New fall webinars to address self-care, remote services, mature workers and more

CERIC along with its partner associations are offering a variety of both paid and free webinar series this fall to support the career development community, in particular related to how to thrive in this age of uncertainty. Register now to update your professional skills and learn new ways to support your clients and maintain your own well-being.

The fall webinar schedule features:

For paid webinar series, registered participants will receive a password-protected video recording of each session. The recordings will remain available for one month after the final webinar of the series to allow you to catch up if you miss any weeks. For free webinar series, the recordings will remain available indefinitely.

CERIC partners with associations and organizations across Canada and beyond to present webinars that offer timely, convenient and affordable professional development. Previously, CERIC has also worked with the Canadian Association for Supported Employment, New Brunswick Career Development Association, Ontario Association for Career Management, Canadian Association of Career Educators & Employers, Career Development Association of Alberta, Nova Scotia Career Development Association, Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, and the US-based National Career Development Association.


Cannexus21 is going virtual! Register by Sept 9 for Gratitude rates

Cannexus, Canada’s bilingual Career Development Conference, is going virtual for 2021 and registration is now open! As we move through pandemic recovery, the conference will bring stakeholders together around the theme of Career Development for Public Good. From reskilling to resilience, this is the moment to reimagine the role of career development and its impact on education, the economy and social justice.

Given the unprecedented times, the virtual format allows Cannexus to address ongoing uncertainty but continue to provide an accessible, content-rich and value-packed opportunity for Canada’s career development communities to convene, share and learn. It will be a different Cannexus experience but the conference will offer the same diverse and high-quality sessions delegates have come to expect, gather the broad range of constituents Cannexus is known for, and provide the exceptional networking opportunities that attendees value, all online. The virtual conference will be on a more relaxed schedule – up to five hours of sessions each day over four days and access to recorded sessions over an extended timeframe.

What to expect at virtual Cannexus

  • Cannexus21 will take place on January 25 & 27 and February 1 & 3, 2021
  • Days will begin at 12:00 pm ET and run until the late afternoon, accommodating all Canadian time zones
  • Be inspired by world-class live keynotes and “Around the World” international presenters
  • 150+ live and on-demand concurrent sessions in both English and French
  • Gain practical knowledge and skills-building content (mental health, online technologies, current LMI) to help you adapt and more effectively serve your clients during recovery
  • Critical big-picture conversations around equity, climate and careers and the innovative thinking that is redefining career development
  • Virtual networking across Canada and beyond, including peer-to-peer matchmaking
  • Interact with other delegates and engage with speakers through live chats and Q&A
  • Online Exhibitor Showcase highlighting programs, products and services to help you in your work
  • All sessions will be recorded and available for later viewing – so you don’t miss anything and can view them at your convenience!

The pricing recognizes the financial constraints that the current situation has put on both individuals and organizations so this instalment of the conference is being made more accessible through special Gratitude rates, in addition to deep discounts for Groups, Students as well as Members of Supporting Organizations. The Gratitude rates – available until September 9 – express appreciation for the hard work and commitment of Canada’s career development professionals throughout a chaotic period. Plus, with a virtual conference there are additional cost savings; no need to worry about travel and hotel, and you can learn from the comfort of your own home or office!

Cannexus is presented by CERIC and supported by The Counselling Foundation of Canada and a broad network of supporting organizations. For more information on the virtual conference and to register, visit cannexus.ceric.ca.


Marilyn Van Norman honoured with Cannexus bursary established in her name

The Counselling Foundation of Canada has established the new Marilyn Van Norman Bursary to support community-based career development and employment practitioners in attending the Cannexus conference each year. The bursary is given in recognition of Van Norman, the recently retired Director of Research Initiatives at CERIC and one of its founding Board members. Known as a collaborator, visionary and expeditor, she is widely respected for her more than 40 years of leadership in the career development field with particular expertise in career centre and student services management.

