To all our readers, we wish you happy holidays, whatever you're celebrating!
The Year in Perspective
By Kevin A. Maynard, CAE
Executive Director, CSCSC
Another year has passed, but what impact we have had! The Council has been working to move beyond organizational objectives, to having an impact on the issues raised in the Strategic Human Resources Study of the Supply Chain Sector. We have been engaged in the five key strategic areas identified in the study:
- Sector Governance;
- Training and Development/Education;
- Marketing the Sector and the Profession;
- Policy Implications for Governments; and
- Human Resources Processes and Practices.
Significant progress has been made on all fronts, with attention and resources applied to projects where higher priorities have been assigned.
In the area of Governance, the Council has developed into an organization that has broad representation from key stakeholders from across Canada. In the new year, the Council will approve a new membership platform that will involve more stakeholders in the direction of the Council, and ensure a role for all that want to be involved. This year we also benefited from new infrastructure funding, secured until March 2011, that enabled the Council to add Beverly Myers to our staff to guide projects and program implementation. In the coming year, we will focus efforts on administrative efficiency that will provide even more capacity to do what is needed in the sector.
Training and Education continues to be an area of emphasis for the Council. The Council continues to leverage the excellent work provided by professional associations and other providers of post-secondary education in the development of a learning system to support individuals and firms in the sector. In 2007, we focused our efforts on developing the database (or compendium) of learning programs. This year, our emphasis has been on Phase 2 of that project, the development and implementation of an Accreditation Program for that learning system. The Council has contracted with CSA to develop a protocol that will provide a standard against which learning-system providers can be voluntarily assessed, with the goal of providing an accurate and meaningful comparison of programs and courses available to the sector. Development of the standard and its criteria for measurement will continue in the new year, with the next event scheduled for January 12th in Montreal. If you are interested in participating in this focus group (or subsequent focus groups), please contact Beverly Myers at the office. As well as accreditation, the Council has been supporting the development of a community of practice for academics involved in delivering supply chain learning opportunities. The Supply Chain Affinity Group is guided by a Coordinating Committee of five regional representatives, with the support of both the Council and the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC). This group currently has a membership of over 70 individuals representing approximately 37 institutions and organizations from across the country. Three regional meetings have been held since early November, as the Affinity Group begins to develop its business plan to address key action items.
"We cannot find the right people, with the right skill sets, when and where we need them!" This lament is heard at every gathering that we attend. And although the people shortage may have temporarily abated (or perhaps one can say the demand problem has diminished), there is still a skills shortage. The Council continues to look for innovative ways to Promote the Profession. With the help of volunteers from companies and associations in the sector, we have shown new entrants and other career seekers the opportunities that exist in the sector. Our new career flowchart has been a success at career fairs in Montreal, Toronto and British Columbia, exposing over 4,000 people to the pride, passion and economic impacts of careers in the supply chain. Over 100 volunteers have been instrumental in connecting people to the profession at these events. We hope to involve even more of you as we work together to connect people with jobs in the supply chain.
The Council has been engaged in the development of Policy by all governments, particularly related to infrastructure, labour mobility and labour transition. We hope to announce a number of projects in the new year that will result in substantial impacts on the Asia-Pacific and Continental Gateways, and transition initiatives that may ease some challenges in the manufacturing sector. The Council continues to play a part on the Manufacturing Caucus of The Alliance of Sector Councils and its partners, in order that strategic opportunities can be leveraged.
And finally, the Development of Human Resources Processes and Practices has been the area of most Council activity. A Virtual Human Resources Department (VHRD) is nearing completion, a minimum of 13 Occupational Standards are undergoing validation, and a new Labour Market Portal that will provide key data for users will all be available in the new year.
In the last 12 months, everyone at the Council has been working to make a difference for you, our stakeholders. We thank you for your support over the last year and look forward to working with you in 2009!
Projection: 15 Million Canadian Adults with Low Literacy by 2031
Reading the Future, a report released in June 2008 by the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL), shows that the number of adults with low literacy skills is growing across the country. By 2031, the number is forecast to increase by more than three million, to 15 million.
According to the CCL, "Literacy today means much more than the ability to read and write. To succeed economically and socially, adults need the ability to analyze information, understand abstract ideas and acquire many other complex life skills."
The report highlights the reasons for concern about low literacy, as follows:
Low literacy has social and economic impacts for both the individual and our country. On an individual level, for example, low literacy has been linked to poorer health outcomes: adults are ill more often, experience more workplace illnesses and accidents, take longer to recover, experience more mis-medications and die younger.
Conversely, adults with higher literacy skills work more, experience less unemployment, earn more, and rely less on government transfers.
On a national scale, adult literacy levels have been shown to have a profound influence on the growth or decline of a country’s economy.
