the current Targeted Initiative for Older Workers to $50 million per year through 2012. We will continue to work with provinces and territories, businesses and others to help older workers get the skills they need to find new jobs.
Andrew Cardozo is Executive Director of The Alliance of Sector Councils.

What is the Problem?

By Chris Irwin, MBA
Type "Competition + Process Improvement" into the News section of your favourite search engine, and you will likely get a story (or a press release) that talks about a company overcoming new-millennium hyper-competition. The focus is on the solution (especially if you land in a press release), but one can imagine the work that goes into getting to solution. Not to mention, sustaining it. You may be living that "work" right now.
The classic problem-solving methodology is very straightforward: (1) identify the problem, (2) generate possible solutions, and (3) pick the best one. A prerequisite is to maintain a rational and objective focus, along the lines of "Getting-to-YES" style negotiating. Emotions cloud those operating "in the moment," but in situations where parties (willingly or not) have to collaborate, distortion can come from many different – and surprising – places.
Need vs. Want
Rightly or wrongly, we have all pushed back (or been pushed) with a challenge to the legitimacy of our interests. Parents talk about "needing vs. wanting" ice cream after dinner (remember all those children that go to bed hungry); in the workplace, we ask people to separate "nice to have" from "need to have." In all of this, the message is that "need" trumps "want," which may cause some subtle limitations to successful results.
Too often, "need" identifies one potential solution ("We need a better inventory system"), while "want" can get to the root goal ("We want to remain competitive with as few changes as possible"). The wording and semantics may seem a better fit with strategic visioning than with everyday discussions, but think of the "want" behind some of these "need" statements:
  • "We need more budget to do this project."
  • "We need to reduce head count."
  • "We need support from management/other divisions/the union."
Problems or Solutions?
At the risk of treading into a discussion on inspirational leadership, visions talk about wants (or hope) that would offer almost-universal solutions. Each of our above "need" messages offers a solution that will become a problem for at least one other party:
  • Extra dollars come from someone else's budget;
  • Head-count reduction hits "Joe Plumber" pretty hard, and
  • Support takes other people's time and energy.
The first thing to identify is a problem that we can all address. The corporate vision statement may do it, but the responsibility may fall to leaders and micro-leaders.
  • "We want this company/unit to remain in business/this country."
  • "We want to reach a sustainable operating size."
  • "We want our company to be more responsive to external change."

Far from being flowery, these may convey the real, wider-reaching need for change and improvement.

Quick Example
With a recent MBA class, the discussion focussed on an idealistic entrepreneur's encounter with venture capitalists (from CBC's Dragon's Den). In the "identify the problem" stage, the initial class consensus was "she needs money," (which, by the way, is the whole reason for going on the show in the first place...). I would (and did) argue that a focus on what you want to accomplish changes the discussion from "give me your money" to "do you want to help me do what I want to do?"
The difference can be very subtle, but can be extremely important. The latter offers more options, including, for example, referrals to other contacts or organizations if the dollar return happens not to be there. Money is one answer, and it may be the only one. You risk not finding out for sure unless you explain your vision.
It is not simply a matter of substituting words (find and replace "need" for "want" won't do it). Try switching the approach to the problem...from mine to ours. Some leaders/vision statements do it well; other times, those in the day-to-day discussion have to help identify shared problems.
Chris Irwin works with organizations undergoing change to reduce interpersonal noise in cross-functional and cross-generational communications. He is on faculty at the Schulich School of Business, and teaches in the Strategic Supply Chain Management Leadership Program. He blogs on related issues at and can be reached through that website.

Website Links


Coming Events

Events in the Spotlight
National Seminar Series: The State of Logistics Report 2008
This tour will officially launch the first-ever Canadian State of Logistics Report.

In today’s complex business environment, the extent to which firms are integrated into global value chains, and the efficiency and effectiveness of their product distribution and associated services are key determinants of competitiveness. Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada (SCL) and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) partnered with Industry Canada to identify key performance indicators intended to help Canadian supply chain managers and decision-makers understand current and future trends, their competitive position in relation to leading firms within their own sector, and the steps that can be taken to become more competitive.

Attend to learn what issues in:
  • inventory management,
  • global sourcing,
  • logistics outsourcing,
  • energy costs,
  • skills shortages, and
  • technology
are the key competitiveness factors for logistics and supply chain management (SCM) in Canada. This information is critical to your ability to maintain a competitive edge and benchmark for the future.

Following the presentation of the report in each city will be a local panel that comprises an academic, service provider and manufacturer discussing the report within a regional context.

Delegates will receive the hard-copy report, available only at these launch events. Click here for details.

4th Annual Summit on the Mature Workforce – The Age-Free Workplace: A Cultural Evolution
November 4 to 6 – Calgary
Attracting and retaining seasoned workers could mean the difference between your business prospering or not.

