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I have had nothing but trouble with this, ever since I first found out about the program back in 1989, by chance, whilst I was still living in Montreal.

The ON-SITE program began in Ottawa in 1983. It was originally conceived for the dual purposes of helping unemployed professionals - such as environmental engineers, chemists and managers - get back to work, and to help private sector organisations solve their waste and energy management problems. It is funded by H.R.D.C., but is managed by a private consulting firm called Energy Pathways Inc. who are based in Ottawa.

In early 1998, the coverage of the ON-SITE program was extended to include placements for information technology professionals.

In late 2006 the federal government decided to transfer all responsibility for worker re-training to the provinces, effective from January 1st 2007. One result of this has been the winding-down of the ON-SITE program. However it has since been replaced by precisely equivalent provincial programs. In Ontario, for instance, it is now the Ontario Job Creation Partnerships program; it works precisely as the former ON-SITE program did, with precisely the same eligibility requirements for people wanting to use it.

This is a snapshot of Energy Pathways Inc.s web site as at December 15th, 2006.  CLICK HERE

Click the BACK  button in your web browser to come back here after viewing it.

Two of the major difficulties with the program were (a) very small numbers of places available relative to demand and (b) only available to people receiving regular E.I. (U.I. before July 1st 1996) benefits, plus Reach-Back E.I. clients from July 1st 1996. The Reach-Back provision allowed people to enter the program up to 3 years after their regular E.I. benefits had expired, or 5 years for some people such as mothers who had temporarily left the work force to start a family. More information: CLICK HERE



On this site I have described several instances of problems with H.R.D.C. barring me from ON-SITE in detail and have included all the supporting documents

There have in my case been five stories of my being refused admission to this, or other difficulties, i.e.:-

a) 1989 / 90

(b) 1992 / 93

(c) 1994 / 96

(d) 1998 / 1999 

(e) 2001 onwards


WITH RESPECT TO (a)  - 1989 / 90

Briefly, I had found out about the ON-SITE program, following a phone call to Energy Pathways office in Ottawa. They were just one of a large number of names on my list to call, when I started looking for work in Ottawa shortly after I got married.

At the time, I was living in Montreal (since arriving from the U.K. in 1982, to work for SNC) but had found it to be hopelessly corrupt and devoid of any satisfactory opportunity in professional engineering, which was what I had come to Canada to do; I was working on my own as a self-employed house painter and decorator.

The then-President of Energy Pathways, whom I found myself talking to  - Mr. Brian Barstead – asked me if I would like a copy of their company brochure; naturally, I replied in the affirmative and thanked him for the information.

I received it a few days later. That is when I found out about ON-SITE, which had in fact started in Ottawa in 1983; it became available in Montreal in 1987.

The problem then was lack of insurable weeks excluding me from the program. After taking the problem up with local Employment and Immigration Canada office, the Montreal Gazette newspaper (which refused to publicize anything about it) and the office of the then Minister of Employment and Immigration – Barbara MacDougall – nothing whatsoever was done about the situation

Details to follow – under construction.


WITH RESPECT TO (b) -1992 / 93

This happened before the Reach–Back  program came into effect, on July 1st 1996


Shortly after moving to Ottawa in 1991, I got a 6 month less a day term employment position, painting and decorating at a large military hospital, the National Defence Medical Centre. This was arranged partly with the help of an Employment and Immigration Canada – Nadia Iadinerdi – who informed me about it, and  in time for me to do the written exam for the Ontario painter and decorator s licence which was one of the requirements for getting the position.


The idea was that by taking this job, I could establish eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits and hence ON-SITE, after finishing the 6-month contract. This seemed the obvious way to get back into my profession – mechanical engineering. So I went ahead and did it; the job went without a hitch.


Then I enrolled in the ON-SITE program, on the basis that they would find a suitable appointment for me based on information I had provided them. At the same time, during my previous 10 years unemployment in my profession as a mechanical engineer, I had missed out on a significant amount of published engineering literature. So then I set to work getting up-dated, which was a fairly long job but I was able to use the facilities at CISTI to do it.


