Are YOU taking advantage of the Single Parent Employment Initiative?

The Single Parent Employment Initiative removes barriers to employment for single parents on income and disability assistance, providing them with the training and supports they need to secure long- term and sustainable employment.

Beginning September 1, 2015, single parents on income or disability assistance became eligible for:

  • Up to 12 months of funded training for an in-demand job, or a paid work experience placement. Single parents will also be able to remain on income assistance if they attend a training program.
  • Child care costs during training or work placement and for the first year of employment.
  • Public transit costs to and from school.
  • Exemptions for bursaries, scholarships and grants that are required for the program of study have also been extended to single parents in approved training programs.
  • A full-suite of Work BC Employment Centre services such as such as workshops on resume writing and interview preparation.

Through recent changes to the province’s income assistance program, single parents in the program are also be eligible for:

Increased earnings exemption; from $200 to $400 per month, or $300 to $500 per month for individuals with a child with disabilities; and

Supplemental health coverage for a full year after they leave income assistance for employment. (dental, optical and premium-free Ministry of Health MSP and Pharmacare.)

  • Single parents receiving income or disability assistance are eligible to participate in the Single Parent Employment Initiative.
  • Single parents who are exempt from employment obligations under the BC Employment and Assistance Program are eligible to participate. Of the approximately 16,000 single parents who are on income and disability assistance, close to 11,000 are not required to look for employment as they have children under three or they are a person with a disability.
  • In order to be eligible for funded training programs, individuals must have been on income or disability assistance for three months.
  • If a single parent already has a post-secondary degree but cannot find a job in the field of their training they will work with their WorkBC employment counsellor (call Career Link at 604.485.7958) to determine if there are other jobs available in the community and if there is a skills gap, they will develop an action and training plan to address further training.
  • At the end of August, all single parents on income or disability assistance received a letter from the ministry with information on how to access the Single Parent Employment Initiative.
  • They can also contact their local WorkBC Employment Services Centre directly to talk with someone about participating in the program. There are 84 WorkBC Centres across the province, along with more than 100 satellite offices.
  • Everyone who is eligible for the program will go through an assessment with a WorkBC Case Manager to determine the best path to securing a job.
  • The Case Manager will look at aptitude and background as well as the local job market and work with each individual to map out the supports they need to help them move off income assistance and find sustainable employment.
  • Supports for child care and transportation costs will be determined through the individualized assessment for each participant.
  • Single parents will be asked to apply for child care subsidy through the Ministry of Children and Family Development in order to access child care supports. More information about this process, will be available through the WorkBC Case Manager.


Water Cooler Blog February 2016 : Discrimination in the workplace

birdsby Melany Hallam

QUESTION: Do you currently experienced discrimination in the workplace?



Discrimination. I’m against it.

Kind of an obvious statement, right? If you asked anyone, they’d likely say the same. But discrimination can be subtle, as well as unintended and unrecognized. In order to be fair to everyone in your workplace, first you have to recognize discrimination.

So what is it? Here’s a descriptive list from the Ontario Human Rights Commission:

  • not individually assessing the unique merits, capacities and circumstances of a person
  • instead, making stereotypical assumptions based on a person’s presumed traits
  • having the impact of excluding persons, denying benefits or imposing burdens.

These “presumed traits” can be based on any number of things, including race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, a conviction for which a pardon has been granted or a record suspended. That’s a pretty long list, and it’s fairly likely that we’ve all been on one side or the other of some negative or stereotypical assumptions.

The most obvious examples involve individuals who are passed over for promotion due to gender or colour. But bias can be much more subtle than that. Consider this example:

A small company is proud of its intensive team-building approach. Every other week, all staff are expected to attend gender-specific sporting activities such as wrestling and football with their “husbands and wives.” Many of these events take place on evenings and weekends in places that are not fully accessible. People who do not attend these events are less successful at building the internal networks that lead to promotions. Employees who are female, single, gay or lesbian may not feel welcome at these events. People who have care-giving responsibilities after work or who use mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, would likely not be able to attend these events.


I doubt that discrimination was intended here, but no effort is made to be inclusive either. The result is that some individuals in this workplace may be less likely to get ahead because of factors that have nothing to do with an ability to do the job. This type of discrimination is systemic and has to do with a corporate culture that welcomes only specific groups of people.


