Call for Nominations: Essential workers

Call for Nominations: Essential workers

As we near the one year mark in the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie wishes to recognize the tremendous work carried out by essential workers in our region by profiling employees from various sectors.

Do you know an outstanding person in the Grand Erie workforce who has been working hard to support their family and our community during the pandemic?

We are asking our community for help with nominations so we may share their story and pay them tribute. Their story will be featured in our Frontline Fridays series over the next couple of months.

For more information and to nominate your exceptional essential worker, please contact Sylvia Hentz of the Workforce Planning Board at 519-756-1116, ext. 228.

Lockdown pushes up Brantford jobless rate

Lockdown pushes up Brantford jobless rate

January 2021 jobs numbers show that Brantford’s jobless rate climbed for the first time since summer 2020, as Ontario locked down in response to the pandemic’s second wave.

The January unemployment rate for Brantford was 6.9%, up slightly from December’s 6.7%, according to the Statistics Canada survey of local households conducted during mid January. Norfolk’s January unemployment rate, which is based on a small sample size, was 8.9%.

Ontario locked down non-essential businesses Dec. 26.

Ontario’s jobless rate climbed in January more than half a percentage point to 10.2%, due largely to an estimated 153,000 part-time job losses, mostly in retail. Canada shed an estimated 213,000 jobs, pushing up the national unemployment rate to 9.4%.

In Brantford, employment fell by an estimated 1,300, with sales and service occupations taking the brunt of the losses, says the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. The January 2021 jobs statistics show there were modest gains in manufacturing and transport related occupations.

“The closure of many retail stores has prompted layoffs in this hard-hit sector, where many women work part time,” said Danette Dalton, the Workforce Planning Board’s executive director. “Hopefully, we can get the pandemic under control and the layoffs are short lived.”

Dalton said other service-related jobs don’t appear to be impacted as much as retail, perhaps because some businesses have adjusted or adapted their operations since last year’s first lockdown.

The Workforce Planning Board’s job search site Grand Erie Jobs currently shows retail jobs among its 900+ postings, but these are in stores that have been allowed to stay open, such as pet and dollar stores.

Dalton said businesses impacted by the lockdown may be eligible for government financial supports, or may be able to learn some best practices from industry associations or other companies.

The Workforce Planning Board is hosting a series of live webinars in February and March in association with Service Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

Register Here. 

Visit Statistics Canada to read its News Release about January 2021’s job market in Canada and Ontario.

COVID-19 Webinar Series. Register Today.

COVID-19 Webinar Series. Register Today.

A new series of free webinars will inform employers and individuals in Brantford, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and New Credit about resources and programs to support them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie will present three live webinars in partnership with Service Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.

The sessions are designed to help participants make sense of the vast amounts of pandemic related information. They will explain the programs and financial resources available to businesses coping with the impacts of COVID-19. Participants can also have their questions answered by experts.

Space is limited and early registration is recommended. People can sign up for any or all of the COVID-19 webinars.

Feb. 23, 10 a.m.: In partnership with the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC). This webinar will provide manufacturers with information about ManufacturingGPS, an extensive, up-to-date labour market intelligence tool for the manufacturing sector to help with business decisions, and other EMC programs.


Feb. 24, 9:30 a.m.: In partnership with Service Canada and the CRA. This webinar will assist businesses with HR planning. It will provide an update on Service Canada programs, including its Work Sharing Program. The CRA session will cover current wage and rent subsidies and loans available to businesses impacted by the pandemic.


March 2, 10 a.m.: In partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. This webinar will feature a live presentation and Q&A session on what employers and employees need to know about employment standards and occupational health and safety as they relate to COVID-19.


Each COVID-19 related webinar will be about 90 minutes to 2 hours in length.

For more information, contact Sylvia Hentz of the Workforce Planning Board at 519-756-1116, ext. 228.

Mentorship – How It Works

Mentorship – How It Works

Mentorship is a unique relationship between a person who is experienced in a particular trade or industry and a person who is newer to the industry.

