CIRHR Director's Debate Series


The CIRHR Director's Debate is a new series of public talks given once a term aimed at students and alumni of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources program and those interested in real-world HR and Labour Relations issues.
Rafael Gomez, Director CIRHR

Thursday, October 10, 2019
12:00pm - 1:00pm
CIRHR Seminar Room 205, 121 St. George Street Toronto, ON M5S 2E8
Speaker: Dr. Michael Barzelay, Professor of Public Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Title: A Manifesto for Design-Oriented Professional Disciplines in Public Administration and Management (slides: .pptx, 5mb)

Michael Barzelay is Professor of Public Management at the London School of Economics. He is author, most recently, of Public Management as Design-Oriented Professional Discipline (Edward Elgar, open access). His earlier books include Breaking Through Bureaucracy: A New Vision for Managing in GovernmentThe New Public Management: Improving Research and Policy Dialogue, and Preparing for the Future: Strategic Planning in the U.S. Air Force. He has been co-editor of Governance and Head of the Department of Management at LSE. He holds a PhD in Political Science and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Waters Lounge, Woodsworth College Residence, 321 Bloor St. West
Speaker: Dr. Christo Aivalis, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History, University of Toronto

Title: Past, Present, Future: The Challenges and Value of Organized Labour

"Canada has a long history of union victories that have defined national events and made for a more just and humane society, led by Canada’s most prominent unions," writes Christo Aivalis in the Globe and Mail, December 2018. And in Maclean's (August, 2018), "Today’s trade unionists and their political allies must lay the groundwork for a new economic order, where no matter what happens to the concept of jobs as we understand them, there will be a social and economic role for the Canadian working class." 

Christo Aivalis is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. He is an Editor of Active History, and is also the author of The Constant Liberal Pierre Trudeau, Organized Labour, and the Canadian Social Democratic Left. His most recent project has been a new introduction for a primary source book on the Winnipeg General Strike, and he currently is working on a biography of Canadian labour leader A.R. Mosher. He is a regular voice on Canadian news radio and television, and his writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Washington Post, and Maclean's.

Friday, November 16, 2018
10:30am - 11:30am

Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, 121 St. George Street

Speaker: Lawrence M. Kahn, Professor, Cornell University, IZA, CESifo, and NCER (Australia)
Title: Is There Still Son Preference in the United States? (slides PDF, 211 kb); (paper PDF, 535 kb) by Francine D. Blau, Lawrence M. Kahn, Peter Brummund, Jason Cook and Miriam Larson-Koester

Lawrence M. Kahn is the Braunstein Family Professor and Professor of Economics at Cornell University. He is an elected Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists. He is a Research Fellow of the Center for Economic Studies/Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich, Germany, of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany, and of the National Centre for Econometric Research in Australia (Sportometrics Program). He was Chair of the Labor Economics Department at Cornell during 1998-99 and 2000-2005, is Co-Editor of the ILR Review, is on the editorial board of the Journal of Sports Economics, served as Associate Editor of the Industrial & Labor Relations Review and Specialized Co-Editor (for Sports Economics) of Economic Inquiry and was on the Board of Editors of Industrial Relations. Before joining the Cornell faculty in 1994, he was a Professor of Economics and Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois. He has served as Visiting Fellow in the Economics Department of Princeton University, Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York, Visiting Scholar at the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Visiting Scholar at the Office of Labour Market Policy Evaluation in Uppsala, Sweden, and Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. He has also served as a member of the National Academy Sciences Committee on Women’s Employment and Related Social Issues.

