The Employment Services Centre of Prescott-Russell (CSEPR) helped 12,000 residents of the region find work in 2021.

On April 14, the centre presented a summary of its services to clients in 2021 and the results those services delivered. The results revealed are based on various studies mandated by the Centre and conducted by specialized firms such as the Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario and Lalande and Gougeon, as well as on results obtained and internal surveys conducted with clients who have benefited from the Centre’s services. 

“We all agreed on the necessity to assess our impacts,” said CSEPR Executive Director Caroline Arcand. 

Among various key performance indicators (KPI), the CSEPR exceeded 100 per cent on ensuring employability for its clients in 2021. 

“The centre really helped me learn more about myself. I’m in a much better place now,” said client Chloé Duquette, who was offered a job as a result of her interaction with the CSEPR. 

In 2021, the CSEPR served 26 Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) clients who were seeking work, and 142 people with disabilities. The centre conducted 21 community activities with 176 participants during the year. CSEPR also has partnerships with Groupe CONVEX and the Communauté francophone accueillante initiative to bring more French-speaking immigrants to the region and fill job vacancies. 

The CSEPR conducted 10 job and trades training programs for 125 participants in 2021. Those included personal support worker (PSW) training and DZ driver’s license training for snowplow drivers. The centre also provided 11 bursaries to students from across Prescott-Russell. Additionally, the CSEPR provided $128,000 to support clients with expenses such as day-care costs and $359,000 to employers in wage subsidies for training new employees. 

During 2021, 655 companies across the region were supported by the CSEPR through job posting and candidate referencing services. The centre also supported in the implementation and growth of eight new businesses in 2021. 

Following the achievements of 2021, the CSEPR still faces the challenges of present economic and labour market conditions. 

“The economic landscape is changing and uncertain,” CSEPR Chair Lionel Renaud said. 

According to Arcand, the pandemic slowed down the immigration process, which has made it more difficult to fill the demand for workers amid a continuing labour shortage in the region. She said the optimal solution for the shortage is immigration because of an aging local population where retired people presently outnumber working people two to one. 

Renaud said some retired people could return to the workforce to allow businesses to retain the intelligence and expertise of older employees.  

Even though there are many jobs available locally, the CSEPR is presently seeing approximately 50 per cent fewer job seekers than it did before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As part of its continued focus on immigration to remedy local employment needs, the CSEPR is collaborating with partners to possibly bring Ukrainian refugees to the region. However, details of that plan remain to be finalized before any announcement is made.