“Marilyn has had an incredible impact on the career development community throughout her lifetime. When she joined CERIC, she had a title, but most of us considered her as our ‘Elder in Residence;’ and I’m using that in the way that Indigenous peoples would think of Elders – someone who has gained a high degree of recognition because of their knowledge and expertise within their community and who passes this wisdom on to the next generation,” said Bruce Lawson, President and CEO of The Counselling Foundation of Canada. The Foundation is CERIC’s funder and is the Founding Sponsor of Cannexus.

For the past 12 years at CERIC, Van Norman has led several innovative initiatives:

She also authored two popular books for CERIC, From My Perspective: A Guide to Career/Employment Centre Management and From My Perspective: A Guide to University and College Career Centre Management.

Beyond these remarkable achievements, she has been considered a treasured colleague, sharing her extensive knowledge and acting as a career coach and mentor to staff.

Previously, she held key roles at the University of Toronto as the Director of the Career Centre and later Director of Student Services. Her earlier book, Making It Work: Career Management for the New Workplace, was a Canadian bestseller.

Van Norman has been active on numerous Canadian committees and Boards relating to career development including: a Past President of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE); member of the ContactPoint Board; member of the founding Board of CERIC and Chair of the National Consultation on Career Development (NATCON) for 15 years.

Recognized with multiple awards, she was the first recipient of CERIC’s Etta St John Wileman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Career Development in Canada. She has also received the Award of Merit, Outstanding Contribution, Life Membership, CACEE; Contribution to Career Counselling, Ontario College Counsellors; and The Joan Foley Award for Significant Contributions to Enhancing Student Life, University of Toronto.

Now retired, Van Norman is enjoying spending time with her family and at her cottage and is looking forward to travel south again when possible.

For the 2021 virtual Cannexus conference, there will be 13 bursaries available with one awarded within each province and territory. Applications must be from charitable or non-profit Canadian community-based organizations. Bursaries will be for a single full conference registration. The application deadline is September 30, 2020.


Enriching student’s lives through conversation

By Yi-Wen Liao

Mental health is a big issue for first-year undergraduate students adapting to university life in recent years. Although my role is as a career coach, I have found the purely coaching approach may not be sufficient because students face many more challenges nowadays. Therefore, they need far more supports and experiences sharing. The better way is to compose different kinds of elements from mentoring and coaching, consulting theory in the process. Before we empower others, we need to be authentic to understand narratives from our personal stories (George, Sims, McLean, & Mayer, 2007). As I practise more, I would rather name it as “conversation.” What I can do is to enrich conversations by providing a trusted and caring space for the flow of energy in conversation. I believe that although I have limitations because of my life experience and environment, I still can help in a way which brings love and care to enrich people ‘s lives.

The person in conversation with students can be described with the similarity to a teacher’s role in the educational field. In reflection-on practice, teachers build their confidence and capability in teaching through the systematic and rigorous reflection on their practices (Ghaye & Ghaye, 2011). Boud and Miller (1996) indicated that learning comes from experience and is socio-culturally and emotionally connected. In addition, without the attention to emotion and feelings, the result may lead to difficulty in learning (Boud & Miller, 1996).

In Holt’s book How children learn, children learn in a special way that is more suitable for their styles (2017). He found that due to the school system, people do not learn better than when they were in childhood. To trust children, we need to trust ourselves from the heart without worrying or fear (Holt, 2017). However, in the current education system, student’s achievement mainly refers to academic performance. The associated competition reinforces fears and worries. Gallegos Nava (2001) called it mechanistic education. It focuses on teaching them knowledge and skills by disciplines and developing their thoughts (Gallegos Nava, 2001). Nava also mentioned that behavioural changes are limited, mainly at the superficial level. In the contrary, holistic vision is founded by the nature of human beings integrating with the universe, the spiritual pursuit of wholeness and truths (Gallegos Nava , 2001). Nurturing the whole person is the core of holistic education (Miller, 2006). Miller concluded that the holistic education emphasizes the development of human’s intelligence, emotion, physics, social relationship, aesthetics and spirit. However, spiritual development is seldom addressed in the current education system (Miller, 2006).

