Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
RSS feed based on search criteria Export search results - CSV (plain text) Export search results - XML
Add search criteria
Kelley Bush
View Kelley Bush Profile
Kelley Bush
2015-06-18 16:07
Good afternoon. My name is Kelley Bush, and I am the head of radon education and awareness under Health Canada's national radon program.
Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, for inviting me to be here today to discuss radon as a cause of lung cancer and to highlight the work of the Canadian – National Radon Proficiency Program.
Through the ongoing activities of this program, Health Canada is committed to informing Canadians about the health risk of radon, better understanding the methods and technologies available for reducing radon exposure, and giving Canadians the tools to take action to reduce their exposure.
Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas that is formed naturally in the environment. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rock. When radon is released from the ground in outdoor air, it gets diluted and is not a concern. However, when radon enters an indoor space, such as a home, it can accumulate to high levels and become a serious health risk. Radon naturally breaks down into other radioactive substances called progeny. Radon gas and radon progeny in the air can be breathed into the lungs, where they break down further and emit alpha particles. These alpha particles release small bursts of energy, which are absorbed by the nearby lung tissue and lead to lung cell death or damage. When lung cells are damaged, they have the potential to result in cancer when they reproduce.
The lung cancer risk associated with radon is well recognized internationally. As noted by the World Health Organization, a recent study on indoor radon and lung cancer in North America, Europe, and Asia provided strong evidence that radon causes a substantial number of lung cancers in the general population. It's recognized around the world that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, and that smokers also exposed to high levels of radon have a significantly increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Based on the latest data from Health Canada, 16% of lung cancers are radon-induced, resulting in more than 3,200 deaths in Canada each year. To manage these risks, in 2007 the federal government in collaboration with provinces and territories lowered the federal guideline from 800 to 200 becquerels per cubic metre. Our guideline of 200 becquerels per cubic metre is amongst the lowest radon action levels internationally, and aligns with the World Health Organization's recommended range of 100 to 300 becquerels per cubic metre.
All homes and buildings have some level of radon. It's not a question of “if” you have radon in your house; you do. The only question is how much, and the only way to know is to test. Health Canada recommends that all homeowners test their home and that if the levels are high, above our Canadian guideline, you take action to reduce.
The national radon program was launched in 2007 to support the implementation of the new federal guideline. Funding for this program is provided under the Government of Canada's clean air regulatory agenda. Our national radon program budget is $30.5 million over five years.
Since its creation, the program has had direct and measurable impacts on increasing public awareness, increasing radon testing in homes and public buildings, and reducing radon exposure. This has been accomplished through research to characterize the radon problem in Canada, as well as through measures to protect Canadians by increasing their awareness and giving them tools to take action on radon.
The national radon program includes important research to characterize radon risk in Canada. Two large-scale, cross-Canada residential surveys have been completed, using long-term radon test kits in over 17,000 homes. The surveys have provided us with a much better understanding of radon levels across the country. This data is used by Health Canada and our stakeholder partners to further define radon risk, to effectively target radon outreach, to raise awareness, and to promote action. For example, Public Health Ontario used this data in its radon burden of illness study. The Province of British Columbia used the data to inform its 2014 changes to their provincial building codes, which made radon reduction codes more stringent in radon-prone areas based on the results of our cross-Canada surveys. The CBC used the data to develop a special health investigative report and interactive radon map.
The national radon program also conducts research on radon mitigation, including evaluating the effectiveness of mitigation methods, conducting mitigation action follow-up studies, and analyzing the effects of energy retrofits on radon levels in buildings. For example, in partnership with the National Research Council, the national radon program conducted research on the efficacy of common radon mitigation systems in our beautiful Canadian climatic conditions. It is also working with the Toronto Atmospheric Fund to incorporate radon testing in a study they're doing that looks at community housing retrofits and the impacts on indoor air quality.
This work supports the development of national codes and standards on radon mitigation. The national radon program led changes to the 2010 national building codes. We are currently working on the development of two national mitigation standards, one for existing homes and one for new construction.
The program has developed an extensive outreach program to inform Canadians about the risk from radon and encourage action to reduce exposure. This outreach is conducted through multiple platforms targeting the general public, key stakeholder groups, as well as populations most at risk such as smokers and communities known to have high radon.
Many of the successes we've achieved so far under this program have been accomplished as a result of collaboration and partnership with a broad range of stakeholder partners. Our partners include provincial and municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, health professional organizations, the building industry, the real estate industry, and many more. By working with these stakeholders, the program is able to strengthen the credibility of the messages we're sending out and extend the reach and impact of our outreach efforts. We are very grateful for their ongoing engagement and support.
In November 2013 the New Brunswick Lung Association, the Ontario Lung Association, Summerhill Impact, and Health Canada launched the very first national radon action month. This annual national campaign is promoted through outreach events, website content, social media, public service announcements, and media exposure. It raises awareness about radon and encourages Canadians to take action. In 2014 the campaign grew in the number of stakeholders and organizations that participate in raising awareness. It also included the release of a public service announcement with television personality Mike Holmes, who encouraged all Canadians to test their home for radon.
To give Canadians access to the tools to take action, extensive guidance documents have been developed on radon measurement and mitigation. Heath Canada also supported the development of a Canadian national radon proficiency program, which is a certification program designed to establish guidelines for training professionals in radon services. This program ensures that quality measurement and mitigation services are available to Canadians.
The Ontario College of Family Physicians as well as McMaster University, with the support of Health Canada, have developed an accredited continuing medical education course on radon. This course is designed to help health professionals—a key stakeholder group—answer patients' questions about the health risks of radon and the need to test their homes and reduce their families' exposure.
The national radon program also includes outreach targeted to at-risk populations. For example, Erica already mentioned the three-point home safety checklist that we've supported in partnership with CPCHE. As well, to reach smokers, we have a fact sheet entitled “Radon—Another Reason to Quit”. This is sent out to doctors' offices across Canada to be distributed to patients. Since the distribution of those fact sheets began, the requests from doctors offices have increased quite significantly. It began with about 5,000 fact sheets ordered a month, and we're up to about 30,000 fact sheets ordered a month and delivered across Canada.
In recognition of the significant health risk posed by radon, Health Canada's national radon program continues to undertake a range of activities to increase public awareness of the risk from radon and to provide Canadians with the tools they need to take action. We are pleased to conduct this work in collaboration with many partners across the country.
Thank you for your attention. I look forward to any questions the committee members might have.
Anne-Marie Nicol
View Anne-Marie Nicol Profile
Anne-Marie Nicol
2015-06-18 17:06
You should also have a slide deck from me. It says “Radon and Lung Cancer” on it. I recognize I am the very last person, and I appreciate your persistence. Luckily many people have also spoken to a number of the points that I wish to discuss, so I will go very quickly over the first few slides.
I am an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. I also work at the National Collaborating Centre with Tom and Sarah, and I also run CAREX Canada, which is the carcinogen surveillance system funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. I am here because we prioritized Canadians' exposure to environmental carcinogens and the leading causes of cancer-related deaths from environmental exposures, and radon gas was by far the most significant carcinogen. I admit that when I started my research at CAREX, I had never heard of radon gas either. When I went back into the literature, I realized that over time Canada has actually played a very important role in understanding radon and lung cancer.
The data from many of the studies that were done on uranium miners, at Eldorado and even here in Ontario, has been used to determine the relationship between exposure and lung cancer. We've actually been on the forefront of this issue but very much in an academic context rather than in a public health context.
We've already discussed the fact that the WHO notes that this is a significant carcinogen. I would also like to point out that agencies around the world are coming to the conclusion that radon is more dangerous than they had previously thought. In 1993 we had a certain understanding about the relationship between radon gas and lung cancer. That's doubled. The slope that Tom was talking about used to go like this and now it goes like this. Radon is now known to be much more dangerous than we had originally thought. The reason for that is that radon is actually an alpha-particle emitter.
We are a uranium-rich country. Uranium is in the soil and as it breaks down there is a point at which it becomes a gas. That means it becomes movable within the soil. That gas itself gives off alpha radiation, which is a very dangerous form of radiation that can damage DNA. On the next slide you'll see both direct and indirect damage to DNA. This information is compliments of Dr. Aaron Goodarzi. We actually have a Canada research chair studying this at the moment in Alberta.
The next slide, on radiation and DNA damage, shows that alpha radiation is powerful. It doesn't penetrate very far, so if it hits our skin, it doesn't do as much damage as it does if it gets into our lungs. Our lungs are very sensitive. The lining of our lungs is sensitive and when the cells in them are irradiated, they get damaged. Alpha particles are very destructive. The damage is akin to having a cannon go through DNA. That kind of damage is hard to repair, and as a result the probability of genetic mutations and cancer goes up.
The next slide is on strategies for reducing risk. Just to recap, the kind of damage done by the radiation emitted from radon is significant. The damage is difficult for the body to repair once radon is in the lungs.
The next slide is on education and priority setting. Radon does exist across the country. People have developed radon-potential maps. This one is compliments of Radon Environmental where they've looked at where uranium exists and where the potential for higher-breakdown products is, although we do recognize that every home is different. Also there's a map of the United States to show that we are not alone in this and that the states that are on the border have a similar kind of radon profile to that found in Canada. We know that under our current Canadian strategies, we need to educate not just the public but ourselves. Most public health professionals have never heard of radon. When we do work out in public health units, environmental health inspectors, public health inspectors, and medical health officers are still unaware that radon is dangerous. Many bureaucrats and ministries of health are unaware that radon is dangerous.
Also health researchers are only really beginning to do work in this area across the country. In order to have building codes changed, people need to know why you're changing them. We need testing and remediation training. People need to understand why they're actually doing this kind of work.
Kelley Bush alluded to the fact that they've been tracking awareness among the population. This is done by Statistics Canada. The next slide shows a representative Canadian sample. It's been done since 2007 actually, but these are results for 2009 onward. You can see that about 10% of the population were aware of radon. That's gone up to about 30%. This is the number of people who know what radon is and can accurately describe it. We're still at around 30% of the population who know that radon can cause lung cancer.
Health Canada does recommend that everybody test their homes. The next slide, which is also using data collected by Statistics Canada, clearly shows that very few people have tested their homes. Less than 10% of Canadians across the country have tested their homes. We have had a radon awareness program since 2007, so why aren't people testing? We don't have regulatory requirements, as Kathleen Cooper stated earlier. People need to be aware and motivated to change. It's up to the consumer. We have left it up to the consumer to test their own home.
I believe things like denial, the invisible nature of the gas, and people simply being unaware contribute to this. Test kits are still not that readily available across the country. You can phone and ask where you can find them, but they're not always there. In rural regions it's much harder for people to get access to test kits. People then fear the downstream costs of remediating—i.e., I don't want to go in there because I don't know how much it's going to cost me to fix my basement. In some cases the costs can be somewhat considerable, depending on the structure of the home.
Turning to the next slide, I believe to reduce the lung cancer risk from radon gas we need more leadership. The government can legitimate this as a risk. It's something that people don't know about, and we need to take a stronger role in getting people more engaged in this topic. It's not just Health Canada; it's all levels of government—ministries of health, provinces, municipalities. We need to be training people in the trades so they know what they're doing when they're building those radon-resistant homes, and why. Why is that pipe important? Why is that fan important? Again, we need to build radon out, going forward.
Other countries have shown that providing financial assistance works. People will energy-retrofit their home because they get a rebate, but the energy retrofit does increase radon levels. There is clear evidence that this exists. The tighter your home, the more the radon gas remains in your home. In Manitoba they're doing research to look at that at the moment. In Manitoba, though, you can also now get a rebate through Manitoba Hydro to do radon remediation. Some parts of the country are starting, but we need to be offering some kind of incentive for citizens to do this.
I would also like to put in a plug for workplace exposure, because I do study workplace exposure and radon. There are places in the country where people work underground, or in basements and even ground-level buildings, where radon levels are high. Some of these are federal government workers. We need more testing and remediation for workplaces.
That's it. Thank you.
Greg Zilberbrant
View Greg Zilberbrant Profile
Greg Zilberbrant
2015-06-09 8:47
Thank you.
Good morning. Thank you to the committee for inviting me to speak to you today on behalf of Holcim Canada.
To provide some context, I want to share briefly with you what Holcim Canada is. Holcim Canada Inc. is one of the country's largest vertically integrated building materials and construction companies. With 3,000 employees, we manufacture cement, aggregates, and ready-mix concrete and provide construction services to many of Canada's largest infrastructure projects. Our business divisions include Dufferin Aggregates, Dufferin Concrete, and Dufferin Construction in Ontario, and the Demix brand, offering concrete, aggregates, and construction services in Quebec.
In short, we build the materials that build the world around us. Concrete, one of the key products of our vertically integrated value chain, is the second most used material in the world, second only to water. We are proud of the materials we make and the solutions we provide and of how they're able to build the foundations of society.
The manufacturing of our materials is an important contribution to the social, economic, and environmental values that our company provides to Canadians. This is an important context for today's discussion about the opportunity for private enterprises to be leaders in collaboration with not-for-profit organizations and to create value through local environmental initiatives.
As a materials company, we have an undoubted environmental impact with the production of materials. We support the role of government in holding our industry accountable via compliance mechanisms. They play a vital role in ensuring that there is a level playing field among the competitors in our industry.
We produce materials by taking the most sustainable and economically feasible approach possible. We pride ourselves in being an environmental leader in our industry and in general across the manufacturing sector. This has much to do with the way in which we manufacture our materials and how, for example, we're able to reduce our reliance on non-renewable resources through the use of secondary materials such as blast-furnace slag, a byproduct of the steel industry, to produce a cement substitute; to improve our energy efficiency through the reuse of heat generated from our process to dry our incoming materials; and to reduce our carbon footprint overall through a reduction of non-renewable resources and increased energy efficiency, but also in the substitution of coal for non-recyclable residues from other industries as fuel in our cement kilns.
That is the manufacturing element of our business. However, we are able to create an impact and provide solutions beyond our own perimeter. By this, I refer to the opportunity for our materials to be used in pervious parking lots to improve stormwater management, an increased use of concrete in structures to improve the building envelope, and inflexible roadways made of concrete to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles. This complementary view of direct and indirect impact is a core part of our business strategy and a measure of the true value of a leader in sustainable development.
There is much more we can do, as we have done, beyond our core business as a member of the communities in which we operate. We take pride in our role as a good corporate neighbour and a leader in sustainable development. Holcim Canada has built a solid reputation for its commitment to the communities where we are located, to the people, the economy, and the natural environment. We proactively look for opportunities to reduce our impact on the environment and seek partnerships with trusted local NGOs where our organizations can add value and amplify each other's efforts for the net gain of our natural environment and our communities.
I would like to share with this committee a few examples of such partnerships and how they've come to be, and the net gain that was achieved for those involved.
The first such example is a very simple one, a park. A park was being built by the municipality less than a few hundred metres from our cement facility in Mississauga. We decided to get engaged, as it was a facility that our community and our employees would use for many years to come. Our involvement was to provide materials for the facility.
The material we wanted to provide was innovative in its design. The material is a porous concrete that allows rainwater to penetrate the surface and return to the ground rather than being diverted to the storm sewer, a great innovation that reduces the need for stormwater infrastructure and surges of water being moved to a large body while the groundwater remains unreplenished.
However, there were very few installations of this material in the region. We, along with the park architects and the municipality's project team, saw this as an opportunity rather than a setback. We hosted education events for the municipal roadwork staff; visited a site where the material had been installed in order to discuss best practices; engaged industry associations to provide training to the construction crews on installation techniques; and invited numerous stakeholders to witness the installation to better understand the material.
Holcim also designed an educational interactive outdoor display that shows how this material works and what benefits it provides for the environment. This collaboration has created a unique demonstration of materials and design innovation in a setting that can be assessed by our stakeholders, including our customers and members of the community, to learn more about the material and, most importantly, see it in action.
This feature is now a destination for the local conservation authority as part of its low-impact development tour that is attended by architects, engineers, and developers in the region. As such, it provides us with a business opportunity to promote a product that our company is able to deliver with high quality, as can be seen by the interest of our potential customers during this visit. Most importantly, it demonstrates that both the municipality and the conservation authority have trust in our abilities as an organization to deliver innovative environmental solutions.
The second example is that of the Holcim Waterfront Estate, a facility where member of Parliament Stella Ambler, who is on this committee, announced the funding that Holcim Canada and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority will be receiving for another project, which I will come back to in a moment as my third example.
The Holcim Waterfront Estate was again a collaboration between Holcim and the City of Mississauga. I will not delve into the details of this facility, aside from saying that it's a beautifully restored manor and a key piece of local heritage and history that has been revitalized using modern-day sustainable practices, for the enjoyment of generations to come. We are happy to be part of it.
The collaboration in this project demonstrated a level of trust that was built as a result of a previous park construction experience. Recycled aggregate was a primary source of stone for the project in using crushed recycled concrete rather than mined virgin aggregate. Low CO2 cement mixes were used for smaller features. A mix using recycled water and manufactured sand was used in some of the concrete designs, both offsetting the equivalent in natural quantities of material needed.
This example highlights the potential of adopting innovative environmental solutions in projects so that other stakeholders can understand the potential for such features within their own projects. Innovation, however, is not at the expense of quality and safety. All the features mentioned still appear and function in the same manner as designed.
What these projects have provided is an exceptional collaborative environment between Holcim and our non-private partners. This has led to continuous conversation with and support of one another by Holcim, the municipality, and the conservation authority. We provide access to conservation authority personnel to monitor birds, bats, fish, and shoreline conditions around our properties. These activities are part of larger studies; however, because of our open dialogue and our environmental commitments and the seriousness with which we take them, and based on the success of previous collaboration, Holcim was willing to grant access to have our properties included in these studies.
We also benefited when an opportunity for funding became available through the Government of Canada, as the information collected and, more importantly, the established collaborative relationship between Holcim and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority facilitated their support for Holcim to have nine acres of waterfront land enhanced to create a stopover and feeding area for migratory species at risk. This project clearly benefits these species, the mandate of the conservation authority, and the national conservation plan, but it also allows Holcim to further solidify our environmental leadership position with a project that independently would not be within our scope of knowledge or financial resources to complete.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to present to this committee and for the support the Government of Canada has provided for the natural enhancement project I just mentioned, on nine acres of land of our property on the shoreline of Lake Ontario, as a model of natural restoration and environmental leadership.
In summary, the collaborative nature of relationships between Holcim and our not-for-profit or public partners, in combination with our sustainability-minded business approach, has allowed us to take a leadership role in the private sector. All the examples provided have been realized within 500 metres of our Mississauga cement plant. These are local projects with local stakeholders that have a local and global impact.
We also appreciate the value we're able to bring to the table when discussing such collaboration. When there are innovative, creative organizations sitting at the table with us that are able to provide expertise in their area, the reputational value of their organizations, and an understanding of business needs, as well as the potential for funding to bridge economic gaps, then sustainable development opportunities are bound to find light.
Thank you.
View Andrew Saxton Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Farrell, if employers feel they are going to be sued because a student isn't getting the training they want, is that going to stop employers from potentially having interns?
John Farrell
View John Farrell Profile
John Farrell
2015-06-02 9:58
You know that you can't prevent people from taking actions they think are appropriate, but I don't think it's necessary to concern ourselves with lawsuits.
We believe employers and interns can benefit from the balance that is necessary to give them the training they need, so they can advance their educational and work experiences.
View Laurin Liu Profile
NDP (QC)
What would be the case for new Canadians? Do you think that new Canadians should be forced to work for free to gain workplace experience?
Claire Seaborn
View Claire Seaborn Profile
Claire Seaborn
2015-06-02 10:26
Absolutely. We frequently receive emails from immigrants in Canada who take unpaid work out of desperation and for no other reason. In fact, all Canadians are taking unpaid work out of desperation. Federally regulated employers would use these exceptions to take advantage of that desperation and extract work, labour, that's useful to them. They provide training but they are certainly extracting work from people without providing remuneration and without really being accountable for what they're providing to those people.
Jonathan Champagne
View Jonathan Champagne Profile
Jonathan Champagne
2015-06-02 10:27
I think the idea of providing a community service for allowing new immigrants to work for free is a guise and something that shouldn't be accepted or tolerated.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-05-26 16:12
May I ask a very specific question about the ending of your presentation, Ms. Hopkins? You talked about the addictions management information system. You said it sounded like a valuable database and a tool that could be used, but your problem is that despite creating a few webinars, you don't have the resources you need to make those available to the people who could use those. Have you costed how much money that would take? Which department would be the one that you would expect to assist, if it's a federal department?
