January 07, 2008

Perry Work Report for the Week of January 7, 2008

The Perry Work Report is protected by Canadian copyright law and should not be reproduced or forwarded without permission. The PWR is produced and edited by Bruce Pearce and Vicki Skelton, and is sent from a new email address, cirhr.library@utoronto.ca. We welcome our readers' questions and suggestions.


Wilf List Remembered: Wilf List died December 19, 2007 at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre of heart problems. He was 88. He covered the Globe and Mail's labour beat for almost 40 years. He retired in 1984 but continued his freelance writing. Here are a few extracts from his obituary in the Globe and Mail:

“He was Canada 's 'dean of labour journalists',” by James Rusk, Globe and Mail , December 20, 2007 (full text available for purchase only):

“In an era when reporters joined newspapers and often stayed on a beat for life, Wilf List of The Globe and Mail set the standard for labour reporters. Through his coverage of turbulent strikes in the 1950s and 1960s, of internal problems in the labour movement and of the political influence of labour at a time when it was much more powerful force in society than today, he also became an important figure himself.”

“Ian Carman, a former editor of Report on Business, said Mr. List was an invaluable reporter, one who was so good in covering labour disputes that senior company executives sometimes found out the details of a labour settlement at their company from their morning paper. "He had the contacts, and wherever there was a labour dispute or some kind of strike going on, he was able to get inside with all the workers."

“His reputation for fairness stayed with him through his tenure on the labour beat. In the early 1970s, he was held in such high esteem that the Trudeau government offered him a seat on the Anti-Inflation Board. Mr. List turned Ottawa down, just as he turned aside job offers from other publications. He remained with The Globe until retiring in 1984.”

“In retirement, he continued to write freelance articles for The Globe and also found a new role in labour affairs as a member of the Public Review Board, an impartial agency set up the Canadian Auto Workers in 1985 to deal with member complaints against the union.”

Duty to Accommodate Mental Health Disabilities: A recent Ontario Human Rights Tribunal decision, Lane v. ADGA Group Consultants Inc. of Ottawa, has upheld the right of persons with a mental health disability to be appropriately accommodated in the workplace under the Ontario Human Rights Code. The ruling is significant as it is the first in Ontario to address the needs of employees with bipolar disorder and the obligations of their employers.

Links: Duty to Accommodate Mental Health Disability Upheld by Landmark Ontario Human Rights Decision , December 18, 2007, Ontario Human Rights Commission; “ADGA to appeal 'groundbreaking' discrimination ruling: Employee dismissed after asking for help coping with bipolar disorder,” Dan Robson, Ottawa Citizen, December 20, 2007

Michael S. Link, an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Western Ontario has recently posted a paper on the legal status of employees with disabilities in Canada:

Disability and Work: The Transformation of the Legal Status of Employees with Disabilities in Canada , Michael S. Link, University of Western Ontario , posted December 12, 2007 . Can be downloaded from the Social Science Research Network by scrolling down and clicking on one of the icons (try Social Science Research Network)

Workplace Bullying: A group of workers at Nova Scotia 's largest hospital, the Capital District Health Authority who complained of bullying and a toxic work environment have won their grievance against the employer. The arbitrator considered the workplace environment so toxic that she ordered the CEO of the health authority to write a letter of apology to the employees, members Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, and awarded the group $10,000 in damages.

Links: “N.S. hospital workers awarded damages in bullying case,” December 20, 2007, CBC News; $10,000 in damages awarded to bullied workers, December 20, 2007, Human Rights in the Workplace.

50 Best Employers in Canada 2008: This year the ninth annual report of the 50 Best Employers in Canada which measures employee engagement in organizations features an in-depth look at first place winner EllisDon, an international construction firm in London , Ontario . The list of winners and information about the survey is provided by the Report on Business Magazine's research partner Hewitt Associates.

Links: “50 Best Employers in Canada :” by Steve Brearton, Globe and Mail, December 20, 2007; 50 Best Employers in Canada 2008 List, Hewitt Associates.

CEO Pay: A recent report from the Centre for Policy Alternatives compares the average earnings of employees with that of CEOs in Canada. The disparities are documented in several ways – in one example the paper states that, “on average, the best-paid 100 CEOs make more than 218 times as much as a Canadian working full-time for a full year at the average of weekly employment earnings.”

Links: The Great CEO Pay Race: Over Before it Begins, by Hugh Mackenzie, Centre for Policy Alternatives, January 2, 2008 (12 Pages, PDF); “The boss earns how much?: Chances are your firm's CEO makes as much in nine hours as you will all year, a study finds,” by Julian Beltrame, Toronto Star, January 2, 2008;

In a related story the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance states that it will not push for mandatory shareholder votes on executive pay packages:

“No need for 'say on pay' votes, investor group says,” Janet McFarland, Globe and Mail , January 7, 2008; Canadian Coalition for Good Governance position on ‘say on pay', December 12, 2007 (2 pages, PDF)

2007 Report on Top Executive Compensation: The Conference Board of Canada has released a report on executive compensation that shows CEOs of Canada's largest companies hold a substantial amount of company stock.

Link: The 2007 Report on Top Executive Compensation—Key Findings , Executive Action Report by Linda Barrington, January 2008, The Conference Board of Canada, 9 pages. (Conference Board of Canada publications available at no charge to members of the University of Toronto community -- just go to Conference Board e-Library website and log into your account and scroll down to the document title)

A Gender Perspective on the Future of Retirement: HSBC Insurance and the Oxford Institute of Ageing have released a report on the future of retirement. This report looks at the different issues faced by men and women regarding old age and retirement. The report challenges preconceptions of gender issues regarding retirement across nations.

Links: “The Future of Retirement: The New Old Age – A Gender Perspective”, HSBC Insurance, December 2007 (32 pages, PDF); downloads of separate reports for specific countries available at HSBC Insurance.

Are Employers Willing to Hire and Retain Older Workers? Older adults' employment is attracting attention as many baby boomers approach traditional retirement ages. The Urban Institute has released a fact sheet that examines employers' current attitudes toward older workers and the likely future demand for their services.

Link: The Retirement Project: Fact Sheets on Population Aging, Urban Institute, United States, December 7, 2007, (6 pages, PDF)

Workplace Stress: Work stress is widely recognized as a major challenge to both the individual and the economy. It can come from many sources and affect people in different ways. As well, a variety of mitigating factors enter the equation. This article investigates levels, sources and effects of workplace stress for various socio-demographic and occupational groups.

Link: “Work stress and job performance,” by Jungwee Park, Perspectives on Labour and Income, Volume 8 Number 12, December 2007, (13 pages, PDF)

Returning to Work after Childbirth: A study from Statistics Canada looks at the effect of childbirth on women's careers from 1983 to 2004 focusing on mothers aged 20 to 39. Findings include that mothers are now are more likely to return to work after having children than they were 20 years ago and that women who gave birth after 2000 returned to their previous earning levels sooner than new mothers in the early 1980s.

Links: Returning to the job after childbirth,” by Xuelin Zhang, Perspectives on Labour and Income, Volume 8 Number 12, December 2007, (7 pages, PDF); “More moms get back on the job,” by Carly Weeks, Globe and Mail, December 20, 2007

Date posted: 
Monday, January 7, 2008