Careers

Second Career Program - Feedback .

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 11th, 2018 2:33 pm
Newbie
Jan 31, 2018
3 posts
I got laid off in 2009. Despite having a MBA and 10+ years professional experience in both the US and Canada, I have not been able to find a job due to long-term unemployment and resulting mental health issues. My RRSP ran out last July. And I have $20K credit debt. Living in a basement and with $1k left on my checking account, I went to see a SC counselor this past Jan 8.

Initially, I had to recount in great details the painful massive layoff experience TWICE because there is a M + K termination without cause on my ROE. Then she said in fact that's not uncommon. After going thru details of my previous education, professional and life experiences, I was told 1) I SHOULD to try a different occupation which I don't think is suitable ; 2) Because of my MBA, I got 15 points - 1 point shy, to be approved. I was told to speak with OW. I left SC office in tears. Since Jan 11, I have been on OW with medical condition and waiting to see my doctor for mental health assessment.

On Jan 18, I got the following email from the SC counselor:
How are you? How is your resume coming along? Did you apply for OW? Let me know how things are going, and in the meantime check out this job posting!
I found her behavior consistently controlling and sadistic, so I did not reply. Today Feb 1, my OW case worker called and did some regular check-up. Then to my surprise, she suggested me to apply for a $14/hr admin job thru OW because of my education and english skill - just as what the SC counselor had said to me, I felt sick.

CAN A SC COUNSELOR MESS WITH MY OW CASE?! WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PROTECT MYSELF?
Last edited by shij2525 on Feb 2nd, 2018 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
643 posts
233 upvotes
First, I am very sorry to hear about the situation you are in. I can absolutely understand that this is extremely distressing. I can't address every aspect of your post here - apart from anything else, this is a public forum and it wouldn't be appropriate.

With regard to the Second Career assessment, it's not uncommon for someone with post-secondary education (not necessarily an MBA; in the points system, that counts exactly the same as, say, an apprenticeship certificate or a Class AZ licence) and work experience at the higher or highest skill levels to end up with 15 points rather than the 16 you needed. However, did your counsellor mention the possibility of an exception? It's possible to submit an application with less than 16 points if the counsellor thinks there are solid reasons why the client would benefit from training AND grounds to ask for the exception (eg long period of unemployment which makes getting back into the labour market very difficult, or work experience/education which is considered out of date - either of those may be appropriate in your case). Exceptions are not guaranteed to be approved, but in my experience more than half of such requests have been.

Where I would have concerns would be your ability to manage financially on SC support, so in a situation where a client of mine was in that level of financial debt there would be long conversations about how the client would manage. I would also recommend seeing a financial counsellor, if you haven't already - does OW in your area make that kind of referral? It's something I've requested for clients through the local OW where I am. Second Career takes financial feasibility very seriously, so this would be an important step.

Regarding your counsellor and OW, do you have evidence that your counsellor spoke to OW about you, or are you assuming because of a similar suggestion? I can't comment on how relationships with OW and employment counsellors would/should work where you are, because practices may vary. In my city, my agency has a contract with OW so that we can assist OW participants. This includes providing regular reports on clients' activities - however, the first principle is that our obligation is to the client, and we are transparent about the reporting. In other words, no client of mine who was an OW participant would be unaware that I make a brief monthly report, and I am up front about the fact that I need them to stay in contact so that I can provide good information on their activities and how we are supporting them.

So: assuming you know that your counsellor did talk to OW, did your counsellor tell you that this might happen? If so, ask her what was said.

As for protecting yourself, I'm not sure that you need to do so, but if you're concerned, talk with your caseworker. It sounds as if you're working on important things that you need to take care of, including your health, and your caseworker needs to be aware of that.

Finally, your counsellor's email sounds absolutely fine to me - concerned, wanting to help. Unless there is a broader context I'm not aware of, I can't see the problem. But if there is a broader context, you have every right to request a different counsellor, or to close your file at that agency and go to another one.

I hope this helps in some respects, and wish you success in getting out of the distressing situation you're in.
shij2525 wrote:
Feb 2nd, 2018 12:00 am
I got laid off in 2009. Despite having a MBA and 10+ years professional experience in both the US and Canada, I have not been able to find a job due to long-term unemployment and resulting mental health issues. My RRSP ran out last July. And I have $20K credit debt. Living in a basement and with $1k left on my checking account, I went to see a SC counselor this past Jan 8.