Carol Hopkins
View Carol Hopkins Profile
Carol Hopkins
2015-05-26 16:12
There have been some regions of the first nations and Inuit health branch of Health Canada that have invested in training. For example, in the Quebec region, they provided $5,000 to five treatment centres so they could train all of their staff and invite community members in who would be using the system to make referrals and access to the assessment tools. So $25,000 for a whole region to be trained on this system is money well spent in terms of the data we would be able to collect over time.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
View Wayne Easter Profile
2015-05-26 16:25
You say Statistics Canada was moving in that direction. Why did they stop, and how do we get them back on track so that they do keep that data?
The second question I have, which is for Ms. Hopkins, is what needs to be done? The $25,000 investment for your addictions management information system, to me, seems to be a small number. What needs to be done to implement that system?
Angella MacEwen
View Angella MacEwen Profile
Angella MacEwen
2015-05-26 8:58
Thank you.
On behalf of the 3.3 million members of the Canadian Labour Congress, we want to thank you for the opportunity to present our views today. The CLC brings together workers from virtually all sectors of the Canadian economy, in all occupations, and in all parts of Canada.
Part 1 of Bill C-59, which we're speaking to today, would implement a wide variety of income tax and related measures. Today our comments will be limited to three provisions: reducing the required minimum amount for withdrawal annually from the RRIF; increasing the annual contribution limit for the tax-free savings accounts; and renewing the accelerated capital cost allowance for investment in machinery and equipment.
First of all, in terms of retirement security, the changes to the RRIF withdrawals and the increases to the tax-free savings accounts are measures that are both related to retirement security, but it will be no surprise to members of this committee that the Canadian Labour Congress feels that expanding the Canada pension plan is a much better solution to the looming retirement security crisis in Canada. Changes to RRIF withdrawals benefit older workers who already have RRSP savings, but they do little for workers without the means to save through RRSPs. This is significant because only a third of Canadians today contribute to RRSPs, and the unused RRSP contribution room reached $790 billion in 2013. Eleven million workers in Canada have no pension plan other than the CPP. At the same time, the annual contribution limit for the tax-free savings account would increase to $10,000, as has already been discussed, and this measure would have an estimated cost to federal revenues of $1.1 billion by 2019.
Even at the maximum annual contribution of $5,500, the TFSA is projected to cost the federal government up to $15 billion annually, and cost the provinces another $8 billion when the program is fully mature. Doubling would further increase this cost almost exclusively to the benefit of higher income earners. In contrast, expanding the CPP would benefit all workers, follow workers who change employers or who have multiple employers, and be simple for employers to administer.
In terms of supporting manufacturing, we recognize that as a result of globalization, unfavourable trade deals, a high dollar, and the most recent recession, manufacturing in Ontario and across Canada has experienced devastating losses over the past decade. In recognition of this reality, we have long supported renewing the accelerated capital cost allowance for investment in machinery and equipment. This measure was first introduced in 2007, renewed in 2011 and 2013, and would now be renewed until 2026. While we support this measure, we want to note that corporate tax cuts have failed to spur business investment. In the same vein, we feel that continuing this accelerated capital cost allowance would be insufficient to support a struggling manufacturing sector in Canada.
Coming out of the recession, business investments in manufacturing have been very slow to rebound, despite the continuation of the accelerated capital cost allowance. In October 2014, the monetary policy report released by the Bank of Canada suggested that this is in part because of a semi-permanent loss of capacity in several manufacturing export sectors. Low interest rates and low taxes have not been sufficient drivers of growth. Weak and uncertain demand have played a significant role in subdued investment. All signs point to the need for the federal government investment in infrastructure to spur growth and therefore boost business confidence and private investment.
A singular focus on tax cuts has significant drawbacks. We note that while the budget 2015 documentation mentions the importance of investment in skilled labour in the same sentence as it mentions investment in machinery, government action on this front has been noticeably absent.
Let me remind the committee of some of the recommendations the Canadian Labour Congress has made in the past that would make a difference to investment in skilled workers.
One, establish a national skills council that brings key stakeholders together to identify skills gaps and develop strategies, policies, and programs to address them.
Two, establish a mandatory national workplace training fund. Employers with a payroll of more than $1 million who fail to invest 1% of their payroll in training should pay the shortfall into a public fund that is used to finance work-related training initiatives.
Three, increase funding for the labour market agreements, the LMAs, with the provinces and territories to help vulnerable unemployed workers, including immigrants, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, women, older workers, younger workers, and less skilled individuals.
Four, mandate employers to hire and train apprentices. The federal budget should ensure that those projects receiving federal dollars through the new building Canada fund and the investment in affordable housing program mandate employers to hire and train apprentices.
This budget further erodes the fiscal capacity of the Canadian state and rejects the opportunity to take advantage of exceptionally low borrowing costs and invest in the current and future needs of working people in Canada.
Thank you.
Marie Deschamps
View Marie Deschamps Profile
Hon. Marie Deschamps
2015-05-25 15:39
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
When the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Lawson, entrusted me with the mandate of examining the Canadian armed forces policy on sexual harassment and sexual assault, he told me he wanted the point of view of a person from the outside.
My report is the fruit of some intense work. I met over 700 people. I did an exhaustive and thorough study of policies, and I reviewed what are currently considered the best practices in the area of sexual harassment and assault.
I will not comment on my report here, save for two points I wish to emphasize, which can be summarized in two words: victims, and trust.
I will begin by speaking about victims. Each one of the 10 recommendations in my report aims to improve conditions for members of the Canadian armed forces. The impact has to be felt at all levels, not only in daily life, but also in the support afforded to victims and the prevention of incidents.
Supporting victims means that the Canadian armed forces have to give priority to the needs of the victims. In discussing prevention I of course refer to training. The Canadian armed forces have to teach their members what professional behaviour is and what is not acceptable. Prevention also means deterring eventual offenders by promptly imposing sanctions that will make everyone understand that there will be no compromises.
We cannot underestimate the importance and attention that must be afforded victims. It is through them that the Canadian armed forces will be able to assess the evolution of change in their culture. These men and women will allow them to verify the level of respect for the dignity of persons and the professionalism of our armed forces.
The second point is a guiding principle underlying my recommendation. It is the need to rebuild the trust and confidence of the Canadian Forces members in their organization. This will require short-term, medium-term, and long-term measures to bring about real changes.
Such change will take time. The first step, however, is for the Canadian Forces leadership to demonstrate to members through their actions that they acknowledge that the problem of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the armed forces is real. But most important, the forces need to show that they will take all the necessary steps to tackle this issue, including adopting measures that are recognized as international and national best practices.
One of these practices on which I heavily relied corresponds to what many members and people who worked with victims told me they needed. It is the creation of an independent centre where victims can seek support and advice. It is critical that such a centre be truly independent of the armed forces in order to reassure victims that by reporting an incident of sexual harassment or sexual assault, they will be able to access support without triggering negative consequences for their careers or in their personal lives.
I took inspiration from models that various countries adopted. The American and Australian forces created their respective centres in 2005 and 2012. Last summer, in 2014, the French forces also implemented a centre called Cellule Thémis.
Based on my consultation with members and with persons who worked with victims of harassment and assault, I found that the creation of an independent centre to assist and support victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment is an essential step in rebuilding the confidence of members in their organization.
In my report, speaking about the process of investigating and prosecuting sexual assault, I mentioned that each country has developed their own response to their problems. The centre I recommend is not identical to any of the existing ones and I did not view my mandate as describing in minute detail the form that it should take.
However, the Canadian Forces should attempt to draw the best features from each existing model. In my view, the more independent the centre is, the better are the chances that the victims will seek support and fully report incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Reporting is fundamental not only because the victims need support, but also because the Canadian Forces need to know how members behave.
Thank you.
Christine Whitecross
View Christine Whitecross Profile
Christine Whitecross
2015-05-25 15:45
Thank you, Mr. Chair and committee members, for the opportunity to appear before you today to provide an update on the progress the Canadian Armed Forces strategic response team is making in dealing with inappropriate sexual behaviour in the forces.
You will remember that the external review authority's report and the action plan developed by the Canadian Armed Forces to deal specifically with Madame Deschamps' 10 recommendations were released to the Canadian public on April 30, 2015.
Let me start by saying that the past 17 working days since the release of the action plan indeed have been very busy. As I stated at the time of the release, inappropriate sexual behaviour is a complex problem that defies quick fixes and band-aid solutions. To successfully address it, our approach centres on identifying and treating its fundamental root causes rather than simply addressing the symptoms. Madame Deschamps' insight and analysis is absolutely pivotal in this approach. So, what has transpired during the last two and a half weeks?
First, we have reaffirmed that the strategic response team's mission is to enhance the operational readiness of the Canadian Forces by eliminating incidents and impacts of inappropriate sexual behaviour to the extent possible.
The goal is a Canadian Armed Forces that upholds a culture of dignity and respect for all. These are core Canadian values that the institution exists to defend in Canada and around the globe. In other words, in the long term we will enhance the fundamental Canadian Armed Forces' culture to the point that inappropriate sexual behaviour will not be tolerated either by targets of such behaviour or by anyone who witnesses it.
In the short term, we will trigger positive shifts in behaviour through increased awareness of acceptable norms, expectations, responsibilities and accountabilities by engaging with both the chain of command and grassroots membership across the organization.
Additionally, the recently formed Canadian Armed Forces strategic response team on sexual misconduct, which I lead, continues to grow and mature. It is noteworthy that this is the first time in the Canadian Armed Forces' history that an entity has been formed for the sole purpose of addressing this important issue. I have assembled a highly capable, multidisciplinary team consisting of civilian personnel, military members and former military members with the appropriate combination of required skills and experience.
We have identified four major lines of effort critical to achieving the objective. As described in our action plan, the first is to understand the problem. The second is to respond effectively to incidents of inappropriate behaviour, including enhancing the process of reporting. The third is to better support victims throughout the process. The fourth is to prevent occurrences from taking place in the first place.
We have already made considerable progress in several of these endeavours. In terms of understanding, my team has carefully examined Madame Deschamps' report and has begun considering how best to address each of her 10 recommendations.
For example, a key recommendation in Madame Deschamps' report was the creation of an independent centre to deal with inappropriate sexual behaviour. She provided us with several examples, including those established in the United States and Australian militaries.
The analysis of an independent centre will be the focal point of the strategic response team's planning and development in the coming weeks. Accordingly, my team and I recently met with American officials on their SAPRO model and Australian officials on their SeMPRO organization. Both consultations were very productive and provided the team with better insight into a field-tested, proven option with the potential to illustrate how a similar construct could be developed to fit the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces or the Department of National Defence.
In addition to these two visits, members of the strategic response team visited the Peel Regional Police and the Canadian Army Command and Staff College to open discussions about educational opportunities. They attended an international workshop in Geneva that brought together a broad spectrum of international experts on the core facets of sexual harassment and sexual assault in organizational environments. They attended a conference on gender-based analysis plus in security and defence operations held in Ottawa. They met with Ambassador Schuurman, the NATO secretary general's special representative for women, peace and security.
A key component of the behavioural and cultural change I alluded to earlier is connecting with the Canadian Armed Forces members at every level of the organization, including at the pointy end, to both increase awareness of the Canadian Armed Forces' response to Madame Deschamps' report, and to inspire open dialogue and personal reflection on the problem of inappropriate sexual behaviour in the forces. This is quite similar to the approach previously employed in shifting internal stigmas and behaviour surrounding post-traumatic stress disorder and operational stress injuries, which we largely succeeded in doing in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
With members of my team, I began connecting directly with the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces across Canada starting on May 1, the day after the release of the report. Through a series of town hall meetings, individual question and answer sessions, discussions with the local chain of command, as well as interactions with interested local and regional media, the strategic response team is reaching out to Canadian Armed Forces members and setting the conditions for ongoing dialogue.
I open each session with the acknowledgement that this is a serious problem within the Canadian Armed Forces and that al though no one wants to discuss inappropriate sexual behaviour, it is important to start the discussion. So far, we have been to six bases and wings where I have briefed approximately 5,300 military personnel at 16 general sessions. The questions, comments, concerns, and perspectives in these sessions have brought to light both positive and negative personal experience anecdotes and reinforced two realities: one, the problem is highly complex; and two, while there is a collective will to move the organization forward, there is little consensus as to the gravity of the existing problem.
In the next few months, I look forward to completing the town halls at all 33 bases and wings to ensure that the majority of Canadian Armed Forces members have an opportunity to hear and understand what the team is doing, ask questions and express opinions, and learn about the direction being taken by the Canadian Armed Forces.
Similarly, my team and I will continue our focused consultations with both domestic and international entities that are dealing with a problem similar to ours. This includes military, government, police, and other non-governmental organizations that are able to provide us with applicable insight on best practices and lessons learned.
One of the reasons the Canadian Armed Forces' response to the problem of inappropriate sexual behaviour will be more effective this time is the heightened emphasis on outcome measurement. Even the most elaborate plans and outputs mean little if they do not translate into tangible outcomes and results on the ground. To this end, my team is studying program evaluation methodologies to ensure we are able to measure how effective the changes we implement actually are in practice.
Reporting will go hand in hand with performance measurement. Starting in the fall, I will deliver to the Chief of the Defence Staff my first quarterly report on the Canadian Armed Forces' progress in responding to the problem of inappropriate sexual behaviour. The report will also be released to the Canadian public. We are fully committed to open, transparent dialogue with external stakeholders. Over the past 25 days we have interacted with a total of 88 different media agencies in group and individual engagements. My team and I are committed to standing up and being held to account on this crucial imperative and will continue to be actively engaged with the public, Parliament, and the media.
We have also begun to examine how we can improve the Canadian Armed Forces' approach to training and education in order to shift culture towards enhancing the level of dignity and respect. As well, the team, in conjunction with other Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence personnel, is reviewing existing policy to assess its clarity, coherence, appropriateness, and applicability. As part of this endeavour, all terminology and definitions pertaining to inappropriate sexual behaviour will be thoroughly examined.
Inappropriate sexual behaviour remains a complex problem, one that quick fixes will not solve substantively or sustainably. My team is focused on creating innovative, meaningful change tailored to the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces members and based on best practices and lessons learned from a wide range of sources. This is a no-fail mission for the Canadian Armed Forces that my team and I are completely and utterly committed to.
Thank you.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
General Whitecross, in your presentation you made the comment that trying to deal with the issue and raising awareness was similar to what we've gone through with mental health within the Canadian Armed Forces and how we changed the stigma, how we shifted the culture.
During this parliamentary session this committee spent quite a bit of time studying the care of our ill and injured within the Canadian Armed Forces. One thing that we came across is that we saw change happening for sure at the top end of management within the Canadian Armed Forces, but there were still some problems sometimes with middle management and even among the ranks themselves in how we deal with someone who was suffering from mental health issues.
Do you feel that's going to be a barrier in how we view awareness, education, and training with members of the Canadian Armed Forces as we move forward on sexual misconduct?
Christine Whitecross
View Christine Whitecross Profile
Christine Whitecross
2015-05-25 16:53
The first phase of our approach right now is obviously the town halls, because we have had some success, as you alluded to, in the past—and it's certainly not a similar situation; I'd like to say that first off—with PTSD and OSI, where there was a stigma, there was being afraid to speak to your chain of command, being afraid to speak to your buddies. On that thing, a lot of it, we managed to effect some change based on grassroots and a leadership down, so a bottom-up and top-down approach, to start the discussion to make sure that people are aware that these exist and that we need to be able to be free and open about the discussion. This is one of the ways we are hoping to effect change on this sexualized culture that Madame Deschamps reports.
I would just like to add that there are a number of other areas that we need to also address. One of them is that as we're trying to reinstate trust and confidence in those chains of command where it does not exist, we ensure that people are aware of the policies that they must address. Granted, we're looking at all those policies to see where they need to change, but we need to have a similar address of policies regardless of where they are in the Canadian Armed Forces. That includes the procedures that the chain of command need to deal with. In the discussions, in the identifying of a comprehensive approach in terms of an independent centre, we're also looking at a number of other areas where we're trying to instill confidence back into the chain of command where it's required.
View Pat Perkins Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I think the first question I'll ask is of Iain Macdonald.
You made the statement, with respect to HR and skills, that you very much required to have a properly trained workforce and that you're finding deficiencies in that area moving forward. What do you see the government's role being in this? Is this something you're asking us to consider assisting with, or is there something under way? Would you like to explain what that comment meant?
Iain Macdonald
View Iain Macdonald Profile
Iain Macdonald
2015-05-12 16:56
Sure. Thank you.
I think the role is to continue to fund the labour market studies, which have been very beneficial for understanding, as Ms. Block said, the transitions in the industry and responding to them. We have had very positive results with pre-employment training for disadvantaged groups and equity groups, as I mentioned. A major issue for companies is finding skilled employees and entry-level workers.
In terms of other roles, I think there's a potential for greater coordination between the various post-secondary institutions and industry in Canada so that there is some kind of laddering system for people to progress from high school education through various kinds of post-secondary training, and then possibly continue it through professional programs as they continue to work.
The fluid nature of technology and today's markets is such that it's no longer enough to have a four-year degree to serve you for your career. You're going to need at various times to take upgrading in your training. We're trying to do that in some ways through e-learning, for example, and blended learning, which combines e-learning with face-to-face training for shorter periods. But those kinds of programs are difficult to make sustainable, sometimes.
Jean-Pierre Voyer
View Jean-Pierre Voyer Profile
Jean-Pierre Voyer
2015-05-12 16:33
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much for inviting us to appear before the committee today.
Let me offer a few words about us.
SRDC is a not-for-profit, independent social policy research organization. We were established in 1991 at the request of Employment and Immigration Canada to design, pilot, and evaluate new social programs. Now, 24 years later, we have completed more than 200 projects for federal departments, provinces, municipalities, private foundations, and other non-profit organizations. Our work spans all areas of social policy writ large. In recent years, SRDC has been engaged in several projects on the application of performance-based funding and a social finance approach applied to the field of employment services, adult education, and training.
One reason we are here today is that more specifically, in January 2014 ESDC contracted us to be the independent evaluator for two essential skills training projects. Essential skills, as probably many of you know, are defined as literacy or foundational skills that are required for work, learning, and life in general.
These projects are the first two social finance projects launched with the support of the federal government. This was announced by Minister Kenney at the World Social Enterprise Forum in Calgary in the fall of 2013.
In both projects, private investors pay for the training up front and are repaid by the government if the training is successful in achieving pre-established outcomes. You may wish to look at the diagrams we have circulated to get a sense of the architecture supporting the delivery of the training.
The first pilot project, on the slide that has “SIB pilot project for unemployed” in the title is led by Colleges and Institutes Canada, CICan, which plays the role of SIB intermediary. They are working with four colleges across Canada as the service providers.
The project proposes to enrol 400 unemployed, lower-skilled Canadians to receive a program called Foundations, which is an established essential skills training program developed by Douglas College in B.C. This project is testing what would be considered a true social impact bond model in which private investors will recover their initial investment plus a financial return of up to 15%, if the training is successful.
The second project is the flip side. This one is addressed to people who are already employed. It's led by the Alberta Workforce Essential Skills Society; they are the proponent of the project and the intermediary for this pilot.
In this case, the private sector employers will be reimbursed up to 50% of training costs for up to 800 workers, if the training achieves target outcomes. This is a variant that we call “employer as the investor”. It's a departure from a formal SIB, because the investor is not motivated by return on capital investment per se but by the prospect of economic returns from a better-trained and more productive workforce as well as reimbursement of training expenses.
In both of these pilots, government reimbursement of training costs is triggered based on gain in literacy skills. These are measured pre- and post-training, and they are used as a proxy for labour market outcomes success.
Up to this point our organization has been supporting the leader of these projects in the design of the program and has developed reimbursement formulae for both projects. We worked on investor risk-reward scenarios to establish graduated payment schemes and comparability of the SIB offering with market investment. It gets fairly technical, as you can see.
Positioning these projects in the social impact bond literature, I would say that they have some of the core features. First of all, the private investor pays the full cost of the intervention up front; the SIB addresses a well-identified social environmental problem or goal—that is, the high vulnerability of low-skills workers in the Canadian economy; and the activity generates a social dividend and economic return to investors. There are social and economic benefits associated with a more skilled workforce, and private investors in both cases are achieving returns on investment. The payback to the investor is from government and is tied to measurable results.
There is the presence of cashable savings for government. The more people who are trained, the more earnings they make, the more tax they pay, and also, the less reliance on employment insurance and social assistance programs.
Some or all of the risk is borne by the private sector. If desired outcomes are not achieved, private investors bear a large part of the costs.
