Update on the Council’s Future
The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council has been exploring options for its future since the Government of Canada announced, in July 2011, the end of funding for the Sector Council Program as of March 31, 2013. A Transition Planning Committee, comprising senior representatives of several of the supply chain sector’s key associations, put nearly a year into the task, considering possible outcomes and opportunities.
Since the announcement was made, the Council’s Board of Directors has unanimously supported finding a way for the Council to carry on operations after March 2013. So, although the Transition Planning Committee did look at the option of closing the Council as part of performing its due diligence in this assignment, it was never a front-runner choice.
Investigation of two alternatives – merging with another organization or continuing as a “virtual” organization (i.e., without an office and with current staff engaged on contract basis as required) – was more thorough. After a careful review of the potential ramifications and benefits of each scenario, Committee members were undivided in their selection of the latter as their preference. The Council’s Executive Committee endorses this choice.
In February or March 2013, members of the Council will be asked to vote on the Transition Planning Committee’s proposal. If it is approved, the Council will have a seamless transition on April 1 to a virtual organization. Stakeholders will experience minimal change: Current programs will continue to run, the website will continue to be updated, the monthly newsletter will continue to be distributed. The biggest noticeable change will be in reaching staff, who will be available for the most part only by email, at least for initial contact. The Council has funds available, which, along with expected ongoing fees received through the National Accreditation Program, will enable it to operate in this way for at least a couple of years. Further funding is obtainable from various governments and community organizations for HR-related projects that the Council will propose to undertake.
Career Focus Program: Intake in Current Round Wraps Up
The Council's current Career Focus wage-subsidy program ends on March 31, 2013. However, because employers must commit when hiring through the program to participate for a minimum of four months, intake ends on November 30.
In this round of the CFP, which started on August 1, 13 employers hired a total of 14 new employees in supply chain roles. The following employers are currently receiving $1-for-$1 wage subsidies through the program:
- DBM Systems Inc.
- Export Ventures Group Inc.
- FPS Food Process Solutions Corp.
- FedEx Trade Networks Transport & Brokerage Canada Inc.
- Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies
- Lucerne Foods
- Manitoulin Global Fowarding
- OpenRoad Audi Vancouver
- Quality and Company Inc.
- Richo Enterprise Ltd.
- Shift Urban Cargo Delivery
- Stonz Wear Incorporated
The Council has submitted a proposal that, if accepted, will provide funding to deliver the Career Focus Program for another year, from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. To indicate your interest in joining a wait list for that program, contact Sheryl Keenan, at email@example.com
Registration is now open for winter-semester courses. Course work begins January 16th. Go to CITT's website
to see course descriptions and to register.
New Resource to Help Build Workplaces Inclusive of Skilled Immigrants
The recently launched TRIEC Campus
is an online learning hub offering complimentary, self-paced resources to support employers in today’s culturally diverse workplace. Campus resources – including e-learning modules, videos and discussion guides – cover effective communication and team work, as well as recruitment, selection and talent-management practices to create workplaces inclusive of skilled immigrants.
The Campus can be used to:
- Meet business diversity goals
- Develop cultural competence
- Access and share resources
TRIEC invites organizations with relevant resources to share them through this site.
The Campus was designed to help:
- Leaders setting organizational policy
- HR and training and development professionals developing and implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives
- Managers hiring and leading teams that include skilled immigrants
- Employees working on teams that include skilled immigrants
- Skilled immigrants seeking employment or newly hired in the Canadian workplace
- Employment service providers supporting employers and skilled immigrants
Using the TRIEC Campus: An Example
Your own unconscious cultural biases can have a major impact when conducting interviews. Understanding these biases and cultural differences in communication will help you evaluate skilled immigrant candidates more objectively.
Some helpful tips when interviewing include:
- Rephrasing an interview question if you get a short or incomplete answer
- Including a practical activity in the interview to allow candidates to demonstrate that their communication skills meet the requirements of the position
Do you want to improve your interviewing skills to be more inclusive? Register for a free e-learning course through the TRIEC Campus.