Look around your own workplace right now. What do you see? Really think about the assumptions you’re making about others and those that others may be making about you. Are you the only woman in an all-male office? Is one of your co-workers single in a workplace where most employees are married? Does this have an effect on what tasks you are assigned or how many weekend events your co-worker is expected to attend?

A recent human resources survey by Randstad Canada found that, although the majority of Canadians believed their workplace to be “open and inclusive”, about 25 per cent of those surveyed said they’d been discriminated against due to age or gender.

The lesson here is that we still have work to do, starting in our own workplaces and our own community. Discrimination isn’t always obvious but, once recognized, the solutions can be.


More information:

Water Cooler: December 2015 : Tools for the Job – Literacy


by Melany Hallam

Question: If you are working, do you have the tools to be able to do your job effectively? Yes / No (take the survey here)

Over a 20-year career, legendary NHL coach Jacques Demers won ‘Coach of the Year’ not once, but twice, and led the Montreal Canadiens to a Stanley Cup victory in 1993. He also coached NHL teams in Quebec City, Detroit, St. Louis and Tampa Bay, was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and was appointed a Canadian senator – all while not being able to read or write.

Demers spent his entire hockey career hiding the secret of his illiteracy, and it wasn’t until his biography was published in 2005 that it all came out. What a relief it must have been – at the age of 60 – to finally let that stress go and discover that his players didn’t laugh at him, he wouldn’t get fired from his job, his wife wouldn’t leave him and that people the world over still respected him for his many achievements.

Jacques Demers is an amazingly accomplished person, but his story makes me wonder how much easier his life would have been and how much more he could have accomplished (although that part is a bit harder to imagine!) had he not had to spend so much time finding creative ways to convince others that he did, in fact, know how to read and write. Some of the things he did included asking secretaries and publicity people to read letters to him, explaining that his English wasn’t very good (he was fluent in both English and French). When he became a general manager, he hired two ‘assistants’ who essentially did all of the paperwork and managing for him. He even asked his wife to write letters for him – until she became exasperated and he had to admit the truth. Demers came up with all kinds of excuses, and no one but his wife ever found out.

Granted, Demers’ story is an unusual one in that he worked at such a high level without being discovered. But his story is NOT that unusual in the ways that he pretended to be literate when he wasn’t.

And the origins of Demers’ problems are not that unusual either. They started at home with a difficult family life; with a violent father who drank too much and took his anger out on young Jacques and his mother, leaving the boy with little energy for school, and causing him to leave home and a lacklustre education behind at an early age.

Demers managed to overcome his handicap and has since become a role model for others struggling with reading and writing. But many people dealing with illiteracy never learn to either work around the difficulties it creates, or admit they have a problem and get help.

So why am I telling you this story, and what has it got to do with doing your job effectively?

January 27 is Family Literacy Day. Success in life starts at home, either with encouragement or with discouragement. Jacques Demers is a testament to that fact, and he has now told his story many times. Learning to read and write can either help you thrive or it can be a hurdle that you’ll spend your life trying to jump over.

Perhaps you think that illiteracy can’t be such a large problem in Canada today. After all, it’s 2016! But just take a look at these statistics from a 2013 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey:

Over the last 10 years, Canadian literacy rates have dropped: in 2003 we ranked above average compared to other countries, we are now just average

  • Almost 6 in 10 Canadians do not have the desired level of numeracy skills (including the simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills needed to count change, calculate tips, or understand credit)
  • Canadian youth (16 to 24 years) are under-performing in literacy compared to their young people in other OECD nations
  • 80% of adults (ages 16 to 65) with the highest literacy levels were employed, versus only about 57% of those who are at the lowest literacy levelsLiteracy even affects your health. A recent BC Literacy survey found that 75% of those with high literacy rate themselves as being in excellent or very good health, compared to only 30% of those with low literacy.Have we really made much progress with literacy levels in Canada? You decide.

If any of Jacques Demers’ struggles with literacy sound like they might apply to you (or someone you know), you’re not alone.

Here are some places to get help in Powell River:

Further reading:

Winter Resort Jobs


It’s the first day of Autumn, and folks are starting to think about applying for winter resort jobs.