Thursday, November 1, 2018
10:30am - 12:00pm

Waters Lounge, Woodsworth College Residence, 321 Bloor St. West
Speaker: Otto Kässi

Title: How is the World of Online Work Changing? Special Lecture in conjunction with the Atkinson Foundation

Otto Kässi, is a labour economist with a background in econometrics and is the creator of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), where he has been since 2015. The OII is a multidisciplinary research and teaching department of the University of Oxford, founded in 2001. Dr. Kässi's research concentrates on empirical study of online labour markets, primarily through the ERC funded project iLabour: The Construction of Labour Markets, Institutions and Movements on the Internet. His pioneering methods developed the Online Labour Index, the first economic indicator that provides an online gig economy equivalent of conventional labour market statistics. Dr. Kässi is also affiliated with the OECD as a Future of Work Fellow, where his work focuses on megatrends that are affecting job markets, and the challenges faced by governments in the areas of social protection, skills development and labour market regulation. He earned both Master's and Doctoral Degrees from the University of Helsinki. His studies concentrated on labour economics with a particular emphasis in econometric and statistical methods. Prior to joining OII, Dr. Kässi worked in an online advertising start-up as a data scientist.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
6:30pm - 7:30pm

George Ignatieff Theatre, Trinity College (6 Hoskin Avenue, Toronto)

Speaker: Professor Alan Benson, Assistant Professor, Work and Organizations Group, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Title: A Stitch in Time: Work Complexity and the Divergent Effects of Employee Monitoring on Productivity (1.7mb, pdf)

Alan Benson received his PhD from the Institute for Work and Employment Research at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where his dissertation advisors were David Autor (MIT Economics) and Paul Osterman (MIT Sloan). He received his Bachelor's degree from the ILR School at Cornell University. He is also on the Graduate Faculty of Minnesota's Department of Applied Economics and the Minnesota Population Center (MPC), and is a member of the Social Media and Business Analytics Collaborative (SOBACO).His research is in personnel economics, a branch of labor economics that concerns employment issues within firms. He works with companies to analyze their compensation plans, incentives, and staffing practices for the primary purpose of improving organizational performance. He's done research with business-to-business salespeople, retail salespeople, police, firefighters, nurses, and manufacturing workers, and his research has been covered by national news outlets like the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, NBC News, PBS Newshour, LA Times, Deseret, the Baltimore Sun, and others. His current projects examine the effects of monitoring on productivity, job transfer policies, promotions from sales to sales management, how workers evaluate employers' reputations, and how managers screen job candidates.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
11:30am - 12:30pm

Ontario Insitute for Studies in Education (OISE), Room 2212 (252 Bloor St. West, Toronto)
Speaker: Professor Mathew Dimick, Professor of Law, University of Buffalo School of Law
Title: The Politics of Wage Regulation in Rich Democracies (232kb, PDF)

Matthew Dimick is Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo School of Law. His scholarship explores the relationship between the law and economic inequality. Recent projects include a theoretical and empirical study of the relationship between altruism, income inequality, and preferences for redistribution in the United States; a theoretical and case-study analysis of the politics of regulating low-wage work in wealthy democracies; and the role of minimum wage legislation in an optimal redistribution policy. Currently, he is working on a book manuscript about the law and economics of redistribution and income inequality.

His research has appeared in generalist law reviews and peer-reviewed economics, political science, and sociology journals, and has been featured in The Atlantic, Vox, and the On Labor blog. He has taught courses in federal income taxation, tax policy, labor law, employment law, comparative corporate governance, and comparative and international labor and employment law.

He holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a JD form Cornell Law School. Prior to coming to the University at Buffalo Law School, Dimick was a Law Research Fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. After law school and before graduate school, he worked for the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
5:10pm - 6:30pm

Woodsworth College, Room 126 (117 St. George Street, Toronto)
Speaker: Professor Adam Seth Litwin, The ILR School, Cornell University
Title: Superbugs vs. Outsourced Cleaners: Employment Arrangements and the Spread of Healthcare-Associated Infections (2.85mb, PDF)

Adam Seth Litwin is Associate Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell’s ILR School. Litwin’s research, anchored in industrial relations, examines the determinants and impact of labor relations structures and technological change. His doctoral dissertation, completed at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, focused specifically on employment relations and information technology in the healthcare industry. It won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s annual prize for the top dissertation in industry studies. Since then, he has published a mix of empirical and conceptual studies intersecting the areas of labor relations and technological change, in both industrial relations and medical journals, including the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Industrial Relations, Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations, Human Resource Management, Applied Clinical Informatics, and the International Review of Psychiatry. At Cornell, he teaches undergraduate and graduate core courses in labor relations as well as electives focused on the evolution and impact of technological change on workers, organizations, and society-at-large.

