2023 Conference Agenda

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

8:30 am

  • Registration and Networking

9:00 am

  • Welcome & Opening

9:15 am

  • Keynote speaker: Mike Moffatt; PLACE Centre
  • On place-based labour market research & related workforce challenges and opportunities; a systems thinking approach to workforce strategy (e.g. housing, hard infrastructure, and soft infrastructure, like healthcare and childcare).

10:00 am

  • Self-care Break

10:15 am

  • Panel 1: Workforce as Economic Infrastructure
  • From healthcare professionals and educators to welders and truck drivers… the workforce – people – are at the center of our economy. How are current labour shortages impacting our economy? How might we better connect workforce strategy and economic development? Improve employment outcomes for equity-deserving groups?

Moderator: Kate Burns Gallagher; Western Ontario Wardens’ Caucus

Speakers: Pamela Uppal, Ontario Non-profit Network; Rania Younes, Immigrant Employment Councils of Canada; Fiona Peacefull, Niagara Health

11:00 am

  • Panel 2: Workforce Planning for Emerging Industries
  • Many complex workforce challenges and opportunities exist within emerging sectors like electrification, advanced manufacturing & digital technology. This panel will focus on various models for skill and workforce development that can support our planning for the future of work(force).  

Moderator: Blake Landry, Niagara Region

Speakers: Justin Falconer, Workforce Windsor-Essex; AJ Tibando, Pallette Skills; Jason Shawana, NPAAMB Indigenous Youth Employment & Training; Michael Crowe, Bow Valley College

11:45 am

  • Lunch & Networking

12:30 pm

  • Breakout Sessions
  • Several breakout sessions will be offered simultaneously. The sessions will include a mix of listening to speakers and guided, interactive discussion.

A1/B1 Design Lab: Early Learning & Childcare Workforce

Throughout 2023, 7 communities across Ontario have hosted Design Labs to raise awareness and foster new, collaborative networks pertaining to quality childcare as economic development infrastructure. We’ve brainstormed solutions to address the challenge of ELCC workforce sustainability and will use this session to further develop those ideas.

Whether or not you’ve engaged in this particular workforce challenge yet or not, the insights gleaned from this session can be applied across jobs in the caring economy (and beyond!)

Speaker/Facilitator: Rachel Crane, Workforce Collective

A2: Innovation in training & skills development to address the skills gap

This session will explore innovative models for skills development that engage educators, employers, and other stakeholders in closing those gaps.

Speakers/Facilitators: Rebecca Nicholls, Niagara College & Lise Galli, ExcelerateHR

A3: Systems thinking in employment services delivery

Ontario’s employment services system— and the world of work in general— is undergoing transformation. This session will explore how to center the jobseeker & employee client amid this transformation as well as lessons learned as we strive to achieve a more integrated system. 

Speakers/Facilitators: Deanna D’Elia, YMCA of Niagara & Shane Altenstad, FedCap Canada

B2: Addressing barriers for marginalized groups

Youth, women, immigrants, and racialized individuals—­all key groups within our labour market— face barriers to meaningful employment and career advancement.

This session will explore how we can work together to address barriers like bias and discrimination while also improving access to wraparound supports, like mental health care and child care.

Speakers/Facilitators: Khadija Hamidu, Workforce Planning Hamilton, Dr. Tapo Chimbganda, Future Black Female.

B3: Decent work to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth

Decent work is about more than providing fair wages and benefits. It also entails building on the values that drive work in our communities and having the mechanisms in place to foster fair, stable, and productive employment.

This session will explore “possibility models” for decent work and what it takes to grow decent work practices.

Speakers/Facilitators: Mojdeh Cox, Cox & Co. and Erin Hand, HATCH Ltd.  

2:40 pm

  • Closing

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

  • Post-conference social + Niagara Workforce Coalition launch

    Several organizations in Niagara are coming together to address challenges related to labour shortages, talent attraction and retention, and the “skills mismatch” in Niagara. We’re seeking to better integrate workforce planning and development to strengthen our economy as a whole.