January 04, 2010

January 4, 2010 Happy New Year!

Freedom of Association: Harmonizing Canadian norms and international obligations

On February 25-27, 2010 at the College of Law, University of Saskatchewan, a conference on one of the most critical issues facing the Canadian labour relations and human rights communities will be held. This conference will review the character, evolution and status of freedom of association at work as a global right, will examine domestic law and practice in light of Canada’s international obligations and, to the extent that they are incompatible, will explore ways that Canadian norms may be harmonized with Canada’s international obligations.

Conference organizers are: Roy J. Adams, Ariel F. Sallows Chair of Human Rights, College of Law, U of S and Michael Atkinson, Executive Director, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

Freedom of Association Conference website


Farm Workers seek the right to Unionize in Ontario

“This is a question about justice and equality,” says Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada which was the respondent in the Supreme Court case. “These workers are looking to the Supreme Court to tell the McGuinty government, once and for all, that agricultural workers in Ontario have the same human rights as ever other Ontario worker — including their rights, guaranteed by the Charter, to join a union and bargain collectively."

CBC News, December 17, 2009: Farm workers take union fight to Supreme Court: Decision could affect 80,000 employees in Ontario

Link to the SCC webcast: argued on December 17, 2009: Watch the Supreme Court of Canada in action: -- Attorney General of Ontario v. Michael J. Fraser on his own behalf and on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Canada, et al. (Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave) 32968 (click on Archived under Webcast)

SCC Case Summary 32968

UFCW Canada, December 17, 2009: Farmworkers' quest for human rights arrives at the S.C.


Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog Wins Again!

The Clawbies have chosen the best law bloggers for 2009 and David Doorey, a Professor of labour and employment law in the School of Human Resource Management at Toronto’s York University, who also holds an MIR degree along with many other degrees, has tied again for first place. “In the Law Professor Blog Award category Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog and University of Alberta Faculty of Law Blog are repeat winners with both continuing to inspire and be read in 2009. David Doorey was our best new law blogger last year, and his volume and quality of posts were again top notch. “

Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog: Thoughts on Canadian Labour & Employment Law For Students & Others


New Blog on Workplace Law

Mikael Swayze, a sessional lecturer at the University of Toronto Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources and a staff representative at Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has begun a new blog. A recent posting titled Rand formula REQUIRED by the Charter! looks at an Alberta Labour Relations Board decision concerning union security provisions.

Mikael’s Worklaw Page


The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released a report detailing the salaries of Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs. The report reveals that despite the gloomy effect the worldwide economic recession has had on Canada, the highest paid Canadian CEO earned $7,352,895 in 2008. With the total average Canadian income just hovering over $42,000, the top CEOs will pocket this income by 1:01 pm on the first working day of the year.

To find out how quickly a top CEO will make your salary, visit the CCPA’s CEO pay calculator.

Report: A Soft Landing: Recession and Canada’s 100 Highest Paid CEOs, January 2010 (17 pages, PDF)

CBC News, January 4, 2010: CEOs paid 174 times more than average worker: report


Canada’s Most Impressive Employers

Employee engagement is the key to organizational success according to the Hewitt survey of The 50 Best Employers in Canada for 2010. The results of the survey are available in the January issue of The Globe and Mail's ROB Magazineand in La Presse. One hundred and thirty-four Canadian organizations registered to participate in the study. The results from this year's study are based on survey responses from more than 108,000 Canadian employees, with additional input from over 1,200 leaders and human resources professionals.

ROB Magazine, January 2010: 50 Best Employers in Canada : Where's the finest place to get hired, prosper, retire? In our annual survey of the country's most impressive employers, what it takes to inspire greatness from your staff depends on whom you ask

Hewitt, January 4, 2010: Focusing on Employee Engagement Helped 2010's 50 Best Employers in Canada Weather Recession, According to Hewitt Associates' Research

The 2010 List of the 50 Best Employers in Canada (2 pages, PDF)


Canadian Policy Research Networks Archives still available

In late October 2009 CPRN announced that after 15 years of quality public policy research, it is no longer financially viable -- “In these tough economic times, and without a steady and long-term financial commitment from governments and other public and private funding sources, an independent, non-partisan organization like CPRN is no longer possible.” Carleton University will house the CPRN print reports and will host and maintain the CPRN website providing online access to 15 years of CPRN downloadable reports, free of charge.

Canadian Policy Research Networks (CPRN) website


Facebook’s New Privacy Settings: What you should know

A recent article discussing Facebook’s latest changes to their privacy settings, gives tips on how you can protect any information you have published about yourself online – and how to change Facebook settings so that your information remains safeguarded. While the author advises that trashing your job or employer in a status update is never a good idea, it also warns that despite one’s efforts to protect information and photos published online, nothing is completely secure in the digital age.