Holt’s theory helped me to rethink my concerns in conversations with undergraduate students. Trust is the foundation for positive relationships (Holt, 2017). It starts with authentic leadership from coaches (George, et al., 2007). To be authentic, coaches needs to be honest and vulnerable to themselves in order to serve others.

Author Bio

Yi-Wen Liao is currently a graduate student in Education at the University of Prince Edward Island. As a career coach, she enjoys helping the younger generation maximize their full potential. She has worked in global professional firms as a human resources consultant in Mainland China and Taiwan for 20 years.


Boud, D. J. & Miller, Nod. (1996). Working with experience: animating learning. New York, NY: Routledge.

Gallegos Nava, R. (2001). Holistic education: Pedagogy of universal love. Brandon, VT: Foundation for Educational Renewal.

Ghaye, A. & Ghaye, K. (2011). Teaching and learning through critical reflective practice. New York, New York: Routledge.

Holt, J. (2017). How children learn (50th anniversary ed.). New York, NY: Da Capo Press. Miller, J. (2006). Educating for wisdom and compassion. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

George, B., Sims, P., N. McLean, A. N., & Mayer, D. (2007) Discovering Your Authentic Leadership. Harvard Business Review, 85(2), 129-140.


COVID-19: The Widening Cracks in Canada’s Social Safety Net Have Implications for Retraining

By Alix J. Jansen

The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the cracks in Canada’s social safety net and revealing the various ways that social policies make it difficult for workforce development organizations to help those in need. Career development professionals do their best to help people navigate our changing labour market, but government policies can make it difficult for organizations to connect with people in need and help them retrain and find decent work.

In particular, it is deepening the inequalities that Canadians face when trying to navigate the job market that result from the ongoing link between eligibility for Employment Insurance and access to retraining programs.

People who have been shut out of full-time employment have long had access to sub-par benefits. Approximately 30 and 41% of Ontarians are actually eligible for EI (Bramwell, 2012, 402; Vosko, 2011, 33) and levels appear to be low throughout Canada. To be eligible for EI, a person must have worked sufficient hours in insurable employment and have not worked in at least seven days through no fault of their own – and be available for and actively seeking work (Employment and Social Development Canada, 2018).

Those working in non-standard employment relationships like contract-based work are excluded (though some can opt in and pay coverage premiums). This is particularly important considering given that misclassification of workers as contract workers rather than employees is a known problem.

People must also apply for and have received this support – a process that can be difficult and overwhelming and cause some people not to apply for supports they would be entitled to (Herd and Moynihan 2018).

Eligibility is also unevenly distributed across Ontarians: people aged 15-24, 55 and above, recent immigrants and rural residents are much less likely to be eligible and women are slightly less likely to be eligible than men – especially amongst self-employed workers. This means that Canada’ s welfare system exacerbates the inequalities in Canada’s labour market, where women, people of colour, and younger or older workers face discrimination and lower wages.

Contractors and gig workers are excluded and are only able to access much lower levels of income support provided by provincial and territorial social assistance packages. They are also excluded from being able to claim EI while pursuing higher education. Provincial assistance also comes with a smaller budget for short-term retraining and tends to serve populations who have even greater needs. In some provinces, EI-funded training services funded by Labour Market Development Agreements are made accessible to people who are not eligible for EI, but this should be standard. There is no need for workforce development policies to double down on the divide between those eligible for EI and those who have more patchy labour market histories – especially as the latter group likely has even higher needs to support to find decent work.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit goes some way toward recognizing the inequality cemented in Canada’ s welfare system. But this payment is not permanent and it does not acknowledge the unequal access to support for retraining that stems from ineligibility for EI.

Canada’s training system needs to be decoupled from work history in order to effectively help Canada respond to the looming unemployment crisis that the COVID-19 Pandemic is causing. The current complex of federal, provincial, and municipal services is overly complex and can create confusion for users and providers (May, Sapotichne, and Workman 2006; Schneider and Ingram 1993; Jansen et al. 2019).

Ideally, all Canadians would be able to retrain in growing areas of the labour market like healthcare and tech while accessing income support, either through tertiary degrees or through shorter, targeted programs that link people with employers closely. Career development organizations do their best to help people struggle to secure work and the financial support they need to get by: it is time for Canada’s government to make their work easier by universalizing supports for people to retrain.