Initially, I had to recount in great details the painful massive layoff experience TWICE because there is a M + K termination without cause on my ROE. Then she said in fact that's not uncommon. After going thru details of my previous education, professional and life experiences, I was told 1) I SHOULD to try a different occupation which I don't think is suitable ; 2) Because of my MBA, I got 15 points - 1 point shy, to be approved. I was told to speak with OW. I left SC office in tears. Since Jan 11, I have been on OW with medical condition and waiting to see my doctor for mental health assessment.

On Jan 18, I got the following email from the SC counselor:
How are you? How is your resume coming along? Did you apply for OW? Let me know how things are going, and in the meantime check out this job posting!

I found her behavior consistently controlling and sadistic, so I did not reply. Today Feb 1, my OW case worker called and did some regular check-up. Then to my surprise, she suggested me to apply for a $14/hr admin job thru OW because of my education and english skill - just as what the SC counselor had said to me, I felt sick.

CAN A SC COUNSELOR MESS WITH MY OW CASE?! WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PROTECT MYSELF?
Newbie
Dec 7, 2013
2 posts
1 upvote
Richmond Hill
Hi EmpCouns,
Thank you for all your hard work here in this thread, much appreciated.
I have a quick question. I received the BLA payment commencement email two weeks after the starting date of school, and for the sake of making things easier, let's assume that the semester start -> end date divides evenly into biweekly payment, will I receive another BLA payment two weeks after the last day of semester or the last BLA payment for the current semester will be on the last day of school?
Newbie
Jan 31, 2018
3 posts
EmpCouns, I really appreciate your input. Please see my response to your question:
However, did your counselor mention the possibility of an exception?
NO. She was not there to help me.

As background, I began my post-MBA career as a financial analyst in telecom, and then had worked as a telecom product manager which's a glorified business systems analyst. After I explained that despite having a MBA, I have been told by employers that I am not technical enough for my occupation because I do NOT have any IT-related training. She said I should try roles that are not technical. I explained that English is my second language and I don't have the personality to play dirty politics. I had a non-technical financial analyst role 10+ years ago, became a scapegoat of a dumb/ruthless manager, and left on PIP while the manager later got transferred. At the end of the Jan 8 meeting, she said she "was convinced that you need some IT-related training. Take a course thru OSAP. But OW would cut you off if they know you got money."

However, the Jan 18 email from her was a sales analyst job in cosmetic business. That's when I became suspicious of her motive. Did her supervisor say to her what you said above? Why did she choose to communicate with me in WRITING? I thought she was done with me when my application was not approved.

Under the Jan 11 direction of my OW worker who can speak my first language and has been very respectful and supportive like a sister, I need to see a doctor for assessment by April 11. I am attending group psychotherapy which she referred me to. I am not required to look for work at this point. However the OW worker called me on Feb 1st, suggested me to apply for a $14/hr admin job because she as well "thinks I can do the job due to my education and English skill." That's when I suspected the SC counselor spoke with someone higher up at OW about me behind my back when she did not get me response to her Jan 18 email.

How to "close your file at that agency and go to another one" so that the SC counselor can no longer have formal authority to interfere with my life? Can I also file something like a cease and desist against her with the Ministry so that she has to stop? Many thanks.
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
643 posts
233 upvotes
hellistina wrote:
Feb 3rd, 2018 11:08 am
Hi EmpCouns,
Thank you for all your hard work here in this thread, much appreciated.
I have a quick question. I received the BLA payment commencement email two weeks after the starting date of school, and for the sake of making things easier, let's assume that the semester start -> end date divides evenly into biweekly payment, will I receive another BLA payment two weeks after the last day of semester or the last BLA payment for the current semester will be on the last day of school?
You will receive all the BLA payments you're entitled to. Yes, the payments usually start a couple of weeks late, which means that your final payment period will end two weeks after your training ends - which I think 'translates' to the second option above. However, the way to confirm it is to ask your Ministry ETC, as s/he has visibility of the payment schedule in their database.
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
643 posts
233 upvotes
A little bit of background about us employment counsellors ;) We aren't just there to help with Second Career; we also support our clients in job-searching. This is why your counsellor would have stayed in touch even after telling you that you don't qualify for Second Career. Do we always develop a very good understanding of our clients' goals? No - much as we'd like to. I've sent inappropriate job postings on occasion, not with any motive of being offensive or demeaning, but most likely because I hadn't had time to read the posting fully, or review my notes on the client carefully enough. I don't justify that by saying that we have very high caseloads due to funding constraints, but that is a fact.

