CSCSC e-Newsletter

September 27, 2012

CSCSC e-Newsletter Header Image

Council News

What's Not to Love About a Wage-Subsidy Program?
The Council's Career Focus Program, relaunched in August, can accommodate several more companies that have an immediate need for new supply chain employees. This dollar-for-dollar wage-subsidy program is open to employers anywhere in Canada that are looking to hire new workers in roles within the Council's purview (see the occupation information on page 2 of our Facts and Figures document).
To be eligible, a new employee must meet the program's criteria. He or she must be:
  • 30 or younger at the time of intake;
  • new to the company;
  • a post-secondary graduate and out of school (post-secondary education is deemed to be any training obtained after secondary school that is required for the candidate to obtain a placement within the industry);
  • a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or a person with refugee status in Canada and legally entitled to work here; and,
  • not in receipt of EI benefits during the placement period.
More information about the program and application forms are available on the Council's Career Focus Program webpage. Don't delay: The program ends on March 31, 2013.
On September 24, the Council presented "Accessing the Career Focus Program: Making the Wage Subsidy Work for You," a webinar – the second in a series about making use of Council resources and programs – that highlighted the program's application process for employers and employees, including information about eligibility requirements and administration processes. A recording of the webinar is available at, where you'll also find a recording of "Explore the Council's Revamped LMI Tool," the first webinar in the series.

Association News

Reposition 2012 – the national symposium for supply chain and logistics professionals hosted by CITT – will be held in Halifax from November 4 to 6. In only 48 hours, the Reposition 2012 program will give you what you need to reach, measure and maintain peak performance. Here are the top five benefits of attending Reposition 2012:
  • Practitioner-to-practitioner learning
    Learning best practices from someone who has shared the same experiences and encountered the same obstacles adds credibility. Reposition speakers and workshop facilitators are subject-matter experts, and are chosen because they've distinguished themselves in their own fields.
  • Takeaways
    Take the strategies your company needs and apply them to your own situation. Reposition sessions and hands-on workshops give you the tools to do that, and the solutions you take home can save your company time and money. These strategies will allow you to recover your conference expenses quickly.
  • Accelerated learning
    Reposition 2012 provides you with a concentrated dose of learning. It's lean and fast-paced in order to keep you locked into “learning mode” for 48 hours. This is cost-effective for everyone, and gets you back to your desk quickly, where you can put what you've just learned to use right away.
  • Content
    The program is chosen for relevancy to what is happening in the industry today. The workshops let you practice and master the type of real-world skills that the boss is looking for.
  • Targeted networking
    Reposition gives you several opportunities to pick the brains of other delegates face-to-face. And many of those in attendance either run the show at their own companies or hold senior decision-making positions. We'll even give you the delegate list in advance so you'll know who to talk to before you arrive.
For more information, visit the Reposition 2012 website.

Canada's Skills Crisis: From Consultation to Action

This year has been the tipping point for Canadian business confronting skills and labour shortages, according to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in its Canada's Skills Crisis: What we heard report, released in September. The report indicates that a crisis that had been hidden by the recession is now fully apparent.

As part of the Top 10 Barriers to Canadian Competitiveness initiative, the Chamber hosted roundtable discussions in 14 locations and polled opinions via eight online surveys.

"Three issues were raised wherever we met: upgrading the skills of existing Canadian workers, improving connections between educators and employers, and getting the right approach to immigration. We also heard a great deal about the need to do much better in fully realizing the potential of Aboriginal Canadians," said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Chamber.

As it moves from the consultation phase to action, the Chamber has identified four key priorities:
  1. Upskilling: Upgrading the skills of the existing labour force and better employing under-utilized groups.
  2. Immigration: Ensuring immigration policy is aligned with local labour markets and employers' needs.
  3. Education: Improving the connections between educators and employers to balance supply with demand for skilled trades and highly skilled occupations.
  4. Aboriginal peoples: Focusing on education and workforce development, especially in the West and the territories where the economic and social opportunities and risks are greatest for this population.
"We planned an initiative that is far more hands-on than just another study," Beatty said." The test of our success will not be the quality of a report, but the tangible differences that result from this major undertaking. Meeting these challenges and improving the competitiveness of our nation is vital for our businesses, Canadian workers and for our nation as a whole," Beatty concluded.