Author Bio

Alix Jansen is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto. She studies barriers to retraining for marginalized groups and is interviewing organizations and people seeking training to better understand these barriers. If you would like to be part of her research or have questions, contact her at alix.jansen@mail.utoronto.ca.


Bramwell, Allison. 2012. “Training Policy for the 21st Century: Decentralization and Workforce Development Programs for Unemployed Working Age Adults in Canada.” In Making EI Work: Research from the Mowat Centre Employment Insurance Task Force, edited by John Medow and Keith Banting. Queen’s Policy Study Series 89. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Employment and Social Development Canada. 2018. “Section 1: Applying for Benefits.” Aem. 2018. https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/reports/regular-benefits/apply.html#h2.2.

Herd, Pamela, and Donald P. Moynihan. 2018. Administrative Burden: Policymaking by Other Means. Russell Sage Foundation. https://www.russellsage.org/publications/administrative-burden.

Jansen, Alix J., Linda A. White, Elizabeth Dhuey, Daniel Foster, and Michal Perlman. 2019. “Training and Skills Development Policy Options for the Changing World of Work.” Canadian Public Policy 45 (4): 460–82. https://doi.org/10.3138/cpp.2019-024.

May, Peter J., Joshua Sapotichne, and Samuel Workman. 2006. “Policy Coherence and Policy Domains.” Policy Studies Journal 34 (3): 381–403. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-0072.2006.00178.x.

Schneider, Anne, and Helen Ingram. 1993. “Social Construction of Target Populations: Implications for Politics and Policy.” American Political Science Review 87 (2): 334–47. https://doi.org/10.2307/2939044.

Vosko, Leah F. 2011. “The Challenge of Expanding EI Coverage | The Mowat Centre.” Mowat Publication 23. Ontario: Mowat Centre. https://mowatcentre.ca/the-challenge-of-expanding-ei-coverage/.


Career Pathways After a Crisis for Youth

By Aryan Esgandanian

In the month of March, COVID-19 disrupted the well-being of Canadians and people around the world. There have been different takeaways and learning outcomes unravelling from this pandemic. Different sectors are overwhelmed and in the future, the direction of policies will need to change to support those gaps. What has been uncovered during this pandemic is a lack of preparation in planning for such a crisis but in addition, it has also revealed the compassion of some leaders and teams that stepped up at different levels of government and other sectors.

The aftermath of this pandemic will affect vulnerable populations such as youth. The global financial crisis revealed some learning outcomes. One of those takeaways was that it will depend on the magnitude of the crisis, and of course, the debt left behind from the recession (Keely & Love 2010). As a result, the companies and institutions will need to lower wages since employers will be struggling. Youth will become more vulnerable during these times since those positions will be targeted to them due to their lack of experience. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2019) reported that the global financial crisis has reinforced the importance for youth with skills to be able to integrate into the labour market and to advance in their career development. The population of Canadian youth varies, and they are not a homogenous group. Statistics Canada (2019) reported in 2008 that there were seven million youth between the ages of 15 and 29 in Canada. Would there be a matching system or a training model that could prepare the vulnerable populations of the seven million youth?

Furthermore, a clear pathway has not been in place for youth during this pandemic or a career matching system for people to be efficiently matched to employers. A model that could improve the training and connecting youth to employers is apprenticeship opportunities. In the province of Ontario, the Ford government had announced in its 2019 Budget to introduce a new “modernized, client-focused” apprenticeship and skilled trades training system (Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, 2019). The apprenticeship programs in Canada are tailored to certain sectors but if this model was designed for other professions, then the youth would gain experience. An existing gap is when youth are transitioning from school to work, and with the pandemic, this could increase. Parents have now become the teachers for their children, and there is no timeline on when they will return back to the classroom. A shift in the models for career development needs to be produced and apprenticeship programs should be taken into consideration. The future of the youth is dependent on better structures in all sectors where work­based learning should be integrated.

