December 07, 2009

December 7, 2009 Happy Holidays we will return in January 2010!

Raising the Global Floor: McGill University releases new global labour website on working conditions

The McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy’s unique new website, Raising the Global Floor, serves as a gateway to international labour and work policy data. It is based on the largest and most extensive database of its kind, providing its visitors with free tools to measure, compare, and map labour policies in all of the world’s countries. The policies featured on www.RaisingtheGlobalFloor.orginclude: Work Schedules and Hours; Paid Leave from Work; Health; Pregnancy, Birth or Adoption of a Baby; Elder Care and Care for Disabled Family Members; and Other Family is the first of a series of global policy databases to be released over the next 4-5 years addressing areas such as education, child labour, poverty reduction and constitutional rights.

Also being released simultaneously is a new eight-year study by researchers at Harvard and McGill Universities, examining workplace policies, protections and supports in 190 of the world's 192 United Nations countries. Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth that We Can't Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone evaluates how working conditions affect national competitiveness and unemployment in every region of the world.


The Deprivation Index for Ontario

The Caledon Institute of Social Policy, in partnership with Daily Bread Food Bank, has developed a completely different way to measure poverty that does not equate poverty to an income level.
The deprivation index for Ontario, “is a list of items which are widely seen as necessary for a household to have a standard of living above the poverty level so that most households not in poverty are likely to have these items, but households in poverty are likely to find some of them unaffordable and so not have all those items.” The index will work to list the items that distinguish the poor and the non-poor in our current economic conditions.
In their first study, Developing a Deprivation Index: the Research Process, the three-stage community-based research process is introduced. This study also includes Statistics Canada’s refinement of this list, which is now included as a supplement to their Labour Force Survey under sponsorship from the Government of Ontario.

Study, December2, 2009 (27 pages, PDF) 
Testing the Validity of the Ontario Deprivation Index is a preliminary test of the validity of the Ontario Deprivation Index using the results of a Statistics Canada survey of 10,000 Ontario households. The indexed was measured against 6 variables: income, education, employment status, immigration, family type and housing tenure. Based on this early analysis, the Ontario Deprivation Index fully meets the tests of validity in relation to these variables.

Study, December 2, 2009 (13 pages, PDF)


Is There a Constitutional Right to Strike in Canada?

The Faculty of Law, University of Toronto held the Symposium, Is There a Constitutional Right to Strike in Canada?hosted by Brian Langille on December 5th, 2009. The event was sponsored by Labour-Travail Canada, Cavalluzzo Hayes, and Heenan Blaikie and was by invitation only.
Conference papers were made available at the website – click here

Links to papers are also available below:

"The Right to Strike in an International Context" by Sir Bob Hepple , December 5, 2009 (14 pages, PDF)

"The ILO Law and the Freedom to Strike" by Jean-Michel Servais, December 5, 2009 (11 pages, PDF)

"The Dramatic Implications of DEMIR and BAYKARA"by K D Ewing and John Hendy QC (Industrial Law Journal (forthcoming v. 39 #1, 2010 ) (44 pages, PDF)

"The South African Position on Strikes: Viewed from the Perspective of Health Services BC" by Dennis Davis, High Court Cape Town (South Africa) (8 pages, PDF)

"The Right to Strike Under the US constitution: Theory, Practice, and Possible Implications for Canada" by James Pope, Rutgers

"Judicial Development of Collective Labour Rights - Contextually" by -Guy Davidov, Hebrew U. (Israel) (10pages, PDF)

"Can you derive a "right to strike" from "freedom of association?"by Sheldon Leader, Essex (5 pages, PDF)

"Reading the Trilogy last rites: s.2(d) and a constitutional right to strike" by Jamie Cameron, Osgoode (10 pages, PDF)

"Does the Charter Include the Right to Strike After BC Health Services?" by Brian Etherington, U. Windsor (20 pages, PDF)

"The Freedom to Strike in Canada: A Brief Legal History" by Judy Fudge, Victoria and Eric Tucker, Osgoode (21 pages, PDF)

"What is a Strike?" by Brian Langille, Toronto (12 pages, PDF)

"Constitutionalizing the right of workers to organize, bargain and strike: the sight of one shoulder shrugging" by Harry Arthurs, Osgoode (13 pages, PDF)


Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and CN reach an agreement

Teamsters Canada Rail Conference and Canadian National Railway signed an agreement on December 2nd, 2009, to end a five day strike by locomotive engineers, just days after back-to-work legislation -- Bill C-61, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of railway operations (Railway Continuation Act, 2009) -- was given first reading in the House. Bill C-61 provided for the resumption and continuation of CN railway operations and imposed a binding arbitration process to resolve matters remaining in dispute between CN and the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference.
Summary: “The Class I and union — which represents 1,700 CN engineers — agreed to continue negotiations to resolve all issues related to wages, benefits and work rules. If no agreement is reached, the parties' wage and benefits offers will be subject to final binding arbitration.
CN and TCRC also agreed to submit work-rule issues to binding arbitration, but only if they mutually agree on ones that should be subject to arbitration. In addition, CN will roll back the monthly mileage cap for locomotive engineers to the previous 3,800 miles from the 4,300-mile cap initiated on Nov. 28, when TCRC launched its strike. “[Extract]

Progressive, December 3, 2009: CN, TCRC reach strike-ending agreement

Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, December 1, 2009: TCRC and CNR sign agreement to end strike

CBC News, November 30, 2009: Ottawa tables CN back-to-work legislation won’t pass until Wednesday at the earliest

BILL C-61 : An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of railway operations -- first reading, November 30, 2009

Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog, December 1, 2009: Looks like it’s Back to Work for Train Engineers…


Shrinking workforce in Atlantic Canada

The C.D. Howe Institute has released a new report on the rapidly aging population in the Atlantic provinces titled,Demographic Pressures and Policy Options in Atlantic Canada. This report discusses the potential problems these provinces will face with their workforce projecting to shrink a fair amount as early as 2010. Policies which will help to boost workforce participation are also included within this report.