Interns Available for Spring 2013
Through the Science Internship Program
at Western University (University of Western Ontario), employers have access to third-year science students who are available for internships of up to 16 months. These are students in Western's Applied Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy, Statistical & Actuarial Sciences, and Medical Sciences programs.
The internship program offers some significant benefits for employers, including:
- Extended placements of 8 to 16 months that allow students to participate in projects from beginning to end (by hiring a student in a "degree-related work opportunity" for a minimum of 8 months, an Ontario employer will qualify for the Ontario Co-operative Education Tax Credit, which reimburses employers for 25 percent to 30 percent of eligible expenditures);
- An opportunity to evaluate potential future employees;
- Support from the Career Services office through the entire work term of the intern; and,
- Interns who act as ambassadors of their sponsoring employers upon returning to Western.
It's time to post positions now; students will be hired in February and can begin work in May 2013.
For more information, contact Lauren Starr, Career Services Officer, Western Faculty of Science, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 519-661-2111, ext. 85300.
A Simple Plan in a Complex World
By Chris Irwin, MBA
In the world of communications, the concepts of “simple” and “complex” have an interesting relationship. Experts will say that communications should be simple, yet the issues where communications play such an important role tend to be very complex (case in point, actions in the supply chain).
I recently had the opportunity to interview a senior executive on the topic of “value creation” in the technology organizations that he has affected and led. The overwhelming theme that came across to me was that “long-term profitability” had been his mantra, whether to customers, partners, board members or employees. This was comforting, given some of the more cynical self-serving agendas we read about in the newspapers.
This orientation toward “long-term profitability” could be criticized by any number of stakeholders (employees, activist groups, customers or suppliers) using the sound bite: “All they care about is themselves!” or (worse?) “All they care about is money!” Although my executive made no apologies for his “profit” orientation, he added a very important dimension: “We need profits in order to invest in innovation.” The underlying message was that this helps everyone.
Leadership entails a good deal of communication, and I thought this was an effective use of attaching a simple message (profitability) to a complex idea (innovation). If a discussion moves into a debate, we can often find ourselves needing to defend positions or attack those of others. Again, from the communication perspective, this nuanced use of “simple” and “complex” can work as both a strong offence and a good defence.
Them: “You just care about money; what about the environment?”
Us: “We invest in innovation that can help with some of those issues.”
Them: “We need to focus on profitability in the short term.”
Us: “If we can innovate, we will secure competitive advantage.”
(Have a look here
for some interpretations of “O” vs. “D” in the Grey Cup.)
Note for non-Toronto readers: Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford is no stranger to national media coverage, which means that I ask you to forgive this Toronto-centric example. You may have read that he has been “ousted” as Mayor (not so fast... there is an appeal process!).
As with many politicians, Mayor Ford was elected on simplicity. “Respect for taxpayers” and “Cut the waste at city hall” were his key messages. The logic is compelling to many: Vote for Ford and you get fiscal responsibility. This same simple logic appears to have tripped him up in the recent episode that involved him raising funds for his football team by using City of Toronto letterhead.
The simple story from Ford and his supporters appears to be:
“The rule is dumb. He was raising money to buy football equipment for kids that can’t afford it themselves. This is another example of a mayor that is prepared to fight against an inefficient bureaucracy to help people that really need help.”
The simple argument from Ford’s critics appears to be:
“This is a mayor who flagrantly ignores laws. The simple fact is the rules apply to everyone. He is not fit to be mayor because this was a proven conflict of interest.”
There is sound communication logic to both sides. Some complexity is evident in items that become tough to square together:
- Can you complain that the Mayor’s agenda has been thwarted because he is just one vote on council, and then complain of the impact of his one vote being removed?
- Can you call him a flagrant disregarder of process, but then look at some of the process-heavy, high-profile agreements reached under his stewardship with some of the City’s unions?
To me, this is like complaining to the restauranteur that the food is bad AND the portions are too small.
