Request for Proposals: Scoping the Canadian Career Development Landscape

Canada currently lacks comprehensive baseline data on the overall size, scope and composition of its career development sector. Having this valid and credible information is critical to inform the field itself as well as related stakeholders as to the magnitude, characterization and impact of this varied group of professionals.

CERIC is issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to undertake first-of-its-kind market research about the field. The purpose is to make visible the field by answering fundamental questions around how many professionals are practising career development in some form in the country, where are they located and what is their primary focus. As part of gaining a full picture of the career development landscape across the country, this RFP also seeks to identify select high-level outcome measures that flow from the delivery of career services. Additionally, CERIC has a special interest in understanding the state of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity (EDII) among career professionals in Canada through this RFP.

This RFP invites interested researchers to submit a detailed proposal that will enable CERIC to select the research/consulting team that it determines is best suited to complete the project according to the enclosed criteria.

CERIC’s interest in this project is three-fold:

1. To develop a composite picture of the career development field in Canada: Who is doing what kind of career services and where

  • Produce a snapshot of the total number of professionals, broken down by relevant categories
  • Create a model that reflects the landscape of those engaged in career development work, both formally and informally with a focus on those at the nucleus of the field

2. To identify the impact of the career development sector in Canada for employers, educators and government policymakers through a limited number of high-level metrics

  • These stakeholder impact measures could be, for example, related to staff retention, student graduation, jobseeker employment or mental health
  • Additionally, determine the market impact of career development in Canada in terms of its contribution to the country’s economy

3. Given the increased awareness of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigeneity (EDII), to answer whether those providing career development services reflect learners and clients who face additional barriers to career development

Deadlines for this RFP are as follows:

  • Request for Proposals Released: February 23, 2022
  • Intent to Submit: March 25, 2022 (submit name & contact info to sharon@ceric.ca)
  • Proposal Deadline: April 29, 2022
  • Award of Contract: June 29, 2022
  • Project Initiation: July 25, 2022

To learn more about the Scope of Work, Target Audience, Deliverables, Budget and Duration, and Eligibility Requirements, please download the RFP. For any inquiries, please contact CERIC Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Sharon Ferriss at sharon@ceric.ca.


Cannexus22 conference explored how career development changes lives, communities

More than 1,700 career development professionals from across Canada and around the world came together for the second virtual Cannexus conference in late January and early February. Delegates convened, shared and learned with a focus on the impact that career development can have on both individual lives and community well-being. The need for adaptability in challenging times was front and centre as the conference explored the latest research and practice to support meaningful client and learner transitions, and to build a more equitable society and prosperous economy. 

A few of the many highlights from Canada’s Career Development Conference included four candid and powerful keynotes: 

  • Waneek Horn-Miller shared her story from the front lines of the Oka crisis and passed on her mother’s advice: “Don’t hand your dreams over to those who hurt you.”  
  • Yvonne Rodney recounted her journey through the pandemic – from languishing and “blahness” to finding joy in the now – and encouraged us to “stop postponing your joy.” 
  • Randell Adjei suggested that problems offer us the opportunity to help people live richer lives using creative solutions: “We can’t experience light, if we haven’t experienced darkness.” 
  • Dr. Rumeet Billan redefined resilience and urged delegates to put in boundaries that prioritize what matters: “At the end of the day, it’s YOU that takes care of yourself.” 

The conference featured several special streams, including Sector Leaders, Around the World and Workforce Development. Presenters included many well-known career development leaders including Tristram Hooley, Spencer Niles, Norman Amundson, Gray Poehnell and Roberta Borgen (Neault). With the conference virtual once again, delegates were able to learn about career development globally with sessions from Iceland to India and Australia to Vietnam. Among the 150+ different education sessions, there was strong interest in topics around: 

  • Enhancing career development in schools 
  • Building the workforce of the future 
  • Engaging with employers around skills, diversity and careers 
  • Experiential and work-integrated learning  
  • Changing concepts of work in a post-COVID landscape 
  • Career development and mental health in organizations  
  • Career adaptation in later life 

Other components of the conference focused on making connections and peer-to-peer networking, with Cannexus22 offering exhibitor booths, “Hallway meetings,” a virtual cocktail party, a student reception and a francophone meet-up. The KAIROS Blanket exercise also offered an opportunity to explore the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

This year’s recipient of CERIC’s Etta St. John Wileman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Career Development was announced at Cannexus as Lynne Bezanson, Executive Director Emeritus of the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF). Bezanson was recognized for a remarkable career, devoting herself to strengthening the reach and impact of career development in Canada and internationally.  