Report, December 2009 (28 pages, PDF)


Roundtable Consultation on Corporate Social Responsibility

The Jay and Barbara Hennick Centre for Business and Law at York University, Jantzi-Sustainalytics, and the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants hosted a policy consultation on corporate social reporting and disclosure in Toronto on December 7, 2009. The roundtable consultation included representatives from government, nonprofit organizations, and business. Sessions on the scope for the regulation of social reporting, included discussion on labour rights, local community development and product safety. In preparation for the roundtable a consultation paper titled, Corporate Social Performance: Reporting Roundtable was released

Consultation Paper, December 7, 2009 (45 pages, PDF)

The Hennick Centre in the News: The Hennick Centre for Business and Law is the first Canadian centre to promote and develop joint business and law scholarship and education. The Centre is a joint initiative of Osgoode Hall Law School and the Schulich School of Business. This policy roundtable is part of a series of programs hosted by the Centre on issues at the intersection of law, business and public policy.


Canadian Assessment of Foreign Qualifications

Under the new Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, foreign-trained workers who submit an application to be licensed or registered to work in certain fields will be advised within one year whether their qualifications will be recognized. The Framework has been developed to: develop the principles of timeliness, transparency, fairness and predictability that the federal, provincial and territorial governments set out to guide the process of foreign qualification recognition; develop standards for the timely handling of requests for recognition of foreign qualifications; identify the priority occupations for developing recognition standards; and help people who want to come to Canada start the assessment process before they arrive.

A Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, November 30, 2009 (15 pages, PDF)

A Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, November 30, 2009 (html)

Press release, November 30, 2009

Globe and Mail, November 30, 2009: Wait times reduced on foreign credentials: Ottawa announces that workers applying to be licensed in 14 fields will soon learn within a year whether qualifications accepted


Violence and harassment in the Workplace -- Bill 168

Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009 had reached Third Reading in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on December 1, 2009. On December 8th it was time allocated . Links to three days of presentations made to the Standing Committee on Social Policy by interest groups are available on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website. The Ontario Nurses Association presentation is also available via YouTube: highlighting two small but fundamental flaws in the definition of workplace violence that threaten the value of the entire bill.

Legislative Assembly of Ontario: Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009 – view Background Information for links to presentations

1ST SESSION, 39TH LEGISLATURE, ONTARIO 58 ELIZABETH II, 2009: Bill 168 An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to violence and harassment in the workplace and other matters (11 pages, PDF)

Ontario Nurses Association, November 24, 2009 (7 pages, PDF): Submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy on Bill 168, Violence and Harassment in the Workplace


Watson Wyatt 2009/2010 Communication ROI Study

A total of 328 employers from North America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia took part in Watson Wyatt’s2009/2010 Communication ROI Study that connects organizational communication effectiveness with financial performance. A report on the full study findings will be released later this year – these advanced highlights focus on companies’ internal communication related to the economic downturn. The study found that since the economic downturn began, only one-third of the participants have communicated to employees how the economy is affecting their pay and benefits.

Watson Wyatt 2009/2010 Communication ROI Study


Oil & Gas industry reform?

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released the study Private Gain or Public Interest? Reforming Canada's Oil and Gas Industry, by David Thompson and Keith Newman. The paper looks at converting the industry to one aimed at serving a broader public-interest mandate.

Report, December 4, 2009 (36 pages, PDF)


Pension and Old Age Security reform

A Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report titled, A Stronger Foundation: Pension Reform and Old Age Security, by Monica Townson, reviews Old Age Security, the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Allowance, and discusses measures to strengthen Canada’s pension system.

Policy Brief, November 22, 2009 (17 pages, PDF)


UNESCO reports on higher education

Two recent studies from UNESCO look at higher education. The first is Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking an Academic Revolution A Report Prepared for the UNESCO 2009 World Conference on Higher Education. This reportlooks at the challenges of the globalization and ‘massification” of education. Unesco has also released the Global Education Digest 2009: Comparing Education Statistics Across the World. “According to the global average, tertiary enrolment ratios of men and women reached parity around the year 2003 but since then, the average global participation of females has been exceeding that of males. In 1970, the GPI shows that the male enrolment ratio was almost 1.6 times as high as that of women; but by 2007, the opposite is true with a female participation ratio that is 1.08 times as high as that of men.”[Extract]

Trends in Global Higher Education: Executive Summary, 2009 (22 pages, PDF):

Global Education Digest 2009 (264 pages, PDF)

Global Education Digest 2009 access to statistical tables

Globe and Mail, December 7, 2009: Who's in the know: Women surge, men sink in education's gender gap ... There are now three female undergraduates for every two male students on Canadian campuses, and more women than men graduated with higher …


Book of the Week

Employment Termination Source Book: a Collection of Practical Samples, by Wendy Bliss and Gene R. Thornton. Alexandria, Va. : Society for Human Resource Management, 2006. 246 p. + 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 9781586440664

Addressing one of the most uncomfortable tasks delegated to human resources, this handbook simplifies the documentation of activities undertaken before, during, and after separation, reducing exposure to legal claims by providing tip lists, forms, tables, and flowcharts that can be printed from the enclosed CD.

About the Authors:

Wendy Bliss, JD, SPHR, is a human resources consultant and attorney who is frequently quoted by national media on workplace issues. Gene R. Thornton, Esq., PHR, is an employment law attorney who conducts continuing legal education classes and seminars for human resource professionals.


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

Date posted: 
Monday, December 7, 2009