But they're not like some SIBs we have discussed before in the sense that we're focusing on intermediate outcomes to trigger the payback—that is, skill gains—and not directly associated with measurable cash savings to government.
It goes to show that there is no one unique SIB model, and we came to this realization fairly early in this process, when we were looking at the literature and were looking at what other countries were doing. There are different ways of orchestrating these arrangements.
To conclude, here are some key observations about what we've learned so far. We're not an advocacy group. We could advocate, but we're not going to advocate. We're evaluators, so we present a neutral point of view.
First, we observe, of course, that social impact bonds and social finance schemes in general can be very complex. Defining success outcomes, reimbursement terms, and appropriate metrics to measure success, all of that is fairly complex. Our approach was to ground the rationale for the repayment scheme in evidence of point gains from previous essential skills training intervention to define a benchmark. We look for benchmarking in the process. Then we calculated risk-reward scenarios to prepare a graduated payment scheme that rewards higher levels of success with higher returns on investment. This we had to engage into, while we expected something much simpler at the beginning.
SIBs involve substantial transitional costs because there are a lot of people involved in the process, from investors to intermediaries to service deliverers. All of these people have to work and interact together and come to agreements, and it's a long process, so transitional costs are high.
At the beginning what we realized is that, despite the political interest and support for these projects, the legal and regulatory environment in Canada had never heard of SIBs and it was not adequately prepared. The intermediary for the SIB for the unemployed—that is, Colleges and Institutes Canada—which is structured as a non-profit and charitable organization, had to examine and review alternative corporate structures to be able to receive and administer the SIB funds. It spent a fair amount of money on consultants to figure out how to go about it.
Attracting private investment can be challenging. Potential investors range from benevolent investor foundations and the like to those who are more commercially oriented and who seek market returns on their investment. People whom we call “finance-first investors” may sometimes accept the risk of lower returns if their investment is supporting a good cause but that is not yet the general norm.
ln the case of the workplace essential skills training model, we have learned from the project leads that there can be hesitation to make the significant up-front investments from investors. They are not used to the formula and they are often tempted to rely on other government programs where the subsidies or the support from government is known and more tangible.
In other jurisdictions, the availability of funds for SIB investment has led to more rapid development and implementation of SIBs than in Canada, for good reason. As you well know by now, in the U.K., the creation of the Big Society Capital independent financial institution was a major lever to get them going.
The third point is accounting for all costs and benefits. SIB arrangements would be more likely to attract interest and popularity not only if governments were willing to reimburse investors on the basis of cash savings that their own fiscal frameworks will record but also if they would take into consideration all social and environmental benefits that can be generated through SIB intervention.
As I mentioned, SIBs could be very resource intensive. Without a large definition of benefits, including those going to society as a whole not only those affecting the fiscal framework, they would be harder to popularize.
One other difficulty for Canada is that many of the cash savings don't end up with one government. A lot of social policy is managed by the provincial governments, and they are the ones that will realize the bulk of the cash savings. While the federal government will also realize some cash saving through increased tax or other means, connecting the two is something that has to be achieved if you want to make sense of SIB implementation.
My last remark is to say that we are in favour of further exploration of SIBs in Canada, but please evaluate them carefully. It's not a proven recipe, as we've heard from previous speakers.
Ben Voss
View Ben Voss Profile
Ben Voss
2015-05-07 15:33
Thank you very much. Good afternoon and thanks to the committee for the invitation to come forward today as a witness.
Forest renewal and the future of one of Canada's oldest industries is of great interest to the group I'm here representing today, MLTC Resource Development. MLTC stands for the Meadow Lake Tribal Council, as the chair mentioned, which is owned by nine first nations communities in northwest Saskatchewan. MLTC Resource Development is a private equity investment partnership that owns several businesses in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Our largest investments are in forestry, and we also own real estate, hotels, fertilizer distribution, trucking companies, and telecommunications services.
The chiefs and councils of the nine first nations have developed a very positive reputation for having strong governance and clear separation of business and politics. I'm proud to say that as a non-first nations person, it's very humbling to work for an organization that is helping Canada's indigenous peoples make a contribution and earn a stake in the economy and work towards prosperity. There is a key reason why MLTC has been so successful in forestry, and it's because we're owners. We own the mill. We own the forest management company. We own the harvesting, the trucking, and the value-added processing. As owners, we control the natural resource development, the planning, the infrastructure, and we control how the benefits are retained in the region.
At the heart of our business is NorSask Forest Products, a state-of-the art high throughput and technologically advanced studmill facility. We produce 135 million board feet annually and are on track to increase that with ongoing investments in technology and innovation. Our high quality two by four and two by six studs are sold across North America and sought after by our customers due to our exceptional quality, customer service, and reputation.
NorSask was one of the few sawmills to remain open in the downturn and has remained a viable and successful sawmill under some of the most difficult conditions. NorSask directly employs nearly 200 people and 75% are aboriginal, almost half of whom are first nations people and most quite young.
The regional jobs that are maintained in the planning, harvesting, transportation and maintenance, and use of the timber are well in excess of 1,000 people and many of these are also first nations members. All of these jobs are linked to NorSask and MLTC's role in forest management.
Despite our success and resilience, we face unprecedented pressures due to limited market access, infrastructure deficits, no rail service, low quota levels, high labour cost, shortages of skilled trades, and competition for government resources from foreign-owned multinational companies.
ln 2007 we could see that forestry had to change. Lumber markets were collapsing. The traditional model where a sawmill and pulp mill operate hand in hand was just not sustainable. The pulp mills depend on low-cost pulp chips, produced as a byproduct of sawmills, as well as large government subsidies for capital and electricity rates, to stay viable. Pulp markets were shrinking. Pulp mills were closing and the future was uncertain. Pulp mills are also supposed to use hardwood species to allow access to the softwood for a sawmill.
Good lumber depends on good fibre and Saskatchewan has some of the best in the world. We are not yet impacted by the mountain pine beetle and the market knows that. Yet, we are still dependent on pulp mills, typically foreign owned, to utilize hardwood and to buy pulp chips, unless we change our model.
Since 2013, we have invested more than $20 million into modernization, expansion, and recapitalization of our sawmill. As a result, we have put our money where our mouth is towards innovation and the confidence that lumber will always be a product in high demand, despite market cycles.
ln our view, the future depends on finding better value from our timber resources instead of just lumber and pulp. We need to ensure total fibre utilization, including the value-added use of our wastes. Our focus turned to bioenergy and in particular electricity generation and wood pellets. Wood pellets are simple enough as long as you can find markets. Electricity, on the other hand, is very hard to get into without cooperation from local utilities. ln our case, SaskPower is the provincial-owned crown corporation and holds a monopoly in the regulated market. ln 2013, we successfully signed a power purchase agreement to construct a 36 megawatt biomass fired power plant, the first in Saskatchewan.
ln 2014, we started construction on Saskatchewan's first wood pellet manufacturing facility with a design output of 10,000 tonnes per year of premium wood pellets for use in residential heating and environmental spill cleanup. We are very optimistic that this plant can be expanded as we continue to develop more markets across North America.
A key issue worth mentioning is that first nations-owned sawmills do not qualify for many federal or provincial funding programs. So all of this is done with private investment. We can't use the accelerated capital cost allowance, SR and ED, IRAP, or any other innovation funding programs, and the softwood lumber agreement usually prevents direct government funding to sawmills. So our investments in innovation have been internally and privately financed, which is a huge disadvantage compared to the rest of the forest sector and hampers innovation investing.
I can't leave here today without mentioning the softwood lumber agreement. Saskatchewan is often overlooked in the Canadian negotiations. We haven't got enough quota. Today we have three saw mills operating and enough quota for one. Other provinces, such as B.C.... I won't go through the list, but several of them have excess quotas. Negotiators seem unwilling to try to help Saskatchewan because of the fear that changing the agreement would jeopardize the fragile consensus and that we're better just to renew the status quo.
We are strongly recommending that the SLA be structured to give Saskatchewan it's fair share. Moving quota does not cost the other provinces any jobs, but if Saskatchewan doesn't increase it's quota, it could cost a thousand jobs.
In summary my recommendations to the committee are as follows: develop financial support programs and investment incentives for diversified forest products that first nations-owned companies are eligible to received; focus on continued skills trade program funding such as Northern Career Quest, which we feel is very successful; develop a new domestic focus on ensuring that community ownership models are supported, including loan guarantees or other financing programs; rebalance the SLA quotas to support the Saskatchewan saw mill industry without harming other provinces who have surplus quotas; and expand and enhance federal funding programs for innovative new technology investments to encourage domestic investment and newer leading edge technologies.
I want to thank you for your time today, and I'll do my best to answer any questions you may have.
I hope that our story has been a benefit to your committee's work and we can offer some proof that forestry innovation is alive and well in Canada.
Thanks.
Ben Voss
View Ben Voss Profile
Ben Voss
2015-05-07 16:20
We have gone through a bit of an occurrence that's common in Saskatchewan now where there is a labour shortage. We have a lot of skilled trades shortages, and there is also this extremely high unemployment rate with aboriginal people, which we're also familiar with.
The Meadow Lake region has an abundance of aboriginal people, young people in particular, so the average age among the population is 17. The Meadow Lake Tribal Council has 13 members, half of whom live on-reserve, and the other half are off-reserve. There are big distances between the communities.
We've been working closely with the regional colleges and the professional and technical colleges to implement as many skilled trades training programs as we can. There were some federal programs we partnered with, one in particular called Northern Career Quest. I mentioned in my notes that it has been very successful. We would love to see it return and be rejuvenated because it's had the best outcomes of any program we've seen, largely because it's extremely flexible. It's able to address the immediate needs that are usually not compatible with typical funding programs, so that's been fantastic.
When we went back to the market looking for employees, we found that aboriginal people were the primary applicants, so we just had to make sure that our workplace was really embracing them in terms of their unique youth-oriented needs, which is not really an aboriginal issue but it happens to be just something that's part of the new generation, but we also had to—
View Joan Crockatt Profile
CPC (AB)
Could you maybe be specific on one or two points that you think have actually made that difference for you so that the committee can be a little bit more knowledgeable about some best practices?
Ben Voss
View Ben Voss Profile
Ben Voss
2015-05-07 16:22
If you compare us to other forest companies in Saskatchewan, we have by far the highest aboriginal employment. The normal would be perhaps 5% or 10% whereas we're at 75%. We're owned by first nations so there is going to be some strong policy around making sure we put emphasis on promoting job creation among our membership. There are a lot of stakeholders who want to see that happen. Federal government departments want to see it happen. They want to see people moving off social assistance and moving into the workforce, so there is a lot of support.
The Meadow Lake Tribal Council has a number of very successful health and social programs that are active in getting people through graduating from grade 12, getting them into post-secondary training, and getting them into pre-qualification in trades, and that's led to a large number of candidates who are able to come forward to apply for jobs. We don't really have a temporary foreign worker program. We have an abundance of applicants, generally from the region, so it's a bit of a good news story that way.
We would like to see a lot more emphasis on life skills development and helping people integrate when they move from a very remote rural community into Meadow Lake, which is not that urban, 5,000 people, but it's still a big shock for a lot of people.
Ben Voss
View Ben Voss Profile
Ben Voss
2015-05-07 16:24
What is it like to rent an apartment, build a lifestyle, get a family established, and put down roots? That's not really common for a lot of young people so we need to help them understand those things. When we strengthen those things they become long-term, stable employees and commit themselves to the company.
We have a lot of strong candidates right now, a lot of shining stars. We're using them as examples to help recruit more like them, and it's going well.
View Joan Crockatt Profile
CPC (AB)
If you had a recommendation for government, of the programs you've accessed, which would you say you want to see us strengthen and continue? What do you think is a best model that's worked for you?
Ben Voss
View Ben Voss Profile
Ben Voss
2015-05-07 16:24
Yes, it's a Saskatchewan-specific program. I know that other provinces have looked at it. It's been very successful.
There are some models in Alberta and B.C. that we're looking at as well that are specific to forestry, but we really like Northern Career quest. It's great.
Don Ludlow
View Don Ludlow Profile
Don Ludlow
2015-04-23 8:48
Great. Thank you, Mr. Chair, committee members, and all those joining us here today.
It is a pleasure for my colleague Tim Patriquin and I to be here representing the members of the Treble Victor Group and participating in this important discussion.
The Treble Victor Group, or 3V, is a network of ex-military leaders working in business, government, and the not-for-profit sectors, who support one another in their post-service careers. We assist one another through mentoring and advice, networking, and speaking events, while consulting with corporations and other organizations to establish programs for those transitioning from the military. While not representing ill or injured soldiers specifically, we simply note that our organization comprises some 250 former military leaders with many different backgrounds and experiences, all at different stages in their careers.
We recognize that all veterans transition out of the military at some point. Many, if not most, seek engaging and meaningful careers post service. Our members believe that when considering a national approach to veterans, a great country like Canada needs to ensure the following: that we honour our heros who have served in times of war and peace; that we look after our ill and injured soldiers, seeing them through recovery, rehabilitation, and a return to fulfilling work; and that we tap the amazing talent that the nation has developed in its military services. Our organization is particularly interested and experienced in the latter point as it seeks to collaborate with businesses and organizations throughout Canada to leverage the skills, capabilities, and experiences of those with military backgrounds.
Why is it imperative to tap the talent available from transitioning veterans? First of all, Canada has invested heavily in developing and building the skills and capabilities of these citizens who are drawn from all regions of the country and all walks of life. Second, many of the strengths developed through military service are highly sought after in the business community, often-referred-to soft skills such as leadership, managing diversity, initiative, and the ability to deal with ambiguity and rapid change. Finally, evolving demographic, economic, and competitive demands require us to mobilize all talent available in the population to address looming labour and talent shortages.
With this in mind, we would like to share with you a number of insights that 3V members have gained from their own transition experiences. The first is that transition takes time. Our own experience would suggest that a well-planned and executed transition from the military can take at least two years and often much longer. The implications of this are clear. If veterans, injured or otherwise, do not spend time and effort preparing for their post-military career while still in uniform or while convalescing, a last minute move will likely not prove successful for them or their new employer.
Second, our experience with transitions has demonstrated that there is almost always a brief conversion or ramping up to a particular industry or job. Thus jobs that have a training and development component at the outset, whether some of the excellent generalist programs run by some corporations or, for example, sales roles that have common courses for all new hires, seem to be well suited to transitioning veterans and result in considerable success for all.
Finally, we have learned that a successful transition of military personnel often requires an active sponsor or a highly supportive organization. Although Canada's military is highly regarded by Canadians and business leaders, the transferability and relevance of military experience is not so well understood. Too often, someone with military experience, while perhaps interesting and impressive in person, may seem like a hiring risk in comparison to and in competition with candidates who have done a particular civilian job before.
However, success breeds success. Once given a chance, our veterans usually perform remarkably well and are quickly integrated into new organizations, teams, and ways of doing things. Not surprisingly, organizations that have had some successful hires begin to employ many more veterans, and ex-military recruitment programs become a meaningful part of their talent sourcing.
Nonetheless, veterans require sponsors and someone willing to give them a chance. The reality is that there are just not enough of these champions in the business community today. All of this is to say that while many business leaders and hiring managers are sympathetic to those with military backgrounds and regard them well, there are some barriers preventing successful transitions. We wish to underscore that despite such challenges, veterans are not looking for sympathy. They are simply looking for meaningful employment to launch their post-service careers.
What can be done to help improve the situation for our veterans and enable Canada to make better use of those with military backgrounds?
Our organization has three recommendations. First, transition needs to begin well in advance of release or completion of rehabilitation. Transitioning veterans must be encouraged to consider and be provided resources to support their post-military employment plans a number of years before hanging up their uniforms. Transition support needs to be much more than resume writing and pension briefings, and should be structured to provide both resources and time for education upgrading or skills development.
Second, a particular emphasis needs to be placed on the educational aspects of veteran transition. Veterans should be provided with sufficient funding to pursue post-secondary education or training during, or on completion of, their terms of service and efforts to grant equivalency certifications based on military service and qualifications should be accelerated. A veteran will certainly appear to be much less of a risk if they, at the very least, have similar education and qualifications to others competing for civilian jobs.
Finally, we believe that clear goals should be set and formal partnerships established with corporate Canada. The highly successful 100,000 jobs mission south of our border demonstrates what can be accomplished when a specific goal is set and when corporations understand how supporting veteran transitions can benefit their own businesses. We note that Canada Company, closer to home, has established a goal of 10,000 jobs for veterans and this is achievable with appropriate support from the business community. Once common goals are committed to, we believe there is an opportunity to establish structured apprenticeship, on-boarding, or ramp-up programs with businesses across Canada to support transitioning veterans funded in part through relevant grants or tax incentives.
In closing, we do not believe that veterans want either charity or special treatment, but rather they seek the opportunity to use the skills and experiences they acquired in the armed forces as a springboard to a post-military career. We ask that you consider ways to support veterans well in advance of their transition date, while working with Canadian businesses to establish specific programs to convert qualified veterans to successful members of their organizations. Doing all of this properly is important to our veterans who will continue to enjoy meaningful work, while contributing to the continued success and vibrancy of Canadian society.
We very much thank you for the opportunity to present to you today and look forward to questions and further discussion.
Bronwen Evans
View Bronwen Evans Profile
Bronwen Evans
2015-03-26 8:53
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you for inviting me to present today.
I'm going to focus my remarks primarily around veterans who have been ill and injured, opportunities for employment programs that exist currently within government, and then some programs that we fund external to government.
I'll start off by giving a bit of a background on True Patriot Love. Some of you may know who we are as an organization, but I'll give a quick background on that. Then I will move on to talk about some work that we did in leadership at the Veterans Transition Advisory Council, which was a council that Minister Blaney, when he was the minister of veterans affairs, asked us to assemble. Through that I will talk about some survey work that we did of employers around their attitudes toward hiring veterans and then speak specifically to what we perceive to be some of the challenges regarding employment and where we think things should go.
True Patriot Love is an organization that started in 2009. There was a small group of us. Originally it was going to be a fundraising dinner that we did to raise money for the Military Families Fund. We raised about $2 million in one night and recognized that not only was there a need, but there was a huge opportunity and a willingness to give from corporate Canada.
We've been around for about six years and we've raised about $20 million, which we disburse to community-based charities across Canada that support military families. We don't run programs per se, but we raise money which we disburse, similar to how the United Way functions.
Our main areas of support are mental health and rehabilitation. We fund many counselling programs not just for injured soldiers, but also for their families. When a soldier suffers an operational stress injury, the whole family suffers. We also fund counselling programs in addition to that, where we look at children and young adults who are struggling at school or in new communities. Because they move frequently, they are often in need of support.
We also fund physical health and rehabilitation; so think adaptive ski programs and some very adaptive sport programs. We fund home and vehicle modifications for injured soldiers. The government does do some of that, but to give you an example of the kind of things we do, if a soldier lost a limb in Afghanistan and they come back, the government will pay to retrofit the soldier's existing vehicle. If that vehicle is too small to put a wheelchair and a ramp in it, we will pay for a new vehicle for the individual and the government will then retrofit it.
The other area that we fund is general family support. We do quite a bit in the area of supporting children in the military with special needs. This need has grown to about $750,000 a year. What happens is when children have special needs, like autism, and they move from one base to another, they go to the bottom of the public waiting list because it's all overseen by the provinces. Oftentimes they won't make it to the top of the waiting list before they need to move again. We were finding that families were taking out second mortgages on their home to pay for important therapy. That's a huge area of funding that we focus on. We also pay to send children to camp. Where there's been a recent injury, death, or deployment, we give military children the opportunity to go and spend time with other military children who may be going through some of the same things.
That's a general background on True Patriot Love.
A couple of years ago, Minister Blaney, when he was the minister for veterans affairs, asked True Patriot Love to put together what was called the Veterans Transition Advisory Council. I did send this document in advance and I want to make sure everybody has a copy of it. The purpose of the Veterans Transition Advisory Council was to look at systemic barriers that were preventing veterans from making a transition to meaningful employment. The reason I say meaningful is that we discovered quite early on that the issue isn't unemployment; it's more underemployment.
We assembled, with the support of Veterans Affairs and eventually with support from the Department of National Defence, a number of companies to help us look at the barriers. We also included other representation from charities across Canada that were in this space. Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence also have seats on this advisory council.
What I thought might be of particular interest to this group was a survey that we did of human resource departments across the country. It's the first-ever survey that has been done in Canada of this sort where we were looking at the attitudes of people doing the hiring in companies towards hiring veterans. There's been a lot of work done on this in other countries, like the U.S., but nothing had been done in Canada.
