June 8, 2011
June 8, 2011
- The 2011 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada – a corporate whitewash?
- Canadian Miners Asked to ‘learn’ Corporate Social Responsibility
- Diversity Counts
- Employee Relocation Facts and Figures
- Show Me the Austerity Plan, Mr. Flaherty
- Where Does the Time Go? a look at how CEOs use their time
- I Would Have Loved To Piss on Your Shoes
- Doldrums on the Dole
- Temporary Workers
- Rethinking and Respecting Caring Work in Canada
- The Epidemic of Mental Illness
- Are there No Prisons? – there soon will be
The 2011 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada – a corporate whitewash?
The newest issue of Corporate Knights is out with a full report and
rankings on the best corporate citizens in Canada. Take a look!
Corporate Knights: the magazine for clean capitalism, June 2, 2011: The 2011 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada: Our 10th Anniversary report on the state of responsible business in Canada
“Inherent in all of these propositions is the idea that fundamental changes to capitalism are required to re-legitimize business. This is a big-picture approach to corporate social responsibility in contrast to the narrower vision that has been pursued so far and with limited success in Canada. Is it any likelier to succeed? Sweeping changes usually follow in the wake of a crisis so profound that entrenched interests are knocked off balance long enough for the changes to take place. One would have thought the global financial crisis fit this bill. Yet the changes being proposed by governments and business in its aftermath amount to tinkering rather than an overhaul. In the absence of a future crisis of even greater magnitude, which no sane person would hope for, the future for corporate social responsibility looks incremental. And that’s too bad.”
Corporate Knights, June 6, 2011: Big country, Small steps: Taking a critical look at the last decade of corporate social responsibility in Canada by Madelaine Drohan
Canadian Miners Asked to ‘learn’ Corporate Social Responsibility
“The Canadian mining industry is no longer just about extraction”, writes the Globe and Mail in a recent article discussing Barrick Gold’s PR disaster following sexual assault charges and the death of seven people at their Tanzanian site. The Barrick Gold debacle brings up the ‘nagging’ issue of corporate social responsibility.
Canada’s large, and profitable, mining companies’ poor human rights and environmental records led to the creation of a Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor for Canada’s extractive sector. A part of this initiative was the creation of “the Review Process” to “foster dialogue and to create constructive paths forward for all parties”. Those advocating for more corporate social responsibility argue that companies, by being more transparent “with social and environmental problems”, will save their reputation and “the credibility of the entire industry” by adhering to corporate social responsibility principles.
Globe and Mail, June 6, 2011: “Canadian miners abroad learn wider responsibility.”
Office of the Extractive Sector, April 2011: “The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor, The Review Process Participants Guide”, The Office of the Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Counsellor Government of Canada,
MiningWatch Canada is a pan-Canadian initiative supported by environmental, social justice, Aboriginal and labour organisations from across the country. It addresses the urgent need for a co-ordinated public interest response to the threats to public health, water and air quality, fish and wildlife habitat and community interests posed by irresponsible mineral policies and practices in Canada and around the world.
Intercontinental Cry, May 26, 2011: Conference targets Canadian mining firms operating abroad
Mining Justice Alliance: holding Vancouver-based mining companies accountable through grassroots organizing
“Just 4.2 per cent of the members of corporate boards and executive teams in the Greater Toronto Area belong to visible minorities. That’s by far the smallest proportion of any of the six sectors surveyed, according to the report. Nearly 80 per cent of corporate boards and 75 per cent of corporate executive teams have no visible minority representation at all, the report found.”
Globe and Mail, June 7, 2011: Visible minorities still vastly under-represented in corporate Toronto leadership by JOE FRIESEN
Globe and Mail, June 7, 2011: Study finds diversity lacking in Toronto law firms
DiverseCity Counts website (provides access to all reports) DiverseCity Counts is a research project that has tracked rates of diversity among leaders in the Greater Toronto Area since 2009. It is part of DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project, an initiative of Maytree and the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance. Research is conducted by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute.
Ryerson University Diversity Institute, June 7, 2011: A Snapshot of Diverse Leadership in the GTA 2011 The third annual research report measuring diversity among leaders with a new focus on the legal sector (59 pages, PDF)
Executive Summary (4 pages, PDF)
Employee Relocation Facts and Figures
“Canadian firms are assigning employees around the globe in growing numbers, according to a Canadian Employee Relocation Council poll ... top five destinations are the U.S., the EU, China, Australia and South America.” The survey includes the cost of relocating employees within Canada, the United States and overseas.
Globe and Mail, June 7, 2011: “More Canadian workers heading abroad”, by Tavia Grant
Canadian Employee Relocation Council, June 7, 2011: 2011 Relocation Policy Survey Results (14 pages, PDF)
Show Me the Austerity Plan, Mr. Flaherty
With the Federal government pledging $4 billion in cuts to balance the books by 2015, and no word as to what government programs will be targeted, Canadians and public servants are wondering whose interests are closest to Treasury Board President, Tony Clement’s heart.
