April 20, 2009

April 20, 2009

Mourning Workers Who Died or were Injured on the Job

National Day of Mourning is April 28, 2009, commemorating workers who have lost their life, or have been injured, in the workplace. The annual National Day of Mourning was officially recognized by the federal government in 1991, eight years after the day of remembrance was launched by the Canadian Labour Congress. The Day of Mourning has since spread to about 80 countries around the world and has been adopted by the AFL-CIO and the International Confederation of Free Trade.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Announcement - Day of Mourning
Starting April 20, 2009, please visit prevent-it.ca to light a virtual candle in honour of the millions of Ontarians impacted by a workplace fatality, injury or disease. WSIB Chair Steven Mahoney shares his thoughts on the Day of Mourning in an open letter . On the evening of April 28, the CN Tower will be lit in yellow to illuminate the critical need for workplace safety.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: National Day of Mourning — April 28

Worker Health & Safety Centre: Day of Mourning - April 28

Day of Mourning is on Facebook


Ontario Legislation Tackles Workplace Violence

Ontario is introducing legislative amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to protect workers from workplace violence and harassment. The proposed legislation would require employers to develop policies to prevent workplace violence and harassment, to take reasonable precautions to protect an employee from domestic violence in the workplace, and allow workers to remove themselves from harmful situations. The government is also launching measures to tackle workplace violence in the health sector.

Ontario Ministry of Labour News, April 20, 2009: New legislation to tackle workplace violence: McGuinty Government Working to Strengthen Protections For Workers

Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009 Current Status: First Reading Carried, April 20, 2009.


Abuse of Nurses on-the-Job

Statistics Canada has released a report titled, Factors Related to On-the-Job Abuse of Nurses. Findings from the research reveal that a substantial proportion of Canada’s nurses experience physical and emotional abuse at the hands of patients. Workplace climate factors, including the perception that staffing and resources are inadequate and that interpersonal relations among health care workers are poor, were found to be related to higher risks of on-the-job abuse from patients.

Article, April 15, 2009 (14 pages, PDF)


Great-West Life’s Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace

A new website from Great-West Life provides links to prominent researchers and their research in mental health in the workplace. Click on any of the topics in the top bar: Understanding Mental Health; The Business Case; Creating Healthier Workplaces; Return to Work; Accommodations that Work; Issues and Strategies; Work in Progress; or Working 4Wellness and you will find a summary of the topic and links to resources.

Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace website


Defined Benefit Plans Are in a Funding Crisis

The financial crisis has heightened Canadian executives’ concerns about both defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, according to the findings of Watson Wyatt’s sixth annual Survey of Pension Risk, released April 20th at The Conference Board of Canada’s 2009 Summit on the Future of Pensions. The survey of 161 chief financial officers and vice presidents of human resources reveals that 88 percent believe DB plans are in a widespread funding crisis and 53 percent think the crisis will be long-lasting. Employees and pensioners are concerned as well -- a coalition of labour and seniors' organizations called on the Ontario and federal governments to protect pensions in the face of the economic crisis. A collection of academic papers concerning pension management and legislation are available online at the Rotman International Centre for Pension Management (ICMP) website.

Watson Wyatt press release, April 20, 2009: Nine in 10 Canadian Executives Believe Defined Benefit Plans Are in a Funding Crisis, Watson Wyatt Survey Finds

CBC, April 20, 2009: Coalition calls on Ont. government to protect pensions

CAW: Protect our Pensions website -- April 23 Pension Rally at Queen's Park

Rotman ICMP: academic papers available free online


Watson Wyatt’s 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey

Watson Wyatt’s 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey looks at what cost control changes employers are making to get the most from HR technology. The survey found that 61 percent of employers are taking steps to optimize their current service delivery models, which includes their mix of HR technologies, call centers and vendors, while 33 percent are reviewing and updating all vendor contracts, and 27 percent are staying the course.

