The Canadian Labour and Business Centre (CLBC) was deeply engaged in the pan-Canadian consultations that led to the formation of the Canadian Council on Learning (CLC). CLBC Chief Executive Officer, Shirley Seward, and Dr. Ben Levin, then Manitoba Deputy Minister of Education, were appointed by then-Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to conduct complex national consultations surrounding the concept of this new independent national “learning” organization. Analyzing the input from these consultations, Ms. Seward and Dr. Levin recommended the decentralized 'hub-and- spoke' model that was subsequently adopted as the CCL's operating structure.
When CCL invited applications to lead the Work and Learning Knowledge Centre CLBC submitted its application, drawing on the support of a unique array of stakeholders from business, labour, education, and research bodies. The members of CLBC’s Board of Directors were eager to ensure that the new body would place high priority on workplace learning. Labour and business, as the two key workplace partners, were enthusiastic about playing a central role in this area, in partnership with a wide range of other stakeholders.
CLBC’s vision and approach was enthusiastically endorsed by the Canadian Council on Learning and CLBC was named as the WLKC lead organization in September 2005.
CLBC moved quickly to establish the WLKC, pulling together an Ontario-based Consortium of approximately 70 organizations and a primarily non-Ontario-based Advisory Committee of another 30 organizations. The organizations involved in both the Consortium and the Advisory Committee included business, labour, governments, educational and training institutions, research bodies, private trainers, consultants and community organizations.
Following consultations led by CLBC, the WLKC soon identified the substantive themes it would work on within the work and learning domain, and established Working Groups in each thematic area. These Working Groups continue to define the WLKC's activities, which have focused on synthesis research and knowledge exchange.
Under the leadership of the CLBC, in its first year the Workplace Learning Knowledge Centre:
- Assembled a consortium of about 100 organizations from coast to coast
- Established an Advisory Committee with members from more than 50 institutions and organizations; and
- Commissioned and published a number of major research reports and discussion papers on workplace learning.
In October 2006, following the decision by the federal government to eliminate funding for the Workplace Partners Panel, an initiative led by CLBC, the CLBC Board had no choice but to dissolve the Canadian Labour and Business Centre.
CCL therefore invited applications for the role of Lead Organization for the WLKC. In November, 2006, CCL announced that the Work and Learning Knowledge Centre would now be jointly led by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).
Paul Cappon, President and CEO, Canadian Council on Learning stated, “On behalf of CCL and the members of the Work and Learning Knowledge Centre consortium, I would like to recognize the time and effort that Shirley Seward and the Canadian Labour and Business Centre invested in pulling together a consortium that reflects all the facets of workplace learning–labour, private sector organizations, educators, researchers, governments and many more. CLBC built the foundation for an active and successful knowledge centre, which I know will grow under the leadership of Ken Georgetti, President, CLC and Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, CME.”
For ongoing information about the Work and Learning Knowledge Centre please visit the CLC web site www.ccl-cca.ca