CERIC showcased some of its recent and forthcoming projects at the conference: 

  • Cannexus attendees got a sneak peek of Wayfinder, a new tool to access reflective practice resources from OneLifeTools. This tool comes from a CERIC-funded project meant to optimize how experiential learning can support career development through reflective practice. Watch for the public launch in the coming weeks! 
  • A Research Circle shared the initial findings from a CERIC-funded, pan-Canadian study exploring career development among Grade 4 to 6 students. Led by Dr. Lorraine Godden and research partners, the study is examining what is happening in elementary education across jurisdictions in Canada related to introducing and building career-related foundational skills. A teacher toolkit is under development. 
  • CERIC released the findings of a survey of 500 employers conducted by Environics. The survey reveals insights into Canadian organizations’ views on: skills gaps in the labour market; hiring underrepresented groups as part of EDI strategies; investing in employee career development; and accessing the services of career development professionals. Media interest has been high since the release. 

For the first time, this year’s conference also offered a bonus day, Cannexus Reflections. Scheduled just over a week after the main conference ended, this day was aimed at helping delegates reflect on what they learned and facilitate taking action. 

In a post-conference survey, 96% of delegates rated the virtual conference as good to excellent, with 95% indicating they plan to share what they learned with colleagues to impact change broadly. Delegates cited enjoying the flexibility of attending remotely, the top-rated national and international presenters and the opportunity for community-building. Some also noted suggestions for enhancing the virtual platform and others shared they were looking forward to a hybrid conference option in future.    

Comments included: 

“Cannexus22 is the best professional development that currently exists in the field of career development. As a school division program co-ordinator, this job can be lonely. Getting to connect with professionals from all over the world has been rewarding. It’s great to be in a space with like-minded people who are just as passionate about the work.” 
Kirby Krause, Career Development and Life Exploration Program Co-ordinator, Hanover School Division, MB 

“This was my first Cannexus, and I really enjoyed it. The keynote speakers were outstanding. The opportunity to network with other career development professionals was so beneficial – to learn from my peers, and share experiences was great for my own professional development.”
Bernie McFarlane, Career Coach, Find Your Way to Work, Australia  

“Cannexus is a must for all those who value learning, development and ideas sharing in the career development field. The Cannexus conference increases knowledge, critical thinking and networking opportunities, and offers CDPs around the world the chance to unite, enriching practice and experience.” 
– Bella Doswell, Faculty Instructor – Career Development Professional Diploma Program, Conestoga College, ON  

Cannexus22 was presented by CERIC and supported by The Counselling Foundation of Canada with a broad network of 36 supporting organizations and partners. 

The Call for Presenters and information about dates and format for Cannexus23 will be available in the spring. In the meantime, Cannexus22 delegates continue to be able to access the conference recordings for six months. 

Man sitting on couch typing on computer2022

CERIC’s Careering magazine seeking article proposals for issue on ‘The Great Careers Disconnect’

The Spring-Summer 2022 issue of Careering will be on the theme of “The Great Careers Disconnect.” It will explore gaps, and solutions to address them, in career services, career education, the labour market and the workplace. Potential topic areas include but are not limited to:

  • employment challenges for internationally trained professionals and students
  • career services access
  • labour shortages and skills gaps
  • career development through cultural lenses
  • employment services funding

We invite a broad range of interpretations of this theme. New contributors are welcome, and can submit in English, French or both languages. Please review our Submission Guidelines and send a 1-2 paragraph description outlining your idea to Editor Lindsay Purchase, lindsay@ceric.ca, by March 1.

Visit ceric.ca/careering to view all past issues of the magazine.


Nova Scotia Deputy Minister Paul Lafleche to join us for a fireside chat on March 25

In the next installment of CERIC’s Careers and Canadians series, Nova Scotia Deputy Minister Paul T. Lafleche will sit down with host Lisa Taylor to discuss how career management can be taken up as a powerful tool in public policymaking. This series invites current and former policy leaders to explore how career development contributes to the public good of all Canadians, a theme in CERIC’s new playbook Retain and Gain: Career Management for the Public Sector authored by Taylor. 

Taylor, a future of work expert who is also President of Challenge Factory, will conduct this free fireside chat on Friday, March 25 (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm ET) with Lafleche, who is Deputy Minister, Department of Seniors and Long-Term Care and Deputy Minister, Municipal Affairs and Housing with the Government of Nova Scotia. Lafleche is an experienced senior executive and strategic advisor in government, academia and economic development. Starting in the natural resources field as an exploration geoscientist, he has had a varied career in the private and public sectors including as a licensed vocational education teacher. 

