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Funding axed, but electricity organization has no plans to turn out the lights

OTTAWA, Nov. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - With a new name, slick new website and refocused direction, Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) -formerly the Electricity Sector Council-has doubled down on its efforts to keep the lights on in Canada.

By revitalizing itself, the Ottawa-based organization knows it can more effectively help the industry meet its human resources challenges.

EHRC is already the authority on human resources in Canada's electricity industry. For the last 8 years, it has provided the industry with valuable research on labour market issues, and practical tools to address skill shortages.

"Our new strategic direction reflects EHRC's desire to become an even more important resource to the electricity industry," said Chief Executive Officer Michelle Branigan. "Industry expressed overwhelming support for our work, for our ability to connect stakeholders. And now they want more."

"We'll continue to provide invaluable labour market intelligence and practical workplace support. And the industry will look to us as a hub for research, learning and networking."

Since its inception in 2005, EHRC (then ESC) has relied on operational funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada through the federal Sector Council Program. But recent budget cuts mean the end of government funding to all sector councils. 

As of next year, the organization must become self-sufficient. 

Norm Fraser, Chief Operating Officer of Hydro Ottawa, and Chair of the EHRC Board of Directors, acknowledged the value that EHRC brings to the electricity industry. "EHRC connects all the players in the industry-business, labour, government, and academia.

"By refocusing, the organization will become an even more effective partner to industry, helping address the human resource challenges it faces. The industry has two key drivers that will impact on its ability to provide reliable service - massive impending retirements and the need to maintain and build infrastructure.

We need to collaborate at all levels to proactively address these issues and EHRC provides the forum for that collaboration to take place."

"Over the next few years" said Branigan, "EHRC will continue to expand the services and research it provides to the electricity industry, and ensure HR needs, resources and strategies are effectively communicated to the industry at large".

Why is EHRC's Work So Important?

Electricity is one of Canada's essential utilities. More than 100,000 Canadians are involved in generating, transmitting and distributing it. 

However, in the face of changing demographics and technology, the industry's highly skilled workforce needs to grow and adapt. By meeting these challenges, the industry can secure Canada's long-term electricity supply.

How EHRC Helps Build a Better Workforce

EHRC works to strengthen the ability of the Canadian electricity industry to meet current and future needs for their workforce - one that is highly skilled, safety-focused, diverse and productive.

Its mandate:

  • Conduct and disseminate valuable research about human resources in Canada's electricity industry.
  • Help the industry create and sustain a skilled and diverse labour force.
  • Promote awareness of career and employment opportunities in the industry.
  • Develop partnerships that better enable the industry to meet its human resources needs.

SOURCE Electricity Sector Council

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