Returnship Toolkit


The Returnship Toolkit is an extensive guide that can be used by organizations to create pathways for individuals seeking to re-enter the workforce after a period of absence due to child or elder care responsibilities. This compendium of resources provides actionable ways for employers to connect, recruit and retain this audience as they balance their caregiving responsibilities. Human resources professionals, leadership, hiring managers, and those involved in acquiring and retaining talent from a returnee population will find valuable and practical information to support their strategies.

About this Resource

What is it?

A set of tools to support employers in acquiring and retaining talent from a population of candidates coming into or returning to the electricity sector after a period of absence from the labour market.

Who can use it?

HR professionals, leadership/hiring managers, and others involved in attracting and retaining talent.

Why should you use it?

It will help

  • Identify, locate, recruit, onboard, integrate, and retain talent returning to the workplace after an extended period of absence due to systemic or caregiving needs (children/elder/other).
  • Anticipate and mitigate common barriers to recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and retaining talent from this candidate population.
  • Influence, support, and challenge decision makers (and employees) to enable the organization to fully harness the benefits that a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce can bring.
  • Model bias-aware communication and interpersonal skills to help foster a culture of engagement.

What does it include?

  • Best practices talent acquisition “how-to” strategies.
  • The full HR cycle: recruiting and hiring, onboarding, and retention and engagement.
  • A focus on a target population, mainly women returning to the workplace after a lengthy absence from the electricity sector, who can be valuable members of an employer’s workforce.

How was it developed?

This toolkit has been informed by learnings from an environmental scan of related employment programs, case studies, and research projects. Additionally, consultation sessions were held on January 18 and 27, 2022, with seventeen participants from stakeholder groups such as employers, labour, and industry organizations that work to attract and support underrepresented groups to the sector.

This insight has been invaluable in shaping the toolkit contents to ensure they are practical and effective.


Steering Committee

We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the following individuals who participated on the Returnship Steering Committee:

• Chair | Jennifer Smith, Burlington Hydro

• Michelle Branigan, Electricity Human Resources Canada

• Mark Chapeskie, Electricity Human Resources Canada

• Anne-Marie Taber, Ontario Power Generation

• Brad Walker, Elexicon Energy

• Lana Norton, Women of Poweline Technicians

• Alison Bondy, S&C Electric

• Leigh-Ann Layno, Nuclear Waste Management Organization

• Pamela Flynn, Electricity Human Resources Canada

• Emily Griffiths, Electricity Human Resources Canada


EHRC is proud to work with the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development in the production of this Returnship Toolkit. The ongoing support from funders, industry partners, and Steering Committee members has been invaluable. These insights help to ensure EHRC can successfully develop useful and leading-edge best practices across the electricity and energy sectors. We recognize that these views represent those of EHRC and its researchers, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Ontario.