Evidence of meeting #43 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was jobs.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Ken Jones  Dean, Ted Rogers School of Management
  • Doug Walker  Chief Executive Officer, WhoPlusYou Inc.
  • Joyce Reynolds  Executive Vice-President, Government Affairs, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association
  • Jeff Nugent  President and Chief Executive Officer, Contingent Workforce Solutions
  • Lindsay Kennedy  President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Literacy and Learning Network

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

If I could call the meeting to order and get our members to the table I'd appreciate it.

I might mention that of course today's a bit of an unusual day in our schedule, in that we're going to have a series of votes with respect to the budget, and there may be other unscheduled votes taking place. So I would expect that the bells might start ringing during the course of our presentation.

It is my hope that we will get the presentations done today. We may not have an opportunity for questions and answers; if that's the case, so be it.

Monday we will be discussing where we will go with the study and whether we'll conclude it or go beyond. We'll see how that goes.

We were going to deal with the matter regarding the report today, but I understand from Ms. Charlton that we won't be dealing with that now. It will be looked at in terms of a dissenting report, so we don't have to deal with that matter.

We will be abridging our time with respect to this meeting. Fortunately, we cancelled the second panel in anticipation that there might be some difficulty. We hope we can get through at least your presentation.

With that, we'll start with Mr. Jones, from the Ted Rogers School of Management.

I understand, Mr. Walker, that you will also be sharing some time with him.

We'll go right to it. Go ahead.

3:35 p.m.

Ken Jones Dean, Ted Rogers School of Management

Thank you, Mr. Chair, for the opportunity to address the committee, and a special thank you to the member for Don Valley East for the introduction.

First, I'd like to introduce the team. We have Mark Patterson, the director of the Ted Rogers Career Centre. We have Mr. Doug Walker, the CEO of WhoPlusYou, and Mr. Jay Tanner, the chief technology officer.

I bring greetings from our president, Sheldon Levy, who would have been here but is at convocation.

The context is that Ryerson has a long tradition of dealing with career-based education and with entrepreneurship, innovation, and commercialization. One of our goals is really to have the best university in Canada in terms of connecting our students and recent alumni to work and related careers.

At Ryerson University, we've also established the Digital Media Zone, and that particular enterprise really does foster new innovative ideas and technologies. One of them is the WhoPlusYou system, which is really a new way of looking at the Canadian job market, and it's actually turning it around. We now have businesses driving the agenda, rather than simply having people looking for jobs. It's the reverse: jobs are chasing people rather than people chasing jobs.

The purpose of this presentation is twofold: first, to introduce you to the capacity of the WhoPlusYou system, and second, to give you some ideas of our future plans to develop the system more fully.

I'm going to turn the presentation over to the CEO of WhoPlusYou, Mr. Doug Walker, who will talk about the system.

Doug.

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

Mr. Walker, I know you mentioned to me that you might have wanted to do a presentation here to show how the system works. Unfortunately that wasn't set up, but if we elongate our study, we might try to get you back by video conferencing and perhaps work something else out. We'll see how that goes.

Go ahead.

3:35 p.m.

Doug Walker Chief Executive Officer, WhoPlusYou Inc.

That would be absolutely tremendous, Mr. Chair. Thank you very much.

Thank you for everybody's time today.

The idea behind this project from the outset was to look for a new way for the right people to get introduced to the right opportunities the first time. When we're talking about “people”, we're talking about individuals, employers, communities, and groups. The idea was to find a way to do that in a way that creates the maximum amount of productivity and efficiency in the process.

The key to that, from our perspective, through a set of technologies we developed over the past four years, was to collect the right information the right way the first time. By “right information”, we're talking about the way in which an individual would profile themselves to talk about what their key skills are and talk about the types of opportunities they're most interested in in the marketplace, the way in which a company would profile a job opportunity they have for the marketplace, or the way in which a group might profile the types of members they're looking for in the marketplace to create the most amount of benefit to all sides.

We've developed that technology, as I said, over the past four years. The idea was to create those matches not only one time but all the time. As an employer or as a peer introduces an opportunity for themselves to connect with the marketplace, that opportunity is in fact activated to go find the right people. That's why the process is reversed from the normal process.

