Sunshine Coast

New Hours in Gibsons

The Gibsons satellite WorkBC employment centre and Open Door Group office will be changing our hours, starting on December 5. The new hours will be:

Mon – 8:30 – 4:30

Tues – 8:30 – 4:30

Wed – 8:30 – 4:30

Thur – 8:30 – 2:00

Fri – 8:30 – 4:30

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Forging (Foraging?) Your Own Path


Murphy’s Tours & Fly-Fishing is, as you may have guessed, owned and operated by tour guide and facilitator, Stephen Murphy. Stephen is an outdoors enthusiast and passionate about wilderness. He moved to the Sunshine Coast to take advantage of the wild coastal environment that offers a variety of old growth forests, alpine meadows, and tranquil mossy glades where you can find yourself bathed by nature’s healing qualities.

From coastal fly-fishing to mushroom hunting tours, Stephen’s business is a product of the WorkBC Self Employment Program, one of the ways we can help your business grow. Whether you want to consult or become an entrepreneur, or if you want to take your skills and go into business for yourself (such as a plumber or someone in childcare), the free program will help you establish and operate your own enterprise.

You’ll find help building a business plan, learning about taxes, and what other kinds of government help is available to you.

Are you interested in starting your own business? Send us an email and we can tell you more.

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Co-Ops are a Bridge to New Careers


Lycia approached Open Door Group with a goal of full time employment in Gerontology and Community Development Work. Lycia had done extensive labour market research which demonstrated that the job opportunities in this field are highly competitive, and require advanced education. Additionally, cut backs in community services in the health sector had further contributed to the job shortages, and competitive environment in the field. Since her lay-off in 2013, she has been job searching for over a year, and had not been able to secure a full time sustainable position.

Lycia was accepted into the Masters of Arts in Social Dimensions of Health at the University of Victoria and submitted an Occupational Skills Training application to WorkBC. After review it was determined that Lycia had the aptitude and background to pursue this promising career in Gerontology, and was accepted for funding.

While attending UVIC, Lycia was able to access the Co-op Program, and this was a great way for her to explore possible career paths while gaining valuable experience. But for Lycia Rodrigues, co-op refined her already clear vision and landed her a dream job.  “For me, co-op was the bridge to my career!” she says.

Lycia then approached Health Information Sciences Co-op Coordinator, who helped her get the ball rolling.  Dave pointed to where she could start her work search, which relevant events she could attend to meet contacts and provided tips on how to network. It was after this meeting that Lycia saw a poster for an upcoming talk with Marianne McLennan, Island Health’s former Director of Senior’s and Spiritual Health. After attending this event, she immediately emailed McLennan to introduce herself, her research interests and her desire to secure a co-op term. She heard back on the same day and met McLennan a few weeks later for what Lycia thought was an informational interview.  “I went to it, only to discover that it was actually a job interview!” she admitted with a laugh. “It was good because I get very nervous about interviews…so I was much more relaxed about it.” She was immediately offered the role.

Lycia’s first co-op work term involved evaluating evidence-based research that address senior’s health, with a particular focus on frail seniors. Her ultimate research and career goal is to further integrate seniors’ services between health authorities and not-for-profit organizations to increase accessibility. She found her co-op experience so invigorating that she contacted the Research and Capacity Building Department at IH to see if she could stay on. IH Director of Transition Planning and Community Integration just happened to be looking for a co-op student, and reached out to Lycia. Together, they applied for two internal grants and Lycia was offered 18 months of employment with the Eldercare Project in Cowichan (EPIC): a dream come true!

When asked about the benefits of her experiences at UVic, Lycia says that “there are a lot of opportunities for international collaboration.”  In fact, she will soon be attending a conference in Brazil to share results and best practices from the EPIC program. “UVic has been empowering as I pursue research that is meaningful to me,” she says. What impact does this passion have for the community? In Lycia’s words: “To increase seniors’ quality of life and allow them to age in their community for as long as possible.”

