HortEducationBC Update – Effective January 1, 2019

HortEducationBC Update – Effective January 1, 2019

HortEducationBC Stakeholder Update
January 4, 2019


In 2005 HortEducationBC (HEBC) became the first Industry Training Organization (ITO) under a newly developed arms-length Government Organization called the Industry Training Authority (ITA). HEBC’s original mandate was quite broad. It included program standards development within the ITA, as well as professional development activities as deemed necessary by a multi-sector board of directors.

In 2008, HEBC’s mandate changed significantly. The ITA entered into specific service contracts that limited individual ITOs’ abilities to work outside the service contract terms. These service contracts provided core funding that allowed HEBC to develop three arborist trade designations (Arborist Technician, Climbing Arborist, and Field Arborist) and study the viability of several other horticulturally important prospective trades. Additionally, HEBC self-funded updating and development of learning resources for trades represented.

In 2014, Government dissolved the ITO model and pulled all related activities back into the realm of the ITA. For the ITOs, this meant a complete withdrawal of core funding from the ITA. Most of the ITOs disbanded immediately after the termination of this funding; some were absorbed into parent organizations.

For the past four years, HEBC has been successful in maintaining a very high level of service and activity, while meeting the life-span goals set by the board. HEBC has, in fact, been extremely effective during this time. Its activities have included:

  • Providing support and assistance for apprentices, apprentice employers, and trade challengers;
  • Recruiting new individuals into the represented trades through career fairs, trade shows, and conferences;
  • Visiting incoming apprenticeship students in class;
  • Developing an apprenticeship specific job board;
  • Assisting in the development of the Landscape Horticulturist Red Seal Occupational Standard and Canadian Red Seal Harmonization;
  • Supporting arborist programs and the arborist steering committee;
  • Working with the ITA on Youth in Trades and Women in Trades initiatives;
  • Continued work with the ITA on program standards and development;
  • Working with SkillsCanada BC and SkillsCanada national committees, the CNLA Professional Development Committee, and the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum;
  • Engaging the South Fraser Trade Advisory Committee;
  • Participating with the BC Horticulture & Agriculture Articulation Committee; and
  • Continually engaging with training providers and institutions.

Additionally, HortEducationBC has been particularly involved in other services and activities that are identified below as areas of ‘Renewed Focus’.

Renewed Focus

As outlined above, HEBC has been very productive and effective. However, many of the services and activities listed above require a great deal of staff resources, time, and expense, while providing next to no revenue generation. Since this last transition, HEBC has not received any outside funding to subsidize these activities. Accordingly, the HEBC Board of Directors needed to consider a strategy to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the association.

As a result, HEBC will be scaling back services, activities and staff resources to ensure that it can continue to operate in a sustainable fashion for an indefinite period of time.

Effective immediately, HEBC’s primary focus will be:

  • Providing industry representation and liaison with the Industry Training Authority;
  • Developing and updating learning resources;
  • Apprentice sponsorship;
  • Fulfilling the ITA contract for Climbing Arborist Practical Assessments;
  • Fulfilling the ITA contract for Challenge Assessments;
  • Performing Falling & Bucking Practical Assessment administrative duties.

HEBC is aware of the gaps that this will create. While this was a difficult decision for the HortEducationBC Board of Directors, it was determined to be the best solution for keeping HEBC financially sustainable. This decision allows HEBC to continue with the services that it is contracted to provide, maintain a working relationship with the Industry Training Authority, and most importantly, finish the development of all four levels of the learning resources for the newly harmonized Landscape Horticulturist designation. The learning resources are HEBC’s most valuable asset. As such, they have been identified as the top priority. These resources will continue to help apprentices and apprentice instructors for years to come.

Certainly, circumstances may change. Outside funding sources may become available. The strategic value of becoming leaner and more focused allows HEBC to be sustainable, while at the same time allowing HEBC to be open to opportunities to expand services or activities where the business case makes sense. To return HortEducationBC to the full service model outlined above, roughly $65,000.00 of annual outside funding would be required.

HEBC has strategically renewed its mandate to ensure sustainability. The website will continue to be updated and continue to be a valuable resource for those seeking information about HEBC trade programs and apprenticeship. Contact information will be updated to reflect the requisite changes. We look forward to continuing to serve the industry to the very best of our ability.

Needless to say, these changes resulted in a significant adjustment to staff resources. As a result Lindsay Lindholm has moved from a full-time staff position to contract services on a fee for service basis. Bill Hardy will be the main point of contact effective immediately.

HortEducationBC is hopeful that there will be opportunities to offer some services on a fee-for-service basis. As an example, the ‘Job Listings’ which were highly effective, could be renewed on a fee-for listing basis. Career Fair participation on behalf of the Landscape or Arborist trades could be arranged if industry is willing to step up and fund HEBC participation, same with administration for items like SkillsCanadaBC. Please contact Bill if you have any questions or comments.