Vol 9, Issue 1, September 3, 2021
Hamilton's Labour Market Connection
Your weekly news & updates from WPH!
In this week’s edition: workplace racism could make black racialized Canadians dread returning to the office, Mohawk college announces three- year strategic plan , Talking to employers and colleagues about neurodiversity, Virtual youth committee volunteer opportunity.
Workplace racism could make Black, racialized Canadians dread returning to the office
TORONTO -- As vaccination rates rise and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, many offices are returning to in-person work, but a human resources expert says many racialized workers are dreading it because there is still unaddressed racism in the workplace.
“A lot of what individuals are experiencing has not changed,” Tanya Sinclair, founder of Black Human Resources Professionals of Canada, told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday.
Despite many companies’ public pledges against racism last summer, Sinclair said, many workers of colour say issues such as precarious work environments and barriers to promotion still exist.

She added that a return to the office will mean many racialized workers will go back to hiding who they are to fit in and perform for white colleagues – also known as code-switching.
Around 96 per cent of Black Canadians say racism is a concern at work, with 78 per cent saying that the workplace racism they have noticed is severe, a recent York University study found.

Sinclair said that that same survey found that only a small percentage of Black employees were prepared to come back to the office. “If you have not been surveying your employees and asking them how they feel about a return to work, now is the time,” she said.
Mohawk College announces three-year strategic plan
Economic and workforce recovery, Truth and Reconciliation, climate action, equity, diversity and inclusion are all part of the three-year strategic plan released by Mohawk College Sept. 1.
The 2022-2025 initiative focuses on strengthening the college’s ongoing commitments to being a leader in climate action, advancing equity, diversity and inclusion, addressing regional workforce skills gaps and removing barriers to education for everyone.
Mohawk CEO Ron J. McKerlie said the plan provides an opportunity to look at how they can do things differently while meeting their short-term needs for recovery.

The objectives of the plan are:
• Meaningfully advance Truth and Reconciliation.
• Ensure future ready education, research, programs, services and experiences – for students, employees and our community.

• Be a place that honours, values and celebrates the whole of every person.
• Ensure access to education and reduce barriers for all.
• Lead in workforce development.
• Make a measurable impact on climate change.

Talking to employers and colleagues about neurodiversity
Supporting neurodiversity in the workforce is a relatively new concept for many employers. Yet neurodiverse people – including people with autism, intellectual disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders, etc. ­– who enter the workforce want the same sense of purpose, connection and autonomy as most jobseekers. Unfortunately, uncertainty around whether or how to disclose their diagnosis to employers can create barriers for neurodiverse individuals.
A jobseeker may choose to disclose for a variety of reasons – for instance, to be more transparent at work, to discuss accommodations or to explain certain traits. It is important for career professionals to acknowledge that their clients are the rightful owners of their disclosure information and the choice they make should be supported. As such, when clients decide to disclose, the best practice is to help them prepare effective strategies in advance without any judgment or preconceived notions.

What can career professionals do?
 Information gathering. First, a career practitioner can talk to their client about the requirements of their current or desired job. It is important to gather information regarding the various responsibilities, tasks and expectations of the role. The client will probably already be familiar with their job requirements, but if this is not clear, the career practitioner and the client can refer to the job description or use a resource such as Alberta’s ALIS or the Canadian JobBank to find information about the occupation. The practitioner can then assess the client’s strengths and areas to work on, while analyzing strategies to better support their challenges. Having a better understanding how the expectations of the individual’s role align with their challenges and strengths can help the practitioner support the client in their disclosure.

Virtual Youth Committee Volunteer Opportunity
Workforce Planning Hamilton is seeking young professionals interested in digital job development in the Hamilton region. WPH has been able to connect with you individually to discuss our upcoming Virtual Youth Committee.

The goal for this committee is to develop a community wide strategy to support high youth unemployment rates and to assist youth in the Hamilton region in navigating labour market information. This committee of youth and employers will be able to create a digital platform that will feature centralized information for youth in Hamilton. Our hope is that this information will ultimately help youth with networking opportunities, hiring processes, employer advice, and provide youth with a better grasp of what Hamilton’s labour market reveals to support with employment decisions.

Please reach out and send your resume to: info@workforceplanninghamilton.ca 

The Hamilton COVID Concierge for Business is a one-stop online resource centre and phone line dedicated to supporting Hamilton businesses with their COVID-19 business questions and concerns.
Hamilton businesses can call the COVID Concierge at 905-521-3989 (Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4:30pm) or Contact Us online.

The Hamilton COVID Concierge for Business is brought to you by the Hamilton COVID Concierge Team, comprised of the City of Hamilton and the three local Chambers of Commerce.
Workforce Planning Hamilton | 905-521-5777| info@workforceplanninghamilton.ca | www.workforceplanninghamilton.ca