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), the union representing federal employees, has already launched a campaign in response to the budget, released on June 6th, to protect public service jobs.
In a recent statement, PSAC sees the cuts as a way to transfer “$4 billion from vital public services to corporate bank accounts with no strings attached.” Using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, PSAC is asking Canadians to send messages to Harper and Clement stating their support for public services; they will also be offering training sessions to inform members of their rights.
The cuts will be done following a review of government programs to see if they are “useful.” In addition, government departments will have to present plans that “cut program spending by 5 and 10% across-the-board”, writes the PSAC. So far, jobs have been lost at the department of National Defense, Human Resources, Environment Canada and the National Gallery.
As for where the other cuts will be made? Scott Stinson writes, “come back to us in a year for the specifics.”
Globe and Mail, June 6, 2011: “Flaherty sticks to deficit pledge, but adds no details”, By Meagan Fitzpatrick,
Globe and Mail, June 8, 2011: “We have a choice. The Harper government chose to cut the GST, thereby reducing the resources available to pay for public services. Now it says that because of the deficit, we have to cut public services to reduce the deficit. If cutting the GST is at least part of how a Chrétien surplus was turned into Harper deficit, the fiscal conversation we need to have is as much about tax as about spending.” Robert Wolfe, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University
CBC News, June 6, 2011: “Public servants fear job cuts in budget”, CBC News,
National Post, June 6, 2011: “Scott Stinson: Austerity plans still shrouded in mystery”, By Scott Stinson,
Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), June 6, 2011: “PSAC launches campaign to protect public services”, PSAC Media Centre,
Canadian Labour Congress , March 22, 2011: “CLC Analysis of the 2011 Federal Budget”, CLC press release,
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, June 6, 2011: Federal budget commentary and analysis: Projects & Initiatives: Alternative Federal Budget
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Behind the Numbers Blog ,June 6, 2011: Budget 2011: Don’t look behind the curtain by David Macdonald
Where Does the Time Go? a look at how CEOs use their time
In the Working Paper “What Do CEOs Do?” Harvard researchers start from the “simple theoretical set-up” that a CEO’s time “is a scarce resource” and that “its allocation can…identify the firm’s priorities as well as the presence of governance issues.”
As The Economist notes, “The shocking truth can at last be revealed” as bosses are finally observed in their “natural habitat”. The study was done with the help of executive assistants who were given the task of recording their bosses’ daily activities.
The authors found that the amount of time a CEO spent with people employed outside of the firm is “on average less beneficial to the firm and more beneficial to the CEO” and, furthermore, is correlated with poor corporate governance.
Harvard Business School: Working paper, “What do CEOs Do?”, By Oriana Bandiera, Luigi Guiso, Andrea Prat and Raffaella Sadun, 34 pages, PDF
The Economist: “What do bosses do all day?”, May 5, 2011
I Would Have Loved To Piss on Your Shoes
“If you're not filled with contempt for your boss, there's either something wrong with you or you're a working journalist.
Reporters and editors like to think they don't have bosses, believing almost
to a one that they answer to a higher authority, namely "Journalism." The guy
who signs their checks? A paper-pusher. The people who try to give them orders
in the newsroom? Subhuman obstructions to ignore. Only when a journalist is
fired or quits does the complete fury he feels for those quacking mallards who
have made his life miserable begin to surface.” [Jack Shafer]
So many of us work here…. (fill in the blanks)
"Maybe the [organization’s name] can't run like a collective. Maybe it has to run like an aircraft carrier, with one captain in absolute control and everybody else on bended knee. The biggest disappointment was learning that, after all, it's not only about the work on the page. That [what you do] is not a pure meritocracy, or a refuge from office politics. All that crap still matters. Even at the top of the heap. Perhaps especially at the top of the heap. Who knew?" [Dan Baum, in a May 2009 marathon of tweets, about two years after his New Yorker contract was not renewed.]
Slate Magazine, June 6, 2011: "I Would Have Loved To Piss on Your Shoes": What Mark Schlueb and other fired or resigned journalists wrote to their bosses on the way out, by Jack Shafer
Doldrums on the Dole
According to a recent paper titled Job Search, Emotional Well-Being and Job Finding in a Period of Mass Unemployment, the longer a person is unemployed the more miserable they become and the more difficult it is to re-enter the job market. As the authors explain, when individuals are job searching their unhappiness rises, and the longer a person is unemployed the less amount of time is spent job searching due to the psychological misery it can cause.
The study echoes Professor of Economics, Till von Wachter’s, testimony to United State’s Congress’s Joint Economic Committee last spring when he laid down the hard facts of the recession—the worst since WWII—and cites steady unemployment rates as serious cause for concern, not only because of the economic implications, but also for the health of the American worker—mortality rates of the unemployed is “significantly higher” than those who are gainfully employed.