The normal process today, of course, is that people actively look for jobs, and oftentimes technology is getting in the way of those people actively looking for jobs. It's getting in the way because employers are getting hundreds or thousands of résumés for every opportunity they post. They don't have the time to get through these résumés. Oftentimes the people who are looking for the jobs don't get very professional responses from those organizations because the volume is just too high. We're looking for ways to eliminate that, to connect the right people the right way the first time.

On top of that, as we developed these programs over the last several years we learned that more than just matching had to happen in order to actually complete the solution. We learned that, number one, connections needed to happen in a very fast and efficient way. On top of the matching algorithms that we developed, on top of the way we were able to actually bring communities together, we developed communications technologies that will allow for instant communications when a match actually happens.

When we develop the software, it's more than just a typical job board scenario whereby you have somebody advertising a job and somebody looking on that job board. We actually aggregate data from the Globe 1000 public companies, the Globe 350 private companies, the Forbes 2000, and eventually thousands of SMEs. The idea is that we're always keeping track of what's happening from an analytical perspective in the marketplace.

The reason for this is that we're able to give people an understanding not only for why they are matched to something but also for why they're not a match to something. Imagine a world—in just a couple of years, we think—where we're tracking all of these large corporations in North America, and specifically in Canada, we're tracking hundreds of thousands or millions of people, and we're able to actually take a look at the skills banks that we've created to define what the skills are on a by-job and by-industry and by-person basis against all of the data that we're collecting in the marketplace.

The idea, of course, is that we can start to understand from an analytics perspective what's happening with the labour pool, what's happening with industry, and how it's changing—and not a year from now, but now.

The idea is to understand what's happening from a labour pool and job perspective, those jobs in the marketplace, and how the conditions are evolving, and always understand specifically what the individuals are doing in that marketplace in terms of aggregate data so that we can compare those two data sets.

In doing that, there's the communications capability, which is a real-time communications capability so that people can talk on video as soon as they're connected. There's also a presentations capability. We've learned in working with Ryerson that it's more than just about the skills; it's also about how you demonstrate those skills. It's about how you actually demonstrate the value that's associated with the work that you've done. We've developed some advanced but simple-to-use presentation capabilities.

So front to back, we profile, we match instantly, we communicate very quickly. We can do so in such a way that files of candidates are kept for corporations. We present both the corporation's value as well as the individual's value in the context of a series of multimedia presentations. That happens on a 24/7 basis with all of the largest corporations in North America and specifically Canada.

That's what the technology is about.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

Thank you very much. I'm sure you'll get some questions, if we get there.

3:40 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, WhoPlusYou Inc.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

We'll now go to Ms. Joyce Reynolds, executive vice-president of government affairs, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

You were actually on the second panel, but you're already here, so we've placed you in this panel.

Go ahead with your presentation. We appreciate that it won't be exactly fitting in with what was just said, but go ahead.

3:40 p.m.

Joyce Reynolds Executive Vice-President, Government Affairs, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today about a key issue that's facing Canada's $63-billion restaurant industry, with its one-million-plus employees, and that's the labour shortage. In our most recent restaurant outlook survey, for the first quarter of 2012, 31% of restaurant respondents said that a shortage of skilled labour is having a negative effect on their businesses, and 14% said that a shortage of unskilled labour is having a negative effect on their businesses.

The labour shortage reached crisis proportions for our members in western Canada in the middle of the last decade. The economic downturn provided a reprieve, but our members are again having difficulty hiring workers in different parts of the country, particularly in smaller communities in western Canada. But in the balance of the country, it is a growing problem that will get progressively worse over time.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

I'll have to stop you there, Ms. Reynolds.

If we're to continue at all, we'll need unanimous consent. If we don't have unanimous consent, unfortunately we'll have to probably suspend or adjourn.

First of all, do I have unanimous consent to go any longer, given that the bells are ringing?

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Chair, could you tell us whether they're 15-minute or half-hour bells?

3:40 p.m.

A voice

It's a half-hour bell.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Okay.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

We'll need unanimous consent to proceed. Is there unanimous consent? Okay.

Go ahead.

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Chair, can you just clarify for me...? Are we going to be able to get all panellists in and still make it for the vote? I have no problem with asking—

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

I can't confirm that.