The following is a report about ON-SITE which I prepared for the Employer Engagement subgroup of the Western Ottawa Community Resources Centre.
- Files section.
There are two small changes from the original report:
(1) For privacy reasons, the contact details for Alcea Techologies have been removed
(2) A note has been added concerning the shut-down of the ON-SITE program as of January 1st 2007
CO-OP PLACEMENTS: THE ON-SITE PROGRAM
Date: October 31st 2003
Author: Robert T. Chisholm
■ Briefly, this is a 26-week job placement and re-training program managed by Energy Pathways Inc. and funded by H.R.D.C.
■ The program started in 1983, in Ontario. Later, it was extended to include other provinces such as Alberta, B.C., Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Currently it is available only in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The author applied for a job with Suncor in the Alberta oil industry in August 2002 and simultaneously found that the program was no longer available in Alberta (saved web page available as proof of this statement). This coincided with media reports concerning a “job boom” there; further, the company to which the author applied was claiming not to be able to find suitable people in Canada and had started recruiting in the U.K. and South Africa. The author had no response to his application
■ Some employers approach Energy Pathways Inc. to advertise and recruit workers.
■ Information packages are also available to job seekers to give to prospective employers, when looking for work. Thus, in theory, a job seeker can obtain an ON-SITE placement with the employer of his / her choice.
■ This program can be used either on its own, or following a course, in order to obtain work experience.
■ As at mid-2000, it was available for placements in the following fields:-
▪ Information Technology
▪ Export Development
▪ Quality Management
▪ Environmental Management
▪ Energy Management
▪ Occupational Health and Safety
■ Web site: http://www.epi.ca/
(December 15th 2006 note: this may soon give a “File not found” error message)
■ A job seeker in an ON-SITE placement has to continue looking for work on a part-time basis because the employer whom he / she is placed with does not guarantee a job at the end. In practice, according to available information, about 1/3 are offered a job by the employer they are placed with whilst about another 40% are offered a job with another employer.
■ Between 1983 and 2000, about 5,500 people got work through ON-SITE and “over 4,000” employers participated. Over this 17-year period this averages to about 320 people placed per year – FOR THE WHOLE OF CANADA.
■ In February 2002 I met with Mr. Robert Lacasse, President of Alcea Technologies Inc.. He told me at the time that he had 8 other ON-SITE workers with his company and reported favourably on the program, but was unable to accommodate me. In the few other instances where employers whom I approached knew about this program, there were no negative comments about it.
■ Very small number of placements available compared to the number of potential users. See above. Also in the “Ottawa Area” as defined on the web site http://www.epi.ca/ there are typically only 10-20 placements advertised at any given time.
Solution: The business environment needs to be markedly improved, such that employers have the necessary incentives to make placements available in the numbers needed.
■ The program is currently available only to regular E.I. recipients or “Reach-Back” clients. Anyone not meeting these two requirements is excluded automatically.
Solution: These requirements should be dropped, such that (subject to certain other conditions) anyone out of work can avail themselves of this program
■ Apparently arbitrary withdrawal of the program without notice and without satisfactory explanation, even in areas where an alleged “job boom” is taking place, contrary to common sense. As indicated, this has occurred in areas where immigrants from South Africa and the U.K. have been hired when ON-SITE workers could have been hired instead.
Solution: Legislation to bar hiring immigrants when ON-SITE workers are available,
■ Non-guarantee by the employer of a job at the end of a placement.
Solution: The business environment needs to be markedly improved, such that employers are always able to hire their ON-SITE workers permanently.
■ A job seeker in an ON-SITE placement has to continue looking for work on a part-time basis because the employer whom he / she is placed with does not guarantee a job at the end. This works against the interests of both the employer and the ON-SITE worker by distracting the worker from his/her project.
Solution: see previous para.
■ Jurisdictional issues – moving out of province to better opportunities. Currently, if you want an ON-SITE placement out-of-province (e.g. Alberta), you cannot arrange it in advance of moving, if you live (say) in Ontario. You have to move – AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE – first, then transfer your E.I. claim to the province where you have moved, THEN apply for an ON-SITE placement (AND THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL IN FACT GET ONE). This works against both employers and job seekers by imposing unnecessary requirements to pay out money for a move, with no guarantee of work at the destination. This is just a case of being told to pay to move “where the work is….(or isn’t)” but without any satisfactory guarantee of return on investment.
Solution: abolish these rules.
■ No coverage for re-location expenses to take up an ON-SITE placement, even within the same province. This, again, imposes an unnecessary financial requirement on the job seeker, who may have no money to pay for re-location even if single and with no family commitments to deal with. This, again, is just a case of being told to pay to move “where the work is….(or isn’t)” but without any satisfactory guarantee of return on investment.
Solution: make coverage for re-location expenses available.
■ Limited number of fields of professional work covered.
Solution: extend the range of professional work covered.