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An upcoming New and Comprehensive national Labour Force Strategy

United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC), major national community service partners, and leading sector network organizations such as Ontario Nonprofit Network and Future Skills Centre have identified a growing labour force crisis facing the community services sector. 

There are high levels of burnout among front line staff and more signs that organizations are less and less able to recruit the talent they need in today’s tightening labour market. At the same time, retaining employees is also a challenge.

UWCC has recently secured a grant of $1,500,000 from the McConnell Foundation to develop a comprehensive national Labour Force Strategy for paid workers in the care economy within the community services sector, such as early childhood educators, caretakers of seniors or those with disabilities, workers in the housing and homelessness sector, those offering services in immigration and settlement, mental-health workers, people helping those facing gender-based violence, and various other jobs in community services.

A diverse coalition of sector leaders, workers, partners and funders will be embarking on work to create a sector labour force strategy which will provide a broad range of policy solutions and tools focused on improving working conditions in the sector. This will include a review of compensation, considering pathways to careers within the community services sector, better supporting the mental health and well-being of workers, and examining the role of government and philanthropy in implementing solutions.

UWCC believes that an effective labour force equals an effective sector. “The strategy will go a long way to address the sector’s current talent recruitment, training, and retention crisis that threatens the continuity of critical community services. A solid strategy will pay dividends in building more equitable communities and access to opportunities so everyone can meet their full potential”, Anita Khanna, National Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at United Way Centraide Canada.

This project will be completed over three years, from 2024 to 2026. Updates will be provided as work continues.

Steering Committee Members

Amanda Arella
Director, Public Policy, Advocacy & Strategic Communications
YWCA Canada
Noel Baldwin
Interim Executive Director
Future Skills Centre
Lynda Binhas
Directrice de la recherche
Comité sectoriel de main-d’oeuvre de l’économie sociale et de l’action communautaire
Pedro Barata
President and CEO
Habitat for Humanity Canada
Bernadette Johnson
Director, Advocacy & Knowledge Mobilization
Imagine Canada
Jessica Lue
Vice President, Government Relations and Advocacy
YMCA Canada
Anita Khanna
National Director, Public Policy and Government Relations
United Way Centraide Canada
Sara Middleton
National Director, Community Initiatives and Special Projects
United Way Centraide Canada
Nneka Otogbolu
Chief Operating Officer
Foundation for Black Communities
Pamela Uppal-Sandhu
Co-Executive Director and Director of Policy
Ontario Nonprofit Network
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