Care Economy Analysis: Media Release

London Area Employers in the Care Economy Facing Significant Labour Challenges

Local organizations collaborate to reveal struggling care sector is having difficulty attracting, hiring, and retaining qualified workers.

LONDON, ON. June 7, 2022 – A collaboration between the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board (WPDB) and Pillar Nonprofit Network reveals that employers in the London region’s Care Economy are feeling significant human resources challenges, and are identifying greater difficulty in finding, hiring, and retaining qualified workers than other employers. Sector employers and advocates say it’s a sector defined by precarious work that needs immediate emergency supports and long-term regulatory change on the road to recovery.

In March 2022, the WPDB released a “results reveal” of responses from the most recent regional EmployerOne Survey, available on the WPDB website here. Since then, WPDB has released a more specific analysis derived from the EmployerOne results on the Care Economy. The Care Economy analysis was requested and done with the assistance of Pillar, many of whose members are child care, health care, and other Care Economy employers and workers, and will soon be complemented by an analysis of survey participants from the nonprofit sector.

“We’re hearing grand narratives like ‘The Great Resignation,’ and our provincial nonprofit network has declared a ‘human resources crisis’ for the whole nonprofit sector, but we wanted to prioritise a study of Care Economy organisations because of the current attention to micro-sectors like health care and child care in talks of recovery and rebuilding,” says Paul Seale, Manager of Membership Engagement at Pillar. “We wanted to see how these stories are showing up in our region and what might be needed here to support recovery of these critical social and economic drivers.”

Among the key findings:

  • Care Economy employers who participated in the survey identified greater levels of challenge than employers in all other sectors in finding workers (91% vs 82%), hiring workers (94% vs 82%), and retaining workers (74% vs 69%).
  • Retention is of greater concern for Care Economy employers (75%) than other survey respondents (59%).
  • Notably, “hiring qualified workers” is regarded as a greater challenge for Care Economy employers than “finding” them, suggesting that qualified care workers may be hesitant to join or rejoin the care workforce where conditions are challenging and wages are suppressed, either chronically, through funding disruptions, through legislation, or all three. 
  • More Care Economy employers regard financial constraints as challenging (81%) than other respondents (66%) when asked to identify the degree to which they were concerned about a variety of challenges to their organisations “as the economy returns to a normal state of activity.” This finding jibes with recent findings from a Pillar micro-survey indicating that, at least for nonprofits, financial positions have worsened during the pandemic,

The employer response comes as no surprise to Care Economy employers, including those in the personal support and licensed childcare sectors. Stacey Sutton, Senior Coordinator at PHSS comments, “This report will be helpful in raising awareness for fair wages for Personal Support Workers and Developmental Support Workers as we continue to find it challenging to recruit and retain skilled employees in our sector.” 

Kara Pihlak, Chair of the Licensed Child Care Network’s Advocacy Sub-Committee comments, “The Childcare sector has been struggling with recruitment and retention of qualified staff for decades, and the problem has only been exacerbated by the Covid -19 Pandemic.” The results of the survey reflect this challenge, with 35% of respondents noting the most difficult position to fill as Registered Early Childhood Educators and Assistants working in Licensed Child Care. “These positions are difficult to fill due to the low wages and complex working conditions,” Pihlak says. “To support the care economy, all levels of government must invest in the childcare sector, with specific emphasis on decent pay and work for staff.” (The WPDB has also completed an analysis of last year’s survey results for child care sector employers, available here, and an analysis of this year’s responses from child care sector employers is forthcoming.)

Emilian Siman of the Workforce Planning and Development Board highlights the value of being responsive to community requests like this. “The recent collaboration between WPDB and Pillar helped reveal significant labour force challenges that otherwise would have remained hidden in the aggregate data from all responding organisations,” he commented. “With Pillar’s insight into recent and ongoing Care Sector labour challenges, WPDB has been able to frame relevant analyses highlighting the urgency of London area community action to reduce the risk of further weakening this sector. The labour market information (LMI) produced through this collaboration will enable government and policy makers to calibrate their support toward a growing and vibrant Care Sector. This is an excellent example of how locally collected information can be enhanced through collaboration to offer great decisional support.” 

