Based on years of information sharing and collaborating with partners from across the nonprofit sector, ONN is engaging in a systemic data collection/survey initiative to inform a made-in-Ontario, nonprofit-sector Human Capital Renewal Strategy (HCRS).
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Find information about the ONN’s past and present labor force activities below, including all three phases of the plan to develop a Human Capital Renewal Strategy for the nonprofit sector in Ontario:
- ONN Launches a Human Capital Renewal Strategy for Ontario’s Nonprofit Sector
- About the Nonprofit Sector Workforce
- Labour Force Challenges
- Finding a Way Forward
- Towards a Labour Market Partnership
- The Three Phases of a Human Capital Renewal Strategy
- From Here
ONN is pleased to announce the launch of a Human Capital Renwal Strategy (HCRS) for Ontario’s Nonprofit Sector. Renewing Our People Power has been a key priority since ONN’s earliest outreach with the sector. And through the hard work of so many sector champions over the years and in partnership with the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities/Employment Ontario (MCTU), we are moving to action. Read our policy paper (sidebar), Human Capital Renewal Strategy.
An organization is only as good as the people who work for it, and nonprofits are no different. The nonprofit sector contributes in important ways to the social and economic well-being of all Ontarians, and depends on its workforce – including over 5 million volunteers – to do so.
Nonprofit organizations include sports and recreational organizations, health and social services organizations, environmental groups, and arts and cultural organizations, all of which contribute to a high quality of life and health in our communities – from celebration and civic engagement to support for solving social issues and preventing violence. The provincial government relies on the nonprofit sector to deliver various services and supports it through contracts for grants and services. The sector also acts as a steward of publicly-held assets to ensure that residents of Ontario are able to benefit from these resources for generations to come.
Furthermore, as a major employer, hiring over 600,000 people in the province, the nonprofit sector helps to drive Ontario’s economic growth. It represents 2.6% of the province’s GDP and contributes significantly to the tax base at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. The role of the sector in building healthy, vibrant communities creates the right conditions for economic development across the province.
The impact of nonprofit organizations on our lives and their interconnectedness with government and business activity mean that it is in the interest of all Ontarians to have a healthy, sustainable and skilled nonprofit sector.
The nonprofit sector in Ontario is presently facing critical human resource challenges, many of them shared by other provinces. Although concrete demographic data on the nonprofit sector in Ontario is not readily available, we can anecdotally estimate that Ontario’s nonprofit sector workforce reflects similar demographic characteristics as the broader public sector and the Ontario Public Service – it faces the looming retirement of baby boomers, the apparent collapse of middle management positions and the troubling underemployment of younger generations.
Some of the most pressing issues are:
- The lack of succession planning to fill executive positions as the current ranks of leadership near retirement.
- Organizations struggle to find qualified employees even as high numbers of unemployed and underemployed individuals seek work in the nonprofit sector.
- Younger workers are often unable to acquire the appropriate training to secure stable employment in the sector or to advance in their careers, especially in leadership positions.
- With shrinking funding bases, nonprofits are generally at a disadvantage as they compete with other sectors to recruit, retain and train the best talent.
ONN, together with other stakeholders such as the Government of Ontario, the local Workforce Planning Boards, and the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, realizes that these labour force issues, including the lack of sector-specific labour market intelligence, must be urgently addressed to ensure a skilled, motivated, and productively engaged workforce.
Despite the important role of nonprofits for Ontario’s social and economic development, the sector’s identity as an employer and an economic force has only emerged in recent years. From its consultations across the nonprofit sector, ONN was hearing concerns about a wide range of labour force related issues, from salaries and benefits, to youth engagement, diversity, equity and more. Together with other organizations, ONN has been working to address these issues.
- As part of its contribution to the Partnership Project, an Ontario Government initiative to strengthen collaboration with the nonprofit sector, ONN submitted a paper in October 2010 called “Working for the Good of Ontario’s Communities: Implementing a Labour Force Strategy for the Nonprofit Sector in Ontario.”
- The paper, which was prepared by Novita Interpares and funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, identified the key components of a potential labour force strategy for the nonprofit sector in Ontario and suggested concrete actions for moving ahead.
- These steps included the establishment of a province-wide planning group facilitated by ONN and the collection by Workforce Planning Boards of preliminary labour market data, which would inform the provincial planning.