Author Bio

Aryan Esgandanian was completing her Ph.D. degree in Policy Studies and switched into the Masters of Arts in Public Policy and Administration program at Ryerson University. Currently, she is completing her research on Ontario’s apprenticeship model. She has completed her Masters of Education in Adult Education and Community Development with a specialization in Workplace, Learning and Social Change at the University of Toronto. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Ryerson University. She hopes in the future to return back to completing her doctoral degree. Her interests are in workplace learning, the transition from school-to-work, inclusion in the workplace, youth and community development.   


Progressive Contractors Association of Canada . (2019, April 11). Ford Government Unveils

Plan for Modern, Dynamic Skills Training and Apprenticeship System in 2019 Ontario Budget. Retrieved from http://www.pcac.ca/ford-government-unveils-plan-for-modern-dynamic-skills-training-and-apprenticeship-system-in-2019-ontario-budget/

OECD. (2020, March). Youth employment and unemployment. Retrieved 2019, from http://www.oecd.org/employment/action-plan-youth.htm

Statistics Canada. (2019, May 9). A Portrait of Canadian Youth: March 2019 Updates. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-631-x/11-631-x2019003-eng.htm

Keely, B & Love, P (2010). From A Crisis to a Recovery: The Causes, Course, Consequences of the Great Recession. OECD: https://www.oecd.org/insights/46156144.pdf


Does Ontario set up persons living with bipolar disorder for career success?

By Margaret Janse van Rensburg

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th edition (DSM-5) classifies bipolar and related disorders as disorders that cause mood fluctuations between a range of depressive states and manic states (Severus & Bauer, 2013). Persons living with bipolar disorder (BD) can have impaired occupational functioning, health-related quality of life and are at a higher risk of suicide, because BD is a chronic affective disorder with recurrent episodes of mood fluctuations (Kleinman, Lowin, Flood, Gandhi, Edgell, & Revicki, 2003). While Kleinman et al. (2003) propose that BD has a prevalence of approximately 1.3%, other literature speculates that persons living with BD make up 5-8% of the general population (Kessler, Akiskal, Ames, Birnbaum, Greenberg, Hirschfeld, & Wang, 2007; Severus & Bauer, 2013).

Persons living with BD face stigmatization. Academic literature cites an associated “economic burden” for the state because of high costs associated with providing care (Cloutier, Greene, Guerin, Touya, & Wu, 2018; Kleinman et al., 2003). In a review of literature on BD and stigma, Hawke, Parikh, & Michalak (2013) found that as a highly stigmatized condition, attitudes and stigma have critical repercussions for the functioning, social support and courses of illness of persons living with BD. The needs of persons living with BD are greater than those of an average citizen. Persons living with BD often require inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, other psychiatric and psychological services , as well as access to medical care (Geddes & Miklowitz, 2013; Kleinman et al., 2003). A survey by the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association in 2000 indicated that approximately 60% of persons with BD were unemployed, including those with college degrees (Bowden, 2005).

A person living with BD may have trouble finding and maintaining work. They are also more likely to have precarious living situations and to be incarcerated (Copeland, Miller, Welsh, McCarthy, Zeber, & Kilbourne, 2009). The person may experience exceptional needs that others do not face. Balancing work with individual psychological, behavioural and medical needs may be difficult. Time off may be necessary to attend medical or therapeutic

appointments, and there may be periods when they may be unable to work due to cyclical phases of mania and depression (Disability Benefits Help, n.d.). Further, persons living with BD may lack support from their families and communities, have inadequate access to healthcare and medication, and face stigma from potential employers (Hawke et al., 2013). This is coupled with the financial hardships of higher medical care and medication costs associated with BD (Williams, Shah, Wagie, Wood, & Frye, 2015).

Could a person living with BD be accommodated in employment to ensure job and income security? Under the Employment Standards Act, a person is entitled to unpaid sick leave if they are employed for two weeks for up to three days in each calendar year. Under the same Act, if they are employed for fewer than six months, they can face termination without notice or termination pay (Employment Standards Act, 2000, c. 41, ss . 50, 54-60). These are minimum standards, and employers can provide more generous sick leave benefits to their employees. The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) identifies that BD constitutes a  disability, and thus persons with bipolar disorder are protected under Ontario’s provincial Human Rights legislation (Thompson , 2012). Protection takes the form of  “reasonable accommodation.”

