The Community Worker Leadership Certificate (CWLC) Project: A Feasibility Study

Mothers Matter Centre has been awarded a grant from Canada’s Department of Economic Development and Essential Skills (ESDC) under its Adult Learning Literacy and Essential Skills Program (ALLESP). The ESDC grant will enable us to conduct our Canada-wide project Feasibility Study for a new Community Worker Leadership Certificate (CWLC) Program.

The purpose of this 18-months long project is to conduct a feasibility study of national significance for the design, implementation and evaluation of a large-scale pilot for the Community Worker Leadership Certificate (CWLC), which will enhance career advancement, post-secondary educational (PSE) opportunities, and essential skills and knowledge for women community workers. The study will consist of streams of research focusing on social purpose organizations (SPOs), community workers, existing programs for community worker in public PSE institutions, and a community worker labour market analysis.

This project uses Gender-Based Analysis + (GBA+), an analytical tool developed by Status of Women Canada to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender- diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. Our research practices for this study meet Canada’s Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TPCS2 2014) and are responsive to the Calls for Action for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians to further the aims of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The main beneficiaries of the CWLC Feasibility Study will be the women who work in community-based organizations and social purpose organizations.

The feasibility study consists of streams of research focusing on community support organizations, women frontline service workers, existing community support worker programs in PSE institutions, and community labour market analyses.  We are extremely grateful for the participation of 12 PSEs, 20 NPOs, and over 50 Aboriginal and immigrant women frontline workers located in four provinces: Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec, and British Columbia.


Research components include an inventory of past and existing post-secondary certificates for community service work, and a labour market analysis on existing job openings for community service workers.  A third research activity for the Study is a Canada-wide ethnographic study on the perspectives of Aboriginal and immigrant women frontline workers, as well as interviews with decision-makers at institutions of public post-secondary education (PSEs), and non-profit organizations (NPOs).  We will present our preliminary findings to the Aboriginal and immigrant women, and to other stakeholders who have contributed to the Study. Input gathered at the preliminary report meeting with research participants will inform our final findings and recommendations report, which we will submit to ESDC/OLES and the public later in 2019.

Our expected outcomes for the project are:

  • Increase knowledge of gaps in current community worker programs, which will result in a post-secondary curriculum responsive to the needs of community workers to advance their career, post-secondary education and skill-set to support vulnerable women.
  • Increased understanding of social purpose organizations’ current capacity and needs to support career development of community workers; and
  • Increased partnership between PSE institutions and SPOs to support the upskilling of women community workers, advancement in the workplace, and participation in post-secondary training.

For more information about the CWLC Feasibility Study, contact Angela M. Contreras, Manager – Research and Policy Analysis at Mothers Matter Centre