By Barbara Williams

OPPORTUNITIES – A Dialogue on Career Development and Employment Preparation in Ontario

Ontario’s 3rd Annual Career Development Conference took place from April 4-6, 2001 in Toronto. This conference was presented by an alliance of government, non-government and community agencies that have an interest in career development and employment preparation in Ontario. OPPORTUNITIES is jointly funded by Human Resources Development Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The planning committee chose four themes for this year’s conference:

  • The Profession: Procedures, Practices and Guidelines
  • Caring for Ourselves
  • Respecting the Diversity of Individuals
  • New Widgets for the Trade: Resources, Models and Technologies


Over 600 practitioners attended more than 50 workshops where they heard about new models, shared and compared perspectives and identified best practices in the career development and employment preparation field.

Keynote Speaker Toben Anderson shared her personal story of surviving and thriving in spite of the curves life throws at us. Norm Amundson, a highly respected researcher, writer, and counsellor educator gave the closing address. New to this year’s conference were a networking lounge – a place to share information informally and network with colleagues, and a websites for breakfast session – which featured an early morning look at several Canadian Internet resource sites.

Participants reflected a true cross-section of people who work in the field today. Delegates came from all parts of Ontario, with delegates from Toronto and the Greater Toronto area comprising the largest group. Education, private business, government and community sectors were all represented, with the largest percentage from the community non-profit sector.

A fourth conference is just around the corner. Think about presenting your best practices at this exciting venue next year!

Barbara Williams is the Project Manager at ONESTEP (Ontario Network for Employment Skills Training Projects).



By Lise Simard

IACMP – MAY 11th 2001 – MONTREAL

An audience of one hundred and forty career counselors from Quebec’s outplacement and career management firms, college and university career centers and community non-profit organizations gathered at Montreal’s Inter-Continental Hotel in May for a workshop/conference with Richard N. Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? – a book which has sold over six million copies in North America. Bolles, whose book has been published in eight other languages, is also the author of The Three Boxes of Life and co-author with Howard Figler of The Career Counselor’s Handbook.

The conference began with a reminder that we are “the wounded leading the wounded” and that “It is the compassionate heart that makes a good career counselor, not technique”. Each individual has a center around which his whole life revolves. Clients who come to see us are usually looking for a new center which gives a sense of purpose to their life and are in what Anton Boisen calls a “process of conversion”. Sometimes, they have failed at their attempt at conversion and lost their center, their horizons have contracted and they no longer have a strong sense of identity. They can be bewildered about change, in which case we need to help them find the thread of constancy in their life and to identify what transferable skills, knowledge and self-management traits they bring from one situation to another. To be effective counselors, we must however first and foremost believe that our clients are inherently capable of change, that they have more control over their lives than they think they have. Our main role is to train and teach them to do without us, to empower them for the future.

Bolles’ focus was mainly on life-changing experience but he also spoke of the overestimated use of internet in career counseling (which actually plays a role in only 4% to 8% of successful job hunts) and demonstrated a technique which can be particularly useful in helping clients prioritize interests, values or skills. Inviting participants to enroll for a short time in “Dream School”, he also led them through an exercise where they had to come up with subjects they’d dreamed of learning but which they hadn’t gotten around to yet, asking them to identify the subject, the teacher and the place they’d have chosen. An example would be studying psychology with Carl Jung in a country inn in Austria. The exercise was meant to illustrate that we rarely pursue our dreams as well as the fact that dreaming is an important part of the career development process.

Both the conference/workshop and the cocktail that followed offered participants a unique opportunity to experience Richard Bolle’s humour and wisdom, which are key characteristics of his speaking style. The event was hosted by the Montreal Chapter of the International Association of Career Management Professionals which has more than 2,000 members worldwide. It’s main objectives are to offer an environment that favours professional and personal development, to keep members informed on the profession, to ensure they benefit from a well-structured network and to offer them the possibility of contributing to the development of the profession. For more information on the IACMP, visit the web site at or call the Montreal Chapter at (514) 990-9257.


Lise Simard is a Guidance Counselor. She is currently setting up socio-professionnal networks in several programs at the “Université du Québec à Montréal” and is working on a web version of these career development associations for both students and graduates. She can be reached at




By Rob Shea

“A Tradition of Innovation”

The 55th Annual Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE) conference was held in St. John’s, Newfoundland from June 4th – 6th, 2001. By all accounts the conference was a phenomenal success. Over 281 career educators and employers attended the conference which played host to delegates from Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

The conference program witnessed Rex Murphy’s witty and insightful keynote comments on the merits of an education and the dangers inherent in not paying tribute to the ability to think critically. The conference was complete with numerous sessions on the challenges associated with recruitment and selection and new techniques for assisting our students and employees with career planning. The conference program closed with our final keynote, Dr. Bob Richards. Dr. Richards spoke with clarity and humour on the role of communication in our lives and the challenges associated with effective communication strategies.

From scenic boat tours along the coast of Newfoundland to the delightful antics of musicians and a closing banquet with an 11 piece band, the social side of the conference captivated the hearts of the delegates and their partners. In all, it was a wonderful chance to embrace those traditions that are critical to our profession and discuss those innovations which keep us fresh in our thinking and our practice.


Robert Shea is Director of Career Development & Experiential Learning at Memorial University of Newfoundland. For over 18 years Rob has been involved in the many varied aspects of career development work. Mr. Shea is Founding Editor of the Canadian Journal of Career Development and member of the Board of Directors of Contact Point.