Press release, April 20, 2009: Strapped Companies Looking to Get More From HR Technology, Watson Wyatt Survey Finds

HR Technology and Service Delivery in the Current Economic Crisis: Selected findings from Watson Wyatt’s 2009 HR Technology Trends Survey, April 20, 2009 (6 pages, PDF)


First Nation and Métis Youth in the Oil Sands

Canadian Policy Research Networks has released a study titled, Pathways for First Nation and Métis Youth in the Oil Sands.The paper looks at the political, social, and economic influences on First Nation and Métis youth’s attitudes toward higher levels of education in the municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta. This has been the site of rapid industrial development related to the oil sands in the past few decades. As well the institutional and policy structures that support or hinder First Nation and Métis youth in finding pathways to sustained employment, with decent pay, good working conditions, and career potential, are examined.

Report, April 16, 2009 (71 pages, PDF)


Workplace and Workforce Literacy

A new website titled Literacy More than Words has been launched by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. The website brings together resources from the Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum 2008. Links to presentations on workplace and workforce literacy are available on the site.

Literacy More than Words: Workplace and Workforce Literacy website

Press release, April 15th, 2009

Literacy More than Words website


Working Negatively Affects Academic Success

A new publication from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation shows that employment among full-time university and college students has increased to historically high levels and is harming the academic success of some students.

Millennium Research Note #9: Are Student Employment and Academic Success Linked? (15 pages, PDF)

News, April 15, 2009: Millennium Research Note: Are Student Employment and Academic Success Linked?


Benefits of Public Spending

A new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives titled, Canada’s Quiet Bargain: the Benefits of Public Spendinghas found thatmiddle-income Canadian families enjoy public services worth about $41,000 – or 63% of their income. The study also shows that the majority of Canadians would be better off if the federal government hadn’t cut the GST or if provincial governments had invested in public services instead of broad-based income tax cuts.

Benefits of Public Service a Bargain for Canadians, According to Ground-Breaking Study, Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Study, April 15, 2009 (40 pages, PDF)


Sector Council Release on Construction Labour Markets

The Construction Sector Council has prepared a brief preliminary analysis as a starting point for the 2009 Construction Looking Forward series of publications to be released later this spring. This preliminary review of the budget stimulus suggests that human and other construction resources will be available to meet the plans in the federal and provincial budgets. According to the analysis construction may enjoy a “soft landing” while other industries face much more serious damage.

The Impact of Fiscal Stimulus in Canada’s Construction Industry, March 2009(6 pages, PDF)

Construction Sector Council website


Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement Website

The Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement, a partnership between the Governments of Alberta and British Columbia, came into force on April 1, 2009. Signed in April, 2006, the TILMA reduces and eliminates barriers to the free movement of workers, goods, services and investments. The website provides information on the tradespersons covered by the agreement which includes electricians, plumbers, boilermakers, carpenters, bricklayers, welders, painters, auto service technicians, hairstylists and cooks.

TILMA Website


Book of the Week

Creative Labour: Working in the Creative Industries, edited by Alan McKinlay and Chris Smith. Houndmills, Basingstoke, U.K. : Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 270 p. ISBN 978-0-230-22200-7

Creative Labour provides an insight into the unique employment issues affecting workers in film, television, theatre, arts, music, radio and new media.

In the UK alone, more than 1 million people work in the creative industries, generating billions of pounds in exports each year. These workers have to contend with elastic working hours, employment and promotion uncertainty and vigorous competition for each role. Creative Labour offers a contemporary perspective on a fascinating area of study and a rapidly growing area in developed economies.

About the Authors:

ALAN MCKINLAY is Professor of Management at the School of Management, University of St Andrews, UK.

CHRIS SMITH is Professor of Organisational Studies at the School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London, UK.


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Editor: Vicki Skelton
Designer: Nick Strupat

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

Date posted: 
Monday, April 20, 2009