Success stories: hear first-person accounts
on CCL's website from adults who have worked to overcome low literacy.
Customer Service Standards – Are You Ready?
From Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters – Ontario, Business Takes Action
Time flies. Do you remember the panic that surfaced months before the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1999 and rolled over to the new millennium on January 1, 2000? The 'Y2K problem,' a computer bug that resulted from the practice in early computer program design of representing the year with two digits rather than four, had companies and organizations worldwide upgrading their computer systems in preparation for the turn of the century. Thankfully, when that came, everything kept on ticking – planes continued to fly, champagne corks popped, the financial world continued to prosper, and life returned to normal.
Today, nine years later, we are busy preparing for New Year’s Eve activities to celebrate 2009. Has your company made any New Year’s resolutions to start hiring persons with disabilities? Have you made preparations to remove or prevent barriers that limit the participation of the more than 1.5 million Ontarians with disabilities in the life of our communities and workplaces?
The Accessibility Directorate (of the Ministry of Community and Social Services) works with people with disabilities and with public- and private-sector organizations to create an accessible society through the development and implementation of accessibility standards. “The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, was created to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025, by developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards.”
On November 17, the Ontario government released the proposed Accessible Information and Communications Standard for a 60-day public-review period. The proposed standard outlines how businesses and organizations may be required to provide accessible public information in various formats, such as online, print, verbal and digital.
The deadline to review and make comments on the Initial Proposed Accessible Information and Communications Standard has been extended to February 6, 2009.
Input from stakeholders will be of great value when the committee finalizes this proposed standard. To review the proposed standard and to provide feedback, visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services’ website, in English
For additional information or to find out about alternate methods of providing feedback, please call 1-888-482-4317 or toll-free TTY 1-888-335-6611.
Business Takes Action is a program for employers, created and delivered by employers. Thanks to funding by the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Service and in conjunction with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, this project addresses the ongoing labour shortages at all levels and across all business sectors as an increasing number of baby boomers approach retirement. We can offer the right support, tools and resources to your business free of charge to assist you with your quest towards inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace. Do you know what tools are required to make a website accessible? How long does it take to obtain a qualified sign language interpreter? Will your business be able to communicate in an accessible way, for example by offering publications in Braille or larger print at no additional cost to your customers?
Employers are increasingly going to be held responsible for making the necessary accommodations associated with hiring and servicing persons with disabilities. Why not join Business Takes Action today and start to eliminate physical and attitudinal barriers by sharing best practices and real success stories. Keep informed about business-to-business strategies of workplace and marketplace inclusion. Persons with disabilities are qualified, work-ready and can bring real value to your organization.
After all, 2025 is just around the corner!
MicroSkills Presentation During Governor General's State Visit to Europe
|Kay Blair is Executive Director of Community MicroSkills Development Centre. She was part of the delegation of Canadian citizens that accompanied Governor General Michaëlle Jean on her recent state visit to four countries in Europe. The CSCSC has partnered with MicroSkills in its Supply Chain Sector Awareness and Employment Project.
An excerpt of Ms. Blair's presentation, "Cultural Diversity, Gender, Minorities and Public Life," to students, government officials and NGOs at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic follows.
What a pleasure it is for me to speak to you today about a topic which has been dear to my heart my entire professional life. My organization, Community MicroSkills Development Centre, is focused upon facilitating the full participation of women and minorities in the society of which they are a part. Even in a country as dedicated to integration and equality as Canada, inclusion is a challenge, and people can encounter significant barriers. The goal of Microskills is to help minimize the difficulties people may encounter as they travel an uncertain path to financial stability and full community engagement. In our organization, we believe that the people, for whom the change is intended, must be involved in shaping the change they seek.
Certainly, toward the latter part of the 20th century, democratic societies including Canada became very conscious of the desirability of a diverse society, and the need for such diversity to be reflected in the country’s legislative assemblies. As Canada became increasingly more diverse during that period, the country’s political leadership recognized the need and value of welcoming people of other countries and cultures. Nevertheless, this new direction does not erase the decades of exclusion based on race, origin, sex, or other identity markers that cause immigrants, ethno-racial minorities, and women to be under-represented in critical decision making processes and electoral politics.
To achieve this broader representation as a country, Canada is currently working with two diversity agendas:
- Recognition agenda: recognizing cultural differences, helping minorities express their distinct identities and practices; and building practices and processes that allow for a plurality of approaches for a plurality of needs (i.e., fairness commission, enhanced settlement and integration programs with increased funding).
- Integration agenda: bringing minorities into the mainstream, strengthening mutual support and solidarity, and identifying and reinforcing the bonds of a common community (i.e., increased participation of minorities on boards, agencies and commissions, and increased representation in the electoral system).
Cultural diversity is about opening the doors to everyone. When we do so, we all benefit – the neighbourhood, the community, the country as a whole, and our global community.
