December 01, 2008

December 1, 2008


Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Right to Strike

The Conservative government’s economic statement of November 27th included roll backs in currently negotiated collective agreements and arbitral awards in the broader public sector and the suspension of the right to strike on wages through 2010-2011. The Conservative have since said that they will not eliminate the right to strike for government employees.

The Government is introducing legislation to ensure predictability of federal public sector compensation during this difficult economic period. The legislation puts in place annual wage increases for the federal public administration, including senior members of the public service, as well as Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, and Senators, of 2.3 per cent in 2007–08 and 1.5 per cent for the following three years, for groups in the process of bargaining for new agreements. For groups with collective agreements already covering 2008–09, the 1.5 per cent would apply for the remainder of the three-year period starting at the anniversary date of the collective agreement. In addition, the legislation would suspend the right to strike on wages through 2010–11 (taken from the Economical and Fiscal Statement 2008, Chapter 2: Appropriate Public Sector Compensation).

Economic and Fiscal Statement 2008, November 27, 2008, available in PDF (127 pages) or HTML: see Chapter 2:Appropriate Public Sector Compensation

PSAC response to the government's economic statement November 27, 2008: “Flaherty tinkers while the economy burns”

Globe and Mail, November 30, 2008: Tories climb down in face of coalition


Elementary Teachers in Ontario Still Bargaining

The November 30th deadline for acceptance of a framework agreement has been extended for five days by the government so that the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association can get back to bargaining. The salary offer to the teachers was to be reduced from a three per cent increase for each year of the four year agreement to a two percent increase if the frame work agreement was not accepted by the ETFO by the deadline.

Government of Ontario News Room: English public elementary teachers reengage with boards before November 30th deadline

Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario website

Globe and Mail, November 29, 2008: “Teachers union holds out for less money”, by Murray Campbell



Alberta and British Columbia Release Report of Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards

The Alberta and British Columbia governments have released the report of the Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards titled,Getting Our Acts Together: Pension Reform in Alberta and British Columbia, which provides recommendations to harmonize and modernize the pension standards legislation of the two provinces and improve access to pension plans.

Report, November 14, 2008 (256 pages, PDF)

Executive Summary, November 28, 2008 (7 pages, PDF)

Pension Standards Review homepage


Western Canada’s Compensation Outlook

The Conference Board of Canada has made the 2008 Western Compensation Outlook: Competitive Rewards and HR Innovations e-proceedings available. The proceedings focus on issues affecting Western Canada -- how the slowing economy affects the labour market and companies’ ability to attract and retain talent, what effect worker anticipation of higher inflation will have on pay and how companies can improve their competitive position.

Conference e-Proceedings by the Conference Board of Canada, November 2008 (available to the University of Toronto community by registering with the Conference Board’s e-library)


Phased Retirement is Popular with HR Departments

Almost three quarters of employers view phased retirement programs as an important element of their human resources strategy, according to a survey conducted by Hewitt Associates. Other factors, such as the impact of the current financial crisis on retirement savings and the growing interest on the part of baby boomers in working past early retirement age may also convince older workers to stay on the job.

Canadian Employers Look to Phased Retirement Programs to Ease Skills Shortage, According to Hewitt Survey, November 26, 2008


A New Report from the Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress

The Seventh Annual Report of the Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress titled, Leaning into the Wind, urges the Ontario Government and all Ontarians to keep a balance between addressing short-term concerns and creating an “eco-system” for realizing long-term prosperity potential.

Report, November 28, 2008 (68 pages, PDF)

Press Releases, November 28, 2008


Labour Force Trends for the Voluntary and Non-Profit Sectors

In the presentation, Labour Force Trends and Implications for the Voluntary and Non-Profit Sector, former CPRN Vice-President of Research Ron Saunders states that slowing labour force growth will heighten the competition among organizations for skilled workers. In light of this, the voluntary/non-profit will need to identify strategies to attract and retain older workers and people from groups under-represented in the work force including Aboriginal people, immigrants and disabled workers.

Presentation, November 27, 2008 (20 pages, PDF)


Strengthening Social Programs Should be Part of Canada’s Economic Plan

A paper from the Caledon Institute of Social Policy titled, The Forgotten Fundamentals, looks at how strong social programs can be part of an economic stimulus package. The report suggests boosting geared-to-income programs – the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the refundable GST credit and the Working Income Tax Benefit – to put additional money into the hands of lower-income households who are most likely to spend it. As well, it suggests the strengthening of Employment Insurance, which now serves only four in ten unemployed Canadians, and making transfers to the hardest hit provinces and territories.

Paper, December 2008 (5 pages, PDF)


Canada is Losing Out on Growth and Wage Gains

The C.D. Howe Institute’s report titled, Squeaky Hinges: Widening the Door to Canadian Cross-border Investment, by Matt Krzepkowski and Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary, looks at Canada’s poor record of cross-border investment flows and finds that Canada is losing out on new technology and productivity and wage gains as a result. While a spurt of foreign acquisitions raised fears in 2007 of a “hollowing out” of Canada’s economy, an international comparison paints a different picture. Over the period 2001 to 2007, Canada ranked only 25th among 98 countries in its openness to world markets. The authors make policy recommendations based on their findings.

e-Brief, C.D. Howe Institute, November 27, 2008 (7 pages, PDF)


The Reckoning – a Toronto Star series on how people are coping in these difficult economic times

The Toronto Star is running a seven day series on how people are coping with lost jobs, layoffs and uncertainty in the current economy. The titles in the series currently available are: Part 1: Laid-Off Worker End of a dream, and eraPart 2: Union Man The final heartbeats of a dying factory; Part 3: Uncertain Future: Joblessness a double blow for immigrant family; Part 4: Headhunter Surviving on Bay St.: 100-hour weeks, half the pay.

Toronto Star, December 1, 2008



Book of the Week

Why Work Sucks and How To Fix It: No Schedules, No Meetings, No Joke - The Simple Change That Can Make Your Job Terrific, by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson. New York : Portfolio, 2008. 208 p. ISBN 978-1-59184-203-3

Ressler and Thompson created the Results-Only Work Environment. In a ROWE, you control when, where, and how long you work. As long as you meet your objectives, the way you spend your time is entirely up to you. Suddenly, work isn’t a place you go, it’s a thing you do. In a ROWE, there are no mandatory meetings or fixed schedules. You stop doing any activity that wastes time, and no one criticizes you for “leaving early” or “coming in late.”

If you do your best work at midnight or on Sundays, go for it! ROWE sounds like a fantasy, but Ressler and Thompson have already made it a reality at Best Buy, a Fortune 100 company. They have proven that ROWE not only makes employees happier but also delivers better results. And now the authors are helping companies implement ROWE nationwide.


Back to top

This publication is protected by Canadian copyright laws and may not be copied, posted or forwarded electronically without permission.

Questions or Comments: contact us at

Editor: Vicki Skelton
Designer: Nick Strupat

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

Date posted: 
Monday, December 1, 2008