Workforce Heroes: Apotex Pharmachem

Workforce Heroes: Apotex Pharmachem

Resilient, creative, generous: all words that describe how Brantford’s Apotex Pharmachem and its employees stepped up in time of need last year.

The company’s Spalding Drive plant produced and donated thousands of bottles of medical-grade hand sanitizer and donated thousands of medical masks when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada.

Apotex is being celebrated by the Workforce Planning Board as one of the local businesses who have shown their employees are Workforce Heroes.

Vice-President and General Manager Jason Fischer knew the firm could play a role in ensuring health-care facilities had the supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they needed.

Apotex, Canada’s leading producer of generic drugs, donated 1,000 litres of sanitizer to the Brant Community Healthcare System and provided another 1,900 litres at cost. It also donated several thousand litres of sanitizer to hospitals, clinics, health care providers and seniors residences in Ontario and Quebec.

In addition, Apotex was able to source alternative PPE for their own staff, freeing the company up to donate 2,500 N95 masks, including 800 given to Brant hospitals, the City of Brantford and County of Brant.

The local plant produces active pharmaceutical ingredients in powder form, so making liquid sanitizer took the creativity and problem-solving skills of many employees.  Part of Apotex was retooled and a special packaging process set up to bottle the sanitizer, which met Health Canada’s strictest standards.

“Long hours were put in to get this product to the patients/end users,” Fischer said. “Several of our personnel in many departments volunteered and put in extra time to get this done.”

As a health-care company, Apotex’s employees understood the challenges faced by hospitals and frontline workers and wanted to help. That workers could help their own community was a bonus.

“There was an immense sense of pride and accomplishment across the organization to be able to react quickly to the need and deliver PPE that would have an immediate impact in our community and for the front-line health-care workers in the time of greatest need,” Fischer said.

He was impressed but not surprised employees stepped up.

“I have an excellent team here dedicated to the organization and to providing health-care products to patients.”

Visit Apotex Pharmachem’s website to learn more about the company.

Read all our Workforce Heroes stories.

December job numbers end 2020 on positive note for area

December job numbers end 2020 on positive note for area

 Brantford’s job numbers ended a tough 2020 on a high note, but the start of the new year could tell a different story.

The local unemployment rate continued its six-month long descent, landing at 6.1% for December, down from November’s 6.6%, according to Statistics Canada figures. Norfolk’s monthly jobless rate was 6.3% in December.

Statistics Canada’s estimates are based on a local survey conducted Dec. 6 to Dec. 12, prior to the Ontario government imposing a stricter lockdown in our area.

“We’ve seen Brantford’s jobless rate cut in half, since reaching a high of 12.6% last June,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie. “January’s numbers could tell a different story depending on the duration of the lockdown, but we hope there isn’t a spike.”

Brantford’s December unemployment rate was better than the Canadian and Ontario averages, and better than area communities.

The national rate inched up to 8.6% after employment fell by 63,000 across Canada, while a larger pool of job seekers caused Ontario’s figure to climb to 9.5%. Only Guelph and Kingston had a jobless rate lower than Brantford.

Fewer local residents were working or looking for work in December compared to the month before, according to Statistics Canada. Young men aged 15 to 24 have seen the most job gains in the last several months, in both full-time and part-time work.

Top job postings on Grand Erie Jobs, the Workforce Planning Board’s local job board, include: material handler, personal support worker, general farm labourer and delivery drivers.

Read Statistics Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey news release for December November 2020.


Season’s Greetings from the Workforce Planning Board

Season’s Greetings from the Workforce Planning Board

Season’s Greetings and best wishes to a healthy, prosperous 2021 from the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie and the Skills2Advance Job Training Program.

For its holiday photo, Workforce Planning Board staff posed on Zoom with an item that was in hot demand during the early days of 2020’s pandemic.

2020 has been a difficult year, but our communities, businesses and workers have risen to the challenge, demonstrating generosity and resiliency.

We’ve continued to work throughout the crisis to serve our communities.

In 2020, we launched a number of initiatives to help our communities respond to COVID-19:

Grand Erie Jobs, a job board featuring postings from Brantford, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and New Credit. Also features a Jobs Map showing location of jobs and 400 community services, plus a Career Explorer tool with info on 500 occupations.

Skills2Advance, a rebrand of our job training program that trains people to work in manufacturing and warehousing. Several dozen job-ready people were graduated to work as Material Handlers and other positions in 2020.

Grand Erie Recovery Taskforce. The community taskforce surveyed workers and businesses about the pandemic’s impact and developed strategies for recovery. LEARN MORE

Virtual Job Fair & Skills Exploration event, held in October, connected job seekers with businesses, guest speakers and expert panels – all online. LEARN MORE

Navigating Grand Erie Transportation Survey, asking residents about their transit needs and challenges. You’re invited to TAKE SURVEY

We thank you for being there for each other. We look forward to a safe and prosperous 2021.


November 2020 job market helped by holiday hiring

November 2020 job market helped by holiday hiring

November 2020’s job market in Brantford Brant got a boost with holiday hiring.

Hiring for part-time jobs helped Brantford’s unemployment rate fall to 6.6% in November, down from October’s 7.2% mark, according to Statistics Canada figures.

Canada’s November jobless rate fell to 8.5%, while Ontario’s declined to 9.1%, but in both cases the job growth slowed compared to previous months.

Sixty-three per cent of Brantford residents, ages 15 and over, were employed in November – higher than in the Hamilton, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, St. Catharines-Niagara and London metropolitan areas.

