The online competition is offering prizes of $5,000 for the winning entries

Toronto, Aug. 12, 2013 – The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC) is today launching its National Challenge to Promote Career Development, an online competition to find ideas that will enhance and promote the image of career development and its professionals in Canada with prizes of $5,000 for each of the top three ideas.

In recognition of CERIC’s 10th anniversary in 2014, The Counselling Foundation of Canada has provided a grant to create the National Challenge. The competition aims to uncover imaginative and resourceful strategies as well as foster a national dialogue that will help Canadians recognize that career development matters to them and has a huge benefit to the country.

“We want to crowdsource the best ideas out there. What really creative entries can people come up with to communicate the value of career development whether to students, parents or corporate Canada?” says Riz Ibrahim, vice-president and general manager of CERIC. “With skills shortages, youth unemployment and workplace mental health at the forefront today, this online competition is coming at the right time. Career development can make a difference.”

Proposals might include: how to change high school curriculum to improve career development’s influence; policy recommendations that government could implement to persuade adult learners about the value of career development professionals; or a clever marketing campaign that makes the case about how career development promotes our Canadian economy.

“There is a perception gap in Canada. Canadians can access professional career counselling, in some cases for free, but they are not always aware of why or how to tap into it,” Ibrahim says. “We want to put career development in their consciousness and these talented service providers on their radar.”

Proposals will be submitted at and will be open for comment and revision until the end of the entry period. A panel of prominent judges from the career development field in Canada will shortlist up to 10 finalists based on their innovation, practicality and potential impact. The career development community will then vote online for their top choices. Cash prizes of $5,000 will be awarded in addition to Cannexus14 registrations for the three entries that receive the most votes. Winners will also be recognized at the Cannexus National Career Development Conference in January 2014.

Key dates for the National Challenge are:

  • Entry Period: August 12, 2013 to October 11, 2013
  • Judges Assessment Period: October 12, 2013 to October 25, 2013
  • Finalists Announced: November 4, 2013
  • Online Voting Period: November 4, 2013 to November 29, 2013
  • Winning Entries Announced: January 6, 2014

“Whether it’s identifying your strengths and interests and what career is right for you or understanding labour markets and where the jobs are, career development is fundamental for all Canadians,” says Bruce Lawson, executive director of The Counselling Foundation of Canada. “Career development is critical not only to an individual’s ability to make a living for themselves and their families, and make a meaningful contribution to their communities, but also to the economic and social wealth of Canada.”

The results of successive national surveys commissioned by CERIC about how Canadians approach their own career development show that career development, its professionals and their rich contribution to the nation are greatly undervalued. A 2010 Environics survey found that nearly 30 per cent of Canadians saw a professional career counselling program as very valuable, while just over half saw it as valuable. Yet, only less than one-fifth said they were very certain they would use career counselling programs and just over a third somewhat certain. In an earlier Ipsos Reid survey, about two-thirds of respondents said that if they were to start all over again, they would get more career planning or job information.

For more information on the National Challenge, visit


CERIC – Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling is a charitable organization that advances education and research in career counselling and career development. We support the creation of career counselling-related research and professional development for a cross-sectoral community through funding project partnerships and our strategic programs. Our strategic programs are Cannexus, ContactPoint / OrientAction and The Canadian Journal of Career Development.

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Sharon Ferriss
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