As for communicating in writing, there's nothing at all unusual about that. Most of my communication with clients is by email. There are many reasons:
* avoids the frustrating phone tag and voicemails that may not be clear
* allows me to set out the information clearly for the avoidance of misunderstanding
* it tends to be faster than phone calls
* it allows me to include URLs, attachments etc that I want to send clients (let's face it, if she's sending you a job posting, how else could she communicate? She can't very well give you a URL or an attachment over the phone)
* it creates a record of the correspondence. We are required to maintain casenotes of interactions with a client; an email is easily pasted (with deletions of less-relevant sections, or anything personal/confidential that we would not casenote), whereas I have to write a note summarising a phone conversation. Very occasionally, also, the record is important if I need to show that I did in fact contact someone, if there's a question about whether I did or not, or what I actually said as opposed to someone else's perspective on what I might have said

So email is perfectly normal and shouldn't be seen as remotely sinister, IMO!

I don't know your counsellor or you, so I can't obviously comment on the nature of your relationship. It sounds as if it's not a good fit, though. Yes, you can end that relationship; all you need do is send an email stating that you wish to have your file with that agency closed. You can ask for an email in response to confirm that it's closed. If you don't want to communicate with the counsellor, call the agency and ask for the client services manager (there will be someone with either that or a similar title); that's the person you can email or talk to in order to ask that your file be closed. If you feel that you would like to register a complaint, that's the person to complain to.

If you don't want further communications: by law now all emails from any organisation must include an 'unsubscribe' link. Click on that. Or tell your counsellor or the manager to remove you from the subscription list. Just so you know, in many agencies these lists aren't updated daily, and it may take a few days or even a week or two for you to be removed.

As regards your counsellor interfering, I don't know whether that has happened or not. I don't know whether - as is the case with my agency and our local OW - there is a contract and a reporting relationship between your counsellor and OW. Are you certain that your counsellor communicated with OW - do you have actual evidence, as opposed to a coincidence of job postings? I'm not doubting your conviction; I'm just pointing out that if you make accusations and don't have proof to back them up it may not seem convincing. Regarding the Ministry, since it seems as if the only area where you believe your counsellor interfered is with OW, you could let your caseworker know that you have closed your file at that agency and have withdrawn any consent your counsellor had to communicate with OW.

I hope this is useful, and that the medical and other interventions you're accessing will start to make your life better. And I'm not surprised to hear that you're deferred from job-searching, as that is normal where someone has health challenges preventing them from working. When you're ready to look for work or try applying for Second Career again, there will be another agency you could go to. Good luck!

shij2525 wrote:
Feb 3rd, 2018 1:29 pm
EmpCouns, I really appreciate your input. Please see my response to your question:
However, did your counselor mention the possibility of an exception?
NO. She was not there to help me.

As background, I began my post-MBA career as a financial analyst in telecom, and then had worked as a telecom product manager which's a glorified business systems analyst. After I explained that despite having a MBA, I have been told by employers that I am not technical enough for my occupation because I do NOT have any IT-related training. She said I should try roles that are not technical. I explained that English is my second language and I don't have the personality to play dirty politics. I had a non-technical financial analyst role 10+ years ago, became a scapegoat of a dumb/ruthless manager, and left on PIP while the manager later got transferred. At the end of the Jan 8 meeting, she said she "was convinced that you need some IT-related training. Take a course thru OSAP. But OW would cut you off if they know you got money."

However, the Jan 18 email from her was a sales analyst job in cosmetic business. That's when I became suspicious of her motive. Did her supervisor say to her what you said above? Why did she choose to communicate with me in WRITING? I thought she was done with me when my application was not approved.

Under the Jan 11 direction of my OW worker who can speak my first language and has been very respectful and supportive like a sister, I need to see a doctor for assessment by April 11. I am attending group psychotherapy which she referred me to. I am not required to look for work at this point. However the OW worker called me on Feb 1st, suggested me to apply for a $14/hr admin job because she as well "thinks I can do the job due to my education and English skill." That's when I suspected the SC counselor spoke with someone higher up at OW about me behind my back when she did not get me response to her Jan 18 email.

