Mentoring and the World or Work in Canada: Source Book of Best Practices
Les Éditions de la Fondation de l’entrepreneurship, 2003
ISBN: 2-89521-052-7

In 2001, the Fondation de l’entrepreneurship with author Christine Cuerrier published Mentoring and the World Work: A reference model (Currier, 2001). The study proposed a model for effective mentoring programs for the province of Quebec. In 2002, a team of researchers were put in place to extend the mentoring project to five other provinces in Canada. The Sourcebook is the result of this study. It presents an overview of the similarities and differences between mentoring programs in Canada’s distinct regions. The sourcebook is meant to be a reference reference for developing mentoring programs across Canada and includes the Canadian Mentoring Model.

The Canadian Mentoring Model is composed of four components. The first is that of the Initial Context. The Initial Context includes the needs analysis, securing of funding and resources, coordination and training of coordinators and advisory committees, project development including design promotion and operations. The second component of the Mentoring Model is that of Operations. Recruitment of volunteers, lead mentors, mentees and matching the mentor/mentee pairs. The third component is Training. Training can include basic kits for mentor/mentees describing roles, ethics, job requirements, mentoring relationship theory and career development. The final component of the Reference Model is that of Evaluation. Evaluation includes ad hoc reports, get-togethers, log books, network exchanges and the distribution of information.

The source book contains several chapters that focus on mentoring in one particular province including: mentoring stories, general findings, a model for mentoring relationships in that province and a conclusion of unique issues involved in mentoring in that particular region. Each chapter also contains a fairly lengthy appendix featuring focus group and sample information used in each province.

For example, In Susan Reid-MacNevin’s study of mentoring in New Brunswick, Dr. Reid-MacNevin notes that there is strong need for mentoring to support local projects in order to alleviate problems associated with the exodus of youth to the big city in search of work. Robert Shea’s analysis of Newfoundland described the inclusion of informal community values in mentoring programs. Recommendations included the use of new technologies to alleviate distance issues in rural communities. In the case of Alberta, Debra McAdam notes that there is great emphasis on adequately structuring programs in order to fit them properly within their organizations. The end results include highly valued coordinators, and for Alberta, forms the cornerstone of program success. The findings for the other provinces offer unique perspectives and insight into the economic and demographic diversity of Canada.

Findings in the sourcebook indicate that mentoring is gaining in popularity across Canada. Many organizations are choosing to profit from the experience of mid career professionals and those at the pre-retirement and retirement stage. Helping the young and less experienced is a valuable means to promote efficient and cost effective training, professional development opportunities and employee retention.

Written by Robert Campiti, a student with the Career & Work Counsellor Program at George Brown College. Robert completed a practicum with Contact Point during the Summer of 2004. His interests include research in career development and resources, as well as emerging trends in Canada’s diverse workforce.