Whether it is “respect for taxpayers,” “continuous improvement,” “customer satisfaction” or “profitability for investment,” the situation is never that simple. I think the trick to gathering support is to find a simple message that resonates widely and stick with that message. Conversely, the trick to maintaining support is to openly acknowledge the complexity and invite discussion, rather than defend simple arguments or use offence to shut down competing logic.
Chris Irwin is the Managing Partner for the Canadian practice of Creative Connection Consultants (creativeconnection.ca), who work with companies to release superior performance by understanding the organizational narrative. 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 www.creativeconnection.ca.
Supply Chain Mentors Required
, a service-delivery partner in the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council's The Mentoring Partnership program
, is seeking supply chain practitioners to serve as mentors to newcomers. The program brings together recent skilled immigrants and established professionals in occupation-specific mentoring relationships to help job seekers begin their Canadian careers in their field of choice.
The supply chain sector is challenged by a less-than-sufficient and diminishing talent pool, a key finding of the Council's 2012 HR Study Update report
. The same report recommends that the Council "continue efforts to increase the participation of internationally trained workers in the supply chain sector." Mentoring skilled newcomers is an important step that stakeholders can contribute toward that goal.
As a mentor, you would commit to providing 24 hours of mentoring support over a four-month period in order to help the mentee:
- Understand the Canadian context of his or her profession and workplace culture;
- Gather information on his or her industry and occupation; and
- Develop professional networks and support job-search efforts.
During this time, you will have the opportunity to:
- Enhance your own leadership and coaching skills
- Develop cross-cultural communication skills
- Gain a better understanding of the skills and experience that immigrants bring
- Become more aware of the job market and industry trends
- Access professional development sessions customized to address mentor needs
To learn more about this program, contact Shelley-Ann Solomon, Project Manager for the Supply Chain Connections program at ACCES Employment, at 905-454-2316, ext. 3820 or email@example.com.
Listen to what mentors and mentees say about the program.
Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association – Western Region, Christmas Lunch
, December 6, Richmond, B.C.
Events in the Spotlight
Statistics Canada Webinar: Projected Trends to 2031 for the Canadian Labour Force
The Alliance of Sector Councils
December 5, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm Eastern time
Presented by Laurent Martel, Chief, Demography Division at Statistics Canada, this webinar will look at:
- Labour-force population size and growth;
- Projected labour-market participation rates;
- Labour-force aging; and
- Ethnocultural-diversity projections.
To join the session, log onto the event site and enter as a guest, then dial 1-888-289-4573 or 416-645-1179 and, when prompted, enter access code 2137150.
Engage! Women in Supply Chain: Meeting the Talent Challenge Conference
The Van Horne Institute and partners – Calgary, January 31 and February 1
Recent national and Alberta-based labour-market studies indicate that there are current supply chain labour shortages, and that Alberta will encounter even greater shortages of skilled supply chain employees over the next decade. Where will these skilled workers come from and can the supply chain sector compete with other sectors for an already-scarce human resource?
This conference is intended to bring together professionals who are interested in or affected by Canada’s changing demographics and the competition for supply chain management talent. This is not a women’s issue; this is a talent issue.
- The Professionalization of SCM: How is supply chain management changing?
- What is the value that supply chain management employees bring to their employers and their communities?
- How are women being readied for leadership roles?
- What is the importance of supply chain management to industry during a period of tremendous economic growth?
- Smart Human Resources: Attracting, retaining and building the capacity of female talent
- Achieving Work/Life Balance: Fact or Fiction?
- ‘Career Pathing’: What does transition and succession planning in supply chain management look like?
- Research from the Field: What are women saying about breaking the supply chain management glass ceiling?
- Developing a Personal Toolkit: The personal change-management process and overcoming career barriers
- Identifying and Influencing Decision Makers: Who, why, when and how?
Other Coming Events
Initial – December 11 to 13
Recurrent – December 12 and 13
Radioactive Materials – December 13
Initial – December 11 to 13
Recurrent – December 12 and 13
Radioactive Materials – December 13