We did a quantitative survey of 850 corporate HR departments in Canada. What we found was interesting. We found that 45% of Canadian employers think that promoting the hiring of veterans reflects well on their company. We'd like it to be higher than 45%, but there's at least still 45% who believe that. However, 73% of Canadian employers admit that their organization does not have a specific veteran hiring initiative. When we prodded even further, we found only 4% of those who didn't have one have any intention of ever putting one in place.
We also found that only 13% of HR departments have been trained on how to read a military resumé. One thing we found especially interesting was that 46% believe having a university degree is more important than years of military experience. When you prodded that question and asked, what could a veteran do in order to help himself or herself get a job in the civilian world, education ranked the highest. The feeling with that was if you looked at their years of service, it wouldn't qualify essentially as the kind of training or internship that they were hoping to see and that they would need in order to bring veterans into their companies.
We have that going on and we're in a situation where employers, while their intentions might be good, don't really know how to go about hiring veterans.
We get calls as an organization quite frequently where somebody or a company will say to us, “We want to hire veterans. Where are they? How do we go about finding them?”
There is a program named MET, the military employment transition program, which is run by Canada Company in partnership with the Department of National Defence. That's very hands-on in terms of matching up employers with veterans. However, it's only able to handle so much volume, and on top of that, they don't deal with the ill and injured population at all.
The report that you have is our interim report, which ended up being presented to Minister Fantino. When we presented it to the minister and asked for further direction, he asked us to look specifically at the ill and injured veteran population to see what could be done in that area, because that was an area where when it came to employment the feeling was there was the most concern and the least amount of supports available to them.
We, the Veterans Transition Advisory Council, spent some time looking at that issue in particular. We did a survey of the programs that are already out there through government, through both Veterans Affairs and the Department of National Defence. We certainly found that pretty much every employer indicator showed that medically released veterans are worse off than veterans who aren't medically released.
Clients who have been medically released experience 15.1% unemployment compared to 7.6% unemployment for the total veteran population. Also, their income and their skill relevance tend to be lower. In one sample size that Veterans Affairs looked at, they saw a 29% decline in income and a 63% decline in earnings in a three-year post-release period for ill and injured veterans. Data show that only 8% of the medically released are unable to work, which means that the remaining 92% present a significant opportunity for employers, because these 92% have served and obviously have a tremendous skill set.
One of the issues that you are probably aware of as a committee—although I find that when I am speaking to our donors, corporate employers, they find it surprising—is that only veterans who are clients of Veterans Affairs are eligible for VAC services, which isn't the majority of veterans. You are able to access the support in VAC, whether it's support for employment or other types of support related to illness, only if you are a client. Only 30% of medically released veterans are clients of VAC, so 70% of medically released members of the armed forces aren't clients of VAC and are out there on their own.
There is a program called CanVet, which is the official service provider for Veterans Affairs to provide vocational rehabilitation for veterans. While this is a good program in terms of helping veterans prepare resumés and think about where they are going with their career, the one thing that we think is lacking is that the people who work at vocational rehab and who are providing the advice to veterans aren't going out and connecting with the employer population. It's one of those things where you go into a classroom setting, work on your resumé, and get advice on how to do job interviews, but CanVet isn't making any outreach to employers to prepare them for the fact that there may be some veterans coming their way who are interested in jobs.
Really, the only alternative within Veterans—
Jonathan Will
View Jonathan Will Profile
Jonathan Will
2015-03-24 11:06
Thank you, Madam Chair, and distinguished members of the committee.
I'm here with my colleague, Catherine Scott, to speak to you about women in skilled trades and STEM occupations. Over the past few decades, Canadian women have made considerable progress and are world leaders in both educational attainment and labour market performance.
Looking first to education, as of 2013, 56% of new post-secondary graduates were women, outnumbering men at the college, undergraduate, and master's levels. While women continue to trail men in graduation at the doctoral level, this gap is closing. Today women make up just under half of Canada's Ph.D. graduates. Canada is a world leader in female participation in education with the highest rate of post-secondary attainment among OECD countries for 25- to 64-year-old women in 2012.
Women have also made significant advances in the labour market. Over the past 30 years, the overall female employment rate has risen from 48% to 58%. Currently, women account for approximately 48% of all workers in Canada.
Internationally, Canadian women currently have the 5th highest labour force participation rate and the 7th highest employment rate in the OECD. While women have made significant advances, some areas of concern remain.
At the post-secondary level, women continue to be under-represented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, commonly referred to as STEM. ln 2013 just over 30% of post-secondary students in STEM fields were women. Female under-representation is particularly acute in architecture, engineering and related technologies, and mathematics, computer, and information sciences. Women represent a slim majority in agriculture, natural resources and conservation, physical and life sciences, and technologies.
We also know that some young women are choosing not to pursue STEM fields of study—in other words, science, technology, engineering and math—despite outperforming their male counterparts in high school.
This situation has important economic implications for Canada. STEM skills are essential to productivity-enhancing innovation. If a significant portion of the population is not fully represented in the STEM talent pool, this could negatively affect Canada's ability to innovate and grow.
In addition, earnings in STEM occupations are typically higher than in non-STEM occupations.
ESDC projections show that the occupations expected to be in shortage over the next decade are more likely to have low rates of female participation than non-shortage occupations. Almost half of all occupations projected to be in shortage are male dominated, while only one-quarter are female dominated. The remaining quarter has a relatively equal mix of men and women. STEM and the skilled trades comprise 34% of the projected shortage occupations.
These findings clearly show that supporting employment in high-demand occupations and addressing the under-representation of women can be highly complementary priorities.
At ESDC, a number of recent measures have been taken to support employment in high-demand occupations, including STEM and the skilled trades.
A key means of addressing the under-representation of women is by supporting access to post-secondary education, a requirement for many occupations that represent non-traditional jobs for women.
The Canada student loans program provides financial assistance to post-secondary students with demonstrated financial need through the provision of loans and grants. Women make up 60% of the recipients.
ESDC is also helping young men and women to access post-secondary education through the support it provides to Pathways to Education, an organization with an established record of raising post-secondary enrolment among disadvantaged youth.
ln addition to supporting access to post-secondary education, ESDC has a number of other measures in place to help Canadians develop job-relevant skills and find employment, including in high-demand occupations such as STEM and the skilled trades. ESDC has taken action to directly support job relevant skills development with the introduction of the Canada job grant, which links training directly to employment.
Over $2 billion per year is provided to provinces and territories through the labour market development agreements to help unemployed Canadians quickly find and return to work, including support for women in apprenticeship training. The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening these agreements in consultation with provinces and territories to better align training with labour market demand.
ESDC has also taken steps to improve the quality of information for Canadians with respect to the labour market and apprenticeship.
The Job Bank and Working in Canada Web sites have been consolidated to offer Canadians a convenient single point of access for reliable information on job market trends, occupational profiles and job opportunities.
A new job alert system was launched in 2013 to provide Canadians with job market information up to twice daily.
Economic action plan 2014 invested $11.8 million over two years and $3.3 million per year on an ongoing basis to launch an enhanced job-matching service that is helping to ensure that Canadians are given the first chance at available jobs in their local area that match their skills.
ESDC is currently developing a web-based career tool to provide Canadians with better information about labour market outcomes by field of study. This will help to ensure that youth are able to make well-informed choices about learning and work. The main portal for learning information, CanLearn.ca, provides information and interactive tools to help Canadians pay, plan, and save for their post-secondary education.
ln addition to its suite of programs, ESDC has asked the Council of Canadian Academies to study how well Canada is prepared to meet future demand for STEM skills.
These are just some of the ways that my department is helping to ensure that women can reach their potential in Canada's learning institutions and labour market.
My colleague Catherine Scott will now speak to the importance of women's participation in the skilled trades and some of the department's relevant programs and support.
Carolyn Gasser
View Carolyn Gasser Profile
Carolyn Gasser
2015-03-24 8:53
Our branch service officers are located in 1,400 Legion branches across Canada. In this challenging environment our branch service officers' functions become more important. Our volunteers are the boots on the ground and the eyes and ears in our community. It is important to us that every branch have an active and trained service officer to respond to the challenges facing our veteran community.
Branch service officers assist veterans by identifying those with unmet health needs and their possible benefits from VAC, and by making appropriate referrals to the command at the provincial level. Today the policies, programs, and services available to our veterans and their families are complex. Our command service officers are professional and receive regular training.
When it comes to serving veterans and their families, the Legion continues to be the only veterans organization in Canada advocating for and providing assistance to all our veterans. First and foremost we offer camaraderie in our branches. To ensure that this continues after service, the Legion offers a one-year free membership as part of the release process from the military. Presently 840 members have taken advantage of this initiative. Membership offers veterans and their families the opportunity to volunteer to help other veterans as part of the community building that is an important value of military culture.
The impact that military service has on our sailors, soldiers, airmen and women often makes the transition back to civilian life challenging. Today the Legion is seeing a change in the needs of some of our younger veterans. This is the age group from the early twenties onward. Many have invisible wounds and challenges with their transition back to civilian life. Our experience from the veterans transition program provides evidence that some veterans and their families feel isolated and need a welcome home in a real way. The veterans transition program, the only program of its kind in Canada, assists former members of the Canadian Forces in their transition to civilian life and was developed to address the invisible wounds of our soldiers so they can function and have healthy relationships with their families, friends, at work, and with themselves.
It was established in 1999 with funding from the Legion B.C./Yukon Command. It is a group-based program facilitated by the University of British Columbia's faculty of medicine. It is free of charge to former members of both the RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces. This program is expanding nationally and is planning to offer sessions uniquely developed for women. VAC supports the program and we recommend that DND and the Canadian Armed Forces support the expansion of the veterans transition program nationally to ensure that serving Canadian Armed Forces members affected by PTSD have access to this program.
The Legion in British Columbia has also partnered with the British Columbia Institute of Technology to deliver the Legion military skills conversion program to help accelerate and advance the civilian careers of former and current reserve and regular forces members. This program offers fast-track education with accreditation at BCIT through credits for military experience and assistance with developing their own businesses and finding jobs, post-release.
While the Legion continues to deliver many programs to veterans and families to ensure quality of life after release, and to ease the transition from service, more research is required to determine the effects of service unique to the Canadian military demographic and unique to Canadian operations. The Legion is currently engaged and supportive of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research to ensure that this capability is implemented.
With this goal CIMVHR, as we like to call it, and the Royal Canadian Legion have made a commitment to offer a Canadian scholarship that will ensure a lasting legacy for veteran research in Canada by training a future generation of researchers. Beginning in 2013 Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion made a three-year commitment to provide an annual $30,000 full-time master's scholarship to students who demonstrate excellence in their proposed research and exhibit significant potential for a high-impact research career in a relevant area. The research topics are related to an area of priority identified by the Legion and one of CIMVHR's priority research areas, and includes transition from military to civilian life.
View Frank Valeriote Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Frank Valeriote Profile
2015-03-24 9:32
Who are the 23. All right.
We have thousands and thousands of veterans—thousands who have come from Afghanistan alone—who need help. The government is always referring to the many service officers who are out there and who are helping them fill out applications. We know that there is difficulty in getting these applications filled out. The Auditor General has said it is taking too long to receive and process them.
Is it fair to say that you need more service officers and more training for those service officers, if we're going to accommodate our veterans?
Steven Clark
View Steven Clark Profile
Steven Clark
2015-03-24 9:32
I wouldn't say that we need more training. What we need to have is more communication, so that we can get the information about the services available to these veterans out to the members. That's something that our 1,400 service officers do locally; they reach out and search out individuals.
View Frank Valeriote Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Frank Valeriote Profile
2015-03-12 10:24
All right, could you talk to us more about the experience you had being put in the bottom category when you knew intuitively you should have been in a higher category?
Perry Gray
View Perry Gray Profile
Perry Gray
2015-03-12 10:24
One of the basic problems that everyone faces when they're assessed by VAC is that the person doing the assessment has no medical training and is relying strictly on the Merck Manual, which defines exactly what the doctors and nurses understand as your condition or illness. They basically are trying to translate it into terms that they understand.
That assessor has no contact with the client. At no time can I go to Charlottetown and ask, “How did you make that decision? Please explain it to me.” Instead, other people are left to interpret what that person has done, and that is the biggest problem that we face.
Now, I explained how the career review board works in the Canadian Forces, and there, that kind of interaction exists: the person who is being reviewed has recourse to the board. All I'm asking is that VAC create a similar parallel.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
CPC (ON)
Now, it's very important that these skills be translated to the ones that employers are looking for. But in the whole process, what is missing is that there are some valuable things that former military members can bring to the employer, and I don't think you can put them in and translate them in the translator, such as discipline, loyalty, punctuality. These are sometimes more important than hard skills.
How do you propose to translate those so that an employer looking for someone to employ would say “I have to spend some money on training those people, but I want those people because I would be able to depend on them”? Is there something you are working on or collaborating with someone on? That is a very important part of the whole process.
Greg Smith
View Greg Smith Profile
Greg Smith
2015-03-12 10:30
I completely agree.
This tool will allow you to get some of the answer. Part of the real solution is working on the other side, with the employer. The employer has to be educated, and there are groups out there that are spending their resources to help human resource departments be trained to understand those inherent skills that a military person brings and also to understand what their needs are, so that when they bring them into the company they can assimilate them in a way that fits the way a military person thinks about organizational dynamics and can retain that military person.
We've found that when companies do that, they actually have higher retention rates than the rest of the population, by focusing on how to make that connection work for the military. It's very powerful, but it does require a training for the human resources departments as well.
View John Rafferty Profile
NDP (ON)
Thank you very much, Chair.
Thank you both for being here.
My first question is for Mr. Doiron. I'm curious about this slide that the map is on. You will notice, being from northern Ontario, of course, that the area office is eight hours away from Thunder Bay. The operational stress injury clinics are at least eight hours away, personnel support centres are eight hours away. If you drove, the head office is about 22 hours away.
I can tell from this map that the whole of northern Ontario, from North Bay to Winnipeg, is relying on Service Canada centres: 186 centres in all of the province.
I'm curious. As the assistant deputy minister for service delivery, can you outline the training that happens in those Service Canada offices for personnel to deal with veterans when they stand in line and eventually get to the front of the line? What kind of training do the personnel have to deal with those issues?
I'll quickly tell you a recent story of a veteran—who doesn't want me to use his name—who waited and finally got to the front of the line. When he got there he was told that they don't do that and to go see the Legion.
It's a concern. If it happens in Thunder Bay, it perhaps is happening in other more rural or sparsely populated areas in the country.
I wonder if you could outline the training that takes place in each of those Service Canada delivery centres.
Michel Doiron
View Michel Doiron Profile
Michel Doiron
2015-02-26 9:24
We have a training module that employees at Service Canada do receive, but it is very basic in what Service Canada employees provide to veterans, except the offices where we have Veterans Affairs employees embedded. In those offices, those employees can give the full range of services, as any of our offices—
Michel Doiron
View Michel Doiron Profile
Michel Doiron
2015-02-26 9:24
We have eight offices that are embedded.
In those eight offices they are actually Veterans Affairs employees. The other ones are Service Canada. We give them basic training, how to review a form, make sure the form is complete—not all forms, certain forms—and they have access to a hotline.
I'm quite disappointed that somebody...but I know that's happened before; that's not the only place it's happened. I'm disappointed when it does happen, because there are mechanisms to make sure the veteran gets that service. So if they don't have the training...and they don't, because some of our eligibility is very complex, as I'm sure you know.
View John Rafferty Profile
NDP (ON)
Well, we just heard Ms. Witty say that it takes at least two weeks to learn just the rehabilitation and financial benefits regime that Veterans Affairs uses, so I guess I can make an assumption that aside from those eight offices where someone's embedded, the Service Canada personnel in all those other offices across Canada wouldn't have that training.
Michel Doiron
View Michel Doiron Profile
Michel Doiron
2015-02-26 9:25
They would not have that type of training, no.
As I mentioned, what they can do is review the forms for completeness, so that when the forms arrive at Veterans Affairs they are complete and the right information is provided. If the question is more complex, there is a hotline that goes directly into one of our offices, and they can speak to a Veterans Affairs employee. And we're presently working with Service Canada to have video connectivity to maximize the use of technology so that if the veteran wants to, they can actually sit and talk to and see somebody.
View Laurie Hawn Profile
CPC (AB)
At any rate, I took my SCAN 21 years ago. It was a theatre full of people in Cold Lake for a couple of days. I can tell you that I don't remember all that much of it, because I didn't have any issues, per se. But this, what you're laying out here, is far more comprehensive and so on than my experience that long ago.
I want to go back a little bit to Mr. Valeriote's point. I have advocated for many, many years for a culture of “yes” versus a culture of “no”. You're right that sometimes “no” is the answer, but what happens a lot is that when somebody gets “no” for an answer, even if it's the right answer they immediately go public. Of course, everyone wants to sympathize with the veteran. That's right and proper. But then, as you said earlier, veterans listen to what happens here in this place. When somebody goes public, and everybody sides with the veteran, as is understandable, then politics enters into it—I'm not casting aspersions, because that's just politics and it's whichever side you're on—and it gets ramped up. Then everybody gets excited about this poor veteran, which is a normal human reaction and totally understandable.
You don't have to answer it, although I'm sure you feel a little bit of that frustration when you guys get pointed at and are told “You bad people, you said no”, and you can't stand up and say, “Well, yes, but no is the right answer”. I sense your frustration.
Really I'm speaking to all of us here in saying, look, sometimes they do give the right answer. Sometimes the right answer is “no”, and maybe we should be a little bit careful about rushing off with a lot of political rhetoric.
I want to ask a couple of specific questions. We talked about the training module for Service Canada folks. Especially in remote locations and so on it is difficult, and it appears to be less than ideal. Now, is VAC looking at ways to ramp up the training for those Service Canada folks in...anywhere, but particularly in the more remote locations?
Michel Doiron
View Michel Doiron Profile
Michel Doiron
2015-02-26 9:54
Yes. I'm in just about constant dialogue with my colleagues over at Service Canada, ESDC, about how we can improve how we offer those services, to make them more accessible, to make them more appropriate, to make sure that when somebody walks in, they actually know that they are allowed to go there. That has happened. We are working very closely with our colleagues over at Service Canada to improve that, and to make sure that the tools are at the various sites, especially in the remote sites, and the veteran can get services.
View Laurie Hawn Profile
CPC (AB)
You mentioned that it can take up to two weeks to understand the rehabilitation services, and so on. Is that mostly because they're so complex, or is it mostly because some of the people you're dealing with have, for various injury reasons, difficulty taking it all in?
Mélanie Witty
View Mélanie Witty Profile
Mélanie Witty
2015-02-26 9:58
It takes that long to understand the program, the policies, and the business process. It's quite lengthy. Coming from the outside, we get the proper training. We have standard officers who will give us guidance. We will be sent off on training. As an employee of Veterans Affairs, as a case manager, when you've done that training, you do understand it.
View Laurie Hawn Profile
CPC (AB)
There are 1,400 or so Legions across the country, and they all have, or have the facility to have, a Legion service officer. I'm not sure if all do or not. I looked at Brad to nod his head. They do.
We recently doubled the amount of financial support to the Legion for visits and so on. Are you looking at anything with the Legion from VAC for additional training for those Legion officers, or in the areas where Legions are more accessible, to have Veterans Affairs people work together with the Legions to say here's some extra training we can give?
Are you hearing from the Legion that they are interested in doing that?
Michel Doiron
View Michel Doiron Profile
Michel Doiron
2015-02-26 10:02
I don't think we're doing additional training, but we do training on a yearly basis with the service officers with the Legion. Actually, I've attended the training myself—not the full training, but I went to speak. They are a cherished partner to us. They're in the locations; they know the services. So they're a close partner.
View Peter Stoffer Profile
NDP (NS)
The difficulty is, who determines who gets case-managed? The reason I say that is many times I get calls from people asking for a home visit on something. The DVA will say, “If you're not case-managed, you don't get a home visit.” My question to you is, who determines who's case-managed because that is a sticky point in terms of home visits after these closures?
Also, the training at Service Canada.... I visited several of these offices across the country where there's not an embedded person, and they told me they had four hours of online training, or something of that nature, for DVA. I can assure you it may happen in some cases, but it doesn't happen in a lot. A person will go in with a complex file and all his paperwork, and you say that a Service Canada person will actually help them look at the forms to see if they're done correctly? Sir, these forms are quite complicated, as you know. It takes a lot of training for someone like Mélanie to look at these forms and ensure that they're filled out, because 60% of the problems with the VRAB decision is the fact that a form wasn't done properly or there is a document that was missing, so the person was initially declined. I'm just wondering. If someone had four hours of online training or something at Service Canada, how do you quantify, then, that a person at Service Canada can accurately look at a complex form and see that it has been filled out properly to ensure that when that person makes a claim there will be no hiccups or problems down the road?