The aim of this series is to engage with government policymakers to apply careers thinking as part of public sector mandates. While career programs are typically considered the remit of departments of education and employment, there is evidence that career development principles should be included in many other public sector portfolios. Career development professionals who attend will learn how to effectively link career development to policy agendas.  

This series kicked off last November as part of Canada Career Month with Taylor interviewing former Saskatchewan Deputy Minister of Immigration and Career Training, Alastair MacFadden. One attendee called it “an inspiring and thought-provoking conversation with one of Canada’s foremost thought leaders on career development.” 

Register for the upcoming fireside chat or watch past recordings. 


New issue marks the 20th anniversary of the Canadian Journal of Career Development

The latest edition of the Canadian Journal of Career Development (CJCD) kicks off its 20th anniversary year. CJCD (Volume 1, Number 1) was launched as Canada’s only peer-reviewed academic journal at the National Consultation on Career Development conference in 2002. Since then, the journal has gone on to publish 40 issues with articles from more than 350 contributors, and to gain more than 10,000 readers. As Founding Editor Rob Shea describes in From the Editor’s Desk, “It truly has been a ‘field of dreams’ experience.” 

The current issue (Volume 21, Number 1) includes a range of timely research from a needs assessment of virtual career practitioners to systemic issues in helping marginalized populations to well-being in the Canadian workplace. 


Research in Motion

Graduate Student Research Briefs 

The Canadian Journal of Career Development is a partnership between CERIC and Memorial University of Newfoundland with the support of The Counselling Foundation of Canada as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. CJCD is published twice a year. It is free to subscribe to the digital editions and all issues of the open-access journal dating back to 2002 are available online. 


Winter issue of Careering magazine shines a light on career mindsets

In this issue of Careering, we explore the many facets of Career Mindsets. Without a singular definition of this term in Canada’s career development field, we left the door open for interpretation. The result was fascinating.

Authors connected the theme to art, exploration, social mentalities, limiting beliefs, fixed and growth mindsets, design thinking and return to work. They shared how they use career mindsets to support students, from the early grades through to graduate school; newcomers to Canada and to the career development field; and jobseekers across all stages of their career.  

Articles include:   

Careering magazine is Canada’s Magazine for Career Development Professionals and is the official publication of CERIC. It is published three times a year and includes select content in French. Subscribe to receive your free copy. You can also access past issues for free online.  

The theme for the Spring-Summer 2022 issue of Careering magazine will be released later in February. Check back on ceric.ca/careering for the call for article proposals or sign up for CERIC’s free CareerWise Weekly newsletter to get the latest updates.


Lynne Bezanson honoured with Wileman Award for her remarkable achievements

The recipient of CERIC’s Etta St. John Wileman Award was announced as Lynne Bezanson, Executive Director Emeritus of the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) on Jan. 25 at Cannexus, Canada’s Career Development Conference. Lynne was recognized for a remarkable career, devoting herself to strengthening the reach and impact of career development in Canada and internationally. This award for lifetime achievement celebrates individuals who have established themselves as leaders within career development and devoted their lives to enhancing the sector as a whole. 

Wileman Selection Committee Chair Jennifer Browne honoured Bezanson as a pioneer in building the professionalism of the field. “From her early days as a teacher and guidance counsellor to her extraordinary work in the federal public service and non-profit sector in areas of research and development, policy consultation and capacity building, her commitment to this field and to those it serves knows no bounds,” Browne said. 

Beginning in 1976, Bezanson’s achievements include creating the national Competency-based Employment Counselling Training Program with the federal government to build the competencies of 4,000 employment and special needs counsellors. This program was recognized by Canadian post-secondaries and adapted by federal employment services in France, Sweden, Japan and Malaysia. In 1990, she joined CCDF and led the Creation and Mobilization of Counselling Resources for Youth (CAMCRY) initiative. CAMCRY was the first significant research and development initiative in the field of career development in Canada and served as a catalyst for career development as a viable research focus across Canada.   

In 1993, Bezanson became the Executive Director of CCDF and shaped it to become a trusted national leadership and innovation body for the career development sector. She was instrumental in forming the Canadian Research Working Group for Evidence-Based Practice (CRWG), creating collaboration amongst francophone and anglophone researchers across Canada and establishing the evaluation framework adopted by federal government to guide funded projects. She was a driving force behind the international movement to mobilize policy, practice and research leaders. She also chaired the International Centre for Career Development and Public Policy and was an expert contributor to OECD guidance studies internationally.  