Conference Board Report Emphasizes the Need to Innovate...In Bad Times, as Well as Good
In its October 2008 report, Innovate Today, Grow Tomorrow, The Conference Board (U.S.) made clear its thinking on innovation in a down economy by opening with a call to companies to "seize the moment to explore ideas for new products and invent new business models."
"Even when resources are scarce and budgets are thin," the report states, the best companies "take time to work on new business initiatives, scout new markets, and create more efficient processes." While the economy is currently slow, it will inevitably turn around, and "when it does, companies that have invested in innovation will be ahead."
Companies should consider innovating despite the economic downturn because it:
- boosts morale in gloomy times, helping the organization retain the interest of its most talented employees;
- gives shareholders confidence that, in spite of disappointing earnings now, the firm is working on future projects that will pay off handsomely;
- demonstrates to customers that the company is able to continue providing a stream of value-added products and services to meet their needs; and
- positions the organization to be fast off the mark with new initiatives – and stay ahead of competitors – when the economy recovers.
From Innovate Today, Grow Tomorrow, a Conference Board Executive Action report.
"Supply Chain Needs Your Help to Move Along"
By Chris Irwin, MBA
To the tune of "Winter Wonderland"
Margins shrink, you can see it,
But we can't change by fiat,
It all could be great
Supply chain needs your help to move along.
Process change, we flaunting
Yes, we know, it is daunting.
Our message is true,
We're here to help you,
Supply chain needs your help to move along.
In a course we studied how to tell it
And deliver news without the frown
We know that with Sales we have to "sell it,"
With Senior Staff we need to "dumb it down."
Purchasing, should be central,
Other ways, detrimental,
We know that it's tough,
When suppliers get gruff,
Supply chain needs your help to move along.
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 PMAC’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Leadership Program. He blogs on related issues at www.microob.com and can be reached through that website.
Can You Help?
University of Windsor Looking for Co-op Opportunities for Students
Due to current economic conditions, the University of Windsor is noticing a sharp decrease in the number of co-op opportunities for its students. The university is looking to develop co-op positions for students for the summer 2009 and winter 2009 work terms in several disciplines, including engineering, science, business and operational research.
If you would like to post a co-op position, contact one of the following Employer Relations Co-op Coordinators:
Event in the Spotlight
Transportation Workforce Summit '09
February 23 and 24 in Calgary
This WESTAC event will focus attention on the increasing challenge faced by employers in transportation, logistics and supply chain management to recruit, engage and retain human resource talent. In this solutions-oriented summit, human resource specialists will come together over two days to hear keynote plenary presentations by leading HR experts, industry executives and labour leaders. Day One will deal with attracting people, Day Two with engaging and retaining people. Themes developed in plenary sessions will then be explored in detail in concurrent workshop sessions, followed by reports back to the plenary.
Material Handling Industry of America, ProMat 2009
, January 12 to 15, Chicago, Illinois
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, Air Dangerous Goods training
Initial: January 13 to 15, February 10 to 12, April 21 to 23; recurrent: January 14 and 15, February 11 and 12, April 22 and 23
Montreal (en français)
Initial: January 20 to 22, April 28 to 30; recurrent: January 21 and 22, April 29 and 30
Initial: February 2 to 4, April 27 to 29; recurrent: February 3 and 4, April 28 and 29
Initial: February 9 to 11; recurrent: February 10 and 11
Initial: February 24 to 26; recurrent: February 25 and 26
Initial: March 2 to 4; recurrent: March 3 and 4
Business Takes Action (Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters) and Canadian Centre for Ethics & Corporate Policy, Dispelling the Myths
– retain and retrain top talent utilizing accommodation and accessibility resources, January 15, Toronto, Ont.
January 15: Peterborough, Ont.
January 27: London, Ont.
February 5: Mississauga, Ont.
The Niagara Institute and The Humphrey Group Inc., The Influential Leader Certificate
Communication for the Senior Leader
– February 10 to 12, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.; May 20-22, Ottawa, Ont.
- OR -
Speaking as a Leader
– March 26 and 27, Niagara-on-the-Lake
- PLUS -
– April 15 to 17, Niagara-on-the-Lake
- AND -
Influencing Skills for Leaders
– February 25 to 27, Niagara-on-the-Lake; May 20 to 22, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada and Canadian Industrial Transportation Association, Supply Chain Leadership – Raising the Bar
, featuring the Transpo 2009 Exhibition, April 28 and 29, Vaughan, Ont.
Joint Learning Initiative and Van Horne Institute, Supply Chains and the Environment: Connecting Business Strategies and Sustainability, May 25 and 26, Calgary, Alta.
McMaster University, Translog 2009
, June 17 and 18, Hamilton, Ont.