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Ambassdeur Project

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The Project

After preliminary negotiations between the CFDCs and HRDC, the project officially got underway by hiring a coordinator at HRDC and the partners establishing regional objectives. Next the information officers were hired by the CFDCs. They became part of their CFDC staff, received training from HRDC, drew up an action plan with their CFDC management in keeping with regional objectives, developed presentation tools and crisscrossed their territory to meet people.

Since the citizen phase of the Ambassadeur project is essentially based on the circulation of information and training, each CFDC set its own objectives for each type of clientele. For the period that ended March 31, 2000, i.e. a three-month phase, the CFDCs had all the latitude required to select target clienteles. Some emphasized seniors, others youth, the unemployed, CAC users etc. The results were then generally considered very interesting by all the stakeholders (Saguenay-Lac St-Jean HRDC, 2000a, 2000b).

The second phase of the project, from April 2000 to March 2001, got off to a slow start. The uncertainty about continued funding, confirmation of its renewal coming slow in May 2000 and the staff cutback to one information officer per CFDC because of the smaller budget resulted in few activities being carried out between April and August 2000, a period that also encompassed the summer holiday business closures (Saguenay-Lac St-Jean HRDC, 2000c). The rules also changed a little by shifting the emphasis to employability, information about the job market and employment prospects. The target clienteles therefore became employment insurance and income security beneficiaries, workers with no job nor benefits, as well as students. Some CFDCs had already started working with these groups in the first year, but for others it was a new clientele to approach.

Also, to develop a profile of the people encountered, a system was set up with follow-up and feedback mechanisms to track their progress (Saguenay-Lac St-Jean HRDC, 2000d, 2000e). Although this reorientation is much more in line with the CFDC's mission, it forced some information officers to rebuild their network of contacts in the community.

In this regard, some organizations expressed concern about the potential duplication of services for the same clientele (Carrefour Emploi-Jeunesse, CLE, etc.). Relations were smoother in the territories of some CFDCs than others, but on the whole the officers were able to demonstrate their specific role and the complementary nature of their work in relation to what was already being done by various government and community agencies.