- Based on these proposals, ONN convened a cross-sector group in Winter 2010 to generate more discussion on what shape a labour force plan might take.
- Given the scarcity of labour market information on the Ontario nonprofit sector, ONN and the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group commissioned a study that looked at what data was available for the Toronto nonprofit sector and how this might be analyzed meaningfully.
- The report “Not Working for Profit: A Labour Market Description of the Non-Profit Sector in Toronto,” which came out in May 2011, focused on industry and occupation categories in the existing data that would typically involve nonprofit activity, such as Individual and Family Services (for industry) and Community and Social Service Workers (for occupation).
- While some important trends in the Toronto nonprofit sector were broadly identified, the “Not Working for Profit” study highlighted the limitations of the available data.
- It thus provided valuable insight into the kind of data collection and research that would be needed for a comprehensive review of the sector in the province as a whole and for the formulation of sector-specific labour force strategies.
- In November 2011, ONN also released a “Talking Points” paper which described labour force development projects that had been undertaken in Ontario and other provinces. The document is a collection of lessons learned and strategies to enhance cooperation and drive new and ongoing labour force initiatives.
Based on this history of collaboration and information sharing with partners from across the non-profit sector, ONN has determined that there is sufficient consensus on the need for a Human Capital Renewal Strategy for Ontario’s nonprofit sector. ONN has therefore approached the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to explore possible collaboration on this project under the terms of an Ontario Labour Market Partnership (O-LMP) agreement and discussions are currently underway.
The Labour Market Partnerships program provides financial assistance to projects that involve a partnership of stakeholders who have come together to focus on an identified labour market issue. The activities of the project must be oriented towards having a positive impact on the labour market and should use and apply labour market intelligence to finding appropriate solutions.
ONN understands that the LMP program breaks down labour market issues into the following three categories:
(1) human resource planning
(2) local economic (employment) development
(3) labour force adjustment.
The Three Phases of a Human Capital Renewal Strategy
ONN recognizes that LMPs are designed to encourage and support partnerships among employers, employer/ employee associations, and community organizations in addressing labour force issues through partnership and innovative strategies. The key objective of undertaking such planning is to develop and promote labour market intelligence for the nonprofit sector in Ontario, and ensure that this intelligence is used to help develop the sector’s labour market over the coming decade. In other words, in partnership with key stakeholders across the sector, ONN plans to collect data, build a human resource plan with that data, and begin implementing a Human Capital Renewal Strategy for Ontario’s nonprofit sector. The project will proceed in three phases.
Phase 1: Data Collection (2012-2013)
ONN, in conjunction with other key sector partners and with the support of the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, will undertake a detailed study of a sample of the nonprofit sector. The resulting data will be used to inform and provide evidence for detailed human resource planning in the sector and the development and implementation of a Human Capital Renewal Strategy.
Phase 2: Designing the Human Capital Renewal Strategy (2013)
ONN will support the development and implementation of a comprehensive Human Capital Renewal Strategy for the nonprofit sector. The strategy will be informed by evidence collected in Phase 1, including promising practices of other jurisdictions. It is anticipated that it should include the creation of a joint Partnership Council comprised of employers, employees, trainers, educators, policy makers and other potential partners to develop and guide the Human Capital Renewal Strategy, including attention to policy and regulatory developments.
As part of Phase 2, pilot projects will also be carried out to test sector-driven labour force adjustments before considering the broader use of proposed initiatives.
To develop strategic human resource planning and strategy development, ONN will work with groups previously mentioned and a wide array of other sectoral, governmental, academic and expert partners. ONN will also be able to strengthen links forged across government through the Partnership Project and the Open for Business process.
Phase 3: Implementation of Strategic Actions and Assessing Early Impacts (2014-2015)
The Partnership Council will work with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and other funders to begin implementing the human capital renewal initiatives developed during Phase 2. It will assess early impacts, and at the same time establish long-term, sustainable plans for continuing the review of labour market issues affecting the sector and implementing future strategies.
The Human Capital Renewal Strategy is a work in progress. It depends on the ongoing input and feedback of all who have a stake in this important project to keep the nonprofit sector a vibrant force for the public good. If you have any suggestions or comments, please contact Heather Laird at firstname.lastname@example.org