April 06, 2009

April 6, 2009

Federal Government Study on the Crisis in the Automotive Sector in Canada

A Study of the Crisis in the Automotive Sector in Canada, a Report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, has been released by the Government. The report includes responses by the NDP and a dissenting report by the Liberal Party of Canada. 
Also available on the website of the Subcommittee on the Automotive Industry of Canada is Evidence presented to the Committee on Monday, March 9, 2009 and includes statements by Ken Lewenza, National President, Canadian Auto Workers Union and Dr. Jim Stanford, Chief Economist, Canadian Auto Workers Union.

Report:  A Study of the Crisis in the Automotive Sector in Canada, March 31, 2009 (41 pages, PDF) (Committee recommendations to the government are on PDF page 26 document page 20)
(also available in HTML)


EVIDENCE, Monday, March 9, 2009, Subcommittee on the Automotive Industry in Canada of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology Number 002, 2nd Session, 40th Parliament



An article in the Globe and Mail by Jim Stanford, an economist with the Canadian Auto Workers Union, points out the problem with downsizing during recessionary times.  Stanford calls upon government to act as a mediating force to help build businesses rather than force more cutbacks.

Globe and Mail, April 6, 2009:  Airlines, autos: You can't cut your way out of crisis by Jim Stanford, economist with the CAW

Globe and Mail, April7, 2009: Inspire, don't fire by Tim Jeffery


Health and Safety Matters

The report, Recommendations for Experience Rating:  for discussion with Stakeholders, prepared by Morneau Sobeco is available on the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's website.  The report makes recommendations on strengthening the link between workplace incentives and real performance in health and safety.  The need for a review of the WSIB’s incentive program was influenced by the Toronto Star's multi-part series, the Working Wounded, published over the past year.  The investigative series found that companies with deaths and injuries in the workplace were still receiving cash rewards for good health and safety practices.

Report, released February 27, 2009 (29 pages, PDF)

Toronto Star, March 4, 2009: Audit slams Ontario workplace safety rebates


Ontario Public Sector Salary Disclosure 2009

The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act requires organizations that receive public funding from the Province of Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in a calendar year. Links are available on the website for salary information on Ministries, Legislative Assembly and Offices, Judiciary, Crown Agencies, Hydro One and Ontario Power Generation, Municipalities and Services, School Boards, Universities, Colleges, Hospitals and Boards of Public Health. The salaries of Ontario campus employees were critiqued in a recent Globe and Mail article.

Public Sector Salary Disclosure, 2009 website, March 31, 2009

Globe and Mail, April 3, 2009: Ontario campus employee wages at top of class: U of T investment manager was paid more than $550,000 last year, making him highest-paid university executive by Elizabeth Church


RCMP Win Right to Unionize

Mr. Justice Ian MacDonnell, an Ontario Superior Court judge, has awarded the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's 22,000 members the right to unionize. "Why does the wider jurisdiction of the RCMP or its status as a unique Canadian institution make the labor relations modes in place for other police forces inappropriate?" questioned Justice MacDonnell in his ruling. The section of the RCMP Act that precludes unionization was found unconstitutional. The ruling gave the federal government 18 months to establish a unionization mechanism for the force. It has been 10 years since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against a RCMP unionizing effort that started in Quebec.

Globe and Mail, April 7, 2009: Court strikes down section of RCMP Act by Colin Freeze

Decision: Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Court File Number: 06-CV-311508PD, April 6, 2009 (38 pages, PDF)

CBC News, September 2, 1999: Supreme Court says no to RCMP union


Great Places to Work

The Great Places to Work Institute has released its annual Best Workplaces in Canada list for 2009. The two survey instruments used are: the Trust Index, which measures employees’ perception of camaraderie, credibility, fairness, pride and respect in the workplace; and the Culture Audit which surveys human resource managers for a description of company practices. Google Canada was ranked number one -- at Google employees dedicate 20 per cent of their time to personal projects-- gmail originated from this practice.

