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Business Growth: Northern Ontario Workforce Planning

Northern Ontario Workforce Planning comprises boards across the North that conduct evidence-based research and analysis on workforce development Northern Ontario communities.

Workforce Planning boards across the North have been leading evidence-based research and analysis on workforce development in our respective communities for over 20 years. In our daily work, we are confronted with the unique workforce challenges that Northern Ontario is facing including a shrinking population, shifts in the labour market, and an ongoing need for ever greater communication and collaboration.

The priority for local boards is to continue developing and improving resources at the local level to support the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development’s strategic direction for local planning as follows:

1) Ensuring access to accurate, timely and relevant local labour market information as the basis for evidence based analysis. This includes collecting, analyzing and disseminating reliable local labour market information to local stakeholders and employers to provide Northern communities with high-quality local labour market information for planning. Our localized data sets are the first point of access for our communities to learn how to use and extrapolate data as it pertains to each community. Every year, NOWP hosts a variety of community sessions on the topic of data mining and informs community leaders how to access local data through our integrated research networks of consortiums, databases and website libraries.

2) Engaging our stakeholders and partners in a highly interactive annual consultative process, NOWP gathers local intelligence to develop partnership projects that address labour market issues such as local skills misalignments, workforce development challenges and gaps in service. By building on existing relationships and developing new relationships with providers of employment, education, training, human, social and other related programs and services, NOWP facilitates service coordination and planning. Collecting and interpreting local labour market information is key to assisting service providers and local system managers in their decision-making process and operational protocols.

NOWP’s local labour market planning process is highly integrated and collaborative. We have cultivated deep-rooted connections with stakeholders and work diligently to increase community capacity building and collaboration in order to maximize resources and avoid duplication of services at all levels. Because of the efforts of NOWP, we believe the North is now better informed and equipped to make local planning decisions that will have a positive impact, not only on our communities, but on local industries and the workforce as a whole.

It is that time of year when the Northern Ontario Workforce Planning Boards begin the process of seeking input from employers in the North through its EmployerOne survey. This online tool allows employers to express their workforce concerns and hiring challenges in order to formulate strategies that will address local issues. The link to the survey can be found on the website of every board.

While employers throughout the North have participated in numerous partnership projects and sector-specific research with the six Northern Ontario Workforce Planning Boards, the EmployerOne project is taking it one step further. Employers across the districts will be asked about the current and projected needs of their business, the demographics of their workforce, projected human resource vacancies, recruitment strategies and challenges, their perspective on candidate skills, education and training, top competencies needed in their business, and any ongoing concerns. 

NOWP staff will be reaching out to various employers and business associations to encourage participation. Data will be analyzed and a report for each region will be available by late March, 2018.