Devoted to professionalizing the field, Bezanson brought the sector together to build the Canadian Standards and Guidelines for Career Development Practitioners. The first of their kind in the world, the S&Gs have underpinned practice and training in the field for over 20 years and served as a model for countries around the world. 

The award is given in the name of Etta St. John Wileman, a champion and crusader of career, work and workplace development in Canada in the early 20th century. She believed that work was about the individual and in the importance of work to the human soul. Wileman was a strong advocate for a national system of employment offices. She also lobbied for the role of parents and schools in the career development guidance of children. Past recipients of the award have included Marilyn Van Norman, Dennis Pelletier, Norman Amundson, Mildred Cahill, Bryan Hiebert, Donald Lawson, Michel Turcotte and Roberta Borgen (Neault). It is awarded on a less-than-annual basis. 

Bezanson was not able to join us for the virtual award presentation but CERIC hopes to be able to present it to her at Cannexus in person next year in Ottawa.


CERIC national employer survey reveals Canadian executives struggling with recruitment, skills gap

The majority of Canadian executives (81%) are having difficulty finding people with the right skill set to fill positions and 78% agree there is a skills gap in their respective industry, but few have drawn on the expertise of career development professionals to address recruitment and retention challenges, according to a national survey recently conducted by Environics for CERIC.*

For the Career Development in the Canadian Workplace: National Business Survey, CERIC surveyed 500 Canadian executives in more than 11 industries including service, retail, hospitality, construction and manufacturing. The survey reveals keen insights into Canadian organizations’ current views on skills and talent gaps in the labour market; hiring underrepresented groups as part of equity, diversity and inclusion strategies; and the importance of investing in career development. The survey also provides comparability to CERIC’s 2013 survey to track differences within the past eight years.

Top challenges for Canadian businesses

In this fluid pandemic landscape and underlying uncertainty, the challenge of finding young & skilled talent has increased in the past eight years. The top five challenges faced by employers are:

  1. A shortage of skilled workers (75% vs 68% in 2013)
  2. Finding young workers (66% vs 51% in 2013)
  3. Supply chain issues (70%)
  4. General state of the economy (69% vs 77% in 2013)
  5. Regulation and red tape (52% vs 63% in 2013)

While employers in Ontario were the least likely to experience a shortage of skilled workers in 2013, they are now the most likely, followed by executives in Quebec and the Prairies.

Recruiting and retaining talent

Eighty-one per cent of Canadian executives are having difficulty finding people with the right skill set to fill positions in their companies – up from 70% in 2013. Additional difficulties include:

  • Finding reliable candidates with the right work ethic (29%)
  • Competitive job market in their respective industry (23%)

While the importance of resumes has not deviated significantly since 2013, executives are finding a potential employee’s online footprint to be increasingly important (63% vs 52% in 2013).

Despite the growing importance of equity, diversity and inclusion, there has been a modest increase in the proportion of executives putting effort into customizing their recruitment approaches to attract and reach members of underrepresented groups (51% vs 46% in 2013).

Take a hard look at soft skills

Executives who have experienced more difficulty in employee retention (72%) more often identify a skills gap in their industry (42%) and are finding it increasingly more difficult to recruit people with the soft skills they deem important (40%). While positive attitude (29%) and good communication skills (22%) continue to be seen as the two most important soft skills for prospective employers, the importance of reliability and dependability has increased by more than 100% since 2013. The survey revealed executives are most likely to hire someone with soft skills who is a good fit and provide training (78%).

Investing in career development to close the skills gap

While 73% agree employers have a responsibility to provide career management programs for employees, only 27% provide these programs and 45% were unaware of career development professionals before this survey.

“Canadian executives have the unique opportunity to help Canadians take charge of their career by investing in development strategies that help employees identify personal strengths and clarify career goals that can positively contribute to job satisfaction,” says André Raymond, CRHA, Laval University and Chair of the Board of Directors.

The findings from this survey will be released during an industry expert panel discussion at CERIC’s Cannexus conference on Jan. 24 at 1:15 p.m. ET.

*From Nov. 18 – Dec. 17, 2021, Environics conducted a national telephone survey with senior-level employees from 501 randomly selected Canadian businesses across the country. The margin of error is ± 4.4 percentage points, at the standard 95% confidence level.