Author Bio

Margaret Janse van Rensburg is a recent graduate of Carleton University’s Master of Social Work program and is entering her doctorate in Social Work. She holds an Honours Bachelors of Arts from Wilfrid Laurier University in Archaeology and Medieval Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Autism and Behaviour Sciences from George Brown College.  She is committed to social justice and anti-oppressive practice. Her interests include promoting inclusion in work and education, advocating for a social model of disability, and destigmatizing ‘private’ issues, including mental health, disability, women’s safety, and eating disorders.


Geddes, J. R. & Miklowitz, D. J. (2013). Treatment of bipolar disorder. Lancet 381(98 79). diu: 10.1Ol 6/S0140-6736(13)60857-0

Hawke , L. D., Parikh, S. V., Michalak , E. E. (2013). Stigma and bipolar disorder: A review of the literature. Journal of Affective Disorders 150(2). 181-191. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2013 .05.030

Kleinman, L., Lowin, A., Flood, A., Gandhi, G., Edgell, E. & Reviki, D. (2003). Costs of bipolar disorder. Pharmacoeconomics 21(9). 601-622. doi: 10.2165 /00019053-200321090-00001

Kessler, R. C., Akiskal , H. S., Ames, M., Birnbaum , H., Greenberg, P. E., Hirschfeld, R. M. & Wang, P. S. (2007). Considering the costs of bipolar depression . Psychiatry & Behavioural Health Learning Network. Retrieved from https://www.psychcon gress.com/article/considering-costs-bipolar-depression

Ontario Human Rights Commission. (2014). Policy on preventing discrimination based on mental health disabilities and addictions. Retrieved from http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-preventing-discrimination-based-mental-health­ disabilities-and-addictions

Ontario Human Rights Commission. (2016). Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability. Retrieved from http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-ableism-and-discrimination­based-disability

Severus, E. & Bauer, M. Diagnosing bipolar disorders in DSM-5. International Journal of Bipolar Disorders 1(14). doi: 10.l 186/2194-7511-1-14

Thompson, G. (2012). Accommodating Bipolar Disorder in the Workplace, Part 1: Disclosure and Stigma. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Retrieved from https://www.aoda.ca/accommodating -bipolar-disorder-in-the-workplace-part-i­ disclosure-and-stigma/

Williams , M. D., Shah, N. D., Wagie, A. E., Wood, D. L., & Frye, M. A. (2015) . Direct Costs of Bipolar Disorder Versus Other Chronic Conditions: An Employer-Based Health Plan Analysis. Psychiatry Online. doi: 10.l 176 /ps.62.9.pss6209_1073


Disability in the Academy and the Academic Library Profession

By Anna Wilson

The United Nations (UN) guiding principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) includes non-discrimination, full participation and inclusion in society (UNCRPD, 2014, para. 9). Unfortunately, many scholars with disabilities are not represented in the academic and library staff in universities. Ableism conceptualizes the superior human condition, connecting people who able-bodied to images of radiant health, independence and strength (Mclean , 2011). In contrast, ableism conceptualizes the inferior human condition, connecting people who are disabled to images of poor health, incapacity, dependence and weakness. Post-secondary institutions are one context where ableist notions may persist as these understandings have become institutionalized in the beliefs, language and practices of non-disabled people. Hegemonic ableism ability preferences related to functioning and other culturally valued abilities intersect with other hegemonies (Hutcheon & Wolbring, 2012, p. 42). Just as race is considered a social construction of disenfranchisement, disability is considered a social construction of marginalization (Hooks, 1968, as cited in Michalko , & Titchkosky, 2009).