“This information does help us to better describe the ‘perfect storm’ that’s blowing through the Care Economy,” Seale comments. “In combination with data we’re collecting locally from our members and province-wide data we’re collecting with the Ontario Nonprofit Network, we’re seeing a funding and regulatory environment that creates the conditions of precarious work. It means that, despite some good intentions in policy-making — $10 a day daycare, for example — regulated micro-sectors that require highly skilled and credentialed people but can’t provide decent work will face a steeper recovery curve. The good intentions will have to be backed up by funding and policy support or we won’t get the good outcomes we’re imagining.”

For example, Pihlak says, “A strong childcare system supports the growth and development of children 0-5 and allows for working parents to participate in the labour market, and so strong investment must be made in our Registered Early Childhood Educators and Assistants, as they are the heart of the childcare system.”

You can review the WPDB report here, further analysis from Pillar here, and Pillar’s previous writing on precarious work and Decent Work here

About Pillar Nonprofit Network:

Pillar Nonprofit Network strengthens individuals, organisations and enterprises invested in positive community impact in London and Southwestern Ontario. Through a heightened equity lens, we support charities, nonprofits, for-profit and nonprofit social enterprises, social innovators, and social financiers by sharing resources, exchanging knowledge, and creating meaningful connections across the three pillars of nonprofit, business, and government. We believe that a connected network sparks

collaboration and helps to build an engaged, inclusive, and vibrant community.

Learn more at

About Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board:

The Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board (WPDB) works to provide stakeholders with quality labour market information to make decisions which result in a thriving, viable economy. WPDB has over 20 labour market information tools on their website to assist all of whom we serve within the Elgin Middlesex and Oxford region to make better, more informed decisions. View the tools and past reports at

Available Now: EmployerOne 2022 Results Report

The EmployerOne 2022 Results Report was released today, April 27, 2022.

The purpose of the report is to provide commentary with the data figures. Previously, we’ve provided the public with the Results Reveal webinar, as well as the slide deck to the webinar. If our viewers wanted to use our data, they’d have to go to the slide deck, re-listen to the presentation, or contact our Data Analyst. Now, you can access the Results Report with conclusions made by our Data Analyst, Bashir Adeyemo.

Preview of the Report:

Upcoming Session: Register Now

Caring for Mental Health in the Workplace- June 28, 2022, 9:00AM to 10:00AM

How do mental health challenges present in the workplace? Do you know the signs?

Featured Presenter, Bev Kobe: Executive Director and Vice President of Mission Advancement for Goodwill Industries Career Centre Ontario Great Lakes, 20+ years experience working at London Health Science Centre in the Inpatient Adolescent Mental Health/ Psychiatry division.

We gratefully welcome Bev Kobe as our featured presenter for our second session of Labour Market Information Made Easy.

While Bev, as the expert, will inform WPDB of her intended structure of this session closer to the date of June 28,
the premise of this session is to dig deep into the presentation of mental health challenges and addiction in the workplace.

Mental health challenges requiring time off and/or slowing work pace doesn’t fit well with the standard of work that’s been engrained in most of us when we’re taught how to be a “good employee.”

But the truth is, mental health challenges aren’t something that can just be left at your workplace “front door” in the same way we expect other hiccups in life to be. It’s not just something that can take a seat on the mental back burner from 8-4:30.

The ways in which mental illness presents itself may be surprising to some, even to those who suffer with mental health challenges on a daily basis. Because many of us don’t know exactly how mental illness presents itself (and realistically, it varies from person to person), we unconsciously perpetuate stigmas and can end up being unintentionally judgemental or insensitive.

Alternatively, for some people, their mental health issues present as very closely aligned with our ideas of what a hard-worker looks like. Meanwhile, this person is suffering.

We may think “this is just how I am,” or “this is just how *name* is.” But in truth, these “personality traits” could be presentations of mental health challenges that can be mended, but first need to be identified.

We will update this description with more information in mid-to-late May.

In the meantime, registration is open.

Deb’s Retirement and Emilian as Our New ED

Debra Mountenay, Executive Director of the EMOWPDB for the last 23 years, retired on March 31, 2022. We’re so sad to see her go, but so happy for her to experience the joys of retirement.

Proudly announcing our new Executive Director, Emilian Siman. Emilian’s first official day as the ED of EMOPWDB was April 1, 2022.