Slate tries to give hope to those disheartened job seekers by asking the ex-jobless how they “beat the odds, threw off the stigma, and got back into the workforce.” Given Canada’s “stubbornly high” unemployment rate, and what chief economist Doug Porter calls a “disappointing jobs tally”, Canadian job-seekers might need some help staying positive in a time of little to no job creation.
Testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of U.S. Congress, April 29, 2011: “Long-Term Unemployment: Causes, Consequences and Solutions”, By Till von Wachter, Associate Professor of Economics, Columbia University, (19 page PDF)
Brooking Institute, March 8, 2011 : “Job Search, Emotional Well-Being and Job Finding in a Period of Mass Unemployment: Evidence from High-Frequency Longitudinal Data”, By Alan B. Krueger, Princeton University, Andreas Mueller, Stockholm University (64 page PDF)
Slate Magazine , June 6, 2011: “Your Year (or More) of Living Joblessly: How did you find a job after long-term unemployment? Tell us about it.”, By Emily Yoffe
Globe and Mail, June 6, 2011: “’Disappointing’ Canadian jobs tally forecast”, By Barrie McKenna
“Temporary workers tend to earn less than permanent staff, they get little or no benefits and many can be fired without notice. The earnings gap between a permanent and a contract worker is about 13 per cent, while between a permanent and casual worker the gap is about 34 per cent, Statscan figures. The disparity persists even after the agency adjusts for demographic differences like education levels, immigrant status and gender.”
Globe and Mail, June 2, 2011: Employment: With temporary workers, flexibility’s the name of the game by Tavia Grant
Rethinking and Respecting Caring Work in Canada
“This research clearly quantifies the extent of the nursing shortage that has had such an impact on nurses’ workloads and quality patient care,” says McKenna. “This demonstrated and frightening shortage of nurses will only become more problematic over the coming years as more nurses retire.”
Ontario Nurses Association, Research Paper Series, May 5, 2011: Valuing the Invaluable: Rethinking and respecting caring work in Canada, by Salimah Valiani, PhD Policy Analyst, Economist Ontario Nurses’ Association (13 pages, PDF)
The Epidemic of Mental Illness
“It seems that Americans are in the midst of a raging epidemic of mental illness, at least as judged by the increase in the numbers treated for it. The tally of those who are so disabled by mental disorders that they qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) increased nearly two and a half times between 1987 and 2007—from one in 184 Americans to one in seventy-six. For children, the rise is even more startling—a thirty-five-fold increase in the same two decades. Mental illness is now the leading cause of disability in children, well ahead of physical disabilities like cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, for which the federal programs were created.”
New York Review of Books, June 23, 2011: The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? by Marcia Angell
Are there No Prisons? – there soon will be
“At the same time that the background check industry has expanded, the share of the U.S. population with criminal records has soared to over one in four adults…In the right situations, criminal background checks promote safety and security at the workplace. However, imposing a background check that denies any type of employment for people with criminal records is not only unreasonable, but it can also be illegal under civil rights laws. Employers that adopt these and other blanket exclusions fail to take into account critical information, including the nature of an offense, the age of the offense, or even its relationship to the job.”
The National Employment Law Project, March 2011: 65 MILLION “NEED NOT APPLY”: The Case for Reforming Criminal Background Checks for Employment by Michelle Natividad Rodriguez and Maurice Emsellem (36 pages, PDF)
Meanwhile in Canada: “The bill (Harper Government Omnibus Crime Bill) will also see a marked shift from rehabilitation to the punishment of offenders – a significant turn from the path of criminal justice paved decades ago by former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. A key component of the Conservative’s tough-love platform involves building more prisons to accommodate the expected surge in occupancy rates.”
Huffington Post, June 3, 2011: Harper Government Omnibus Crime Bill: Canadian Justice Gets A Major Makeover
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, April 22, 2011: The Electronic “Scarlet Letter”: Criminal Backgrounding and a Perpetual Spoiled Identity (available to the University of Toronto Community)
Book of the Week
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders in a Global Environment, by William B. Werther, Jr. and David Chandler. 2nd ed. Los Angeles : Sage, 2011. 415 p. ISBN 9781412974530 (pbk.)
Blending theory with practical application, this comprehensive text supports courses at the intersection of corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate strategy, and public policy. Part I provides an overview of the field, defining CSR and placing it in the context of wider corporate strategy. Part II contains chapters on CSR issues related to the organization, the economy, and society, and provides detailed case studies on a variety of well-known firms. Adopting a stakeholder perspective, the authors explore CSR issues within the complex global business environment in which corporations operate today.
About the Authors:
William B. Werther, Jr., University of Miami and David Chandler, University of Colorado, Denver
Visit the Recent Books at the CIRHR Library blog.
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