With the assistance of Open Door Group WorkBC and the Co-op program at UVIC, Lycia is now able to enhance and develop programs that benefit seniors across Vancouver Island and even worldwide.

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Spreading Social Good on the Sunshine Coast

A recent graduate from the Social Services Jobs in Demand program is now actively working with Sunshine Coast Community Services.

The candidate is working as an assistant for the Sunshine Coast Volunteer Centre where she coordinates volunteer placements with organizations on the Sunshine Coast and she is thrilled to be working in her chosen field of work. This opportunity will open doors for her within Community Services on the Sunshine Coast ensuring stable employment and practical use of the eight certificates recently obtained during the Jobs in Demand program specific to Social Services.


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YMCA + Open Door Group Self Employment Program Launches Four New Business Start Ups

Self Employment Gibsons Group 2016 IMG_20160607_113543552

On June 7 a small group of Sunshine Coast business owners listened to presentations held at the Gibsons Chamber of Commerce, by the owners of four new businesses created on the Coast, thanks to the YMCA Self Employment Program and the Open Door Group.  The long-time owners were delighted to hear about the new ventures and offered their congratulations to the new entrepreneurs.

One of the new companies presented was started by Pam Robertson, of Robertson Safety Solutions.  She saw a need for safety training.  Her company has a vision of “zero harm” by championing safe and healthy workplaces.

Pam said:  “The program, helped to take an elaborate business plan template and break it down into comprehensible sections. I have tried several times in the past to write a solid business plan and became frustrated and gave up.  When I completed the program I was amazed at how well they simplified the process and made it positive experience. I would recommend this to anyone who is considering starting a company, I wouldn’t do it any other way!”

Scoot Collison found that his business idea aligned with his unique talent, and his wife’s worldwide performances at festivals and concerts.  It encouraged him to create “Captain Amparsand”:  Scott’s persona as a children’s entertainer.  “Captain Amparsand” has a lighthearted spirit, and wonderful enthusiasm which will be shared both internationally, as well as at festivals, and children’s parties on the Coast.

Scott said:  “This was such a great course, I learned so many things about my industry and how to run my business properly. But the best part was having a forum of entrepreneurs to bounce ideas off of as well as progress all of our ideas and put them into fruition.”

Aaron Fitzpatrick, who is new to the Coast, is pleased to have been in the program, and looks forward to bringing his artistic talent to The Road More Fitz.  His small family run business specializes in hand made screen-printed t-shirts featuring originally designed artwork inspired by B.C.’s Sunshine Coast.

Aaron said:  “The program was great.  Very intensive, very informative.  There was a lot of information crammed into the 10 weeks, but as someone who’s always dreamed of starting my own business, the Self Employment program really got me going and gave me a starting point for making my dream a reality.”

Anyone who wants to be educated in fly fishing needs to consider taking part in Murphy’s Forest Tours and Adventures in Fly-Fishing.  Stephen Murphy has over 40 years of fly-fishing experience on three continents in both fresh and saltwater and 7 years of teaching experience in institutional, retail and private settings.  He is excited about sharing his knowledge, and expertise with tourists and locals alike as a new business owner.

Stephen said:  “”The Self Employment Program offered by the YMCA and The Open Door Group enabled me to develop a solid business plan for my business idea. I highly recommend the program to anyone with a desire to implement their passion.”

The YMCA Self Employment Program, is part of Employment Services British Columbia, and is sponsored by Open Door Group.  It is a 48 week program that offers 10 weeks of business plan development, and continues with monthly support for another 38 weeks during the implementation of the business plan.

This program would be of benefit to anyone who has a viable business idea, and meets the eligibility criteria.

The next program on the Sunshine Coast starts on September 19, 2016.

For more information contact the WorkBC office in Gibsons (604-865-7729) or Sechelt (885-3351).