Michel Doiron
View Michel Doiron Profile
Michel Doiron
2015-02-26 10:32
The training they get is to ensure that the right boxes are completed, not the information in the boxes. They don't receive eligibility training. They receive completion.... So they have the training, and they have a form that says this is what should be completed, there should be tick, tick, tick. It's the same thing they were doing for passports, the same thing they've done for other programs. So that's what they look for. Is it complete? We give them the parameters they should be looking at. That's what they look at, not if you'll get your DA/DB. Did you forget to say that you fell off the truck or something? That's not what they're looking for. It's if the boxes are well completed.
Alexandre Lavoie
View Alexandre Lavoie Profile
Alexandre Lavoie
2015-01-27 11:06
The bill amends the definition of employee in parts I and III of the Canada Labour Code to include persons receiving training with or without remuneration and to specify the condition under which training without remuneration is permitted.
The bill does not concern a question that is outside federal jurisdiction. It does not clearly violate the Constitution Acts. It does not concern a question that is substantially the same as one already voted on by the House of Commons. It does not concern a question that is currently on the order paper or notice paper as an item of government business.
Janice McDonald
View Janice McDonald Profile
Janice McDonald
2014-11-04 8:48
Thank you, Madam Chair and committee members, for the opportunity to speak to you today about economic leadership and prosperity for women in Canada.
My name is Janice McDonald and I am a serial entrepreneur in the music and apparel industry. I'm delighted to contribute to the important work you are doing in looking at systemic barriers to women's advancement. I've been interested in this topic for a long time as an entrepreneur, volunteer, and because of my own research.
I've been an entrepreneur in Canada for over two decades. There has been considerable change in the small business landscape over that time period.
When my partner and I opened up our first retail music store in 1991, we were open for business. We didn't start up; we opened up. There were not start-ups, just businesses growing and opening.
As young entrepreneurs we had few peers choose the same career path. Most of our friends and colleagues did not see entrepreneurship as an option. That has changed.
In 1991, formal mentorship programs were not available, or at least we were not aware of them. Now entrepreneurs can access innovation hubs, crowdsource funding, angel investors, and all kinds of support. Organizations like Futurpreneur did not exist.
Futurpreneur is a national non-profit organization dedicated to growing our economy one entrepreneur at a time. The focus on start-up culture has increased significantly. The shift has been gradual, but now support for entrepreneurs is everywhere.
My latest start-up is called This Space Works. It's like Airbnb for business. We are part of the sharing economy, and use excess capacity in physical spaces and make it available to mobile professionals and businesses who need it.
Although seasoned ourselves, we have gathered mentors to assist us to grow our start-up. MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, Communitech in Waterloo, the Innovation Factory in Hamilton, each of these organizations is helping our company grow.
In 1992, I completed my master's in Canadian studies. My thesis topic was “Women and the Appointment Process in Canada on Agencies, Boards, Councils, and Commissions”. That was before we considered women diversity. Women were under-represented, but it was viewed as a gender and power issue, not as a diversity issue. The numbers did not look good in 1992 and as we know, change has been slow.
My commitment to women's advancement has remained. I share my time and talents with numerous organizations focused on making a difference in this regard.
Comprised of leaders from the most senior levels of government, business, academia, and the non-profit sector, members of the Women's Leadership Board at Harvard's Kennedy School serve as key supporters and ambassadors to the women in public policy program.
I am a member of the Women's Leadership Board and am going to Harvard tomorrow for three days of meetings.
Board members ask, “What can we do to create gender equality and improve the lives of women and men around the world?” The focus is on rigorous, high-impact research to further the shared mission of closing gender gaps. The gender action portal is a vital resource.
I am chair of the Canadian Women in Communications and Technology national board. The goal is to advance women in Canada in communications and technology. The non-profit organization focuses on recognition, career advancement, and mentorship. It has been doing incredible work for women for over 20 years.
We believe our members can ignite their career with mentorship. In the latest issue of Women's Executive Network's The Opinion magazine, my article on mentorship talks about the value of it in career development. I have been a long-standing formal and informal mentor to women in business and the communications industry. I have seen first-hand the impact it can have on women's careers. A mentor can help you get to next faster.
Last year, I ran the mentorship program for WCT, and successfully matched over 20 women across Canada with senior women mentors. WCT believes mentorship is essential to career development. The WCT program is a gold standard.
The program has been running for 14 years. The call has just gone out to members to apply for the program. It is free to WCT members, and senior women mentors donate their time and share their talents for a one-year commitment. The program is made possible by the financial support of Shaw Media. It is a cornerstone to WCT programming.
The WCT commitment to mentorship is unwavering. We also know that sponsorship is vital as well. Visioned by WCT, the protegé project was created in conjunction with Catalyst Canada and supported by Shaw Media. This is a brand new pioneering project. The ripple effects of the program will be significant. It is a new collaborative venture whose promise is to level the playing field for women in the ICT sector in Canada.
We want to make sure rising stars in the industry make it to the C-suite. Over 10 senior executives in leading communications, media, and technology organizations have signed on to personally support the program. An equivalent number of female corporate executives will be selected and matched to work with sponsors to sharpen their leadership and business acumen.
We believe the ripple effects of the program will be significant. No one else has done a cross-industry sponsor-matching program for senior women. It will be a game changer. My personal commitment to mentorship is also unwavering. I've been invited to join the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women as a mentor. Their philosophy is to invest in women entrepreneurs so they can build their businesses. Women benefit from the program as their businesses grow, as do their families and communities.
The Cherie Blair Foundation believes if you empower women you drive growth. So do I. Their mentoring women in business program is successful. They have over 800 mentors and mentees enrolled in the program. It is offered across physical and cultural distances through the use of technology. I'm proud to offer my skills and talents to a woman somewhere in the world and help her grow her business. My match will be completed later this month and I will work with my mentee for one year.
I'm also the current chair of the Ottawa chapter of the International Women's Forum. I am passionate about this global organization for women. IWF advances women's leadership across careers, cultures, and continents. Members are committed to bettering global leadership today and cultivating women leaders of tomorrow. Fifty-five hundred women leaders around the world are IWF members. The organization began in 1982 in the U.S.A. and there are IWF members in six continents and 33 nations. In Canada, IWF has approximately 500 members in chapters across the country. The organization is very active and interested in women's leadership.
One area of focus for IWF Canada members is to increase the number of women on corporate boards. IWF Canada is interested in and committed to seeing more women join corporate boards. The IWF national board agreed to direct time and effort to create the tools for change for its members. The sole focus of the committee has been to gather all of the necessary information for its members to join those boards. Members can access an exceptional road map to assist them. The proprietary work covers the eco-system for women on boards, vital research, the business case and approaches used in other countries. Additional information includes sections on how to succeed, prepare for interviews, and get known. It is a strategic, comprehensive, and valuable tool for any IWF member. The women on boards initiative by IWF enables any of its members who are serious about joining a board to have the information and tools necessary to succeed. Several board members attribute their recent placement on a corporate board in part to the IWF information available to them.
Like many IWF members, I received my Institute of Corporate Directors designation from the directors education program. The program is offered nationally at Canada's top business schools. Since the launch of the directors education program, more than 3,000 directors have completed the program and over 1,900 have earned their ICD.D designation. The designation reflects a director's commitment to ongoing learning and development. The program is designed to help directors overcome the challenges they face in fulfilling their roles as directors. The training program is also a rich source of networking opportunities with classmates in the most senior roles in organizations across Canada. For that reason alone, more women need to participate.
Given the complexities of business today, we can expect more boards to seek out directors with governance training. If governance training and the ICD.D designation is valued by corporate boards, then hopefully more women will apply and be selected to receive this invaluable education. In my cohort, DEP-46, we did not have an equal number of men and women in the class. If governance training is a pipeline for future directors, we need to ensure that more women receive the training offered. The Institute for Corporate Directors offers scholarships to its directors education program and it would be ideal if more scholarships were available and offered specifically for women to access.
I believe we have many qualified and board-ready women across Canada. I don't think it is a pipeline issue and we know the business case is made for women on boards. Equipping more women with governance training is one more way we can eliminate barriers to women’s success on corporate boards.
Mentorship is a critical element for women’s success, as is sponsorship. Dedicated organizations, like IWF and WCT, are taking up the challenge. Although change is hard and slow, it is possible. We all win when women are empowered.
JudyLynn Archer
View JudyLynn Archer Profile
JudyLynn Archer
2014-11-04 9:07
Thank you for the opportunity to join the conversation today.
I'm here today to talk about women in construction. As we all know, Canada needs all hands on deck to support the continued industrial investment that helps drive our economy. This means we must ensure that Canada has the workforce it needs to build, operate, maintain, and provide leadership on those big projects. The challenge is that this industry will lose 24% of its workforce and specifically those individuals who have moved up in the ranks and into leadership positions. We're going to lose those people to retirement and global competition.
Underemployed women in Canada comprise the largest underutilized workforce in Canada. These are jobs that require no student debt to get into or to succeed at. Canada needs to support any and all proven initiatives that attract and prepare those who want to enter this industry, in particular women.
Women coming out of the Women Building Futures programs on average see an increase in their annual income by 127% on day of hire. What's not working right now is the funding that's needed to help women get into this industry.
The recent Status of Women Canada call for proposals forces respondents to create projects that will repeat work that's already done. It called for research and the identification of best practices and gaps in service. It allows for no training, awareness, mentorship, or any direct service to women as part of the project. It is our opinion that there is a plethora of existing research out there that identifies gaps, success strategies, and best practices related to this specific issue. This funding could be applied directly to what Canada really needs in women, which is programs that will attract and prepare women for construction jobs, including those jobs that offer leadership opportunity at a high rate of pay, I might add.
This year alone, Women Building Futures has seen 5,000 women come through its doors looking for a way to come into this industry. Our funding allows us to train 120 of those 5,000 people. We have a 90% success rate in helping women get to work in this industry, increasing their average annual income by 127% on day of hire, and yet organizations like ours are ineligible for the funding from Status of Women Canada. It doesn’t make sense to us.
Our recommendation is that Status of Women Canada funding should support direct programming that does have a proven track record in helping women get to work in areas that will result in economic prosperity for those women.
Next, I'm going to speak momentarily on equality. Women, boys, men, and girls are not homogenous, yet government policies that drive programs are often based on all people being equal. This framework negatively impacts half the population of Canada. I'm going to give you a short case study to demonstrate this.
I'm going to talk about Susan. Susan's a single parent of two, works full-time earning $30,000 a year. She wants a career that will increase her income substantially and offer leadership opportunity. Construction is her industry of choice. Susan applies for a construction training program that has a proven track record of success. The program is fully funded by an employer. The trick is Susan doesn't have sufficient savings to cover her living costs during this eight-week training program, so she goes to the Government of Alberta to request a counsel to leave, which is a process to request permission to leave her current low-paying job so that she can have money to pay her bills and feed the kids while in this eight-week training program. The cost to government would be approximately $3,000, or 1% of the investment that that company is making in that individual. The response from government was no. Living costs for people in this type of training program are not an eligible expenditure.
Here's the rub: men are hired every day in Canada's construction industry without having to take any type of training. The reality is very different for women. Women must be much better than, in order to be seen as good as. That's just how it is. Opportunity in this industry is significant for women, but it is far from equitable. This woman will not be hired without the training. Barriers to training are reinforced by government policies that treat everyone as equal when they are not.
This case study is real. The woman was denied housing support and therefore was not able to enter the training program. She remains underemployed, unable to boost her tax contribution, and unable to boost her consumption of goods. Government will continue to subsidize her and her children, and industry has lost another potential local worker and future leader.
What we ask is that gender-based analysis be used when creating policies and programs across all ministries and all programs. We would also ask that governments collaborate with each other so that we can fill these cracks that are impacting women every day.
Those are the points I wanted to make today, and I thank you for the opportunity to make them.
View Stella Ambler Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you to all three of our wonderful presenters today. We very much appreciate your coming to inform our study.
Ms. Archer, I want to thank you for your presentation and for bringing your unique perspective to us. In particular, the numbers that you gave us, the statistics, were enlightening and surprising. Your program sees a 127% increase in income on the first day of employment. That is very impressive, and it's a little bit sad that 5,000 women have come through your doors but that you can only help 120. Thank you for sharing that information with us.
Can you tell us what your program does exactly? How do you achieve that kind of success, the increase in income from day one? Why do women need training but men do not to get into the construction industry?
JudyLynn Archer
View JudyLynn Archer Profile
JudyLynn Archer
2014-11-04 9:45
First, with regard to the increase in income, for women who are coming into our programs and heading into an apprenticeship, into a trade, the average increase is 127% on day of hire. For women who are coming into our programs and going into some of the other areas of construction, such as heavy equipment operating, that average income increase is 169% on day of hire. Just to make sure, I've differentiated between those two: the increase is significant no matter what she goes into.
If you take a look at the average income of a woman working full time in Canada, it's approximately $32,000 a year. When you compare that with a person working in the construction industry, it would be triple that, at minimum. This industry provides incredible opportunity. It comes with no student debt, a way to earn as you learn, and a way to make an income that most women would not dream about.
Why do women need training and men don't? I can't remember the young woman's name, but she said it best: it's just the way it is. This is a predominantly male industry, 96% men. It has just been the natural way of things, the natural order of life, that men have walked into these jobs. They walk into these jobs every single day and are hired. The standards to which they are held are much lower than the standards to which women are held. Women definitely must be much better than to be seen as good as.
In terms of our success, our success rate is 90% or greater, consistently, with women coming into our programs. That's because we understand the challenges that women face in this industry. We seek out women who have tenacity. They need to have smarts and all of that, but they need to have tenacity, perseverance, and the objective to succeed. We select carefully the women we're going to train.
Let me just tell you that if we train a woman and she ends up over in one of the big companies, if she doesn't work out, then that company will not come back to our organization and hire another woman. That's the reality.
JudyLynn Archer
View JudyLynn Archer Profile
JudyLynn Archer
2014-11-04 9:48
The first step in the program consists of awareness, helping women understand what these opportunities are and what realities come along with these opportunities. This is not for every man or woman.
The second step is to help women make a well-informed decision before coming into this industry.
Third, we provide hands-on skills training: welding, electrical, pipe-fitting, whatever. We provide the hands-on skills training, but most importantly, we provide workplace culture awareness training that helps women understand the industry, the predominantly male environment, and how to thrive within that environment.
Last, we do job matching. We help every woman who comes through our program find a job that will be successful for her and the company. We provide ongoing coaching to ensure that each woman who goes into an apprenticeship actually becomes a registered apprentice and successfully completes her first year of technical training in the shortest allowable timeframe.
Those are the key—
Jill Skinner
View Jill Skinner Profile
Jill Skinner
2014-10-28 16:18
Good afternoon.
While this legislation certainly does address important principles for victims' assistance, the language of rights employed in the new legislation, combined with the requirement that the rights of victims under the act are to be exercised through the mechanisms provided by law, may make it difficult for victims to identify their enforceable legal rights and corresponding remedies.
We suggest that clear, identifiable, enforceable legal rights and the corresponding mechanisms for exercising these rights will go a long way to assisting victims in navigating the criminal justice system. As Benjamin Perrin stated in his paper entitled “More Than Words”, on Bill C-32, “...a 'right' without a remedy in the event of its breach is no right at all.”
Second, responsibilities for implementing victims' rights are directed to “the appropriate authorities in the criminal justice system” and not to specific agencies, which may make it difficult for criminal justice partners to identify their respective legal responsibilities. Added clarity in this regard will direct victims to the appropriate agency and, where necessary, will allow them to take up any concerns through the appropriate complaints mechanism.
As indicated, the police are the most common first point of contact for victims and their families and play a critical role in ensuring victims know their rights. The consequences of inadequate or untimely information can be detrimental to a victim. Victims should have rights to timely, relevant, and easy-to-understand information regarding safety, programs and services, and the investigative, court, correctional, and parole process. In keeping with this goal of ensuring that all victims receive the same high-quality resources and supports, funding and support to police and justice partners will be critical in the implementation of the Canadian victims bill of rights.
Firstly, to ensure that victims have access to programs and services, consideration should be given to how accurate and consistent information will be provided to victims, particularly those who live in remote locations. The CACP supports the government's intention, as outlined in budget 2014, to “provide victims with online resources that will help individuals access the federal programs and services available for victims of crime”. In addition, the CACP supports the government's intention to create a web portal that will allow victims of federal offenders to view a current photo of the offender prior to the release.
Secondly, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police requests timely and complete information for law enforcement agencies to create victim response enhancements to be integrated within current training. Chiefs of police look to the Government of Canada to coordinate with a training institution—like the Canadian Police Knowledge Network—and to provide funding to develop education and training modules. Consistent federal funding would expedite the process of implementing the Canadian victims bill of rights within the provinces and territories and ensure these important rights can be implemented as immediately as possible.
Thirdly, in order to implement and deliver effective victim services and thereby increase confidence in our justice system, funding for sufficient resources across the country is imperative. The establishment of a police victims support fund, similar to the former police officers recruitment fund, to this initiative would help to provide the necessary supports.
Furthermore, in creating and funding victim resources and services, chiefs of police stress the importance of recognizing the historical trauma, unique awareness of, and respect for tradition and culture of first nations, Inuit, and Métis groups. The Canadian victims bill of rights should respond to the needs of victims in these groups in a holistic and culturally sensitive way. lt should also consider Canada's multicultural composition, specifically in ensuring access to information in diverse languages, which is critical in ensuring meaningful participation by all victims.
The Canadian victims bill of rights should enshrine core enforceable rights of victims of crime and the effective recognition of and respect for a victim's human rights and should ensure that needs, concerns, and interests of victims are valued and considered in a participatory environment.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police victims of crime committee supports the principles advanced by the Canadian victims bill of rights. Chiefs of police stress the importance of ensuring resources are in place to ensure victims across the country clearly understand their enforceable rights and have timely and accurate access to information and services.
The CACP looks forward to continued participation during the consideration and implementation process of the Canadian victims bill of rights. We recognize that the victim-focused approach of Bill C-32 creates a solid foundation for victims and is the first step in enhancing victims' participatory and service rights throughout the criminal justice process.
Merci.
View Carolyn Bennett Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
Thank you to the witnesses. This was extremely helpful.
We've heard that this bill is a good first step but that there have to be resources to back it up. I would like to ask any of you, if you felt there were amendments that would make the bill stronger or some commitments of resources, how those would look. I was particularly taken with Ms. Handy's remarks around having places for safe disclosure for children, because then you're more likely to get a conviction. I think a conviction is part of a victim's rights. The perpetrator shouldn't get off because there weren't resources to take the testimony in a safe way where people tell the whole story. I think we see that in...in abuse of physicians, by physicians, in women's situations.
I also heard from the police that you would like to see remedies; that means access to information in many languages, and how that could look. Should that be explained in the act? Particularly with indigenous languages, do people feel they really do know what their rights are as they enter into this place, as Timea has done with her clients? Maybe the police association or the native women would have an idea of what it would cost to actually support this bill properly. What kind of budget commitment would it take to show that this government takes this seriously?
Jill Skinner
View Jill Skinner Profile
Jill Skinner
2014-10-28 16:52
One of the specific areas we spoke about was the cost of training. The Canadian Police Knowledge Network is one example of an opportunity for police officers across the country to receive consistent information. This allows them to receive the training through electronic means. They go on the web and they receive that training. We provide them training through CPKN right now for thousands of topics. This could be an additional topic they would receive.
I think consistency across the country is one of the most important things for us. Each of our provinces has different legislation from a victim's perspective, but if we provide the training to our front-line folks, I think we're going to get the final message out to them. They are the pointy end of the stick. They are the ones dealing with victims every single day. For us to be able to provide that training, I think, is essential. Preparing that training is obviously one area that would require funding.
View Philip Toone Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to thank you for your input, which has been extremely insightful and helpful. I was profoundly moved by the account of what victims groups experience. I applaud you.
I won't have time to ask all my questions in the five minutes I have. Even if we were to spend the rest of the day here, we would only be scratching the surface as far as discussing what really matters is concerned.
I want to start by talking about victims' access to justice. Ms. Gaudreault said that making restitution to victims was not enough. The first thing that needs to be done is prevent people from becoming victims.
There is a problem. According to the definition in the bill, a victim is someone who has been harmed as the result of a crime.
As you said, Ms. Harvard, it's not always the case that victims are going to want to bring themselves forward and declare themselves a victim, to go through that process. It might even bring greater harm to them. That's a serious question, and I think we really need to look at that in this bill. We owe it to ourselves to look at that very carefully.
