CSCSC keeps operating despite funding loss [from the MM&D print edition]

by Carolyn Gruske

TORONTO, Ontario—The original Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council (CSCSC) is no more, but version 2.0 hopes to rise out of the financial ashes and find its way in a new economic reality.

As of March 31, 2013 the federal government has stopped funding its $17.5 million Sector Council Program. To the CSCSC, and the other sector councils across the country, that means the withdrawal of $500,000 of annual core funding—money used to employ staff members, pay rent and run the day-to-day operations.

The federal government describes sector councils as being “national partnership organizations that bring together business, labour and educational stakeholders. Operating at an arm’s length from the Government of Canada, sector councils are a platform for these stakeholders to share ideas, concerns and perspectives about human resources and skills issues, and find solutions that benefit their sector in a collective, collaborative and sustained manner.”

Even with the disappearance of its main source of funding, CSCSC director Kevin Maynard insists the organization will continue to operate and offer services designed to fulfill its mandate.

“The organization is continuing in a new format and we’re quite excited by it. What the new format does is let us respond to the new realities of the model we have to work under, which is reduced funding from the federal government but it still captures the amount of stakeholder involvement we have with employers, with employees and with professional associations,” he said.

“The website will still operate, the phones will still work but we’ve actually gone virtual. We call it the Canadian Supply Chain Council Version 2.0 to put a bit more of a positive spin on it.”

The organization will focus on its national accreditation program and one person will remain on staff to oversee the operation. Three of the council’s staffers, including Maynard, will continue to work for the organization, but as independent contractors. Before the cut took effect the council had five people on staff.

Along with core funding, the federal government also offered funding to the sector councils for specific projects. Maynard says this type of project funding will continue to be offered, and the council will continue to pitch project proposals to the federal and provincial governments. He added the council has been asked to submit a proposal for a project that could be worth up to $1 million in federal funding over two years.

Maynard said because the government announced its intentions to end the funding early enough, it has given the CSCSC time to react.

“We’ve been building up a transition plan. We have what we call non-HRSDC (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) revenue surpluses that will enable us to continue work in the short-term, and our fee structure for accreditation is enabling us to continue for the short term. After that we hope we are able to secure some of these projects we’ve been writing proposals for,” he said.

Maynard seemed philosophical about the change in the funding structure.

“A year or two down the road there might be opportunities for organizations like ours to come back, reinvigorated, provided we can continue with the work we do, which is what we’ve tried to ensure with this transition plan.”