Shared below is the thoughtful message written by Deb on March 31, 2022, to say her farewells and introduce our partners and the community to Emilian:

“Director of the Workforce Planning and Development Board (WPDB) is the opportunity that I have had to work with a wide range of partners across theLondon Economic Region (Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford Counties). Workforce issues will continue to be the major concern over the next few years as employers look to expand their workforce and job seekers are able to secure employment that engages them while providing them with income that supports their families. 

The people I have worked with over the years recognize that we are all in this together. I know that collectively that work will continue. I believe that this is what I will miss most of all as I leave the WPDB at the end ofMarch. 
Thank you to the individuals and organizations that I have had the opportunity to meet and work with over the years – to the past and present Directors of the WPDB, I appreciate the advice and leadership that you have provided – to the staff, past and present, I appreciate your willingness togo on this journey with me, even though I am sure at times you wondered exactly what road we were on and where it was heading.

Thank you to my husband, Joe, and our family and extended family. There were many times when I was going to spend time with you “just as soon as I finished this email”. You have been supportive through it all and given me the time and space to get the job done. 

It has been twenty-three years since I joined the WPDB. As I say goodbye to the staff at WPDB this week I know that I leave the organization in the very capable hands of Emilian Siman. Emilian has most recently been the Senior Data Analyst at the WPDB having started with the organization in 2013 as the Data Analyst for the Worktrends website. As the Executive Director of WPDB he will bring his talent to his new role and continue the growth of the organization. 

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” (Fred Rogers)

I am looking forward to finding out what that something else will be.”

-Deb Mountenay

Register now for April’s Sessions

Wednesdays at One offers three types of Professional Development (PD) for all employment, education and training staff. Join us for networking, information, tools, and conversations to enhance how we serve and support others, particularly those impacted by the pandemic. Leave with practical ways to apply these PD learnings and insights in your daily roles, right away.

ESC Recovery Conversations are a partnership between Employment Sector Council and Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning & Development Board, and are supported by The City of London.

Upcoming Sessions (2):

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 from 1:00PM to 1:45PM

We want to make one of the core offerings of our organization, local labour market information, more accessible to the community.

Over 25 years, the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board commits to having honest, current local labour market information (LMI) for the community. In part of our effort for this initiative, we’ve recreated our website to ensure our LMI tools are accessible and understandable to all education levels and familiarity levels.

We’ve simplified the language, streamlined the access to our tools, and given simple, concise explanations of what we offer.

Our Local Jobs Hub tools, part of our LMI, is well known in the community as a customizable, all-in-one job aggregation board. We’ve recognized that the Local Jobs Hub is one of our important keys to unlock a stronger connection with our broader community- the local residents.

This webinar is for everyone- for the employed and the unemployed, for the job developer, for employment coaches, for service providers, and more.

Jessica Gowers will walk you through how to find our tools on our website with a brief description of what each of the tools are. This includes our Local Jobs Hub, The Labour Market Information Hub, Data Visualizations, and our Library.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 from 1:00PM to 2:00PM

Maple Leaf Foods is hiring 1,600 people for its new state-of-the-art production facility in London and is looking forward to sharing its recruitment and hiring needs with our sector.

JOIN US on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, for a special session with Maple Leaf Foods!

We welcome everyone to attend this session, especially Job Developer Network (JDN) members and colleagues. Maple Leaf is building a $660-million, 640,000 square-foot (57,600-square-metre) chicken processing plant on Wilton Grove Road that is expected to open later this year. The plant will employ about 1,500 workers for its new state-of-the-art production facility in London and MLF is looking forward to sharing its recruitment and hiring needs with our sector.

About Maple Leaf Foods:

Maple Leaf Foods has a vision to become the most sustainable protein company on earth, helping to transform the world’s food system so that it can survive, and thrive, for generations to come.

Maple Leaf Foods embraces a strong, values-based culture, where dedicated employees take pride in doing what’s right for our consumers, our customers and our communities.

