Compared to the rest of Ontario, more people in the London Economic Region are not participating in the labour market – in other words, they are neither working nor looking for work. The Labour Market Participation study sponsored by the Local Employment Planning Council wants to find out why. Over the past few months, researchers completed a literature review and spoke directly with over 150 people who aren’t participating in the labour market. With data and first-hand feedback gathered, they are now working with local stakeholders to develop strategies to help people move back into the labour market.

Just as the reasons that people stop participating in the labour market are multifaceted, the strategies developed to support them will need to recognize multiple factors. Individual barriers, employer practices, the community supports available, and policy concerns will all need to be taken into consideration.

In December, researchers met with Service Providers and organizations including Adult Upgrading, Employment Services, Literacy and Basic Skills, Ontario Works, and the Employment Sector Council. Together, the group discussed some of the key issues contributing to non-participation, including transportation issues, cultural barriers, and most notably a feeling of rejection and discouragement felt by those who are no longer seeking work.

The group also discussed strategies for re-engagement, and how to provide ongoing support to help those currently not seeking employment successfully move back into the labour market. Part of the challenge for those who aren’t working or looking for work is connecting them with agencies in a position to support them. Service providers talked about a lack of understanding and issues of bias around what some agencies do, as well as confusion over the difference between free employment and upgrading services available through Employment Ontario and those offered by temp or placement agencies with a fee.

Helping job seekers understand the needs of local employers and the impact of trends in the labour market, a role that the large network of service providers connected through the Local Employment Planning Council can play, was also discussed. Participants agreed that with a combination of employment-based services, essential skills upgrading, and wrap-around support for complex challenges and barriers, those not participating in the labour market can develop the skills they need to meet the expectations of local employers. Local services are ready to welcome and support people transitioning back into the workforce, offering them assistance with resumes and interview skills, identifying labour market information and how it impacts their prospects, and developing the critical foundational skills (communication, time management, numeracy, literacy and computer skills) required by today’s employers.

Ultimately, the organizations involved in this consultation recognize and support the need to show flexibility and client-specific support that speaks to individual needs. They look forward to working with funders and other organizations across the London Economic Region to develop innovative approaches to support the successful transition back into the labour market for local non-participants. 

  • Watch our new webinar “Labour Market Information and Service Planning: At a Crossroads”. This quick, 20-minute webinar summarizes the key points of several recent Local Employment Planning Council research studies and reports, and offers you an opportunity to consider their impact on service planning and coordination. 
  • The Local Employment Planning Council, in partnership with Literacy Link South Central, will be consulting with service providers across the London Economic Region through a series of Integrated Service Planning sessions in January 2017. Sessions will be held across the region and we invite you to attend any or all of them to help us create a community-wide plan to respond to local labour market needs.