To the chief of police and the deputy chief, you said that often victims' first point of reference will in fact be with police services. You mentioned that possibly more training would need to be brought forward. I wonder if you could just elaborate. Was it understanding victims' situations better, or what kind of training were you referring to when you brought that up?
Jill Skinner
View Jill Skinner Profile
Jill Skinner
2014-10-28 17:21
It would definitely be directly in relation to what this bill provides; so that they would understand that victims have a right to protection and information; so that they get the exact points of this bill—rather than a general feeling of looking after someone, understand that there are rights that victims have and that they are required to provide those services.
It's really important that as a police officer.... What we try to tell our police officers in reality is “If this were a family member of yours, how would you want them to be served?” That's really the best piece of advice I could give anybody who's trying to create a bill: that's what we're trying to provide through this bill and through our training.
Timea E. Nagy
View Timea E. Nagy Profile
Timea E. Nagy
2014-10-28 17:26
Yes.
I'm not dismissing anything she said; I'm just speaking with regard to my province and my victims and the work.
How can that information be relayed to victims? It's just in the way we're working with victims right now. The deputy chief said training. Some investigators within human trafficking know that they can put on a screen, if the victim doesn't want to see the trafficker in court, but they have to put a lot of paperwork forward, and some investigators have no idea that they even have the option.
I can go through the whole bill and give you examples of how this bill is very helpful, if we actually implement the new amendments. It's just really going back to training and education.
Charlotte Bastien
View Charlotte Bastien Profile
Charlotte Bastien
2014-10-27 15:35
That's no problem.
As I was saying, the majority leaving the reserves would already have civilian employment. The unemployment rate for veterans is equal to the general Canadian rate—8%. The unemployment rate for veterans released due to injuries is about 15%.
Employment issues generally cluster around certain groups of veterans: younger veterans, those with fewer years of service, those in the lower ranks, and those who are medically released or involuntarily released.
The life after service study shows that 89% of regular force veterans released between 1998 and 2007 worked after release. The breakdown in numbers of veterans after release was as follows: 52.9% worked at a job or business; 20% worked at some point but were not currently working; 7.7% were looking for work; 10.3% were retired or not looking for work; 3.7% went from the regular forces to full-time work in the reserve force. The others included those who were not able to work, for example, because they were on disability, were caring for a family member, or were attending school.
Most veterans leaving the military reported adjusting well and beginning a normal life in the civilian world.
There are three key elements to VAC support in terms of employment: ensuring qualified veterans who wish to work at VAC have the opportunity to do so; providing benefits and services in a wide range of programs; and working with other government departments and not-for-profit and private sector groups to help people understand who our veterans are and what their needs are and to help develop opportunities to support veterans' employment needs.
Two key VAC programs to support releasing Canadian Armed Forces members are the career transition services and the vocational rehabilitation programs. In 2013 Minister Fantino announced changes that give more than 1,300 veterans taking part in our vocational rehabilitation program greater flexibility to access the tools they need for their training, which will cut down on wait times related to vocational assessments.
As a result of these changes, an expanded list of training expenses, such as those for required computer software, electronic books, campus parking, and training equipment are now considered in individual vocational rehabilitation training plans. Veterans are now also able to claim individual vocational rehabilitation expenses through an overall program funding envelope to a maximum total value of $75,800 per person. In the last five years, 3,381 participants have accessed vocational rehabilitation and vocational assistance through our national contract. As of June 30, 2014 there were 1,355 active participants.
Career transition services help veterans and their survivors find civilian employment, and provide funding for related training and career services consultation. They are available for up to two years after a veteran's date of release from the Canadian Armed Forces. To date, 1,787 veterans have accessed the program. As part of Veterans Affairs Canada's initiative to cut red tape, the government has streamlined the service delivery model for the program by giving eligible veterans or survivors their choice of career transition services that best meet their needs. As well, VAC will reimburse up to $1,000.
VAC has also taken several steps to ensure that eligible veterans are able to apply for a position at Veterans Affairs Canada if they choose to. They have expanded the area of selection for job competitions to allow the largest number of Canadian Armed Forces personnel to apply; reviewed all the work descriptions in Veterans Affairs to assess which positions could benefit from Canadian Armed Forces experience; and added the relevant Canadian Armed Forces experience as an asset qualification to these positions.
We are working with the Public Service Commission and others to implement new legislation to support veterans seeking positions in the federal government. This initiative is called “Priority Hiring”.
The bill proposes to allow honourably released Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans to be given increased access to job opportunities in the public service.
The introduction of this legislation means that veterans whose medical release is deemed to be attributable to military service will be eligible for statutory priority hiring status in the federal public service.
Veterans who have been medically released from the Canadian Armed Forces will now be eligible for up to five years of priority hiring status in the federal public service. Veterans who have been honourably released and who have had at least three years of military service will now receive preference in external advertised federal public service employment processes. Canadian Armed Forces serving personnel and veterans who have been honourably released with at least three years of military service will now be able to view and participate in internal advertised public service employment processes.
As for the next steps, Veterans Affairs Canada is working with the Department of National Defence and the Public Service Commission to ensure that Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans will benefit from those changes when Bill C-27 comes into force. The changes will take effect once the bill has received royal assent—probably in 2015.
I will now go on to the hire a veteran program.
I will explain what this program is about.
Through the hire a veteran initiative launched in December 2012, Veterans Affairs Canada partners with corporate Canada to help veterans and releasing Canadian Armed Forces personnel find civilian jobs. The hire a veteran employer partners send their employment opportunities and/or links to career pages to us, and we share the posting with a network consisting of front-line staff, our national vocational rehabilitation service contractor, and the Canadian Armed Forces. These postings are then shared with job-seeking Canadian Armed Forces personnel and veterans.
The hire a veteran website includes information for both job seekers and employers. To assist releasing military personnel and veterans in finding employment, the website provides links to Employment and Social Development Canada tools, public service priority hiring information, and other relevant sites.
The hire a veteran website also provides information for employers regarding the value veterans bring to the civilian workforce and information on the Canadian Armed Forces, such as military ranks, occupation, training, and skills developed in the military. This information helps employers better understand the military culture from which our veterans are transitioning. Therefore, employers are better positioned to help these veterans integrate into the civilian workplace.
Through the hire a veteran initiative, over 160 employers have committed to hiring veterans. Here are some examples of our employer partners: Bell Canada, Target, Walmart Canada, Cenovus Energy, Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, Intuit Canada, Cabela's Canada, Mount Allison University, Queen's University, and the Canadian National Railway.
Our employer partners would be able to contribute a valuable perspective to your committee in its work. In particular, we would suggest that you consider inviting Bell Canada, Target, Intuit Canada, or the Canadian National Railway to appear before the committee.
To sum up, I mentioned our partners helping with this important file. To maximize civilian employment opportunities, Veteran Affairs works with the Canadian Armed Forces in partnership with two key non-profit organizations: the True Patriot Love Foundation and Canada Company.
The department's partnership with Canada Company is primarily through the military employment transition program, which is creating direct links between Canadian Armed Forces personnel, reservists, and veterans who are seeking jobs in the civilian workforce, and employer partners who want to hire transitioning military personnel and veterans for their valued skill sets.
Through the military employment transition program, employer partners are required to report on veteran hires through an employer partner memorandum of understanding. Approximately 180 veteran-friendly employer partners have committed to working together to help veterans and releasing Canadian Armed Forces personnel find civilian jobs.
Our other key non-profit partner is the True Patriot Love Foundation, which leads the Veteran Transition Advisory Council. Established by the Minister of Veteran Affairs, the council is mandated to identify challenges and barriers faced by Canadian veterans during the transition from military to civilian employment. The council includes representatives from leading national companies, who work to raise awareness of the skill sets that veterans have to offer the private sector.
In the fall of 2013, the Council made interim recommendations regarding the transition to civilian employment, and, as a result, the council established five working groups related to these recommendations. The working groups are focusing on a one-stop-shop web portal, a marketing campaign, supported employment, a veterans membership program, and certification.
This concludes our presentation. We would be pleased to take any questions.
View Frank Valeriote Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Frank Valeriote Profile
2014-10-27 15:59
Yes, thank you.
I'm not going to lie to you: there are two questions in this.
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Frank Valeriote: You'll catch on.
I spent very little time—five days—in the program that allowed me to join the forces out in Edmonton, and then five days in the program that allowed me to join the navy on HMCS St. John's, and I'm telling you, it was unbelievable. I couldn't believe the professionalism; I also could not believe the skills. I was overwhelmed with the skills, especially when I was in the armaments room on the ship and saw all the computers. It was just beyond me.
I look at the opportunities that our servicemen and -women are given when they leave, and I know you're only working with what you're given to work with. I understand that. But there are skills translation services out there that I know are used in the United States. I've seen them on computers in my office that have been brought to me, and they translate the skills of our servicemen and -women. When I was being shown that, I was thinking about what I saw on the ship and out in Edmonton, and my mind was shifting to materials management, leadership, human resources, logistics, computer software development, and transportation systems that school boards have to develop so their kids are moved around properly. These are skills that many people learn in our forces.
So I have to ask you about this. We're supportive of this legislation, but why would we restrict ourselves? You guys are in the position where you do this stuff. You eat, drink, and breathe this stuff every day. We don't. You do. Why would you not be looking at more effective skills translators that could be used to facilitate the proper translation and connection of those people? You mentioned it at the end in regard to the council that's looking at these four different areas, but I was listening for better skills translation as a fifth focus, and I never heard it. Why wouldn't you be looking at that so we could better help our servicewomen and -men into the skills of the present and the future?
My second question is, you didn't answer why the limitation period—
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Frank Valeriote: No, he had two questions couched in his.
Why is it five years? Why a limitation at all? Why not no limitation?
Sandra Lambe
View Sandra Lambe Profile
Sandra Lambe
2014-10-27 16:02
In fact, skills translation, and a variety of tools like that are among the things that the Veterans Transition Advisory Council is looking at. As Charlotte mentioned, we also partner with Canada Company, which has the military employment transition program. If you look at their site, they do have a number of tools available to veterans and employers that try to make that connection between what you did in the military and how that translates into a civilian workplace.
We are using a number of tools along those lines, and there are, of course, always new tools and initiatives that come across our desks. We do explore any new things that come along to see if there are opportunities to partner.
Anne-Marie Robinson
View Anne-Marie Robinson Profile
Anne-Marie Robinson
2014-10-27 16:48
Certainly, we will think about how that could be applicable in work that we do in supporting veterans and matching them to positions available in the public service, but I'd also like to comment on what you observed earlier.
Veterans do have a vast, diverse set of skills and linguistic qualifications. When we looked at the data coming into this committee, we saw that they were appointed to a wide range of occupations across the country: finance, engineering, clerical, trades.
They do have the skills that we need and we do anticipate the ability, particularly with the changes in this bill, to place an increasing number of veterans.
View Gerald Keddy Profile
CPC (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome to our witnesses here today.
My first question is for Mr. Speer of the Fraser Institute. I'm very interested in your discussion about capital gains, which I'm going to come back to.
Awhile back, your Fraser Institute recommended developing incentives for companies to provide in-house training for young workers. This is something that I think most of us around the table have discussed and certainly support.
At the same time, you also called for the government to loosen the red tape surrounding the temporary foreign worker program. That's a bit of a conundrum to me because we've seen some abuse of that program. We know it's important in certain areas, but how are you going to give an incentive for companies to have in-house training and then open up the temporary foreign worker program at the same time?
Philip Cross
View Philip Cross Profile
Philip Cross
2014-09-29 16:16
I have a couple of things to say here.
One is about your question about the incentives we should be giving companies for more training. That is one of the conundrums, because firms don't invest a lot in training of their employees. It's actually declined over time and is now negligible. They have every incentive to do it because of the shortages they're facing out west. So what more incentives we can offer, I'm not sure. But I think it's not all on firms to do. When you look at the labour market in Canada today, for example, you see that 16% of youths in Ontario are unemployed and employers are screaming to find employees out west. We have to do things differently to get people in the right places. It's not just up to firms to do; there's a role for government and individuals in all of this too.
Deborah Pond
View Deborah Pond Profile
Deborah Pond
2014-07-10 10:16
Good morning. I would like to thank the standing committee members for this opportunity to speak about the tabled legislation, Bill C-36. This bill will impact the lives of prostituted individuals, their children, and generations to come.
I'm speaking today on behalf of the board of directors of u-r home, and as a retired police officer with the RCMP. u-r home is a faith-based, grassroots organization registered in Ontario as a not-for-profit.
u-r home was established in response to a community need for safe and secure housing for individuals choosing to exit their exploited situation. This need was identified by police officers, community agencies, front-line case workers, survivors of sexual exploitation, and prostituted individuals as a critical component in supporting their desire to exit their exploited situation.
u-r home's objective is to establish safe and secure housing and support services for victims of human trafficking, including forced sexual exploitation, forced labour, and forced marriage. We will build mentoring and supportive relationships with trafficked and prostituted women in their restorative journey as they seek to understand their inherent worth and dignity as valued persons in our society. We believe in the inherent right of every person in Canada to live with dignity, equality, respect, and freedom from oppression. We do not subscribe to the belief that prostitution is an acceptable solution for the women, children, and men who are forced into prostitution due to racism, poverty, lack of opportunities, child abuse, or inequality.
We view prostitution as a form of sexual exploitation and work towards its abolishment. In a majority of occurrences, prostitution and human trafficking intersect, resulting in forced sexual exploitation. Project Safekeeping, an RCMP report, states the majority of pimps employ control tactics that would categorize them as human traffickers according to the Criminal Code.
Prostitution is not a victimless crime. It consumes the most vulnerable and marginalized persons in our society. We recognize that women, especially first nations women and youth, are overrepresented in prostitution. We believe that those who are prostituted are treated by the buyers and pimps as commodities with little value, and that the cycle of violence is inherent in prostitution.
u-r home applauds the government for its thoughtful work in the development of Bill C-36 in support of prostituted individuals. The government is taking a proactive approach in not criminalizing the prostituted, who are victims of violence at the hands of the buyers and pimps. Yet it stops short of total decriminalization of prostituted individuals. I know of no other offence in our Criminal Code that criminalizes the victim. I would encourage each of you as committee members, as you study Bill C-36, to amend and remove the provision that criminalizes those prostituted victims.
Regarding the purchasing of sexual services, this new offence would prohibit the purchase or attempted purchase of sexual services. In an article by UN Women on ending violence against women and girls, it encouraged drafters of sex trafficking laws to include criminal penalties for buyers to address the demand for the sale of women and girls for sex, and that penalties should be sufficiently severe to deter repeat offences. We believe that the same can be said in the drafting of our new prostitution laws.
Prostitution is built on the economic laws of supply and demand. If there is no demand from men for sexual services, prostitution would not flourish. In the study of Canadian adult sex buyers, it describes that buyers actively attempt to hide their sex buying from others, and experience some degree of anxiety or worry at the thought of being outed as sex buyers. The report further indicated that the buyers of sex had worried about being arrested for communicating in a public place for the purchase of sex.
Police and front-line agencies are seeing a trend of younger girls being forced into prostitution. Why? The buyers are demanding young girls. They want sex with a young virgin, so the pimps are supplying the demand by recruiting vulnerable young girls, often from group homes. We support the strong message that in Canada it will not be acceptable to purchase the body of another human being for one's own personal sexual gratification. If this legislation is passed, the buyers' conduct and the purchasing of sexual services would be illegal for the first time in Canada.
Profit, greed, and power are the driving forces for pimps, traffickers, organized crime groups, gangs, and businesses engaged in such criminal activities as forcing women, youth, and men into prostitution. Research shows that daily profits from one prostituted woman can be over $1,000 a day, earning as much as $280,000 a year, tax-free. A drug trafficker sells one kilogram of cocaine once, but a pimp sells a prostituted woman for an average of seven years, earning potentially millions of dollars in profit.
Addressing the purchase of sexual services is only one avenue to deter the exploitation of individuals. Seizing, restraining, and forfeiting the proceeds of crime—of everyone benefiting—is another effective tool that police officers can apply that will reduce sexual exploitation of vulnerable individuals. Forfeiting the assets and illicit wealth will take the profit from those who benefit.
We believe the advertising of sexual services both online and in print media that depicts women in sexual and degrading poses reinforces the sexual objectification of women. It has been said that women who grow up in a culture with widespread sexual objectification tend to view themselves as objects of desire for others. This internalized sexual objectification has been linked to problems with mental health, clinical depression, habitual body monitoring, eating disorders, body shame, self worth, life satisfaction, cognitive and motor functioning, and sexual dysfunction. Hatton, in a 2011 study, found that “Sexualized portrayals of women have been found to legitimize or exacerbate violence against women and girls, as well as sexual harassment and anti-women attitudes among men and boys”.
With regard to offences in relation to offering, providing, or obtaining sexual services for consideration, the government has outlined a legal framework in this legislation that encompasses its view of those who are prostituted as victims, vulnerable, and in need of support and care. We believe it is inconsistent of the government to establish new legislation whereby prostituted individuals are regarded as victims in certain situations but not in other instances.
We do not support the offences as described in the proposed changes to section 213. These offences will criminalize the most vulnerable marginalized individuals in our society—those who engage in street prostitution, the majority of whom are women. These women, who are poor, often homeless, addicted, and suffer from serious health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder, need care and support, not revictimization. We do not believe the risk of violence that is inherent in prostitution would be diminished, but this offence would force those involved in street prostitution to make choices that could risk their personal safety.
Research and disclosure by prostituted women support the findings that they experience violence in many forms from both buyers of sexual services and individuals who exploit them for profit, and not from the law. Police in Christchurch, New Zealand, have stated, “At least monthly we are dealing with a working girl being victimised in some way, if not more.” The law needs to focus the responsibility of the inherent violence in prostitution and victimization of vulnerable individuals where it belongs, the buyers of sexual services and pimps.
The continuation of the criminalization of vulnerable individuals will only create additional barriers to exiting prostitution—namely, criminal convictions. This type of barrier has already created loss of opportunities for jobs and completion of college programs where, for many young women, the co-op programs require a clear vulnerable screening check by police. We believe those who are prostituted are not choosing prostitution. There is no criminal intent.
I understand that the $20 million is not part of Bill C-36, but I would like to address some comments in relation to this proposed funding.
We recognize the importance of a public awareness campaign and training for police on the application of the new laws, but these initiatives should receive separate funding. The training for police is critical to ensure the consistent application of the new laws across the country, unlike the current situation. Currently, some police services view prostituted individuals as victims and in need of rescuing from their pimps and buyers, and work in this manner. Other police services criminalize those who are prostituted, thus creating inequality in the application of the law.
We support the $20 million in new funding. As many others have suggested, however, we strongly urge the government to dedicate sustainable long-term funding to the development of robust exit strategies and programs.
Survivors of prostitution have stated and shown that it is a difficult process for individuals to leave prostitution. Many of the social barriers that have been factors for entering prostitution such as poverty, housing, health, lack of opportunities, abuse, addictions, and survival can also be barriers for exiting. We know that legal prostitution for many is not a one-time event but individuals may exit and re-enter a number of times before they are successful in overcoming the barriers that keep them entrenched in prostitution.
It is essential that survivors of prostitution and prostituted individuals be included in the development of these exit strategies and programs. Many survivors have commented on the importance of developing relationships with a few trusted workers. Therefore, it is imperative that there is a continuity of resourcing and funding for staff retention in organizations that provide support and services to sexually exploited individuals.
Whether or not you amend Bill C-36 as suggested, as an organization we would support the bill as tabled. We would continue to advocate for the total decriminalization of all prostituted persons.
I would like to conclude with the words of my friend Beatrice Wallace Littlechief, who speaks of being prostituted as a child and exiting prostitution many years later as a forever changed woman:
At 14 years old, I was forced to sell my body to a middle aged white man who said as I wept, that he would take it easy and then proceeded to have sex with me. I was also in fear of my life if I didn't follow through. I was alone and scared and only wished that there was someone there to help me. He thought this was ok to do this to me, but somehow mainstream society thought I was the one in the wrong.As the streets hardened me and death evaded me, I think back to those early days and compare them to today with Bill C-36 coming to reality, and I am filled with joy and hope that this is going to save so many girls, especially First Nation girls like myself, from ever having to experience sexual slavery. We are vulnerable and left to fend for ourselves with pimps and evil just lurking and ready to grab us and eat us alive. There will be protection and exit strategies in place to help save these girls and woman who are trapped.For those that think prostitution is a chosen profession you are only fooling yourself, because what if your 14 year old came to you and said, I got a job as a prostitute, you would definitely not be jumping up for joy.I personally want to thank the government for finally stepping up and seeing myself and others in this plight as humans, as equals that deserve protection. I have been out for a long time but the scars are still there and always will be, but now there is finally hope.