Here are some leads for ski resort jobs in BC



Non-BC Options here:




Site C Dam Work Available

This artist rendering shows the camp that will eventually house up to 2,200 workers on the Site C Dam construction project. (BC Hydro)
This artist rendering shows the camp that will eventually house up to 2,200 workers on the Site C Dam construction project. (BC Hydro)

Work camp will eventually house 2,200 construction workers

Link to this CBC news story:

Work is about to begin in Northeastern B.C. on a massive work camp to house thousands of workers coming to build the Site C hydroelectric dam.

When it is completed, the camp on the northern bank of the Peace River will be a self-contained community, with its own sewage and water systems and facilities that rival nearby Fort St. John.

It is expected to house 1,800 workers when it opens early next year, with the ability to expand to eventually house 2,200 at the height of construction on the $9 billion dam.

At its peak, the camp is expected to bump up the population of the Fort St. John area by more than 10 per cent.

It will be so large it will have its own theatre, outdoor fields, indoor running track, a library and a spiritual centre.

BC Hydro spokesman David Conway said the aim is to attract and keep workers with quality amenities, including guest rooms featuring double beds, en suite bathrooms and wifi.

“The quality of worker accommodation is a key component of the project’s labour approach to attract and retain workers in what is expected to be a period of high demand for skilled workers,” he said.

ATCO subsidiary Two Rivers Lodging Group won the contract to build the work camp. But before construction of the camp begins, the contractor has to build its own smaller camp to house the workers who will build the larger camp.

When it is completed the Site C Dam will flood a valley 83 kilometres long, between Hudson’s Hope and Fort St. John.

It has been opposed by some environmentalists, farmers and First Nations.

With files from Betsy Trumpener


From the Site C website:

The vast majority of hiring for the project will be done by the companies awarded contracts to build

Site C. Please apply directly to those companies awarded contracts to build the project, as BC Hydro will not be accepting resumes on behalf of companies on the project. However, BC Hydro will facilitate the hiring process by listing the successful companies and their contact information on this page of the website.

Update: BC Hydro job fairs was postponed to September 2015 (­fairs­

postponed­to­september­2015) but no date has been provided for such a fair as of yet. We will update this page as this information is released.

Site C  Contractors

Public Road Improvements

(­ sheet­public­road­improvements­july­2015_0.pdf)

The Public Road Improvements contract includes upgrading and paving 1.6 kilometres of

240 Road, 900 meters of 269

Road, and widening, paving and partially realigning 5.6 kilometres of Old Fort Road.

It also includes installation of street lights at various intersections along Old Fort Road and 240


Contract Award:

 A.L. Sims and Sons Ltd




Site Preparation – North Bank

(­and­job­ opportunities/procurement­update/site­preparation­

The Site Preparation – North Bank contract includes building access roads,

excavation, and producing and stockpiling aggregate materials.

Contract Award:

Morgan Construction & Environmental Ltd.




South Bank Clearing

Clearing the south bank of the dam site includes the removal of trees and vegetation, constructing temporary access roads, upgrading and maintaining an existing road and other site preparation activities.

Contract Award:

Paul Paquette & Son’s Contracting



Worker Accommodation

(­and­job­ opportunities/procurement­update/worker­ accommodation)

The worker accommodation contract

includes the design, construction, partial financing, operation and

maintenance of a temporary work camp located on the north bank of the Peace River.

Preferred Proponent:

Two Rivers Lodging Group (ATCO Structures & Logistics Ltd. and Bird Design Build Construction Inc.)

 Email:  Web:­ca/Careers


General Contact 

Site C Clean Energy Project (/contact­us)

P.O. Box 2218

Vancouver, BC V6B 3W2

Toll­free: 1 877 217 0777

Fax: 604 695 5290

Email: (mailto:sit%65c@bc%68%79dro.%63o%6D)

Community Consultation Office, Fort St. John (/contact­us)

9948 100th Ave

Fort St. John, BC V1J 1Y5

Tel: 250 785 3420

Fax: 250 785 3570

Community Consultation Office, Hudson’s Hope (/contact­us)

The Pearkes Centre

10801 Dudley Drive

Hudson’s Hope, BC V0C 1V0

New Program for Single Parents on Income or Disability Assistance

bc_singleparentAre you a single parent on income or disability assistance?