Great Place to Work Institute website, April 6, 2009: List of winners

Insert in the Globe and Mail, Monday April 6, 2009: A special report for the Great Place to Work Institute – available in PRINT ONLY (10 pages)


Sexual Behaviour in the Workplace

In a paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology the researchers looked at the effect of sexual behaviour in the workplace -- including sexual jokes, innuendo, discussions of sexual matters or flirtation. The study found that although some employees reported enjoyment of the behaviour they tended to withdraw from work, feel less valued and reported depressive symptoms more often than employees who experienced little to no sexual behaviour at the office. The results were found among both women and men, working in manufacturing, social service and university jobs.

News @the University of Toronto, April 6, 2009: Sexual behaviour and workplace don't mix well, says new study: Affects employees negatively By Ken McGuffin, posted Monday, April 6, 2009

Sexual behavior at work: Fun or folly? Berdahl JL, Aquino K. in Journal of Applied Psychology, Jan 2009 94(1):34-47.


Easing Job Interview and Workplace Anxiety

Professor Julie McCarthy of the Rotman School of Management and U of T Scarborough is a specialist in organizational behaviour and an expert on anxiety in the workplace. Her recent anxiety research has been conducted by focusing on one of the most high-stress work environments there is – police services. She offers tips in the article below for coping with stress on the job and in job interviews. An earlier study on job interview anxiety is also available online.

Experience Research, University of Toronto, April2, 2009: Anxiety at work By Paul Fraumeni Professor Julie McCarthy on how to ease job interview and workplace anxiety

Measuring Job Interview Anxiety: Beyond Weak Knees and Sweaty Palms" McCarthy, J.M., & Goffin, R.D., Personnel Psychology, 57, 2004, 607-637.


The Value of Teamwork

A study titled, “Suckers or Saviors? Consistent Contributors in Social Dilemma,” recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that one person acting for the good of a group will eventually be emulated by group members to the benefit of everyone. This information can be used by human resources managers to reward consistently co-operative employees.

Suckers or Saviors? Consistent Contributors in Social Dilemma recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2008, Vol. 95, No. 6, 1340–1353

Globe and Mail, April 3, 2009: Thanks for sharing: You set a good example: Long considered suckers, people who work hard for the team can inspire others to do the same - to everyone's advantage by Wallace Immen


The Dwight Schrute Effect

A recent study, “Is the Pain Worth the Gain? The Advantages and Liabilities of Agreeing with Socially Distinct Newcomers,” looks at the value of a newcomers in groups.  The “new” individual to the group may be a social outsider but group work proved more successful with the newcomer than without.

“Is the Pain Worth the Gain? The Advantages and Liabilities of Agreeing With Socially Distinct Newcomers,” by Katherine W. Phillips, Katie A. Liljenquist and Margaret A. Neale, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2009; 35; 336 originally published online Dec 19, 2008.(may only be available to members of the University of Toronto)  

Globe and Mail, April 6, 2009: The most influential guy in your office: Call it the Dwight Schrute effect: When teams have a member who's different than the rest, they make better decisions, new research shows by Sarah Boesveld


Flexible Work, Layoffs, Sabbaticals – it could be an interesting career move

Firms such as KPMG, Deloitte & Touche are offering their employees sabbaticals or leaves of absence in these tough economic times.  There is always the fear that the job will not be there when one returns but according to many who have taken the risk leaving has proven to be a valuable career move.

Globe and Mail, April 4, 2009:  Worst of times might be best of times to take off by Tavia Grant

Your Sabbatical .com



Book of the Week

The Romantic Economist: Imagination in Economics, by Richard Bronk. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2009. 382 p.   ISBN 978-0-521-73515-5

"Bronk's The Romantic Economist is a highly original exploration of the ways in which an understanding of the Romantic tradition can help enrich and improve our economic thinking. With a rare command of orthodox economics, philosophy and literature, Bronk shows how our view of economic life is shaped by metaphors that limit our vision. Arguing that absorbing some of the insights into human action of Romantic writers enables us to correct these distortions, Bronk liberates economics from the stultifying effects of an over-mechanical view of human action. His book will be read with profit by political theorists, historians of ideas and - not least - practising economists." - John Gray, Emeritus Professor of European Thought, London School of Economics.

About the Author:

Richard Bronk is a visiting fellow at the European Institute at the London School of Economics.


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Copyright © 2008 Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Date posted: 
Monday, April 6, 2009