Critical disability theory (CDT) originated from critical race theory, circulating between the social model of disability and the medical model of disability. It is the spaces between the social constructions and medical constructions occupied by people with disabilities that are explored in this paper (Titchkosky, 2003). Critical disability theory represents people with disabilities on a continuum of human variation, having unique voices with complex experiences requiring self-determination to overcome ableism (Albrecht , 1992 , as cited in Rocco, 2011, pp. 7-8). The academy should integrate the principles of CDT in faculty and workplace policies to overcome hegemonic ableism that masquerades as economic efficiency. The aim of my literature review is to demonstrate disability as an authentic form of social capital that can enhance the academic workplace. First, the researcher will be contextualized as a research subject inquiring about disability in the academic workplace. Second, the theoretical framework of critical disability theory will be defined within the context of the social status of people with disabilities. Third, common myths about hiring people with disabilities will be deconstructed. Fourth, research librarians’ intersections with students with disabilities and faculty members with disabilities will be examined. Fifth, lessons from research librarians’ interactions with faculty and students with disabilities will provide a conceptual framework to help library students transform from library students with disabilities into working library professionals with disabilities. 

Author Bio 

Anna Wilson is working as an online writing coach for Indigenous teachers in remote northern Indigenous communities. She is the EPGSA executive secretary this year and the graduate student representative for the Convocation Committee. She is writing her teaching autobiography in Indigenous schools through Indigenous scholar Dr Marie Battiste’s conceptual framework of Nourishing the Learning Spirit (NLS).


Hutcheon , E. J., & Wolbring, G. (2012). Voices of “Disabled” Post-Secondary Students: Examining Higher Education “Disability” Policy Using an Ableism Lens. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 5(1), 39-49.

McLean, M.A. (2011). Getting to know you: The prospect of challenging ableism through adult learning. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, 2011( 132 ), 13-22.

Michalko , R., & Titchkoky, T. (2009). Rethinking normalcy: a disability studies reader. Toronto : Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Rocco, T.S. (2012). Challenging ableism, understanding disability, including adults with disabilities in workplaces and learning spaces. San Francisco, CA Jossey-Bass 2011.

Titchkosky , T. & Katie Aubrecht, K. (2009) . Chapter 9 The Anguish of Power: Remapping Mental Diversity with an Anti-colonial Compassion In Kempf, A. (2009). Breaching the colonial contract. [electronic resource]: anticolonialism in the US and Canada. [Dordrecht. The Netherlands]:

Titchkosky , T. (2003). Disability, Self and Society. Toronto: University of Toronto Press Incorporated.

United Nations Canada. (2014) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: first report of Canada. Ottawa, Ontario: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2014.


Creating Need-Based Opportunities and Job Roles To Fight High Teacher Turnover Rates

By Qurratulain Anjum

As a teacher, I have witnessed high intentions to quit among my colleagues, with an even higher teacher turnover rate globally. Around 46-50% of the teachers quit within the first five years of teaching in the United States (Jalongo & Heider, 2006), 30% in Australia (Peters & Pearce, 2012) and 20-40% in Canada (Clandinin et al., 2015; Leroux and Theoret, 2014). I experienced and witnessed high stress levels among my colleagues along with the workload beyond capacity. As I became aware of this global concern, I wondered if we are doing justice to this highly motivated bunch of teachers, especially those who have just entered the profession.

Consider a female teacher who is a mother of two kids. She is expected to prepare lesson plans and material for class, provide extra help to students outside of class time, communicate with parents, play a role of in loco parentis during school hours while employing a duty of care toward students, as well as support staff and co-workers, manage the paperwork at school and attend meetings with administration. These abundant responsibilities are often carried to home due to insufficient time at school and most teachers spend a significant amount of their personal time on lesson planning as well as preparation for classroom activities. How many hours do you think she would have for her two kids at home? The responsibilities go far beyond her capacity to manage, leading to stress and burnout, and eventually quitting.

This is a familiar story to teachers in Canada and in the world, as teaching remains a feminized profession globally. Is there something missing? My experience, observation and research would all answer “yes.” As I see it, there is a persistent gap to be filled through new job roles that do not yet exist. Teachers’ limited capacity calls for new job roles such as professional lesson planners, activity planners and teaching assistants who can provide cohesive teaching support. For example, a teacher with a six-month-old child may require an on-site childcare service to be able to breastfeed her child during the short breaks on a school day, instead of waiting for an average of nine hours to look at her child.