Thank you.
View Françoise Boivin Profile
NDP (QC)
View Françoise Boivin Profile
2014-07-10 10:33
That's consistent. I simply wanted to make sure that the logic applies across the board.
Ms. Pond, I appreciated your mentioning the fact that there will be a big need for police training. Because we heard a lot of stories, and heartbreaking stories at committee of situations where people, young people, were taken by gang-related organizations, criminal organizations, and brought into prostitution, which resembles human trafficking a lot, which is already in the Criminal Code.
What really came to my mind was the fact that they felt pretty much hopeless. Even the police felt almost hopeless on that aspect.
A lot of witnesses made a correlation with domestic violence, and when you talked about training it reminded me of how, at the time, domestic violence was happening, and so on and so forth, and nothing was happening criminally. Now we see more and we address that issue. But we address the issue not by creating a new infraction, because the infraction was already there. It was just to give the tools and also the training, the education, to say that domestic violence was not okay.
When police went to the door and said, “Oh, it's domestic. It's between the spouses,” and then turned around...we stopped that behaviour. Courts changed their behaviour, the way they addressed the witnesses in those cases. There was a section in the Criminal Code that was added, but more to the aggravating factor. If the infraction of aggression, of hitting somebody, was done against a spouse, it became an aggravating aspect.
So I'm very happy you talked about the importance of training and also giving them the tools to go after the root of what I'm hearing a lot here, which is human trafficking and exploitation.
It brings me to my question on the Bedford decision, because at the same time, Justice McLachlin said that it is a very dangerous business, and I'd be very surprised if anyone would argue it is not. It is a very dangerous business. Even if there is some type of consent from the person, it is a dangerous business. That's the issue the court was addressing foremost.
Ms. Big Canoe, you were really talking about the importance of having legislation that would still answer the court in Bedford.
I wonder, because I'm thinking a lot about the issue, could we have maybe defined a bit more what exploitation was all about, and that would have been deemed correct in the sense of the Bedford decision, and maybe also criminalized the buying of sexual services from a trafficked person? Do you think it would have—
View David Wilks Profile
CPC (BC)
You brought up something that is quite concerning for any police officer and that is that you may have to walk away, and I believe that is not what any police officer would want to do.
Having said that, from the perspective of police training, as you know, police training has evolved throughout the years, whether it be the RCMP or others. They've got into a lot of role-playing within the RCMP at Depot to be able to give first-hand ability to recruits. Do you think there is a potential for some form of that type of training that would assist police officers coming out of Depot to better understand the magnitude of this type of crime?
Deborah Pond
View Deborah Pond Profile
Deborah Pond
2014-07-10 11:05
I certainly think role-playing and any kind of training that police do, whether it's RCMP or other police departments, it would be essential for police to be able to determine how they need to act in certain situations. It gives them a sense of being able to walk into a situation with more confidence. As you approach situations you know as an officer that you think about what you're going to say and what you can face. As they do these role plays and as the police do internal training, I think it's essential for the police to do this, and they are doing that now. I often hear police talk about the kind of training that they're having for human trafficking and prostitution and other events. As they develop, yes, I believe they need to do this.
View Chungsen Leung Profile
CPC (ON)
View Chungsen Leung Profile
2014-06-12 9:57
It's a pleasure to be here. This is the first time I've attended this committee.
You're right; the whole question of safety and systems management is very new. I first approached the subject when I was doing my engineering studies in 1982, so compared to the entire transportation history, it is new.
I'd like to take a more technical approach to how we address this issue. Where do we keep statistics for mean time between failure? How is that integrated into our safety management system? How do we look at material and metal fatigue? How do we inspect it? Also, do we train our inspectors at the point of manufacturing to ensure that the manufacturers do those fatigue tests and to provide us with that percentage of reliability?
For example, technology over time, especially in rail, has gone from wooden sleepers to concrete sleepers to Pandrol fasteners. How does Transport Canada instruct the carriers and the manufacturers to bring them up to 21st century safety standards?
Laureen Kinney
View Laureen Kinney Profile
Laureen Kinney
2014-06-12 9:58
I'll give a very quick overview, first of all, and then turn to Mr. Bourdon for rail.
We have a very robust program with national aircraft certification processes whereby those types of activities are carried on, and we have very robust arrangements in place to look at how the aircraft are certified and the aircraft producers' time periods recommended for maintenance, time periods for the kind of checks to address those issues.
We have similar types of situation and means of containment approvals and regulations in the transportation of dangerous goods, but not quite to the same scale.
Luc, do you want to add something for rail safety?
Luc Bourdon
View Luc Bourdon Profile
Luc Bourdon
2014-06-12 9:59
Yes.
We have our track safety rules that are updated from time to time. The last major revision was in May of last year, coming into force on May 25, to recognize some new technology and bring the railway to a higher standard by requiring rail flaw detections and track geometry testing as part of the rule. They also make reference to North American standards from AREMA, so when they're updated from time to time, our track safety rules will be kept up to date.
Joyce Reynolds
View Joyce Reynolds Profile
Joyce Reynolds
2014-06-12 9:41
Thank you.
I'm pleased to appear before you today on behalf of Restaurants Canada, formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, or CRFA.
Restaurant Canada represents one of the largest sectors of the Canadian economy, with $68 billion in sales and almost 1.2 million employees. That's more than fishing, forestry, utilities, mining, and agriculture combined. An additional 250,000 people are indirectly employed as suppliers to the industry. With 18 million visits to restaurants daily, our industry contributes to the economy of virtually every Canadian community. Restaurants provide more first-time jobs than any other industry, and 22% of Canadians got their career start in a food service business.
I'm going to skip over a lot of what I was planning to say, because there's a shortage of time.
Employers in our industry are actively recruiting from a large range of labour pools and turning more and more to groups currently underrepresented in the labour market, such as first nations, disabled, recent immigrants, older individuals, and social insurance recipients.
The provinces play an important role in coordinating the work of organizations representing these groups and linking them with employers.
Restaurants Canada wants to work with all interested parties, social and non-profit organizations, schools, community colleges, training providers, and all levels of government to develop the best policy framework to meet the employment and training needs of employees and employers. Of course, this has to be looked at in the context of our overall education and immigration system.
Most employers in our industry would be unaware of labour support programs offered by the provinces. They would certainly not be able to distinguish an LMDA program from any of their other offerings.
I would say that amongst those who are aware of provincial employment and training supports, the experience has been mixed. The training at times has been oriented to the personal interests of the unemployed worker rather than the needs of business, or the training has been too theoretical and not applicable to the job.
For example, one of our biggest employment needs is for cooks. Unfortunately, we've found people enrolling in cooking courses to enhance their culinary skills but with no intention of working in a restaurant kitchen, or registering for tourism courses where they may become good ambassadors for the industry but lack specific job skills. Also, the term “cook” is very broad, making it challenging to tailor cooking programs to restaurant needs.
I'm going to focus on three recommendations to help ensure that the $2 billion allocated to labour market development agreements better meets the needs of employers and employees—the employers, who fund 60% of the cost, with employees funding the rest.
First, we believe there is a need for better labour market information. I was pleased to read yesterday that this may be coming. Although this need extends beyond LMDAs, LMDA forms a very significant portion of funding for labour market policy. Better and more granular labour supply-and-demand information in terms of job categories and geographic regions is needed to ensure investments are focused on where they are most needed to close job and skill gaps.
In addition to being more detailed, this information needs to be accessible, user-friendly, and available on a timely basis. While the data needs to be captured at the local level, we believe it has to be coordinated amongst provinces for use at the national level. We also need to collect information on which interventions work and which ones are less effective. This way, comparisons can be made between jurisdictions, and programming and agreements can be adjusted, which brings me to our next recommendation: the need for national standards of accountability.
The labour market development agreements are negotiated on a bilateral basis. While we recognize that labour market needs differ significantly from region to region, we believe that there need to be national standards and some type of mechanism in place that would result in better sharing of information amongst jurisdictions with regard to priorities, plans, and results.
Although it is changing, there was a time when the metric used by most jurisdictions to measure success was program enrolment, rather than number of job placements and the duration or success of job placements. We believe standards are needed for program spending and the measurement of outcomes so that there is accountability to employers and employees for spending.
Our third recommendation to the committee is to recognize the value of on-the-job training in program agreements. The provincially funded programs are often too focused on formal third party training and ignore the investment businesses make, particularly restaurant businesses, in on-the-job training, where managers and supervisors work one on one with employees, many who are first-time entrants to the workforce.
Restaurants are a great training ground for most careers. Our jobs teach critical skills, including personal responsibility, teamwork, problem-solving, creative thinking, and accountability.
Our industry provides that all-important first step on the career ladder for thousands of Canadians. The importance of early on-the-job experience on any resumé cannot be underestimated. According to a Stats Canada study entitled “Unemployment Dynamics Among Canada's Youth”, more than 28% of unemployed young people between 15 and 24 years of age in 2012 were youth who had never worked, many waiting to finish their education before trying to find a first job.
I want to mention that I do agree with Judith's comments about employment insurance, but we don't have time to get into that right now.
To conclude, let's make sure that a focus of LMDA agreements is to ensure that Canadians gain real work experience, with placing unemployed Canadians in available jobs as the overriding priority.
This will best be achieved by working from better labour market information that includes consultation with employer groups on the jobs they will need filled and in which part of the country; by the establishment of enhanced standards of accountability based on the number of people trained and placed in real jobs, not simply enrolled in time-occupying programs; and by recognizing as much as possible the informal training that employers provide.
LMDA programs supply training with a major emphasis on teaching substantial technical hard-edge skills, providing Canadians with a better chance of hitting the ground running and an increased chance of securing and succeeding in a new career once they have completed an LMDA program.
View Anne-Marie Day Profile
NDP (QC)
My next question is for Mr. Jenkins.
The board has established standards for training and certification. Are you satisfied with these standards?
Randy Jenkins
View Randy Jenkins Profile
Randy Jenkins
2014-06-03 10:05
Thank you, ma'am.
We are satisfied with the standards. The content of the course is what changes annually as new things come on or new fisheries come on. But the oversight of the training—the rigour, the testing requirements, and so on—has been in place since 1997. It has served us well, and we will continue to utilize it.
Thank you.
Randy Jenkins
View Randy Jenkins Profile
Randy Jenkins
2014-06-03 10:06
DFO itself participates in the development of the course instruction, although the individual companies deliver the course. We also provide remedial and follow-up training as required.
With regard to some of the weaknesses of the training program, just given the nature of the fishery, unfortunately we have a lot of intake throughout the year. If I were to say there was a weakness, it would be that sometimes, just due to the very nature, either for at-sea.... If you had an urgent requirement for staff, you might have to give them some very quick training. Normally the formal training is done in the spring prior to the new fisheries starting, so all your staff are fully trained then.
If you hire people mid-season, you probably don't have the core capacity to bring everybody in. So we leave it to individual companies to make sure these people are trained for that particular fishery, on a one-on-one basis, for sort of remedial training. Then we get them on the first available course to do the full training.
I don't know if there's much we can do to change that, simply because it's a reality of the fishery that you have a lot of people and you have a high turnover in observers. You have a high turnover dockside. Sometimes the requirements come up because DFO has opened an exploratory fishery, for example, and you suddenly need a lot more observers than you had predicted. That would, perhaps, be a bit of a weakness.
In terms of the overall training standards and the consistency, we're very pleased. Despite a fair amount of turnover in recent years in some fisheries, there are a lot of individuals out there who have made a career of being at-sea observers. Certainly a good 50% of all of our observers have been around for a number of years, and that helps in the transfer of knowledge to new observers as well.
Thank you.
Bard Golightly
View Bard Golightly Profile
Bard Golightly
2014-06-03 8:51
Thanks, Kevin. Those were good comments.
It's a pleasure to be here today. Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the opportunity to speak.
I had the opportunity on April 29 in Edmonton to participate in a labour market development agreement round table. It was a great session, I thought. From a national perspective, it's interesting that while our country may not indicate it has a labour shortage, if one considers the employment rate, we find that in the residential construction industry we're having a great deal of trouble finding the right people with the right skills at the right time. As well, with the demographic trends moving along—we all know about those—labour shortages of skilled people are predicted to get much worse.
When I travel across the country in my role on the CHBA executive, it's eminently clear to me how different the employment situations are in different regions, and how important it is that our system accommodate and account for those regional differences.
For background, we are a 900,000-job industry generating over $120 billion in economic activity. However, in the next decade we will see approximately 100,000 job vacancies to fill. That means our industry and government need these LMDA dollars to be as effective as possible in getting Canadians employed, and perhaps more importantly, though, not just into jobs but into careers.
Today we offer the following recommendations for your consideration.
Make information on all LMDA-funded programs, provincial and federal, and the results of these programs easily accessible for review and sharing by employers, allowing for as much flexibility as possible in labour market development agreements in order to accommodate the regional and sector-specific needs and opportunities. This is something that I think came up in Edmonton as well.
Second, ensure that all training and support programs are available to trades and occupations working or seeking work in the residential construction industry. This would include promotional efforts funded through LMDAs.
Third, ensure that residential trades and occupations are included in the labour market information being used by those designing the LMDA-funded programs. Where apprentices are concerned, this includes, as Kevin mentioned, not only the Red Seal but all provincially designated trades as well.
In addition, it should be noted that our industry employs many people in non-apprenticeable jobs, many of which serve as entry-level positions into the industry and offer long-term career opportunities. In fact, my son is just going through that now. He has now moved into the apprentice program, but he started off in a non-apprenticeable trade and he's building a career out of this.
I'd also like to add that in our Nova Scotia consultation, a common theme stressed around the table was the need to reduce bureaucracy and reduce the barriers that stop individuals from accessing training. For example, a person having to wait six to eight weeks for employment insurance benefits is a barrier to training. A solution could be to bridge that six-to-eight-week gap that apprentices must wait for EI by having the grant dollars assignable to the employer. This would allow the employer to pay the apprentice during regular pay periods since they know the money is coming.
With those goals set out and the information on LMDA-funded programs in hand, we trust that our sector can play a greater role in helping to direct LMDA-funded programming, as well as connecting employers in our sector with various opportunities to help employ even more underemployed and unemployed Canadians. This in turn will help address the pending shortage of skilled workers in our industry.
Thank you.
Lindsay Manko
View Lindsay Manko Profile
Lindsay Manko
2014-06-03 9:58
Thank you very much.
First of all, I'd like to thank you for inviting us to this committee to present our views. I'd like to reiterate a little bit of what the last speaker said, the sentiment that we are glad that this is becoming a national conversation. However, the information we are presenting today is coming as more of a case study. We understand that we are a small, localized organization in Saskatchewan. Nonetheless we do feel that our 20 years of experience within the labour market industry will help provide you with a better picture of the overarching localized issues that some areas are facing in the provinces.
I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Lindsay Manko. I am the assistant manager at Ignite Adult Learning Corporation. I'm here with Carlo Bizzarri. We are a small yet mighty organization here in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The demographic that we work with is generally categorized as the vulnerable populations within our society. We work with youth at risk who would be categorized as more or less unemployable. They have few or no skills appropriate for our current job market in Regina, due to a number of personal setbacks and issues. Accessing the system in the first place to take advantage of the EI funding is an issue.
Specifically we have over 20 years of experience working with this demographic here in Saskatchewan. Our model is predicated on the marriage between business and not-for-profit. Our model essentially means that if you're coming to work in Ignite, you're getting paid to attend classes to gain and garner that training. You're being paid; however, we are a not-for-profit model, so we understand that in order to gain skills that make you employable, specifically soft and hard skills, you need to practice those skills and we provide that setting.
I'd like to talk a little bit about what we've seen as creating long-term success within our program in Saskatchewan. We have over 500 graduates who have come from a number of demographics, but essentially have not been—I want to really highlight this—successful in accessing meaningful, tangible, long-term employment within our community. So they went through our training process and then have garnered long-term, tangible experience within our employment sectors.
Our program actually runs for a seven-month period. Long term is long term. It takes a long time to make tangible change within your life. A lot of issues that we see—addictions, housing, child care—are not something that's going to change overnight. Going through a program that is short-term, we haven't had the success rates that we would expect for somebody going through a long-term program of about seven months. That's something we'd like to highlight.
Also, we want to talk about this marriage between soft skills and hard skills. It was quoted before. You were talking about making sure that you tie talent to task. If you've never had a chance to garner talents or had an opportunity to really realize what you're good at, because you've been involved in the youth justice system or you've been involved in the foster system, which has effectively not delivered what you necessarily need to become an able-bodied, working young adult, it's hard to access the system.
Really what we're here to talk about is being the advocate on behalf of that vulnerable population and how they access the LMDAs if they don't have the skills to get the job in the first place.
I know that there are portions within the current suggested scenarios that state that if you lack essential skills or have a low level of literacy you can still garner help from this program. But what we have experienced is that a number of the individuals who come into our program actually have undiagnosed learning disabilities and because they don't have the basic essential skills to access a formal system, it's harder for them to gain the employment to get access to these different things.
Again, I'm just speaking from our personal experience. I'm in the classroom every day from Monday to Friday working with individuals, and I'm not speaking for every organization, but this has been our experience.
Also, more in-house training for employees—we've talked about how we're going to be transferring the Canada job grant funding directly to employers, but if our employees can't access the employment in the first place, how are they going to access these funds directly for training in specific areas? Ultimately, our goal is to help individuals who are undervalued and don't necessarily have the soft skills—reliability, accountability, dependability, independence—that you need to work in this Canadian job market. They're essentially just going to become a continual debt load in the future for us. So, yes, we commend you guys for doing long-term planning and considering these different areas, but we just want to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable populace that we work with directly.
Carlo Bizzarri
View Carlo Bizzarri Profile
Carlo Bizzarri
2014-06-03 10:04
Yes, I want to add to what Lindsay said that we think of these individuals as employees. The habit of being accountable is something they have to pick up—showing up, being responsible, and doing work. That's how our program is set up.
In other words, they learn the life skills not by listening to a lecture but actually by doing. When they don't show up at eight o'clock in the morning for work, they are being penalized; there are consequences. They have to punch a clock in the morning. If the clock says that they have come in at 8:30, that means that their allowance or their wage has been deducted accordingly.
The important step is to bring these young men and women to a point at which they become independent and self-supporting. The process of doing that is not an easy one.
View Rodger Cuzner Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.
I'm going to start off in Regina, if I could, the home of the CFL champion Roughriders. Go, Riders.
Just to acknowledge, first, that the community that you folks work with, your organization works with, I would suggest, is probably one of the toughest. The number of barriers and the types of challenges that your clients deal with, and you made a comment on this in your remarks, that the short period of time really doesn't have as much impact and they'd have to come back again and again, and the extended period of time.... A lot of these clients would have had little structure, little direction early on in life, so you're trying to impact on that.
Give me an indication about some of the skills that they come to you with. Reflect on their life skills or lack of, their numeracy, literacy. There's been some talk about the concern that support for types of programs here have been lost in the LMAs. Should they be addressed in the LMDAs or whatever? Just some comments on that....
Lindsay Manko
View Lindsay Manko Profile
Lindsay Manko
2014-06-03 10:18
I think, essentially, when it comes to numeracy and literacy, it mostly comes down to a confidence issue, and in order to build that confidence, it does take time. I think you could talk a little bit better about how we could transfer that into....
Carlo Bizzarri
View Carlo Bizzarri Profile
Carlo Bizzarri
2014-06-03 10:18
Yes, we often get young men and women who are between the ages of 19 and 30 who can barely do math, yet they officially have grade 9 and 10. Likewise in literacy, we have these young men and women who officially have grades 9 and 10—some have grade 12—who can't write a paragraph.
Now in the marketplace, communication is extremely important in writing, reading, computer skills, and all of that, so we are trying to bring them up to that level. However, the big problem we are facing is that the environment where they come from is our enemy. Just to give you an example, on Monday we bring them in. They come to work on Monday, and it's a difficult day on Monday because they come from struggles on Friday and Saturday—
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
CPC (AB)
View Earl Dreeshen Profile
2014-05-29 16:11
Thank you.
I suppose one of the other points you have come up with, the improved on-reserve income assistance program, focuses on assisting clients in that 18- to 24-year-old age group. Of course, they want to develop the necessary skills so they can find a way to get into the job market. I see there's $41 million allocated in the mains to increase first nation and Inuit youth participation in education and labour market opportunities.