(CISTI = Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, a department of the National Research Council located at the main campus in Ottawa)


But this did not work, because no ON-SITE placement ever came through before my Unemployment Insurance benefits ran out.


At the time, my wife and I owned a property in Montreal (bought partly with the aid of  a small inheritance from my mother who died in 1986), so I took the problem up initially with  federal Montreal M.P. Allan Khoury. Mr. Khoury eventually brought it to the attention of the then–Minister of Employment and Immigration, Bernard Valcourt, but without any result. So then I took it this up, along with other concerns (about corruption involving the engineering firm SNC in Montreal), with Ottawa federal M.P. Beryl Gaffney – again without any  result.


1992 / 1993 – DETAILS -  CLICK HERE



WITH RESPECT TO (c)  - 1994 / 96 :-        

 This was arguably the most serious. It all happened before the Reach–Back program came into effect, on July 1st 1996.

I was forced to leave a painting and decorating job after 17 weeks because the employer – Deans Professional Painting, in Ottawa – was in arrears with my wages to the extent of 5 weeks (about $2000) and appeared to be heading for bankruptcy.

To cut a long story short, I was initially refused  Unemployment Insurance benefits on account of  lack of insurable weeks but on appeal to the Board of Referees and then the Umpire,  I was awarded 17 weeks of benefits but not admitted to ON-SITE. In particular, I blame Board of Referees President R. Presseault and lawyer Jonathan P. Langsner (H.R.D.C. Legal Services department) for what happened.

Jonathan P. Langsner  became involved when I started dealing directly with the Umpire s office – i.e. the Federal Court of Canada –  following the initial decision in my favour. Mr. Langsner used legalistic sophistry and lies to pretend that I could not be admitted to ON-SITE. Additionally, his action and that of others, apart from other things, amounted to their using public money to stop me from contributing to the tax base. 





WITH RESPECT TO (d) -1998 / 99

This was as bad but in different ways.

The problems started just after I had finished a computer programming course at Willis College of Business & Technology, in June 1998. Co-Ops were proving difficult or impossible to get, for me and others, because of the lack of available placements with local companies relative to need. ON-SITE seemed to me to be the way out of this difficulty. In early 1998, it was recommended to me and others by one of the instructors at Willis College of Business & Technology, because the program had just been expanded to include placements for unemployed IT professionals.

Briefly, it involved H.R.D.C. officials initially approving me for the ON-SITE program, in early June 1998, but then changing their minds two weeks later without even telling me officially (I was left to find it out by accident). The problem was never resolved, because of what can only be described as stone-walling, obfuscation and time-wasting by H.R.D.C. officials during 1998 and 1999 - and former Minister of H.R.D.C. Pierre Pettigrew in particular.

This is a major reason why I had still not got satisfactory work, nearly 5 years after graduating from the Visual Software Developer course at Willis College of Business and Technology.

1998/1999 - DETAILS - CLICK HERE


WITH RESPECT TO (e)  - 2001 onwards

Currently, as a result of 10 months work at JDS Uniphase ending with my layoff in April 2001, under the present rules I was still eligible for an ON-SITE placement until about February 2005. The problem since I was laid off from JDS Uniphase has been a lack of suitable opportunities - even when I have approached employers to persuade them to use the ON-SITE program if they employ me. There seems to be a very serious problem involving small-c conservative employer attitudes, possibly connected with the general state of the job market.

In the case of Suncor in Alberta, where I am particularly interested in working, the problem involved ON-SITE having become unavailable there since August 21st 2002 or earlier. Additionally, I applied for an engineering position at Suncor in August 2002 at which time I KNEW they had just started recruitment campaigns in South Africa and the U.K.  - based on an alleged shortage of suitable people in Canada.  (Reference: National Post, August 19th 2002).

I took the problem up with the office of  The Hon. Jane Stewart, then Minister of Human Resources Development and with Suncor – but with no result.

The problem is still un-resolved at this time (May 2008).




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