How to "close your file at that agency and go to another one" so that the SC counselor can no longer have formal authority to interfere with my life? Can I also file something like a cease and desist against her with the Ministry so that she has to stop? Many thanks.
Newbie
Jan 31, 2018
3 posts
Thanks again, EmpCouns, for your perspective, suggestion and timely response. Have a great weekend!
Newbie
Feb 5, 2018
1 posts
Hi, this is Inpyo Jeon. I applied for SC on 12 Dec, 2017 ( my counselor submitted my package to MAESD ). my skilled trade school will start on 26 this month. but i did't get any call from the SC office. I asked about my file's status to my counselor last week. she said it was 'open' in Cams website. Today i got e-mail from the school. they need to know confirmation as soon as possible. i heard that someone got approved SC who applied on 20 Dec, 2017. Is there any other way to check the progress of my files?
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
643 posts
233 upvotes
jamesjeon wrote:
Feb 6th, 2018 4:06 pm
Hi, this is Inpyo Jeon. I applied for SC on 12 Dec, 2017 ( my counselor submitted my package to MAESD ). my skilled trade school will start on 26 this month. but i did't get any call from the SC office. I asked about my file's status to my counselor last week. she said it was 'open' in Cams website. Today i got e-mail from the school. they need to know confirmation as soon as possible. i heard that someone got approved SC who applied on 20 Dec, 2017. Is there any other way to check the progress of my files?
If it's open, that means someone at the Ministry is working on it. Your start date is still just under three weeks away, so the Ministry probably thinks the decision isn't urgent - which isn't to say that the review might not be completed in the next day or two. If the school genuinely needs to know because the program could be full, you can ask your counsellor to relay that information to the person working on your file (that information will be visible in CaMS). If it's just the school being pushy because they want to know if they're getting their money, just tell them that your application is being processed.

As long as it's being worked on, then unless there is actually a problem with the application you should hear pretty soon.
Newbie
Dec 14, 2012
66 posts
8 upvotes
Toronto
Just wondering a few things, if someone happens to know the answers? Thank you for any feedback??!!

1. I can't find online a copy of the "Second Career (SC) Eligibility and Suitability Assessment Template" form which indicates one's eligibility - every link that I have found online says 'not found' - does anyone know where it is located, or can post a copy or send one to me, or even know what the questions are, so that I can take a look?

2. If a person quits a job for numerous numerous NUMEROUS horrible reasons, which were approved by Service Ontario as reason enough to receive EI benefits even though having quit a job (as opposed to layoff), would those same reasons possibly be an exception to the rule on eligibility of 'SC' program which states that a person is ineligible if they quit their job? This was not an interim job, and from what I HAVE been able to find online, there is a very clear rule stating if one quits their job, they are ineligible. Are there any exceptions to that rule, where the reasons were justified?

3. Is there any eligibility criteria which is based on age of an applicant? Just wondering because, say a person is getting 'up there' in years, would the govt want to put out so much money for someone older to be funded when they may potentially only be working for a few more years?

Thank you for any info.. in the meantime, I'll start reading back on this thread.. 195 pages, wow, LOTS of reading here!!!!!!
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
643 posts
233 upvotes
To answer your questions:

1: the suitability matrix used to be available online as part of the EOPG portal, but now it's built into CaMS (the Ministry database) and it looks as if all electronic copies have been removed from the government's Second Career website. However, any service provider offering Second Career services would be able to talk you through it.

2: Individuals may be eligible for Second Career based on being laid off, leaving a job for medical reasons (there must be evidence), or taking EI maternity/parental benefits, not immediately returning to the workforce and then seeking to re-enter later on. Eligibility for EI is different, and it's not unusual for someone to be eligible for EI but not for Second Career. The only circumstance in which quitting a job makes you eligible is if you can show it was on medical grounds (physical or mental health).

That said: there is no minimum period of attachment before a layoff makes you potentially eligible for Second Career. Take a temporary job and then look into applying after the job ends.

3: there is no age limit for Second Career, and such a limit could well be in contravention of the Charter of Rights.

patchoulie wrote:
Feb 13th, 2018 3:13 pm
Just wondering a few things, if someone happens to know the answers? Thank you for any feedback??!!

1. I can't find online a copy of the "Second Career (SC) Eligibility and Suitability Assessment Template" form which indicates one's eligibility - every link that I have found online says 'not found' - does anyone know where it is located, or can post a copy or send one to me, or even know what the questions are, so that I can take a look?

2. If a person quits a job for numerous numerous NUMEROUS horrible reasons, which were approved by Service Ontario as reason enough to receive EI benefits even though having quit a job (as opposed to layoff), would those same reasons possibly be an exception to the rule on eligibility of 'SC' program which states that a person is ineligible if they quit their job? This was not an interim job, and from what I HAVE been able to find online, there is a very clear rule stating if one quits their job, they are ineligible. Are there any exceptions to that rule, where the reasons were justified?