But even though Brantford’s job market appears better off compared to elsewhere, it is still weaker than pre-pandemic times and pales in comparison to November 2019’s record-low 3.1% unemployment.

“As we enter the holiday season, it’s good news to see more people in our community working,” said Danette Dalton, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie.

“This is the season to remember those who aren’t as fortunate. Compared to this time last year, there are several thousand more residents not working. 2020 has been a tough year for many families and many people still feel their job situation is precarious.”

November 2020 job numbers showed that mployment growth over the last few months has been in part-time work, especially for women. Women have lost ground in full-time work, while the number of men working full time has remained steady.

More than 500 businesses advertised Brantford jobs in November on the Workforce Planning Board’s Grand Erie Jobs board. Top occupations were retail salesperson, material handler, other customer service representatives, home support workers, light duty cleaners and registered nurses.

Grand Erie Jobs regularly scans more than dozen online job boards looking for jobs in Brantford and surrounding communities. “Grand Erie Jobs is a one-stop source for local openings and a great resource for anyone looking for work or exploring career options,” Danette said.

Read Statistics Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey news release for November 2020.


Local Labour Market Planning Community Consultations

Local Labour Market Planning Community Consultations

The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie conducts labour market research and planning to support workforce development in the communities of Brantford, Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Six Nations and New Credit. This work helps local employers, educational institutions; employment and community partners build the skilled workforce needed for economic prosperity.

What is Local Labour Market Information?

It is research and data about the job market, workforce trends and the economy in Grand Erie.

Why is it important?

Having timely, fact-based data about local trends allows the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie to identify labour force issues and challenges in our community.

What is the process?

The Employment Planning Advisory Committee (EPAC) is formed from representatives across the region from each municipality including members from business, education, Employment Ontario Network, municipal staff, government representatives and media.

Each year, EPAC carries out the research and consultation process that helps identify the multiple challenges affecting both employers and job seekers including: 

  • Prioritizing the top 3 – 5 issues affecting our communities’ workforce and economy
  • Identifying research and information gaps
  • Developing 3-4 workforce development activities that can be moved forward during 2020- 2021
  • Determining key performance indicators to measure effectiveness
  • Helping distribute and communicate the plan to our communities

Additionally, in 2020-2021 the Grand Erie COVID-19 Recovery Task Force – a sub-committee of EPAC –  has been assembled to identify various Grand Erie economic recovery scenarios and develop strategies to respond efficiently and effectively to the impacts of the pandemic.

EPAC met this week to discuss the Local Labour Market Plan for Grand Erie in 2021. Working groups from the committee recently held a series of community consultations and established priorities for 4 key areas – Skills Development, Education, Business Supports and Economic Development. 

Priorities for Education: 

  • Enhance student education around career pathways
  • Find new ways of engaging/involving parents/families about education and career pathways as early as primary grades.
  • Broaden the scope of experiential learning
  • Increase integration of digital skills training and technology into core courses
  • Strengthen connectivity between career counsellors and industry professionals

Priorities for Skills Development: 

  • Increase digital/technical skills development
  • Design and deliver Human Resources training for employers
  • Develop transferable skills training curriculum
  • Support soft-skills training within the workplace
  • Align labour market information (LMI) with skills training focuses

Priorities for Business Supports: 

  • Advocate for forgivable loans and grant programs
  • Identify business needs in key sectors
  • Increase promotion of skills training programs
  • Advocate for affordable and attainable housing
  • Share insightful labour market data

Priorities for Economic Development: 

  • Advocate for adjustment of legislation to allow employers more flexibility
  • Increase financial support for new cleaning protocols
  • Support industry network development
  • Design digital inclusion supports for residents & employers with limited internet access
  • Develop a consistent “one-stop shop” for information and resources

To learn more or to contribute your input, contact us.

October 2020 job numbers move in right direction

October 2020 job numbers move in right direction

October 2020’s job numbers showed that Brantford’s job market continues to bounce back from the worst impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city’s unemployment rate has fallen for four straight months since hitting a peak of 12.6% in June. The jobless rate was estimated at 7.2% in October, down from 8.1% in September, according to Statistics Canada figures.

Brantford’s job picture continues to look rosier than in surrounding communities and in Ontario and Canada as a whole.

St. Catharines-Niagara rate of 7.5% is the closest to Brantford’s, while the highest is Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo’s 10.8%. Canada’s national unemployment rate remained virtually unchanged at 8.9% in October, while Ontario’s monthly rate was 9.6%, with only modest job gains.

“The Brantford area job market continues to be on the right track and gain jobs,” said Danette Dalton, Workforce Planning Board executive director.

“However, there are still an estimated 5,900 residents who are unemployed here, which is more than double the number from October 2019. There are still many residents who need help, who need jobs.”

The recent trend has shown women leading job gains in Brantford for months. But women aged 55+ have actually lost ground compared to June, the month where the pandemic’s impact was most evident.

The Workforce Planning Board’s Grand Erie Jobs portal showed there were about 700 Brantford jobs advertised in October, the large majority full-time, permanent positions. Top jobs posted were material handler, retail salesperson, customer service representative and home support worker.

To help meet the ongoing need for material handlers, the board’s Skills2Advance program is offering eligible job seekers free job training to work in warehousing-manufacturing.

Dalton said the board is currently conducting a survey of residents – both those working and not working – about their transportation and transit needs. “We wish to learn if public transit options support the needs of people living and working in Brantford and Grand Erie.”

Read Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey news release for October 2020.

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