Globe and Mail, January 4, 2010: Five tips to manage Facebook's new privacy settings, by Dakshana Bascaramurty


The Future of Resumes

Traditional resumes printed on paper may be a fading approach as video resumes are increasingly gaining popularity within recruitment. While video resumes became particularly popular in the broadcasting and other media related fields, this approach is being recommended by a number of companies as a way to highlight one’s soft skills prior to a formal sit-down interview.

Metro, January 4, 2010: The future is bright for video resumés, by Jon Tattrie and Brian Coulton


Union Membership in Canada and Innovative Workplace Practices

The current issue of the Workplace Bulletin includes: Innovative Workplace Practices-2009, Readers' Corner on Coaching and Mentoring, and Union Membership in Canada for 2009.

Workplace Bulletin, December 30, 2009

Union Membership in Canada—2009

Innovative Workplace Practices—Third Quarter 2009


Some Good News about Manufacturing

Reports from Statistics Canada and the U.S. Commerce department show small gains in the manufacturing sectors.

Globe and Mail, January 5, 2010: U.S. factory orders jump 1.1 per cent: Increase is twice as large as economists had forecast

Globe and Mail, January 4, 2009: World's factories humming again : Factories around the world are starting to rev up to replenish inventories and satisfy a burgeoning demand. But some warn about disturbing economic fundamentals

Globe and Mail, December 22, 2009: Factories drive rebound in jobs : Auto-parts makers among hard-hit industries now moving into hiring mode by Tavia Grant and Greg Keenan

Auto restructuring is The Canadian Press 2009 Business Story of the Year


Women in Manufacturing

The September/ October issue of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters' magazinetitled 20/20 features a look at the growing number of women in manufacturing. 20/20 is available free online until March 2010. To view any issue just click on the cover.

20/20, September /October 2009: The Changing Face of Manufacturing by Treena Hein (scroll down to Below are sample editions of our past issues. Click here to read the full issues of 20/20 after registering you can read the complete September/October 2009 issue by clicking on the cover)


Canada's employment downturn

The Canadian labour market recently experienced its worst downturn since the recession of the early 1990s. Since employment last peaked in October 2008, employment declined by 2.3%, or 400,000 individuals. This article uses data from the Labour Force Survey to examine changes in employment levels from October 2008 to October 2009 across a variety of personal and job characteristics. Comparisons are also made with earlier recessions and the U.S. labour market.

Perspectives on Labour and Income, December 2009 (8 pages, PDF): Canada's employment downturn by Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté and Jason Gilmore


Which Way for Michigan and the Auto Industry?

On Monday, November 23, the School of Labor and Industrial Relations hosted a public forum featuring: Charles Ballard (MSU Department of Economics), Tim Lee (General Motors), Sean McAlinden (Center for Automotive Research), and Cal Rapson (United Autoworkers) to discuss the future of Michigan and the auto industry.

Presentation, November 23, 2009 (16 pages, PDF): Michigan’s Economic Transformation, Charles L. Ballard, Department of Economics, Michigan State University.

Presentation, November 23, 2009 (24 pages, PDF): Which Way for Michigan and the Auto Industry? Sean P. McAlinden, Ph.D. Chief Economist, Executive Vice President for Research Center for Automotive Research Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Presentation, November 23, 2009 (17 pages, PDF): The Reinvention of GM, Tim Lee


Book of the Week

Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth That We Can't Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone, by Jody Heymann and Alison Earle. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 2010. 240 p. ISBN 978-0-8047-6890-0

News stories on the impact of job loss appear daily in the media. Less reported is that working conditions in many countries around the world have deteriorated as rapidly as jobs have been lost--and this affects ten times as many people. Working conditions significantly impact our health, the amount of time we can spend with family, our options during momentous life events (such as the birth of a child or the death of a parent), and whether we keep or lose a job when the unexpected occurs. Inexplicably, the global community has nearly universally accepted the argument that any country that guarantees a floor of decent working conditions will suffer higher unemployment and will be less competitive.

Raising the Global Floor shatters this widely held view by presenting the first ever, global analysis of the relationship between labor conditions, national competitiveness, and unemployment rates in 190 countries. The authors' findings are dramatic. They show that there is no relationship between unemployment rates and providing basic protections in a series of critical areas. Strikingly, data also indicate that good working conditions can make countries more competitive. There are no long-term economic gains to be had if workers are denied paid sick leave, paid annual leave, paid parental leave, the right to a day of rest, and many other basic protections that would improve the quality of their lives.

Authors: Jody Heymann is Founding Director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill University. 
Alison Earle is a Principal Research Scientist at Northeastern University.


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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, January 4, 2010