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The Cultural Human Resources Council

Building Bridges and a Future

Our new featured member is particularly close to our hearts. We are paying tribute to an organization that got its wings from the CCA: the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC).

The 20 year history of the CHRC can be traced back to the CCA, which in 1991 created the Cultural Sector Training Committee (CSTC). In 1995 the CSTS became the CHRC, functioning independently from the CCA.  If you take a look at their website you will find it rich in resources for artists and self-employed workers as well as employers. For the past 17 years the Council has proven itself as a leader in human resource management in the cultural sector.

The mission of the CHRC is to respond to the needs of the Canadian cultural workforce. They also offer important resources and studies; they bring together cultural leaders, key teachers/trainers and decision makers to form partnerships and discuss HR needs. AN excellent example of how they play this role is their national HR forum that will be taking place in Toronto the 27th-28th of September. With this in mind we met with Susan Annis, who has been the Executive Director of the CHRC since 2002.

Why is the CHRC organizing this forum?

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“The forum will serve to facilitate the meeting of people from the sector and educators/trainers in order to ‘Build Bridges’. With presentations on best practices, thoughtful discourse, and even some provocative discussion, the forum will highlight examples of collaboration between the industry and the education sector. These examples will respond to real and immediate needs of the industry, underline the importance of professional development and mentoring, and encourage participants to press for solutions to training problems to be put in place.”

Last year the CHRC learned, along with 29 other sectoral councils, that the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSDC) would be putting an end to the funding of their Sector Council Program as of March 31st 2013. The history of the CCA and the Council are linked again: the only two national organizations linking the cultural communities are losing their principal federal funding at the same time, and both have decided to rise to the challenge of becoming autonomous. We asked Susan what is in the future of the CHRC.

In general terms, how will you manage the transition?

“Our Board of Directors has chosen to move forward since we have a good reserve and because we have a particularly strong and solid foundation on which to build.

  • An extensive network
  • Good credibility and reputation
  • A range of good products
  • The structure of the CHRC

What has changed in the last few years is that people in the cultural sector are now paying attention to issues surrounding human resources in culture. In the past HR wasn’t on people’s radars at all.

And although our board will be smaller there will always be that depth which will allow us to be effective.”

And where are the challenges?

“Certainly one of the big challenges will be to find alternate sources of revenue, but we know that our base is solid. We will sell our products now. Perhaps the biggest challenge will be for the sector to understand that they can no longer consider us a source of funding for projects; that the relationship has changed. It’s a challenge but not an insurmountable one.

We are now partners. We will work together to develop projects and look for sources of funding. The council will coordinate these common projects. But isn’t it exciting at the same time?”

So, you are optimistic about the future?

“I’m optomistic because I know that if the council didn’t exist it would need to be created. I think the CCA can say the same thing about themselves. (laughs)”

We hope to see you the 27th and 28th of September in Toronto for the Forum!