Skills Compétences Canada’s vision is to “encourage and support a coordinated Canadian approach to promoting skilled trades and technologies to youth.” Part of its work includes hosting competitions in skilled trades as a way to promote and raise greater awareness of these trades. Hosting competitions involved a detailed and laborious application process. “

The agency works across the country out of different locations and there were challenges with communication. These challenges included the following:

  • the ways people communicated information, leaving it open to interpretation;
  • where different messaging was reaching the public and stakeholders; and
  • in some laborious processes which were barriers to participation.

This resulted in staff having to clarify processes and information which was inefficient.

Decision point
In meeting with POPSCOM, Shaun Thorson, Chief Executive Officer Skills/Compétences Canada, quickly understood the methodology of streamlining communication and making it more direct and therefore, more effective. “It spoke to me regarding many of our challenges.”

The methodology is logical and, when broken down into lost time, energy and miscommunication, was a clear solution worth pursuing.

The results: “Instead of seeking out candidates, they are coming to us.“
The revised application process from POPSCOM is more streamlined and asks for information in stages so candidate organizations find out early on whether they are a suitable host. This eliminates providing information that may not be needed.

“Because the process is clearer, we now have candidate organizations approaching us and this has resulted in venues confirmed 4 years in advance. Prior to this we were investing more time to identify potential host jurisdictions and encouraging them to host.” The improved process has allowed us to be more strategic and more engaged with our partners.”

The idea of what unclear communication costs – both in time and in people’s perception – rings true for a lot of people. “When we really look at the time it should take to deliver a simple message, and what it costs in productivity over a week, a month, or a year when the initial message is unclear, is significant. To understand that this can be rectified with a simple philosophy caught everyone’s attention.”


Shaun Thorson, CEO
Skills/Compétences Canada