For the fresh graduates, are they doing enough to identify the possibility of job roles that exist or need to exist? For the counsellors and the authorities and administration, is there a cohesive network for the fresh minds to create new job roles in this fast-paced world? With the COVID-19 pandemic, our globe is experiencing a different turn altogether. Cohesive framework requires all types of stakeholders, from the authorities to the administration, counsellors and young professionals, to support front-line workers in the teaching network.

At my school, I remember the relief on the teachers’ faces when they talked about staying close to their kids on the weekends, especially while they are young. Considering the given situation, are we, as career counsellors or educators, doing enough to provide access to the opportunities available? Or do we also need to show the gaps that need to be filled by our fresh graduates? Let’s not forget the current COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected the current career prospects. While many people are laid off, there are many opportunities introduced to be filled by those who create opportunities instead of only the ones that exist.

Author Bio

Qurratulain Anjum‘s personal experiences and various formal and informal interactions as a mentor moved her closer to becoming an educator and, later, taking up the role of a career counsellor. This journey developed a keen interest in career development and well-being, with a focus on well-being within the teaching profession during her graduate studies at McGill University.


Jalongo, M. R., & Heider, K. (2006). Editorial teacher attrition: An issue of national concern. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33(6), 379-380.

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Employment agencies’ roles in mitigating the impact of layoffs

By Naomi Abrahams

In Canada, the second-largest population of residents are those between the ages of 45 and 64 years old, totalling approximately 10.16 million Canadians (Statistics Canada, 2020). We have seen an increased number of individuals above the age of 55 participating in the workforce, from 15.5% in 2006 to 18.7 %  in 2011 (Statistics Canada, 2018). At present time, and especially due to the increase of workers over the age of 55, it is not uncommon to hear of older workers in Canada suddenly finding themselves laid off, and experiencing multiple obstacles as they search for re-employment. I believe it is important to assess the roles of public employment agencies in mitigating the impact of layoffs for Canadians between the ages of 45-60 years of age, as such agencies are at the forefront of career development (or re-development).

Employment agencies serve as an intermediary for individuals seeking jobs and potential employers. Within such agencies, career counsellors can offer a wide variety of services, including advice for resume building and additional training (Holzner & Watanabe, 2016). Their role also includes finding positions for potential candidates. That being said, it is important to question how such agencies are geared to the wide variety of populations they serve. As more older workers seek out new employment opportunities, it is important to address ways in which these agencies in question can alter their programs to address the needs of the majority older worker population.

Older displaced workers may experience considerable obstacles as they attempt to re-enter the job market, including lack of job searching skills, lack of retraining opportunities or preconceived perceptions of older workers (being less driven, for example). In order to mitigate the impact of these layoffs and obstacles, employment agencies must be prepared to offer counselling that can help reduce the stigma that older workers may be experiencing. There must be considerable effort placed in offering support services to such age groups. Furthermore, we must call into question the existing policies in place for assisting laidoff workers that may be failing to support the affected Canadians. Ultimately, much effort is placed on career counselling for students and younger adults, but as the older working population of Canada continues to increase, it is necessary that the career development aspect be addressed when discussing older Canadians in the workforce.

Author Bio

Naomi Abrahams is a first-year master of social work student at the University of Ottawa. She is a recent graduate of the University of Guelph, from a program called Child, Youth and Family. Her areas of interest are vast, including interest in working with marginalized women, young parents, individuals with chronic conditions and more. She hopes to pursue a future career in the field of research.


Holzner, C., & Watanabe, M. (2016) Understanding the role of the public employment agency.    Tinbergen Institute. Retrieved from https://papers.tinbergen.nl/16041.pdf.

Statistics Canada. (2018). Portrait of  Canada’s Labour Force. Retrieved from https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-012-x/99-012-x2011002-eng.cfm

Statistics Canada. (2020). Population estimates on July 1st, by age and sex. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1710000501