More info:

Effective September 1, 2015, the following changes will be made to existing income assistance policy and employment programming to support single parents on income and disability assistance find and secure long-term sustainable employment.

  • Expansion to the current Employment Program of BC (EPBC) to allow single parents on assistance to access additional services and supports through WorkBC Employment Service Centres, such as paid work experience placements or up to 12 months of funded training.
    • If a single parent is assessed as needing training in order to gain employment in one of today’s in-demand occupations, they will be able to continue receiving income assistance for up to 12 months while participating in an approved training program.
  • Single parents may be eligible for additional child care and transportation supports while participating in EPBC.
  • Once employed, single parents that are eligible for the child care subsidy may also have access to additional child care supports for up to one year.

Additionally, effective September 1, 2015, all families on assistance will receive an increased earnings exemption and have access to transitional health supplements for up to 12 months after leaving assistance for employment.

View the Government of B.C. news release for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who is eligible?
  2. How does someone access the program?
  3. What will be covered?
  4. Is there a tuition cap if participating in training?
  5. What if someone is exempt from employment obligations?
  6. What service options will be available through WorkBC?
  7. If someone has prior training or a degree, will they still qualify for the program?
  8. What training programs will be offered?
  9. Can someone take the first year of a 4 year degree program then go to student financial assistance for years 2, 3, and 4?

BC 2022 Labour Market Outlook (2 MB pdf file)


Drop by Career Link or call us (604.485.7958) to set up an appointment with a Career Counsellor to set up a plan of action! Visit our site for more services

List of possible choices for education/training below

singleparent_Page_1 singleparent_Page_2


VIU’s Early Childhood Education Program

Click on poster to view larger version
Click on poster to view larger version

537_ECE (5)

The Powell River campus of Vancouver Island University (VIU) is rolling out an Early Childhood Education & Care (ECEC) program that will train people to enter the workforce as early childhood educators. The program will be starting in September 2015.

This week, on April 1st and 2nd the university will hold three information sessions to introduce the ECEC program to potential students.

Early childhood educators plan and organize activities for preschool and school aged children. They are employed in child-care centers, kindergartens, nursery schools and other areas where childhood education is important. Currently the field is seen as a growing competitive job market with 97% of the workforce employed being female (according to Work BC statistics).  Average salaries run from $11,000 to $33,000 yearly.

You require a clear criminal record check for entrance into the industry. Workers in the industry are also required to apply for an ECE licence that can be gained after the completion of the ECEC program. This license will have to be renewed every five years.

Click here for more information about the career path of an early childhood educator, or visit the ECEC program home page on the VIU website.

We managed to catch up with Alison Taplay, the disability studies coordinator at VIU, to ask a few questions about the ECEC program and the upcoming information sessions.


  • How many students will be in the ECEC Program?
    The ECEC program can accept up to 30 students.
  • What is the length of the program? How much time will be spent in a practicum?
    The program will run over two years – from September 2015 to June 2017. Within the two years there are three practica totalling 500 hours.
  • Why an ECEC program in Powell River now?
    There has not been an ECEC graduating class in Powell River since 2003 so there is now a shortage of ECEC providers in our community. Faced with a retiring work force, Child Care centers report they are unable to recruit qualified workers. Many centers have a retiring work force and are seeking new employees. As well, there are insufficient day care seats in the community, especially for infants and toddlers and for families needing after school care so there is opportunity for entrepreneurs to open their own family home or community based centers. For these reasons, the ECEC Powell River branch has been advocating for an ECEC course in Powell River.
  • What will people learn about at the information sessions?
    People attending the information sessions will learn about the admission process and requirements, the courses that are part of the program, the timetable for the first year, what they should expect as students in terms of time commitment and study, and the student services available to support their success including financial advising. The Program Co-Chair, Sheila Grieve, as well as one of the Nanaimo instructors Danielle Alphonse are travelling from Nanaimo to attend the information sessions so it is a great opportunity to get first hand answers about the program. Danielle and Sheila will also be instructors in the first year so the information session is a nice opportunity to meet them as well.