Mentorship isn’t a replacement for formal education or training programs. Instead, it complements other types of learning and allows people who are new to the industry to gain knowledge and insight in a one-on-one, casual setting.

Mentorship gives mentees the opportunity to ask questions and receive insight that is specific to their interests, goals and ambitions.

A mentor may share with a mentee information about his or her own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modeling. A mentor may help with exploring careers, setting goals, developing contacts, and identifying resources.

The mentee should absorb the mentor’s knowledge and have the ambition and desire to know what to do with this knowledge. The mentee needs to practice and demonstrate what has been learned.

For both parties, mentoring should be an established interaction and dialogue where reflection is facilitated by the mentor.

In some cases, prospective mentees find a mentor through a formal network or mentorship program that pairs mentors and mentees. Formal mentoring in the workplace involves mentors and mentees meeting up for frequent face-to-face mentoring sessions over a longer period.

These programs are structured and organized by program administrators. Formal programs include ones run through professional associations such as the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers or local programs such as Organized Kaos.

However, it is common for mentorship to develop naturally when a younger industry professional meets someone more experienced in the industry. The information and wisdom that mentors provide is valuable and it does not have to cost anything for mentees to work with mentors.

Mentors offer their time and knowledge, and they enjoy the opportunity to guide people who are just beginning their careers to help them reach their goals. A mentor also receives benefits – not only do they experience more meaning in their work, they gain important skills to improve as a leader. 

Industries where mentorship is more common include manufacturing, engineering, media, and the skilled trades where during the course of the apprenticeship, an apprentice and journeyman interact in a mentor/mentee situation for several years.

In many fields, a mentoring program shows potential employees a good corporate culture. An employee or supervisor taking someone under their wing promotes a different kind of bonding and knowledge sharing. It signals a supportive environment.

This kind of employee engagement can reduce turnover, always a critical goal.


Links to Resources:

Mentorship | CMPA

Skills for Change | Mentoring for Change – Skills for Change

Mentorship Program in Toronto (GTA) – The Career Foundation

Organized Kaos – Programs

Skills Ontario

Mentorship Program (

Indigenous Mentorship Network of Ontario – Indigenous Mentorship Network of Ontario – Western University (

Scholarships and Grants | NPAAMB

Brantford Regional Indigenous Support Centre – OFIFC

Workforce Heroes: Celebrating employees & businesses

Workforce Heroes: Celebrating employees & businesses

Healthy, happy and prosperous New Year.

We start 2021 with hope that this year will be brighter than the last.

But also with pride that we are in many ways stronger for what we’ve been through.

The pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s lives, livelihood, work and job market in Brantford, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and New Credit.

2020 was a difficult year for our businesses and the workforce, with disruptive changes, from people working fewer hours, more hours or from home, to layoffs and business closures.

Not to mention the increased risk and fear that has come with conducting our work.  We recognize that every member of Grand Erie’s workforce, from front-line essential workers to those who lost work as a result of the pandemic, and everyone in between, struggled.

Some people are still coping with unemployment. Some businesses are still struggling to stay afloat.

But as difficult as 2020 was, our Grand Erie community has shown its resilience and a generosity to help each other.  That’s something to be proud of.

The Workforce Planning Board’s vision of “A skilled, resilient workforce contributing to dynamic communities and their economies” has been apt.

Workers have adapted to do their jobs differently, from wearing masks to working online. Businesses have had to be flexible, creative and resourceful, doing things differently, more virtually.

Today, as we begin a new year with fresh hope, the Workforce Planning Board celebrates just a few of the area businesses and their workforces that demonstrated resiliency and generosity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many other great examples out there. We’re telling the stories of five:

  • Apotex Pharmachem of Brantford
  • Battlefield International of Haldimand County
  • Brooks Signs of Brant County
  • Hometown Brew of Norfolk County
  • Six Nations Economic Development Corp. of Six Nations

Read all Workforce Heroes stories.

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