March 30, 2009

March 30, 2009

Roy J. Adams Appointed Chair of Human Rights

Roy Adams, author, editor, and Emeritus Professor of Industrial Relations, McMaster University, will serve as Ariel F. Sallows Chair of Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law for 2009/2010. The Ariel F. Sallows Chair of Human Rights is the first endowed chair of human rights in any college of law in Canada. The chair, called the Sallows Professor of Human Rights, supports courses and research in human rights at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Roy J. Adams’ website

University of Saskatchewan, College of Law: Ariel F. Sallows Chair in Human Rights


Canadian Auto Industry Aid

The federal and Ontario governments want general Motors and the CAW to re-open negotiations for further reductions in pensions and benefits costs but Ken Lewenza, Head of the CAW has said that talks will not reopen and GM CEO agrees. President Obama has forced the resignation of GM’s CEO Richard Wagoner and has given GM 60 days to produce an acceptable restructuring plan. Chrysler’s bailout depends upon a deal with Fiat.

Globe and Mail, March 31, 2009: Find more cuts, Premier tells GM and CAW: Ontario's McGuinty says union and car maker need to show taxpayers' money is justified

Canadian Press, March 31, 2009: General Motors CEO says labour contract with CAW is already competitive

Statement from CAW President Ken Lewenza Regarding Canadian and U.S. Auto Restructuring Announcements March 30, 2009

Globe and Mail, March 30, 2009: 'No choice' but to aid car makers: Obama expected to extend restructuring deadline; Ottawa and Ontario prepare emergency funding by Greg Keenan and Shawn McCarthy

Auto Bailout Details video, March 30, 2009

Washington Post, March 26, 2009: A Look at Obama's Auto-Bailout Team

Globe and Mail, March 31, 2009: Meet the new president of General Motors by John Ibbitson


Union Membership in Canada -- two sources for data

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Workplace Information Division conducts an annual update of membership data for international, national, independent unions, and other labour organizations consisting of a bargaining unit with 50 or more members in Canada. Data is provided by the labour unions and includes labour organizations’ contact information, affiliation, membership size, and number of union locals. This information is available in a searchable database, the Directory of Labour Organizations in CanadaPerspective on Labour and Income also provides articles on labour union membership -- the data is gathered by Statistic Canada’s Labour Force Survey.

Union Membership in Canada, 2008, HRSDC Workplace Information Division, released February 17, 2009.

Perspectives on Labour and Income: Topics of interest on labour and income: scroll down for links to all articles on Unionization.


Workplace Bulletin, March 31, 2009

The Workplace Bulletin, issued by HRSCD Labour Program, is available twice a month. If you wish to receive the Bulletin add your name to their mailing list. The Bulletin features a Reader’s Corner that draws together resources on different subject areas – this month’s topic is Flexible Working Hours.

Workplace Bulletin, March 31, 2009


Canadian Human Rights Commission Annual Report

The Commissions 2008 Annual Report was tabled in the House of Commons on March 31, 2009. The Commission is exploring the creation of an employment equity extranet site that would provide employers with a single access point for information on best practices, auditing tools, progress reports, and compliance audit reports to facilitate the integration and retention of designated groups in the workplace.

2008 Annual Report, March 31, 2009 (HTML)

2008 Annual Report, March 31, 2009 (24 pages, PDF)


2009 Catalyst Award Winners

The 2009 Catalyst Award was presented on March 31, 2009 to Baxter International Inc., CH2M HILL, Gibbons P.C., and KPMG LLP for their ground-breaking initiatives that advance women in the workplace. The award, given during the Catalyst Awards Dinner was sponsored by DuPont and Shell Oil Company and was attended by CEOs of major corporations and firms, and senior executives and industry leaders from U.S. and global companies.

Announcement with links to descriptions of company initiatives, March 31, 2009


Employer Investment in Training

A research report by the Canadian Policy Research Network titled, Lessons from Other Countries Regarding Incentives for Employer-Sponsored Training focuses on employer sponsored training in countries with a record of above average employer investment in training. Practices in Denmark, Sweden, the United States, Finland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are examined. Previous research by CPRN has found that Canada has underperformed in workplace learning compared to other countries.