Our 13,500 employees thrive in an engaging, open and inclusive workplace that fosters safety and transparency, along with individual leadership and responsibility. Each Maple Leaf Foods’ team member has a voice and plays an active role in helping all of us achieve our goals with passion and discipline. We support one another to grow professionally, to learn new skills and to take on challenging experiences in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Watch past sessions:

Local Jobs Hub: Here to Help

This is the introduction video to our new series Local Jobs Hub: Here to Help! We’ll be showing you how to use each one of our Local Jobs Hub tools and the benefits they provide for your job search. At the end of the day, job searching can be so difficult- not only actually finding a job, but the mental toll it can take on the job seeker’s self esteem. The Local Jobs Hubs tools are here to help.

Not only will the tools help you find a job you like, you can find out how in demand the job is, what you need to qualify, how you can get those qualifications (hopefully free or at a low cost), and more- all of this, with over 6,000 active jobs to choose from now. Keep an eye out. We’ll be posting about this like crazy! And, you can find more videos here, on our YouTube channel under the Local Jobs Hub: Here to Help Series playlist.


Local Labour Market Plan Consultations

The Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board is beginning the community consultation process for this year’s Community Local Labour Market Plan and is inviting all stakeholders and partners to participate in this process, to provide input around labour market issues and trends that will assist in creating a detailed and responsive Local Labour Market Plan for the London Economic Region for 2022.
The consultation is scheduled to hold separately in the three counties of Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford.

Dates for events include:

Middlesex Stakeholders: Monday, September 20, 2021 10:30 AM

Oxford Stakeholders: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 10:30 AM

Elgin Stakeholders: Monday, October 4, 2021 10:30 AM

Registration for Middlesex Stakeholders:

Registration for Oxford Stakeholders:

Registration for Elgin Stakeholders:

About the Project:

The Community Local Labour Market Plan (CLLMP) is one of the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board deliverables. The Local Labour Market Planning process involves conducting several community consultations with stakeholders and community partners and presenting a Community Labour Market Plan report at the end of these consultations. The report incorporates relevant data to the local labour market and economic conditions and represent an update of the report rendered in the previous year, telling local story about local supply and demand, skills shortages, industry and occupational profiles, economic and labour market changes and will focus on challenges and opportunities linked to economic development, workforce adjustment, employment and training.

The LLMP process will broadly involve the following;

· Gathering evidence, analyzing and interpreting local labour market indicators and other data

· Facilitating a consultation

· Updating last year’s action plan

The Community Labour market plan will highlight labour force trends across the community including challenges and threats, and will also outline recommended actions that the community has arrived at in tackling workforce issues.

Remote Work Study: Participants Needed For 2 Groups

Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board (EMOWPDB)  is currently recruiting participants for a study of remote work. Participants will be compensated by a $20 Amazon Gift Card or Interac e-transfer per session. Participants are only able to sign up for one session. The closest upcoming session is Thursday, July 7th and 8th, 2021, from 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM

Are you, or were you in the near past, working remotely due to the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions? Are you a job seeker looking for remote work?

If you live in London, St. Thomas, Woodstock, Elgin, Middlesex or Oxford counties and your answer is yes to any of the above questions, the EMOWPDB is inviting you to a focus group conversation regarding remote work benefits, challenges, productivity, and management issues. The conversations will take place in a Zoom teleconference session.

EMOWPDB is looking to recruit 15 employees working from home and 15 job seekers for remote job positions.

Reserve your place, if you are willing to help understand labour issues regarding remote work by clicking the button that applies to you below.

Once you registered, our researcher will contact you with the details regarding the date and time for the Zoom meeting.

Click here if you are a job seeker looking to find a job from home.

Click here if you are an employee who is currently working from home.

Growing Your Workforce 3 – Your Path

Join us for a conversation with Jessica Gransaull, Executive Director of the STEAM Center St. Thomas, on the importance of STEAM skills for our area, and about a new campaign to help reach out to those who need it most through culture and representation.

A New Program For Skills

Written by Shannon Stoltz-Limin

Fanshawe College is offering a free 15-week Window and Door Installer program beginning this October. With a mixture of theoretical, practical hands-on skills and lectures; graduates from this program will be well versed to land a highly sought-after job in the trade. This program is being offered to give the underrepresented groups in the trade skill job market; (women, indigenous peoples, newcomers, persons with disabilities and veterans) the skills to land a job in an in-demand position. The Program runs from October 1st 2020, to February 15th 2021. For more information on this program please see the attached poster. If you or anyone you know has any questions, or would like to register please email