Capitalize on the irreplaceable experience, knowledge and talent of the members of the
50-plus generation. Hire and retain younger skilled workers. A company whose employees
do not recognize the rich contributions made by each of the four generations present in
the current workforce will fail to take advantage of their unique input.

The 4th Annual Summit on the Mature Workforce is a three-day event where private, public and corporate stakeholders and experts from across North America share their research and brainstorm multi-generational workforce issues.

This year’s line up of speakers is our best ever! Pundits include Dr. David DeLong who will discuss ageism and the multigenerational workforce, and Barbara Jaworski, author of KAA-Boom; How to Engage the 50-Plus Worker and Beat the Workforce Crisis, who will help you develop an age-free corporate culture to boost retention and the bottom line. Updates from The Expert Panel on Older Workers will provide an insider view on strategic workforce planning. Plus, industry gurus will talk about transitions to retirement and so much more.

New this year: Day One is a workshop devoted entirely to intergenerational mentorship
success, and Day Three offers two half-day workshops, dedicated to both Creating an Age-Free Culture and Workforce Planning.
Participate in this national industry event to enjoy shared best practices and hands-on, how-to sessions.
Find out more or register: click here.

Other Events
Women in Logistics – Ontario, Developing Your Career in Supply Chain/Logistics Management, October 23, Toronto, Ont.
Telematics Update, Logistics & Fleet Management Systems USA 2008, October 23 and 24, Atlanta, Georgia
National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Inc., Ontario Public Buyers Association, Inc. Chapter, World Class Procurement Practices, October 24, Barrie, Ont.
Ontario Institute of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada, 11th Annual Conference: Supply Chain... the Core of Innovation, October 24 and 25, Ajax, Ont.
Supply Chain Management Review, Supply Chain Integration Strategies: Improving Trading Partner Transactions Beyond EDI, October 28, Webcast
Supply Chain Digest, Best Practices in Distribution Center Design, Operations and Management, October 28 and 29, Atlanta, Georgia
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, Hwy H2O Conference/Conférence Autoroute H2O, November 4 and 5, Toronto, Ont.
Aberdeen Group, Manufacturing Executive Summit, November 4 and 5, Boston, Mass.
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada, National Seminar Series: The State of Logistics Report 2008
November 4: Toronto
November 5: Kitchener
November 12: Vancouver
November 13: Calgary
November 14: Winnipeg
November 26: Montreal (en français)
Purchasing Management Association of Canada, 2008 Salary Survey Breakfast Briefing, November 5, Toronto, Ont.
Canadian International Freight Forwarding Association, Half-day International-trade Workshops
November 5: Incoterms (am), Cargo Insurance (pm)
November 6: Export Reporting (am), Risks Forwarders Face (pm)
November 12: Incoterms (am), Cargo Insurance (pm)
November 13: Export Reporting (am), Risks Forwarders Face (pm)
CITT, Reposition 2008 – "Looking Forward: Solutions for an Uncertain Future," November 5 to 7, Winnipeg, Man.
National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Inc., Ontario Public Buyers Association, Inc. Chapter, Sourcing in the Public Sector, November 5 to 7, Oakville, Ont.
National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Inc., Canada West Chapter, Planning, Scheduling and Requirements Planning, November 5 to 7, Edmonton, Alta.
Transportation Health & Safety Association of Ontario, CVOR/Facility Audit Overview Seminar
November 6, 2008: Kemptville, Ont.
December 11, 2008: Waterloo, Ont.
December 16, 2008: Sudbury, Ont.
January 15, 2009: Peterborough, Ont.
January 27, 2009: London, Ont.
February 5, 2009: Mississauga, Ont.
Montreal (English)
initial: November 11 to 13; recurrent: November 12 and 13
initial: November 18 to 20; recurrent: November 19 and 20
initial: November 18 to 20; recurrent: November 19 and 20
Montreal (French)
initial: November 18 to 20; recurrent: November 19 and 20
EcoLog Events, Environmental Compliance Conference 2008, November 12, Toronto, Ont.

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management, November 13 and 14, Chicago, Illinois
Intermodal Association of North America, 2008 Intermodal Expo, November 16 to 18, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Virginia Institute of Procurement, Virginia Forum 2008: 20th Public Procurement Forum, November 17 to 19, Hampton, Virginia
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada, Partners in Project Green: A Pearson Eco-Business Zone, November 19, Mississauga, Ont.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association and Export Development Canada, EDC Breakfast Information Sessions, November 26, Montreal, Que.
WESTAC and Transport Canada, Freight Demand Forecasts: Is Western Canada's Transportation System Up to It?, December 3 and 4, Vancouver, B.C.
Supply-Chain Council, Supply-Chain World 2009: Define. Align. Excel., March 16 to 19, Houston, Texas
Food Marketing Institute, 2009 Supply Chain Conference, April 5 to 8, Miami, Florida
Always up to date in our online event listing!

©2018 Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council
©2018 Conseil canadien sectoriel de la chaîne d'approvisionnement