Canadian Businesses That Trade Internationally Face Skills Shortages

The Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) recently released the findings of its Human Resources International Trade Sector Study, which show that Canadian businesses that want to expand their international-trade activities are struggling to find and develop workers who have the necessary skills. Foremost among these skills is an ability to understand trade finance and compliance. Businesses also lack workers who can combine technical skills with knowledge of specific industries, regulations and geographic regions.
Most participants in the study consultation process expect their international sales to increase significantly during the next five years as their customer base transforms. Many of them have also invested in creating and operating global value chains.
While Canadian companies are steadily expanding internationally, they are scrambling to find and develop the talented workers they need to survive and thrive. Organizations are trying to satisfy their demand for skilled trade workers by:
  • Acquiring workers who not only meet the educational requirements of their jobs, but also are exposed to international business environments and business-development practices.
  • Attracting and retaining workers with technical skills, such as trade finance or regulatory compliance, which are highly sought-after globally.
  • Searching for workers who have a combination of technical skills (such as product engineering and systems design) and knowledge of various regulatory environments.
  • “Buying” skilled workers, rather than developing these workers within their organizations.
  • Using informal and formal methods of knowledge transfer to retain and develop specific capabilities within their organizations.
  • Recognizing that similar and transferable skills exist, companies and sectors are restructuring, and workers are looking to choose from a variety of employment arrangements.

“Many participants in the research reported that these efforts to find, recruit and retain skilled trade workers are a result of Canada’s reactive mindset on international trade,” says national steering committee chair Bill Neil. “The overwhelming majority of participants believe that our country and its companies must take more aggressive steps to anticipate their human resources needs and take action; and those executives at the highest levels of Canadian corporations – large and small – must commit to and invest in that proactive approach.”

Seniors Council Seeking Employer Views on Older Workers

The National Seniors Council (NSC) wants to better understand the recruitment and retention issues that affect Canada's aging labour force, and is currently seeking input from employers and employer organizations.
  • Are you feeling the impact of the aging workforce?
  • Have you thought about changing or adapting your human-resource policies and practices to meet the needs of older workers?
  • What actions do you think the federal government can take to help facilitate full labour-force participation of older workers, particularly those most at risk of withdrawing from the workforce or becoming unemployed?
These are some of the questions the NSC will be asking employers over the next few months.

Join in the conversation by completing an online survey. To do so, contact the NSC Secretariat, at or 613-946-1736.

The Promise of Training

By Chris Irwin, MBA
My first experience in an external consulting role was working for a small firm that provided soft-skills training. The core offering was around interpersonal communication, so the workshops covered sales training, presentation-skills training and some aspects of negotiation.
No one expects miracles from training, but some fundamental shortcomings became apparent to me over time. Two large areas under “communication skills” are: (1) Using time and energy on what is important, AND (2) Interacting in a manner that is consistent with objectives.
In one instance, the “training solution” we landed on with a client was to develop skills for managers to “be heard” with their superiors. The customized training program had participants identify key conversations, understand the pertinent issues surrounding the interaction, assess the upside/downside of having the conversation, and also look at their motivations, as well as those of their counterpart. The intention was that, with these behaviours in place, ideas would be passed up the organization or, at the very least, would be discussed before being dismissed.
The anecdotal feedback was very positive (smile sheets with all smiles!). In further engaging with the leadership and others in the organization, I learned of a short debrief that one of the groups had directly following the session. One of the managers who had been trained with five of his direct reports called them together and said this:
“There was some great stuff in this training session and I hope it was useful for you in developing some skills and some personal awareness. My only modification is with respect to the technique of getting people talking about one thing, when your interest is actually something else. Don’t ever try that with me.”
It started to occur to me that you could interpret this in at least a couple of ways:
  • Way 1 (Well-intentioned manager): “If you have something to tell me, don’t dance around it. Come out and tell me.”
  • Way 2 (Rigid-and-insecure manager): “I am happy to play along with this collaborative communication when we are in the training session, but when we get back to work, don’t forget who's boss.”
It is very difficult for someone outside the organization to get clear on the culture and context that surrounds communication, but the above examples are completely realistic. In retrospect, I missed the opportunity to have a specific conversation about the desired behaviours that surround the need to have a manager “heard” by his or her superiors (e.g., should leadership and managers be appearing more receptive to front-line workers?).
This level of specificity is where traditional training and executive education routinely fall short. A deep appreciation of the context, the culture and the personalities can provide accuracy in developing the skills that need to be developed by understanding where exactly such behaviours fit in.
With the right kind of front-end work, everyone can get a sense of issues that are being suppressed but have a direct impact on the workplace. Gaining this insight to the whole organization takes the guesswork out of injecting skills-training curriculum, and limits the unintended consequences. Our particular application of developmental evaluation fills this gap. Feel free to get in touch for more information and examples.
Chris Irwin is the Managing Partner for the Canadian practice of Creative Connection Consultants (, who work with companies to release superior performance by understanding the organizational narrative and “recommending problems.” He is on faculty at the Schulich School of Business. He also teaches in PMAC’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Leadership Program. He can be reached through this website:

Website Links


Internships + Mentoring = Success

A eTip
To help newcomers succeed in finding employment, the City of Montreal launched an internship program in 2006. To date, 262 people have participated in the program and 142 have found permanent jobs after their internships.

To make an internship a win-win for both the organization and the intern, follow these tips from the City of Montreal:
  • Pair interns with a mentor to help them learn the ins and outs of the job and the workplace culture.
  • Offer cross-cultural communications training to both interns and mentors.
  • Tap into government programs and funding to reduce the financial burden on your organization.
This eTip has been republished with permission.

Coming Events

Purchasing Management Association of Canada, Webinar: The Ethically Focused Supply Chain Manager, October 2

Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, 2012 Transportation Summit, October 2 and 3, Halifax, N.S.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, Air Dangerous Goods Training
Initial – October 2 to 4
Recurrent – October 3 and 4
Radioactive – October 4
Initial – October 23 to 25
Recurrent – October 24 and 25
Radioactive – October 25
Initial – November 20 to 22
Recurrent – November 21 and 22
Radioactive – November 22
Peel Halton Workforce Development Group, A World of Talent on Your Doorstep: Leveraging international connections to gain competitive advantage, October 3, Mississauga, Ont.
Purchasing Management Association of Canada, Webinar: Supply Chain Finance: Collaboration Within a Supply Chain, October 10
Partners in Project Green, Energy Efficient Technology Series – Manufacturing Process Technologies, October 11, Greater Toronto Area, Ont.

McMaster Institute for Transportation & Logistics, and Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada, TRANSLOG 2012, October 15 and 16, Burlington, Ont.
I.E.Canada (Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters), 81st Annual Conference & Trade Show: Surround Yourself with Excellence, October 15 and 16, Mississauga, Ont.
I.E.Canada (Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters), Transfer Pricing & International Tax Conference, October 16, Mississauga, Ont.
Dan Goodwill & Associates and BIG Media (publishers of Truck News, Canadian Transportation & Logistics and MotorTruck Fleet Executive), 2012 Surface Transportation Summit, October 17, Mississauga, Ont.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, International Trade Workshops
October 17: Letters of Credit (am), Essentials of Exporting (pm)
October 24: Incoterms 2010 (am), Letters of Credit (pm)
October 25: Cargo Insurance (am), Essentials of Exporting (pm)
The Bloom Centre for Sustainability, Sustainability Applied 2012, October 17 and 18, Toronto, Ont.
Ontario Institute of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada, 15th Annual Conference: Lead the Flow, October 19 and 20, Niagara Falls, Ont.
Laurier Executive Development Centre, Lean Supply Chain Practitioner Certificate Course, October 22 to 26, Waterloo, Ont.

I.E.Canada, Webinar: Customs in China, October 25
Canadian Public Procurement Council, Forum 2012: Strategic Leadership in Challenging Fiscal Times, November 4 to 7, Vancouver, B.C.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, 8th Annual Hwy H2O Conference, November 14 and 15, Toronto, Ont.
I.E.Canada, Webinar: Encryptions, November 15
CITT, Webinar: Capital Budgeting, November 21
Alberta Institute of the Purchasing Management Association of Canada, 23rd Annual Conference, November 26 and 27, Calgary, Alta.
Always up-to-date in our online event listing. See events outside of Canada.

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