Two information sessions will take place Wednesday April 1st at Tla’Amin Child Development and Resource Centre, from 1:30 – 2:30pm, and from 5:30 to 6:30pm. The third session will be on April 2nd from 1:30 to  3pm in Room 148 at the VIU Powell River campus.

ECEC Information Session Poster

Agriculture in Powell River Now

Powell River, BC has always been agriculturally inclined. Even the Powell River (Paper Mill) Company modeled the Townsite on the Garden City Movement, that was “grounded in basic respect for the humanity of the individual worker and their family” and followed these 4 rules:

  1. The town was to be entirely preplanned.
  2. Homes for employees and their families were to be constructed by the employer ensuring that each home had “ample room, ample air and a place in the yard for a garden”.
  3. That the entire town was to be surrounded by a green belt of trees or agricultural parkland.
  4. The town should incorporate to the best advantage a mix of industry, commerce, residential, gardens and green spaces (

While the area once supplied itself and neighbouring areas with fresh produce, meat and dairy, the rise in very large scale industrial agriculture on the mainland and Vancouver Island, along with the increased ease in transportation, induced a decline in commercial agriculture in the area since the 1960’s. Powell River still maintained a few farms, and many individual home gardens (especially in areas like Wildwood and Paradise Valley), to supply at least some local produce. More recently, with the increased popularity of Organic and non-GMO (Genetically-Modified Organisms–Powell River became an official GMO-free zone in 2004, the first in BC).

Since then, there has been a lot of interest in augmenting our agricultural profile through various activities like:

  • plans to increase the availability of leased land for agricultural uses especially for lands in the Argicultural Reserve (ALR) (In October 2012, all property owners with 5 acres or more within the City of Powell River or 10 acres plus, in the Regional District were sent a letter, inviting them to consider short or long-term leases, or future sale of their agricultural properties, so as to make farmland more available to people who would like to actively farm but are deterred by the high price of purchasing land.)
  • S.A.L.S.A Society for the Advancement of Local Sustainable Agriculture contact bird483(at)telus(dot)net plans for a Full-Circle Farm that would include a teaching and abattoir component
  • community gardens in Sliammon, at schools, at the Community Resource Centre, and in every neighbourhood
  • a food provisioners’ cooperative, Skookum Food, that also has (for members) a bulk buying club (The Abundant Pantry) and a Fruit/Nut Gleaning project Skookum Gleaners where folks can help pick fruit/nuts and share the produce with the tree owners.
  • a local Food Security Project coordinator and private workshops promoting food growing, composting, and preserving
  •  small-scale food processors like Wild Westcoast Rainforest Products and Mountain Ash Preserves
  • an ongoing Powell River Open Air Market (opens Saturdays 10:30AM/Sunday 12:30PM), and yearly Fall Fair
  • a weekly market in Lund and South of Town at Kelly Creek, as well as an off-season market at the CRC
  • Annual Edible Garden Tours (the next one being on August 3) to peak local interest in ‘growing one’s own’
  • a local brewery in Townsite
  • seasonal wild edibles/medicinal and mushroom-hunting tours, home gardening assistance and services via Routes to Roots Edibles, and a local Permaculture course via The Urban Farmer
  • quite a few new and notable farms like Coast Berry Farm and Wolfson Creek Farm, among others
  • a free annual local publication on Local Food in Powell River called Home Grown
  • a recent government-funded local initiative to promote and brand regionally grown food, called SunCoast Grown
  • and most recently a tannery for locally sourced and environmentally friendly tanning company, Tanned, Wild and Woolly Processing, and a major renovation on Ecossentials, Powell River’s all-Organic market that aims to provide as much local produce as possible also via their weekly vegetable basket delivery in Powell River and on Vancouver Island

egtWe are happy to say that many of these initiatives have close links to Career Link and our parent non-profit The Powell River Employment Program Society (PREP); for example, Career Link helped Tanned, Wild and Woolly to develop their Job Creation Project plan.

If you are interested in pursuing self-employment in agriculture, or in finding local work in food-growing or processing, drop by Career Link and see our staff for more tips and advice, or if you are unemployed or working fewer than 20 hours per week, call us to set up an appointment with one of our Career Counsellors today (call 604.485.7958)

Powell River Agriculture Links


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