History of Hub Connect
Hub Connect began in early 2019 as the result of a series of community engagement workshops hosted by OGVG in partnership with the Tamarack Institute, bringing together a variety of stakeholders from Leamington-Kingsville.
In order to help international workers better navigate their stay in Canada, the idea of Hub Connect was born. What if there was a centralized source where workers could go for any information they need during their stay in Canada? It would certainly ease some of the stress and tedious processes required in an already overwhelming situation.
Through partnership with the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council, the backend for Hub Connect was created, and the journey of configuring and tailoring this app to international worker's needs begun.
OGVG facilitated a series of collaborative meetings, guided by a Collective Impact approach, to engage over 80 leaders across the community in asking:
“What do we want our community to look like in the future, and how will we get there, together?”
Over the course of a year, these leaders met to build a shared vision for the community, develop inspiring new ideas and initiatives to build a more inclusive Kingsville-Leamington, and to form into Working Groups to take coordinated action across the community.
OGVG, in partnership with CAHRC, launched the “Hub Connect” app that digitized the welcome packages and information shared with international workers when they arrived in Canada. These packages had previously been offered in paper form to workers during the initial orientation and would often get lost or recycled before ever being read. The initial conversations had with participants prior to the workshops helped inform the development of the app and various resources and information offered by the participants were included in the app’s launch. Now the information is more valuable and readily available to workers at any time. OGVG also knew how important the perspectives of the workers would be in this work and launched a research project to gather worker feedback anonymously. It was critical to all participants involved in this work that the opinions and perspectives of the populations they were hoping to serve were accessible and at the centre of this work.
The app saw mild success in it's first growing season post-launch. While the total active users of Hub Connect didn't get close to the total number of international workers arriving in Canada, feedback from users of the app was positive, with great advice coming in to further streamline the app for new users. Assessment behind-the-scenes began to identify possible barriers to uptake of Hub Connet, and find out why new users of the platform plateaued so heavily after initial launch and promotion.
With 2020 came the COVID-19 pandemic, changing day-to-day life for everyone: especially international farm workers in Canada. With the virus sweeping across communities, a decision was made to further include local health units (specifically the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit) in the content procuremnent/managment process for Hub Connect.
Feedback and advice was gathered from community stakeholders to further align Hub Connect's strategic plan with the app offering. Major revisions to Hub Connect started, with all the translated content in the app being reviewed and updated for accuracy. This was completed with the help of the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers and their Cultural Liasion program, as well as C.A.R.E for International Workers. This inventory of Hub Connect's content also revealed some broken links and missing images within the app that were populated to polish the overall user experience.
Menu hierarchies in the app were reviewed, and a new navigational map of the app created to better streamline navigation and make content easier to find. A technological capabilities survey was conducted amongst OGVG members to rule out internet and technology access as a barrier of upkeep to the app.
Through partnership with Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, COVID screening functionality was added to Hub Connect. A paperless means of meeting Ontario employee screening requirements, this feature was piloted with Windsor-Essex County Health Unit and the Niagara and Norfolk-Haldimand regions.
A "Welcome" section was added to the app featuring introductory videos from respected members in the international worker community. These videos were intended to give the app a more personal feel, as well as reduce confusion around it's purpose after download.
Undergoing our most focused, aligned promotional plan since Hub Connect's inception. In the new year, we'll be ramping up promotion across all delivery channels.
More in person presence at community events and on farm.
Stronger online presence with dedicated Hub Connect website and more social media advertising.
Redesigned print collateral with Hub Connect download QR code.
Hub connect ambassadors that promote on-farm to their community.
Partnership with Mariposa TV app.
Recreational sports tournaments to promote the app.