Research Report, March 26, 2009 (41 pages, PDF)


Perspectives on Labour and Income, March 2009

Two recent releases:

Earnings of women with and without children, March 24, 2009 (9 pages, PDF) or (HTML)

A sizeable earnings gap exists between Canadian women with children and those without children, but much of this gap can be explained by differences in work experience and other characteristics. During the period 1993 to 2004, average hourly earnings of women with children were 12% below those of women without children.

The recent labour market in Canada and the United States, March 24, 2009 (5 pages, PDF) or (HTML)

This article uses Canadian numbers adjusted to U.S. definitions to examine how labour markets in each country have responded to the recent economic events.


Work Absence Rates 2008

Statistics Canada has released its publication Work Absence Rates 2008. The data taken from the Labour Force survey finds that both the incidence and the number of days lost for personal, illness or disability, and personal or family responsibilities, have shown a rising trend since 1997. Contributing factors are an aging workforce, the growing share of women in the workforce, especially mothers with young children, high worker stress, and more generous sick- and family-related leave benefits.

Work Absence Rates 2008, released March 24, 2009 (HTML)

Work Absence rates 2008, released March 24, 2009 (143 pages, PDF)


The Ontario Budget and Pension Reform

The 2009 Ontario Budget titled, Confronting the Challenge: Building Our Economic Future, was tabled on March 26th 2009. As well as addressing the current recession with tax and infrastructure measures the budget contains a number of pension reform measures. It promises temporary solvency relief regulations, the establishment of a Pension Reform Advisory Council which would provide feedback on pension reform proposals from the report of the Ontario Expert Commission on Pensions and proposes an expanded mandate for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan allowing the OTPP Board to provide pension administration and investment services to other pension plans. The federal Government has also released regulations to provide temporary solvency funding relief for federally regulated defined benefit pension plans.

Watson Wyatt Info Flash: 2009 Ontario Budget: Economic Stimulus and Tax Changes

Conference Board of Canada: Ontario Budget 2009: Big Stimulus, Big Deficits

Benefits Canada: Ontario Budget Provides Funding Relief March 30, 2009

Ontario Budget Website

Ontario Budget 2009: Confronting the Challenge: Building our Economic Future, March 26, 2009 (171 pages, PDF)

Government Implements Pension Measures, March 27, 2009


OECD Economic Outlook

The OECD Economic Outlook: Interim Report for March 2009 has been released. According to the editorial by the OECD’s Chief economist the rate of unemployment will peak in all OECD countries in 2010 or early 2011 and may reach double digit levels in many countries; the number of unemployed in the G7 countries will almost double from its level in mid-2007 to reach some 36 million people in late 2010; and there is a need for employment and social policies to complement and reinforce macroeconomic stabilization efforts to get people into jobs and prevent a rise in structural unemployment.

OECD Interim Economic Outlook, March 2009 website (provides access to extensive commentary and all documents – the handout for journalists and the editorial are particularly succinct)

OECD Economic Outlook Interim Report: Canada, March 31, 2009 (3 pages, PDF)

OECD Economic Outlook: Interim Report for March 2009 (150 pages, PDF)

Globe and Mail, March 31, 2009: OECD says Ottawa could do more to boost economy but frowns on industry-specific aid, by Richard Blackwell


Book of the Week

Never Good Enough: Health Care Workers and the False Promise of Job Training, by Ariel Ducey. Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2009. 300 p. ISBN 978-0-8014-7504-7

In her thoughtful and provocative critique of job training in the health care sector, Ariel Ducey explores the history and the extent of job training initiatives for health care workers and lays out the political and economic significance of these programs beyond the obvious goal of career advancement. Questioning whether job training improves either the lives of workers or the quality of health care, she explains why such training persists, focusing in particular on the wide scope of its “emotional” benefits. The book is based on Ducey's three years as an ethnographer in several hospitals and in-depth interviews with key players in health care training. It argues that training and education cannot be a panacea for restructuring—whether in the health care sector or the economy as a whole.

About the Author:

Ariel Ducey is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Calgary.


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, March 30, 2009