3. Is there any eligibility criteria which is based on age of an applicant? Just wondering because, say a person is getting 'up there' in years, would the govt want to put out so much money for someone older to be funded when they may potentially only be working for a few more years?

Thank you for any info.. in the meantime, I'll start reading back on this thread.. 195 pages, wow, LOTS of reading here!!!!!!
Newbie
Dec 14, 2012
66 posts
8 upvotes
Toronto
EmpCouns wrote:
Feb 13th, 2018 9:42 pm
To answer your questions:

1: the suitability matrix used to be available online as part of the EOPG portal, but now it's built into CaMS (the Ministry database) and it looks as if all electronic copies have been removed from the government's Second Career website. However, any service provider offering Second Career services would be able to talk you through it.

2: Individuals may be eligible for Second Career based on being laid off, leaving a job for medical reasons (there must be evidence), or taking EI maternity/parental benefits, not immediately returning to the workforce and then seeking to re-enter later on. Eligibility for EI is different, and it's not unusual for someone to be eligible for EI but not for Second Career. The only circumstance in which quitting a job makes you eligible is if you can show it was on medical grounds (physical or mental health).

That said: there is no minimum period of attachment before a layoff makes you potentially eligible for Second Career. Take a temporary job and then look into applying after the job ends.

3: there is no age limit for Second Career, and such a limit could well be in contravention of the Charter of Rights.
Thank you so much for your reply! That is interesting that there is no minimum period of attachment before eligibility for SC?? What if the temp position is also a part-time position? What if it is for a wage that is substantially less than the rate normally earned? Do either of these pieces have a bearing on the amount one is potentially eligible to receive in the SC Program, or would the eligible amount be correspondingly substantially reduced?

Also, can one claim he/she quit a job due to mental health medical grounds, based on the situation at the workplace he/she quit? I mean.. if the workplace itself was making the person mentally unhealthy?? Would it be possible to 'show'/prove such a thing if no doctor was visited?

That is unfortunate that the 'suitability matrix' is no longer available online! Do you know of anywhere I could try to see if there might be an old copy still viewable in a cache somewhere? I noticed that people in this thread were counting their scores to see if they met the requirement (16?), and it would be nice to know such information ahead of time?

Thank you again for your informative contributions to myself and this entire thread!
Sr. Member
Aug 2, 2012
643 posts
233 upvotes
patchoulie wrote:
Feb 14th, 2018 1:02 am
Thank you so much for your reply! That is interesting that there is no minimum period of attachment before eligibility for SC?? What if the temp position is also a part-time position? What if it is for a wage that is substantially less than the rate normally earned? Do either of these pieces have a bearing on the amount one is potentially eligible to receive in the SC Program, or would the eligible amount be correspondingly substantially reduced?
The amount available - $28,000 in total, with maximums for various aspects of the funding - does not change. Layoffs can be from FT or PT positions, or lower-skill positions - as long as you were an employee and your employment ended in an eligible way.
Also, can one claim he/she quit a job due to mental health medical grounds, based on the situation at the workplace he/she quit? I mean.. if the workplace itself was making the person mentally unhealthy?? Would it be possible to 'show'/prove such a thing if no doctor was visited?
You do need evidence. If you didn't see a doctor, is there anything that can confirm what went on and how it affected you? I've had clients write detailed descriptions of what was going on and indicate sick days taken, for example. Others didn't see doctors but saw other health professionals, who were able to provide a note.
That is unfortunate that the 'suitability matrix' is no longer available online! Do you know of anywhere I could try to see if there might be an old copy still viewable in a cache somewhere? I noticed that people in this thread were counting their scores to see if they met the requirement (16?), and it would be nice to know such information ahead of time?
I'm not a fan of self-assessment on the matrix - without a clear understanding of how the criteria are to be interpreted (the Ministry is very strict), people do have a tendency to score themselves inaccurately. I would encourage anyone interested in Second Career and who may be eligible (now or in the future) to see an employment counsellor and ask for an assessment. I have given individuals who aren't currently eligible a tentative score based on a future layoff (eg they are anticipating being laid off or quitting due to medical factors), so they can understand whether or not they would meet the required score (or could be considered for an exception request).

There's no risk in going to see a counsellor, and you might find that you could get other help too.

Thank you again for your informative contributions to myself and this entire thread!
[/quote]
Newbie
Dec 14, 2012
66 posts
8 upvotes
Toronto
Thank you for your feedback EmpCouns. I am going to see a counsellor.

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