As a teacher, I can truly say that it's so important to first nations youth, as they are vital to Canada's future growth and our economic prosperity, to be able to get them involved and to move forward. I'm just wondering if you could give the committee an update on the progress that has been made in that regard.
View Bernard Valcourt Profile
CPC (NB)
There has been good progress to date with respect to implementing the income assistance reform initiative. Economic action plan 2013, as you all know and I referred to earlier, promised $241 million over five years to increase aboriginal youth participation in education and in the labour market. The $41 million you referred to in the main estimates is the first allocation under this new initiative.
Approval of 22 enhanced service delivery projects was announced in January 2014, and these are now being implemented as we speak. As I said earlier, these involve 70 first nations and close to 3,300 clients aged between 18 and 24. Supporting these 22 projects are 11 first nation job fund projects, whereby 11 aboriginal skills and employment training strategy development agreement holders are matched and responsible for providing those skills and training supports to income assistance clients who are referred to them.
We have seven additional enhanced delivery service proposals paired with four job fund proposals that are now being considered for funding approval, and implementation is expected to begin in June or early July. This will reach an additional 15 first nations and close to 1,100 young clients.
It's promising, but as I indicated when I announced this, and the first nations all know this, we are being closely monitored by Treasury Board, because this is a new initiative, which will build on previous pilot projects. We have to prove that it is working. Up to now, I'm pretty satisfied with the good work that those first nations are putting into their program.
Michael Mendelson
View Michael Mendelson Profile
Michael Mendelson
2014-05-29 10:20
First of all, under the Canada job grant, many employers will have less skin in the game because they'll be getting government grants, whereas before they weren't. That's an issue. But how is a high school graduate in Nova Scotia going to get the skills they need to get a job in Alberta under the Canada job grant? Is an employer going to train them so they can get a job somewhere else for some other employer? I don't think so.
There is something to be said for on-the-job training, and I'm very much in favour of it. We don't do enough of it. But that's not the be-all and end-all of training. There is a lot of downsides. Employers, as we've mentioned, small and medium-sized enterprises, don't have human resource departments. There's no way they're going to be able to develop meaningful training programs.
There are also other issues. There's a concept, for those of you who took first-year economics, of spillover effects. If you know you can train someone but that training is portable, your money might end up benefiting your competition's firms. That's a classic case in economics of under-investment.
How do people who aren't currently employed by a great firm that wants to do training get access to the Canada job grant fund? There doesn't seem to be any way to do that. Will they get the kind of skills training they need? It's not in my view--and I'm trying to be very non-partisan about and non-ideological--a well-designed program from a policy perspective.
View Dave Van Kesteren Profile
CPC (ON)
I don't think I'm going to get a round, so I wanted to ask this question.
One of the things I think every member's office gets is complaints about the CRA by people who are having problems with taxes and who feel they are being treated unfairly. What kind of training do you participate in to make sure that you are there as a service industry? You're in kind of a unique position. On the one hand, you're a tax collector, but at the same time, though, we are working for the Canadian public. What kind of training do you put in place and what kind of safeguards do you have regarding that sort of thing?
Richard Montroy
View Richard Montroy Profile
Richard Montroy
2014-05-28 17:20
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We have a number of different kinds of training, some on the technical side to ensure our auditors are up to speed on the latest developments in the tax world, but also some soft-skills training on dealing with taxpayers, conflict resolution, and that type of thing. We have a number of training programs in place. We can certainly provide the committee with a full list of all the various training we have for our people.
Paul Gillespie
View Paul Gillespie Profile
Paul Gillespie
2014-05-28 16:20
Thank you.
Mr. Chair, honourable members of Parliament, and ladies and gentlemen, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you today. I'm here to discuss the online abuse of children in the developing world.
My name is Paul Gillespie. I'm the president of the Kids' Internet Safety Alliance, KINSA, a registered Canadian charity that empowers developing nations to rescue children from sexual abuse. Previously, I was the officer in charge of the child exploitation unit for the Toronto Police Service for many years, and I'm still a member of the Interpol specialist group on crimes against children.
At a time when governments all around the world struggle financially, people of all political stripes recognize the need to spend public money with extra care. If one were to suggest that Canadian taxpayers fund safety patrols on the roads of Peru or Poland, folks here at home would object, and with good reason. Routine highway safety is not a proper target for foreign aid dollars. But if we move from safety in the physical world to safety in the cyberworld, the thinking must change accordingly.
Global law enforcement investigations reveal that millions of computers worldwide are actively trading in the most explicit images and movies of child pornography, including 200,000 right here in Canada. It is clear that hundreds of thousands of children are risk. The numbers are staggering and the risks are grave. Children will be sexually groomed or abused online and suffer daily with the stark reality that images of their sexual abuse are being traded online around the globe.
Bringing online child sex predators to justice is therefore a top priority of law enforcement. Certainly we must educate parents—and children too—about the dangers of online child abuse, but all the education in the world will not take away the inherent vulnerability of children. The problem of Internet child abuse will not go away without bringing to justice those who sustain the market for child pornography.
Thus, the central question to be asked is, how can police hunt these predators most effectively? Perhaps surprisingly, it means doing what would be objectionable in the physical world, paying to put trained cybercops on the online information highways in other countries. Why is this so?
Starting with the now trite observation that Internet activity of all kinds is borderless, every cybercop will tell you that online child sexual predators join online communities and trade images and movies of child pornography—almost five million of them—with like-minded people all around the world. Every online predator is simply one member of a global predator community. Consequently, every Internet child exploitation investigation, no matter where it begins, will yield solid leads about predators in other countries.
If we want to make the world's children as safe as possible online, we need to make sure countries around the world have highly trained cybercops on the electronic beat, because it is inevitable that if we train them, cyber investigators from Brazil to Botswana to Belarus will tell us more about what predators in Canada, Colombia, and China are up to.
Training cybercops from other countries puts more patrol officers in the very same Internet neighbourhoods that Canadian kids play in. This is wise foreign aid to developing countries that lack the capacity to conduct sophisticated online investigations. At the same time, it is local policing that helps Canadian kids.
In other words, foreign and domestic policy gains can be achieved simultaneously, and it is remarkably cost-effective. In Canada, it costs about $150,000 a year in salary and benefits to pay a police officer to be a cyber-police officer. On the other hand, KINSA regularly delivers world-class training to foreign cybercops for about $2,000 per officer. In both cases, the net result is one more officer protecting children everywhere. Hire one or train 75; the math is simple and compelling.
But even though the economics make perfect sense, this issue is not and cannot be just about money. Countries like Canada, with world-leading cyber-investigative expertise, should support the training of cybercops in less developed countries, because it shows global leadership. Most important, it is the right thing to do for kids everywhere, including those here at home.
KINSA works with global law enforcement and other partners to deliver training and build capacity in developing nations to rescue children from harm. Our vision is to set all children free from online exploitation. KINSA is a member of the Virtual Global Taskforce. KINSA works with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under a memorandum of understanding. KINSA training is accredited by the Canadian Police College. KINSA has been named as a trusted training partner by the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation, representing 16 countries, and the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization, representing 12 countries.
KINSA is highly respected by Interpol and law enforcement agencies around the world. KINSA delivers best-in-class, targeted, highly effective training to law enforcement agencies utilizing best practices from global leaders who deliver the training. The RCMP, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Norwegian national police, Queensland Police Service in Australia, Newcastle University, the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, and the Interpol Specialists Group on Crimes against Children are just some of the organizations that provide trainers to deliver the training we do.
Since 2006 KINSA has delivered Internet exploitation investigative training to 386 police officers and prosecutors in 26 countries. Our graduates have gone on to identify and rescue 85 children worldwide and delivered Internet safety presentations to 10,000 police officers and 20,000 citizens worldwide.
I would like to tell you now about some of the tremendous results that KINSA training has achieved.
Romanian national police, in 2007 KINSA delivered a general Internet child exploitation investigators' training course to police officers from the cybercrime unit of the Romanian national police. Based on our training, the national police officers created a specialized unit to tackle Internet child pornography investigations. Almost every one of the officers we trained at that time has now been promoted, and they are assigned to be in charge of cybercrime units around the country. The Romanian national police are now valued contributors to the Interpol Specialists Group on Crimes against Children; and they played a significant role in the very recent Canadian Project Spade, which was a global investigation rescuing almost 400 children around the world, many of whom were shown on a Romanian website being abused.
Brazilian federal police, in 2008 KINSA delivered training to members of the Brazilian federal police. During the training these officers were made aware of and told how to join the Interpol Specialists Group on Crimes against Children. During this training presented by investigators they were shown a case study involving horrific images of abuse occurring somewhere between New Brunswick and Maine. The case had stalled. One of the Brazilian officers in the training program revealed the fact that their police force had 400,000 categorized images of child pornography that the rest of the world knew nothing about. When the officer returned to Brazil, he searched their database and found that many images of the series being investigated in North America were sitting on the computer of a Brazilian suspect. He added those pictures to the investigation, and it allowed the RCMP to identify the home of the offender who was living in Tracyville, New Brunswick. He was then convicted of abusing 10 Canadian children.
South African Police Service, since 2009 KINSA has delivered training to 260 South African Police Service officers and national authority's prosecutors. A significant part of our efforts in Africa has been to work with the police service to develop and deploy a national strategy dealing with Internet crimes against children. In 2012, while KINSA was delivering training to the police officers and prosecutors, we coordinated efforts with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to ensure that all information regarding South African Project Spade suspects—again, that was a large Canadian project that identified offenders around the world—would be delivered to the police service when we were delivering the training, so that one of our trainers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police could explain the case and work with those officers to develop a strategy.
The SAPS then formed a provincial unit, which was part of their new national strategy that we worked on with them, and over the next 14 months conducted a very thorough investigation on the dozens of Project Spade suspects living in South Africa. In August of 2013 the South African Police Service executed dozens of search warrants and to date have arrested and charged eight men, with many more to be arrested, including three teachers, and have identified and rescued five children.
I'm proud to report that in April of 2014, just over a month ago, we graduated our first class of advanced ICE trainers from the South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority, who are now qualified to deliver Internet child exploitation training. They were given all the material needed to do so and they will continue to get KINSA support.
Uganda national police, in August of 2013 KINSA delivered training in Nairobi, Kenya, to police officers from 10 East African countries. Prior to the training, Facebook provided us with information asking for help to alert Ugandan authorities to a dangerous situation involving a Ugandan adult male who was actively targeting and exploiting teen and preteen girls living in Australia.
KINSA trainers on the course from the RCMP and U.S. Immigration gathered all appropriate information about the case and referred it to the Ugandan officers on the course. The trainers worked with the officers to fully understand the case and to develop an investigative strategy so that when they returned to Uganda they could do something about it.
Upon returning to Uganda the investigators put their newly obtained knowledge to work and initiated an investigation. They executed a search warrant, seized a computer, and then, working closely with our other partners from the Australian federal police, who provided computer forensic support to them and then investigative support in Australia, they found the evidence they needed. As a result of the investigation the suspect was arrested, and many teen and preteen female victims were identified, mainly in Australia, and the offender is currently facing multiple charges of exploiting children in Uganda.
What's going to happen in the future? KINSA will deliver regional training to 1,000 police officers and prosecutors in East Africa over the next five years. This training, in conjunction with the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization, will begin October 2014 in Tanzania, and 100 of these officers will be trained as trainers.
KINSA will work with each African country that requests our help to develop and deploy a national strategy dealing with Internet crimes against children. KINSA-trained countries will have police officers and prosecutors who are trained in the latest cybercrime techniques, which very importantly can be used across all types of crimes. They are also going to be enabled to be linked to work with worldwide law enforcement agencies and other partners that are actively involved in the same investigations.
Finally, some may ask, why Africa? Africa has seen a wave of increased Internet connectivity in recent years powered by the wide availability of mobile technology and the emergence of new approaches to rural access such as something called white space wireless. White spaces are unused channels in the broadcast TV spectrum.
Along with great social and economic benefits, this increased access is also empowering criminals in new ways. As soon as child sex offenders get online they can quickly find a welcoming community of like-minded criminals to share the latest technologies, facilitate abuse, and evade police.
Africa's police services are generally not so lucky. Many agencies are only beginning the process of looking beyond the physical world's policing technology requirements and are faced with the prospect of starting from scratch, while local criminals are using the developed world's latest technologies.
Significant benefits will accrue from the presence of KINSA in Africa including a highly skilled technical workforce to protect vulnerable children worldwide, and isn't that why we're all here?
Thank you.
Mathew Wilson
View Mathew Wilson Profile
Mathew Wilson
2014-05-27 8:46
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Good morning, members. Thank you for having me here today.
I'm pleased to be here on behalf of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and our 10,000 members to discuss Canada's labour market development agreements.
By way of background, more than 85% of CME members are small and medium-sized enterprises, representing every industrial sector, every export sector, and from all regions of the country. Our mandate is to promote the competitiveness of Canadian manufacturers and the success of goods and services exporters in markets around the world. CME is also chair of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, a collection of 55 business associations who speak together about the critical issues that affect the competitiveness of Canada's manufacturing economy.
Manufacturing remains the single-largest business sector in Canada. Canadian manufacturing sales reached nearly $600 billion last year, accounting for 13% of Canada's total economic output. Manufacturers also employ 1.8 million Canadians in highly productive, value-added, high-paying jobs. Their contribution is critical for the wealth generation that sustains the living standard of each and every Canadian.
In 2002, CME and our colleagues in the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition conducted a biannual management issue survey. This survey was focused on identifying the major challenges faced by companies and what was restricting their growth in Canada and abroad. While a broad range of issues affect competitiveness of companies, it was clear that the largest overall challenge faced by Canadian industry today is the strength of their labour force. The survey showed that nearly 50% of Canadian companies are facing skills shortages, and due to these shortages almost one-third of companies are considering moving operations to jurisdictions outside of Canada.
The economic consequences for Canada will be significant if these challenges are not addressed. Already today we know that labour shortages are causing billions of lost sales for manufacturers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. This is why CME and our members have been working closely with governments to strengthen the domestic labour pool to improve training programs, including the Canada job grant, reforms to the EI system, and apprenticeship training, to name just a few areas. We have also been working closely to help strengthen the quality and skill level of international labour to ensure it is matched with the needs of companies through reforms to the immigration system and to the temporary foreign worker program.
We are also closely working with ESDC on the delivery of a range of programs aimed at supporting the growth in advanced manufacturing, including creating national occupational standards for manufacturers, improving labour market information through regional consortia and linking foreign-trained engineers to Canadian manufacturers. In addition, we have partnered to create a skills lab, an online forum to discuss and exchange ideas and possible solutions to the skills challenges faced by industry today, including training and skills development.
While these reforms and actions are important, there is still so much Canada can and should do to address our labour shortages and we believe a major focus of attention needs to be on training and skills development of existing and new employees. LMDAs can and should play a much more important role in this regard.
Recently, I had an employer tell me that they reject nearly 80% of applicants to jobs because they don't have the basic comprehension skills to be employable. Basically, they would have been a danger to themselves and their co-workers in the workplace. I also routinely hear that new hires are only about 20% trained and companies must take the first year of employment to complete their training and bring them to basic industry standards before they are productive. While employers will and do support training of their employees, there's a significant amount of frustration with the current system, as well as concern the system is undermining their economic competitiveness.
We understand LMDAs will not address all the training and labour problems faced by industry across Canada; however, given the amount of funding contributed into the funds and spent on training, we believe it should be a far more important and effective tool in addressing industry training needs and closing some of the existing skills gaps. As a starting point, it is important to note that portions of the LMDA funding is being applied and used effectively by industry today. Despite what is often reported in the media, manufacturers and their related supply chains invest heavily in the training of their current and future employees. It is critical to their economic survival and success.
Companies are investing in on-the-job training to teach the advanced manufacturing skills necessary for a modern global industry, such as lean manufacturing, exporting, energy conservation, supply-chain efficiencies, workplace safety, and various apprenticeships. In some cases this training is being completed with the support of regional training programs delivered as part of the LMDA funding. This type of training is directly aligned to the needs of the employers and has direct economic benefits for Canada.
Some of the specific examples of benefits from our member companies from LMDA programs include doubling production output, 15% reduction in production costs, reducing lead time by up to 70%, and improved labour productivity by over 20%. However, while these are some positive results, it is nearly impossible to know the true impacts of the nearly $2 billion in annual LMDA training expenditures. The data available for the amount of money invested through LMDA is currently and has always been very vague.
This means it is nearly impossible to confirm positive economic and social outcomes associated with investing that nearly $2 billion a year.
Furthermore, it is equally uncertain as to the direct returns in EI funds that companies and their employees are heavily contributing to. Manufacturers and their employees pay roughly $2.1 billion in EI premiums annually with only $1.2 billion paid back in benefits, the majority of which are parental leave and other social supports. This leaves a gap of roughly $900 million in the manufacturing sector alone, which we believe should be available for training in the manufacturing sector through LMDAs or similar tools.
However, we actually do not know how much money is being returned to the sector in the form of training funds through LMDAs. With this level of funding available, we believe that more LMDA training funding should be available for new hires as well as upscaling existing employees to support industrial competitiveness and growth in Canada's manufacturing sector.
Finally, we believe that LMDA training funds should be leveraged and focused on the specific needs of industry and on closing the most-needed skills gaps to help them compete, grow, and employ Canadians. Specifically, LMDA funds should be invested into areas that are employer-driven and have specific economic outcomes like the examples outlined earlier, and similar to the way the Canada job grant is being established.
By focusing a significant portion of the LMDA investment on the skills and training that are most in demand by industry, we believe the money invested will have the benefit of leveraging significantly more private sector resources and creating better economic returns for Canada.
As an example, a program like this that used to be run under the old LMDA system in the 1990s was called On-Site. The program placed EI recipients at manufacturer facilities for up to 26 weeks, focusing on training and particular skill sets, including occupational health and safety, production, or environmental management. While on placement, the recipients continued to receive their EI benefits, but they got actual work experience while receiving it.
The companies got to see how these workers fit in, many of which were hired at the end of the project. Each participating employer paid $2,600—or $100 per week—to cover administrative costs and about 80% of the participants had full-time jobs at the of 26 weeks. This program was cancelled in the early 2000s with the switch to the LMDA. To us, this is a great example of using the funds that are focused on employer needs, and producing real and demonstrable results for the economy.
In conclusion, while CME supports elements of the existing LMDA program, where investments are economically measurable and beneficial to the individuals and companies involved, we believe that significant improvement can and should be made during this program review. We believe better data and transparency is essential as a starting point, given the money being invested through LMDAs is the money from the corporations and their employees themselves.
Mathew Wilson
View Mathew Wilson Profile
Mathew Wilson
2014-05-27 8:54
By allowing companies to invest the money they contribute to the EI system into training new and existing hires, the program will leverage greater employee contributions, resonate better with the employers, and create better economic outcomes for Canada.
Thank you for inviting me to participate today. I look forward to the discussion.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Wilson, you talked about the On-Site program that was cancelled. That was a federally delivered program. Could you tell us a little bit more about that particular program and why you found it so helpful? Could you just share a bit more on that issue?
Mathew Wilson
View Mathew Wilson Profile
Mathew Wilson
2014-05-27 9:11
I'll try to be brief. I think, just in general, what worked was that it matched people who were unemployed and on the EI system with jobs that were needed in the workforce, that were available with employers who actually needed people to come in.
Training was provided on the job. It was industry specific and the companies could train people up to the standards that they needed. That hands-on industry-driven approach is really what provides a lot of good results. The folks from Enbridge northern gateway shared some of their experiences specifically on that as well.
For us, those are the types of programs, and that was just one example. What I was told—and I wasn't involved at the time—was that at some time when the new system came in, around 2004 or 2005, whenever it was, HRSDC said at the time that this type of training wasn't what they were doing anymore and that they wanted to do different things even though it had very positive economic results. It was a change in the way things were being done.
Those are examples of things that were done in the past that linked unemployed Canadians directly to available jobs without costing a lot more money because it was the existing EI funding that was available. Those are the types of things that we'd like to see more of going forward for sure.
View Brad Butt Profile
CPC (ON)
I am quite interested to know how we can improve the LMDA programs and how we can get employers.... I think the key is that employers have to play a much bigger role in this, and not just the agencies that often get the funding and are contracted to do the training. I believe we've missed the boat in many respects by not engaging employers more in the process.
Do you have any ideas or specific recommendations you can share with the committee on how either employment associations like CME as an example and others, or direct employers, private sector companies, are involved in training either on site or in a location where they can partner with a trade union or someone who can do the very specific types of training that we need?
Results: 1 - 100 of 241 | Page: 1 of 3

1
2
3
>
>|