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Canadian government hires BC job placement business to help vets

An American company in arbitration with the British Columbia government over a lost employment program contract has found a new client: the Canadian government.

Tucson, Arizona-based Providence Service Corporation announced earlier this month that its Victoria subsidiary, WCG International Consultants Ltd., had won a three year, $20.5 million Canadian contract to do work for Veterans Affairs.

The announcement provided few details, but the advertisement for proposals from 2007 said Veterans Affairs wanted a contractor to provide “vocational rehabilitation and vocational assistance services.”

“The objective of this vocational rehabilitation contract is to have services and networks in place to assist eligible veterans of the Canadian Forces and, in some cases, their spouses and survivors, to prepare for suitable gainful employment in civilian life,” it said.

The department was looking for a contractor to provide services for three years, with an option to renew for two additional years. It required a contractor to prove it could provide services in at least four provinces, in both official languages. The document anticipated between 829 and 2,286 clients per year will be served.

There were seven bidders for the contract WCG won, a government official said.

Since 1995 WCG has provided job placement programs, including JobWave, for British Columbians receiving welfare. Last summer the province canceled an $8 million contract with WCG to provide service in the Interior region. The company has protested the cancellation, and arbitration is expected to happen in the fall.

Ontario hired WCG for two years starting in 2005 to provide job programs for people on welfare, but chose not to continue after the pilot. An Ontario review, the Tyee reported, found the private program was no more affective than the province's own programs.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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