Litwin joined Cornell’s ILR faculty in the fall of 2014 after serving as a standing faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, where he held appointments in the Carey Business School and the School of Medicine. Before earning his PhD from MIT, Litwin conducted research on industrial relations institutions in Great Britain as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Fellow at the London School of Economics. He also put in time “inside the beltway” as a research assistant at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington.

Thursday, October 27, 2016
10:10am - 12:00pm

Ontario Insitute for Studies in Education (OISE), Room 5170 (252 Bloor St. West, Toronto)
Speaker: Professor Emeritus, Roy J. Adams
Title: Economic Democracy Now: Why Liberal Democracy's Best Chance for Survival is the Establishment of Universal, Effective Economic Democracy (26kb, PDF)

Dr. Adams is a globally recognized expert in international and comparative industrial relations and international labour and human rights law. He has written extensively on public policy regarding labour issues, industrial relations theory and freedom of association as a human right. He has authored or co-authored over 150 publications including seven books, thirty four book chapters, and more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conducted research and lectured at universities around the world.

A past president of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association, Adams served as Canadian Pacific Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto in 1990, Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Western Australia in 1996 and in 2009-2010 as Sallows Chair of Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan’s Faculty of Law. In 1997 he received the Gérard Dion Award for outstanding contributions to knowledge of Canadian and international industrial relations and in 2015 was named a Fellow of the U.S.-based Labour and Employment Relations Association for his lifetime “contributions of unusual distinction to the field.” In 2016 Adams worked with the Canadian Industrial Relations Association to establish a Canadian Freedom of Association Award which will also be known as the Roy J. Adams Freedom of Association Award.

A consultant to international agencies such as the International Labour Organization, in 1997 Adams founded the Society for the Promotion of Human Rights in Employment whose mission is to promote awareness, understanding and respect for core labour rights as human rights. In recent years his work on freedom of association has frequently been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Speaker: Angela Hildyard, Professor of Higher Education, and Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity, University of Toronto
Title: Hard Bargains and Labour Relations on Campus: The Life of a University Negotiator (75kb, PDF)

Listen to a first–hand account of what it’s like to run the HR and labour relations system  in one of the largest organizations in Canada, the University of Toronto, employing more than 20,000 workers.Negotiating with both traditionally certified trade unions such as the United Steelworkers of America and with an association of faculty members and librarians, Professor Hildyard’s 15 years of experience as Vice-President of Human Resources and Equity at the University of Toronto offers an invaluable window into the study and practice of labour negotiations and human resource management. Though not a debate in the formal sense, Professor Hildyard will be evaluating the pros and cons of collective bargaining as well as the many lessons for those in the field of HR and labour relations. She will also be available for questions from the audience.

Angela Hildyard was appointed to the position of Vice-President, Human Resources and Equity at the University of Toronto in 2001.  In December 2013 she was re-appointed for a further two-year term to June 30, 2016 making her the longest serving Vice President in the history of the University of Toronto. She is responsible for employment and labour relations for 10,000 faculty, librarians and staff plus 7000 teaching Assistants and Stipendiary instructors as well as 5000 casual staff within 28  different  employee groups;  she is accountable to the Governing body for Equity and Diversity;  is responsible for environmental health and safety; and is a standing member of the High Risk Committee. Formerly an Associate Dean and then Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education  and the Principal of Woodsworth College. A Professor of Higher Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, she continues to teach graduate courses and supervise doctoral students. President of Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada (SWAAC), a networking organization for women holding senior administrative positions within the post-secondary sector.