Grassroots database launched to help unemployed Canadian startup workers amid COVID-19

In an effort to support out-of-work Canadian startup employees amid COVID-19, a group of Canadian organizations have created a resource to help those employees find work and support.

“The recent crisis around COVID-19 has made employment opportunities essentially non-existent.”

Started as a public Google spreadsheet, the ‘Talent Help List,’ as it is being called, allows workers to add themselves and list their skills and the work they are looking for. Led by Adam Bercovici, co-founder and chief revenue officer at Luminari, Marianne Bulger, founder and CEO of Prospect, and Adam Gellert, founder and CEO of HiredHippo, the list was created on Tuesday and has already amassed close to 500 people (as of time of publication).

The Talent Help List is a grassroots, community hiring tool designed to help out-of-work talent in Canada’s startup sector find remote work during the COVID-19 global crisis. The main resource, a collaborative spreadsheet, is modelled off of the single-company layoff lists that have become popular in the Canadian tech sector.

“These are unprecedented times we currently find ourselves in,” the document reads. “As members of the Canadian startup community, we owe it to each other to help support the workforce that makes what we do possible each and every day … we started this database to help those employees who are in between jobs, got let go, or their company recently went under.”

“It feels like the world is moving at the speed of light,” Bulger told BetaKit. “Monumental change is happening in mere minutes, rather than the hours or days that we are accustomed to. Startup runways are growing shorter and teams across the country are scrambling to adapt to remote operations, including hiring.”

“At the best of times, a startup job can be risky in terms of employment stability,” she added. “In this moment of crisis, we felt that someone needed to act fast and mobilize the community to ensure our talented workers didn’t slip through the cracks. ”

The group behind the list head up talent networks in Canada. Bulger’s Prospect is a free and fully-aggregated talent network built specifically for Canadian tech startup ecosystem. HiredHippo is a Toronto-based job matching startup, with Luminari being a community of Chartered Professional Accountant (CPAs).

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The database quickly garnered interest from the Canadian tech community, prompting the creators to develop an Airtable version on Wednesday, meant to make it easier for employers to search and sort on the Talent Help List and find the skills they’re looking for.

Along with the employee list, the centralized database also offers information about job boards, articles related to remote work and COVID-19, and professional communities and networks that offer support.

The creators outlined how the database is meant to work:

  • If you are currently out of work due to COVID and looking for a remote job in Canada’s tech industry, you can add your profile to the database.
  • If you are an employer and laying off workers, you can direct them to the database as a resource.
  • If you are hiring, you can leverage the database for active candidates.

The move to support out-of-work Canadian startup employees comes as the Government of Canada has been expanding its financial support for businesses and workers as part of a broader response to COVID-19.

On Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $82 billion as part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, including $27 billion for Canadian workers and businesses and $55 billion through tax deferrals.

“I think we’re just at the beginning of the COVID-19 impact, and more shoes will drop in terms of employees getting let go,” Bercovici told BetaKit. “We want this resource to be a place companies can go to look for talent now, but more importantly, to reference whenever we get through this crisis as they’re looking to hire again. These folks won’t have had a paycheque during this time, and it’s scary to think of that impact. They should be the first people everyone considers once we make it through to the other side.”

Image source Burst

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Senior Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.

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