BC Partners in Workforce Innovation: A Win-Win for Business

Vancouver, BC – Leaders from several of BC’s largest employers gathered today at the Century Plaza Hotel to officially mark their partnership in an innovative pilot project that is designed to help businesses recruit and retain diverse talent.

Attrition, business growth, and economic expansion are anticipated to make it challenging for BC employers to meet their current and future workforce needs. Some businesses, particularly in the service and resource sectors, are already feeling the effects of labour shortages. The approximately 400,000 people in BC with a self-disclosed disability represent a largely untapped pool of potential candidates to help meet this need, with many candidates ready to step into available positions and requiring little to no job preparation.
BC Partners in Workforce Innovation
The BC Partners in Workforce Innovation Pilot Project represents a new approach to connecting workforce demand with available supply. The project will demonstrate a new way of supporting leading BC employers who are prepared to include people with diverse abilities in their overall recruitment and retention strategy.

The project, managed by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, is assessing the value of a business-centred approach whereby employer partners are able to recruit candidates to fill available positions through the role of an intermediary Recruitment Specialist. The Specialist will focus on understanding each employer’s business needs and will ensure that the hiring process is successful for both the employer and new employee. Employment service agency partners will prepare candidates for available positions and offer supports to the employer and candidate throughout the hiring process.

“Traditional ways of connecting people with disabilities to employment often start with the job seeker. This initiative is different in that the client is the employer. Similar to a recruitment service, the pilot will focus on matching employers with the right candidates based on the opportunities they have to offer.”

Susanna Gurr – Managing Director, BC Centre for Employment Excellence

The pilot’s founding employer partners include London Drugs, Seaspan, and CREW Management. In addition, the project team has formed partnerships with the BC Construction Association’s Skilled Trades Employment Program (STEP) to support employers in the construction industry and with the Canucks Autism Network to align with ongoing employment initiatives involving employers in their network. These business leaders will demonstrate to other BC employers the advantages of incorporating inclusive hiring practices in their workplaces and on their bottom line.

The Honourable Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, attended today’s event to highlight the Province of British Columbia’s support for the project through the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation’s Research and Innovation Fund. In her remarks she recognized the innovative nature of the project and the unique partnerships the project team has established between employers and service partners in the Lower Mainland.

Today’s launch event was chaired by Tamara Vrooman, President & Chief Executive Officer at Vancity and Co-Chair of the President’s Council, who commented on the commitment of her fellow business leaders in hiring people with disabilities in BC.

About the BC Partners in Workforce Innovation Pilot Project

This three-year collaborative and innovative initiative is designed to meet the dual objectives of supporting the workforce needs of BC businesses and improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The pilot is being led by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence in partnership with the following members of the Employment Action Committee: Community Living BC, Open Door Group, Neil Squire Society, Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (representing the BC Employment Network), BC Centre for Ability and Flaherty and Associates. MacLeod Silver HR Business Partners has been engaged to perform the Recruitment Specialist duties for the pilot.

For more on the project, please visit www.bcpartnerswin.org.


This project is funded in whole or in part by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

For queries about this project or other research activities being undertaken by the BC Centre for Employment Excellence, please contact Shawn de Raaf, the CfEE Research Coordinator.