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The Privacy Advisor | Oh Canada! Job grant aims to help professionals access trainings Related reading: Outsourcing your organization's DPO duties? Consider this

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Obtaining the resources for excellence as a professional can oftentimes be difficult.

Enter the Canada Job Grant, a 2014-born initiative aiming to bolster Canadian workers with the funds for trainings, certifications and other classes. The program's specifics differ from province to province, but its ultimate mission is the same, country-wide: “Encouraging greater employer participation in skills-training decisions and ensuring that training is better aligned with job opportunities, particularly in sectors facing skills mismatches and labor shortages,” said Julia Sullivan of the Canadian government’s Media Relations Office.

The government has allotted $500 million in funding for the program, and from 2014 through 2015, “over 5,000 employers received grants and over 37,000 participants were approved for training,” Sullivan said, adding, however, widespread knowledge of the grant is still relatively unknown.

The downside? There can be lots of red tape to wade through.

IAPP’s training partner, Global Knowledge, agreed. That’s why it established a specialized team of individuals whose job is to help facilitate the Canada Job Grant application process, free of charge.

GK’s Pam Maguire heads that team. She’s had hands-on CJG experience since its implementation, and emphasized the grant isn’t too good to be true.

“The government will fund up to two-thirds of the cost,” she said. “So, if you’re strapped for funds, or you don’t have a budget for training and you want to give your employees some, it’s a fabulous way to get them going.”

As Sullivan alluded, employers must get the ball rolling should an employee have an in interest in a specific training. Meaning, a professional couldn’t go rogue and apply for the grant by themselves. 

The approval process is based on need, she continued, and the company will have to front the cost of the training. The government will consider whether the parties have applied for the grant before, and the timeline for the process varies depending on the province in which the applicant is based. Maguire said, regardless, she typically encourages applicants to apply six- to eight weeks before the training they're interested in begins.

The only things that really aren’t eligible for the grant are programs though already government-funded groups and e-trainings, as it’s harder to pin-point the start-and end-date of the courses and gauge attendance, Maguire added. Applicants must also already work for a Canadian company.  

With its resources, GK wants the grant to feel more approachable. That’s why it assigns two members of the GK grant team to interested parties to both assist with filling out the application form and to make sure the client is on the right track with the training they’ve chosen. 

“We do it as part of our consulting, as part of our value to the market,” Maguire said. “In the end, it hopefully helps everyone. After all, it’s really to help Canada remain competitive, globally. That’s the spirit of the program.” 

Typical applicants range from industry to industry, but one thing unites them. “Smart companies are using it,” she said. “That’s what I find.  The high-growth companies, the ones who are really focused on training and [getting] skilled up as fast as possible. “

Nymity’s Constantine Karbaliotis, CIPP/C, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, CIPM, CIPT, FIP, agreed that pursuing this kind of funding would benefit Canadian workers, especially privacy professionals.

“One of the challenges for a lot of privacy people who want to get into the privacy arena is that it might not be directly related to what they’re currently doing,” he said. “It’s hard without the company’s support to get the training they need and to augment their knowledge. This reduces the pain of making a budget request.” And, it frees up what privacy pros don’t have a lot of: time, he added. 

Funding, money and grants aside, training is important, and privacy pros need it, Karbaliotis said. It’s not just a personal opinion, either. “Increasingly, organizations have to demonstrate if they have qualified people on their teams,” he continued.  That goes beyond just attending a conference or showing up to your day job. “The icing on the cake is to get the certifications. That is the demonstration.”

He zeroed in on the smaller picture, speaking as one who has been doing the hiring in the privacy space for a long time. “I’ve said for years, if privacy professionals want to be taken seriously in privacy, they have to have an IAPP certification,” he said. “If you’re not willing to make that kind of an effort, that also says something.”

IAPP Managing Director for Canada Kris Klein, CIPP/C, CIPM, agreed. “IAPP certification is the one sure way to prove that you know your stuff,” he said. "It is definitely the global standard that indicates that you a real privacy pro.  In Canada, we have a huge proportion of our members with certifications. This tells me that Canadian privacy pros recognize the value of the training and consider it an important step in their career path.”

With the Canada Job Grant, that number can grow. That is, after all, the purpose. “Provinces and territories, as well as businesses themselves, continue to acknowledge that employers have a greater role to play in training, which is the key principle behind the Canada Job Grant,” Sullivan said.

photo credit: DaveWilsonPhotography Canadian Pride? via photopin (license)

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