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A Calming Workplace: Andrew’s Story

Andrew came to Open Door Group looking for help finding a steady job. After leaving high school, Andrew bounced between two short term labour gigs, but hadn’t found steady work in years. When he was younger, Andrew was diagnosed as a high functioning autistic individual with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was hard for Andrew to adjust to new situations, but working with our team and a Spectrum Society worker (CLBC), he began to search for a career.

Together, we helped Andrew find work in a field where he would enjoy a rigid structure to his daily tasks, and helped him reenter the community. A local spa was looking for additional help and approached Open Door Group to find someone to fill their need. Pairing Andrew with the spa seemed like a great match. The work tasks that needed doing were steady and the calming atmosphere would be a perfect environment for Andrew. After an initial chat, they were willing to give him a try.

Things started slow with a three-week-long work experience so both Andrew and his new employer could get a feel for each other. Andrew did a great job and after three weeks he was hired on to work 20 hours per week, giving him time to learn more about his role and gain experience working with customers.

**Update: Andrew is now working 25 hours a week, as our team continues to support his growth and the employer says he’s a great fit!


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A Healthy Outlook: Ms. Andrade’s Story

Ms. Andrade came to Open Door Group in Gibsons as an unemployed, 50-year-old single mother with an 8-year-old son. Separated from her ex-husband, she needed a job so she could look after her child. She read about Open Door Group and WorkBC in the newspaper and decided to work with us to find employment.

Ms. Andrade had been out of the work force for a long period of time and had several physical injuries, plus the stress of worrying about earning enough money to support her and her son in a job that was physically suitable. Her past work history included over 15 years of customer service experience in merchandising clothing and working in an organic foods store. She also ran her own landscaping business for 3 years until her physical disabilities would not allow for the strenuous work anymore.

Apart from her physical injuries to left wrist, ACL tear in right knee, chronic pain and degenerative disc disease, Ms. Andrade had minimal computer skills. Together, we worked on a plan to find a suitable job and focused on semi sedentary or light physical employment. Since she hasn’t been a part of the workforce in recent years, we put together a series of career planning and job search workshops focused on skills like how to write a resume or market herself.

Ms. Andrade found a job posting for a produce clerk at a new company called Coast Naturals, a produce store and pharmacy. With Ms. Andrade´s past experience at a produce health food store, her passion for healthy food and her warm personality, she was hired! Ms. Andrade was careful to pace herself physically to make the transition to the work force again.


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BC Workplace Inclusion Awards

BC Workplace Inclusion Awards


Do you make a difference by promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace or know someone who does?

Any employer that operates in British Columbia and any individual who resides and/or works in British Columbia may apply for the BC Workplace Inclusion Awards, presented by Open Door Group. There are five categories that include both organizations and individuals. Employers of any size are encouraged to apply, whether private, public sector, or non-profit. The nomination process is entirely free and online. Shortlisted nominees will be invited to attend the UnTapped Awards Gala in June.

All nominations must be received by April 29, 2016, and will be reviewed by an external nominations committee. Apply now!

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Site C Jobs

BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project will be a third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeast B.C. It will provide 1,100 megawatts (MW) of capacity, and produce about 5,100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity each year — enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes per year in B.C.

As the third project on one river system, Site C will gain significant efficiencies by taking advantage of water already stored in the Williston Reservoir. This means that Site C will generate approximately 35 per cent of the energy produced at W.A.C. Bennett Dam, with only five per cent of the reservoir area.

In December 2014, the Site C project received approval from the provincial government to proceed to construction.

This decision followed a rigorous and independent environmental assessment by the federal and provincial governments, which included a Joint Review Panel process. The conclusion of the three-year environmental review was that the effects of the Site C project are justified by the long-term benefits it will provide

Construction of the project started in summer 2015 and will be completed in 2024.

Once built, Site C will be a source of clean, reliable and affordable electricity in B.C. for more than 100 years.

To see what Site C jobs are currently available, click here.



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The Employment Program of British Columbia is funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia