Discover the new ContactPoint and OrientAction!

In 1997 the website was launched as an innovative virtual community dedicated to the needs of career development professionals. ContactPoint has been around ever since, offering free access to job listings, learning opportunities and support.

Now, ContactPoint is relaunching – harnessing the power of social media to build community, delivering updated content that reflects the changing information needs of a growing field and presenting a fresh, sleek design. ContactPoint’s French-language sister site, OrientAction, is also being redesigned.

Among the new community features of the websites are the ability to create a profile and virtually network with other users via discussion forums and groups. A wiki section will enable those of you with a deep knowledge of the field to share your expertise in this people-powered encyclopedia of career development. The job board will remain, and will be enhanced with a skills database, detailing the competencies required for different positions. And, of course, all the resources you know and love will remain – only updated with new directories, such as promising practices in career services, multimedia content and assessment tools.

ContactPoint and OrientAction are also embracing the latest technological innovations, as the websites will now be compatible with all mobile devices.

Special thanks to our ContactPoint Task Force, who helped us to update the content: Basak Yanar, Connie Augustus, Deirdre Pickerell and Krista Payne.

Stay tuned for the launch of the new sites on January 21, 2013!


Report urges private sector role in employment for homeless youth

A new report by the not-for-profit organization Raising the Roof advocates a greater role for private businesses in addressing youth homelessness, by providing at-risk youth with opportunities such as mentoring, training and apprenticeships. The report also presents concrete ways in which the private sector can engage with this collective issue that, in a time of high youth unemployment, is more relevant than ever.

Titled Everybody’s Business: Engaging the Private Sector in Solutions to Youth Homelessness, this report seeks to complement the work accomplished by myriad community-based agencies across the country that deliver valuable services to youth by helping them develop life and employment skills. Such efforts can only bear fruit if there are businesses to hire these youth. However, homeless and at-risk youth often lack the connections and support necessary to land a position.

The report draws on already existing, successful partnerships between private businesses and community agencies to offer recommendations to those wanting to emulate this model. It is hoped that sharing this knowledge will make this kind of initiative more common, change attitude and policy in the private sector and create more opportunities for at-risk youth across the country.

The full report, as well as a summary, can be downloaded in both French and English at


First-of-its-kind career and employment website for Canadians with vision loss

A new career planning and employment website features dedicated resources for teachers, guidance counsellors and employment specialists working with individuals who are blind or partially sighted.

Created in partnership with the World Blind Union and the CNIB with funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the site is called Project Aspiro and includes information about education, interview techniques and workplace accommodations.

Individuals with vision loss experience among the highest unemployment or underemployment rates of any group in Canadian society. Project Aspiro was designed to ensure individuals who are blind or partially sighted have equal access to information so they can be independent, productive members of society.

The digitally accessible website also supports friends and family, and employers. To learn more, visit


‘Haves’ and ‘have nots’ in the labour market

A new CIBC report points to a growing divide in Canada’s labour market with, on the one hand, an increasing number of positions going unfilled for long stretches of time because of a lack of skilled candidates; and, on the other hand, a growing “surplus pool” of lower-skilled, unemployed workers. The report, The Haves and Have Nots of Canada’s Labour Market, states that the vacancy-to-unemployment ratio is at its highest point since Statistics Canada has started to measure vacancy information.

This is a symptom of a shift in the labour market, where some traditional employment opportunities are disappearing (office administrators, school teachers, butchers, tailors, etc.), while other occupations, especially in the health care sector, face a skills shortage.

The mismatch of companies unable to hire and people unable to find jobs “is simply big enough to impact the economy as a whole, our productivity, our potential growth and therefore our standard of living in the future,” says the report’s author.

Recent changes in the immigration system are meant to address this issue; however, the report warns, these changes are too small to deal with the current skills gap in the Canadian labour market: no less than 30% of businesses in the country have indicated facing a labour shortage.

The report is available online at

Occupations in demand

  • Construction and transportation
  • Auditors, accountants and investment professionals
  • Human resources
  • Physical and life science professionals
  • Civil, mechanical, electrical and chemical engineers
  • Physicians, dentists and veterinarians
  • Optometrists, chiropractors
  • Nursing
  • Psychologists, social workers, counsellors
  • Mining, oil and gas

Occupations with surplus supply

  • Manufacturing and utilities
  • Clerical, general office skills
  • Finance and insurance
  • Secondary and elementary teachers and counsellors
  • Sales and service
  • Cashiers
  • Food and beverage services
  • Travel, accommodation and recreation
  • Butchers and bakers
  • Pulp/paper production and wood processing


Canada’s Career Imperative: How do we fix the ‘talent disconnect’ dilemma?

In 2013, CERIC will launch Canada’s Career Imperative, bringing together leaders from business, education and government for a series of cross-country interactive roundtables to find some common ground for answering the question: “How do we fix the ‘talent disconnect’ dilemma?”

All groups have a stake in the economic imperative of crafting a clearer strategy to develop, connect and retain the best of our talent to meet the ever-changing needs of disruptive regional and global markets.

Recognizing the constant swings in and out of recession and the major forces that influence the changing world of work (technology, demographics and social behaviour), our need for a genuine fix to our “talent disconnect” will require a greater grasp of how:

  • Regional markets across Canada differ in the skills shortage and talent match
  • The educational process could better prepare and connect young people with realistic choices offered by employers
  • Patterns of recruitment and selection are amplified by social networks
  • Society’s cycle of work, continuous learning and personal life aspirations is upside down to 21st century norms

At CERIC our goal is to be a catalyst for conversation on this topic. The aim is to promote networks across the country to foster a better understanding on how career development services intersect as part of the solution for fixing the “talent disconnects”.


Career Evaluation Guide showcased as an innovative tool

A career centre evaluation tool developed in partnership between CERIC and a working group of university career centres directors was recently cited by a report of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) as a promising practice. The report, How Ontario university career services prepare students for the future, highlights “the breadth of services and innovation in career services at Ontario universities” that helps their students adapt to a labour market that is constantly changing. The report showcases the best practices in fields such as experiential learning, skills development, understanding and adapting to the students’ way of life, diversity and services to alumni.

Career Centre Evaluation: A Practitioner Guide is a customized online resource to help university career centres design effective evaluation strategies. This resource provides a look at how five different career centres have tried to understand the components of evaluation and how they developed tools to use in their settings. The guide provides an introduction to a framework for evaluation, sample tools that you can adapt to your own setting, and case studies of evaluation activities at other career centres.

This project was created through a partnership between CERIC and a working group of the career centre leaders at the University of Toronto, Trent University, the University of Waterloo, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Windsor. The evaluation guide can also be used by career centres in other post-secondary as well as community settings.

The COU report cites it as a promising practice to prepare the next generation of career services, along with other initiatives such as the WhoPlusYou system developed by Ryerson University to revolutionize the concept of the job board, and municipal partnerships established by career centres at Queen’s University and McMaster University.

The guide is available online at The COU report is also available online at