March 31, 2008

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United Steelworkers Discontinue Organizing Efforts at Dofasco: Director of the United Steelworkers Ontario/Atlantic region, Wayne Fraser, announced that the USW would discontinue organizing efforts at Dofasco.

Link: “Steelworkers union walks away from Dofasco,” by Greg Keenan, Globe and Mail , March 27, 2008; “Steelworkers drop bid to unionize Hamilton's Dofasco: Workers not interested, even with company's blessing,” CBC, March 27, 2008.

Saskatchewan's Trade Union Act: A paper from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives looks at Bill 6, the Saskatchewan government's tabled amendments to the Trade Union Act, and predicts significant damages to the province's industrial relations climate. CUPE has also released a paper on Bill 6, An Act to amend The Trade Union Act and Bill 5, An Act respecting Essential Public Servicesboth Bills were introduced in late fall of 2007.

Links: Joining the Race to the Bottom: An Assessment of Bill 6, Amendments to the Trade Union Act, 2008, by Jim Warren, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, March 26, 2008 (37 pages, PDF);Press release.; How the SaskParty plans to shift the scales in favour of employers, CUPE, February 15, 2008 (32 pages, PDF); Bill no. 5, An Act respecting Essential Public Services (10 pages, PDF) and BackgrounderBill no. 6, An Act to amend The Trade Union Act (4 pages, PDF) andBackgrounder .

Canadian Human Rights Commission Annual Report: The Canadian Human Rights Commission administers the Canadian Human Rights Act and is responsible for the enforcement of employers' obligations under the Employment Equity Act. The 2007 annual report includes sections on the Commission's discrimination prevention work with employers, the Employment Equity Compliance Program and statistical information on the four designated groups in the Canadian workplace.

Links: Canadian Human Rights Commission Annual Report 2007 , tabled in the House of Commons on March 31, 2008 (52 pages, PDF) also available in html format.

Alcohol Problems at Work: A study released by the George Washington University Medical Centre looks at the prevalence of alcohol problems by industry sector and finds that employees in the hospitality, construction and wholesale industries are significantly more likely to be dependent on or abuse alcohol. The Medical Centre has also released a paper on how employers can respond to workers' alcohol problems.

Links: Workplace Screening & Brief Intervention: What Employers Can and Should Do About Excessive Alcohol Use, George Washington University Medical Centre, March 2008 (22 pages, PDF);Hospitality Tops List of Industries with Highest Rates of Alcohol Problems: New Report Analyzes Scope of Workplace Alcohol Problems, Proposes Solution, George Washington University Medical Centre, March 2008 (3 pages, PDF); Hospitality sector tops list of industries with booze problems, by Patrick White, Globe and Mail , March 26, 2008.

Minimum Wage in Ontario: Ontario is raising the minimum wage to $8.75 on March 31, 2008. This is the fifth increase since 2004.

Links: “Minimum wage set to rise,” by Andrew Chung, Toronto StarMarch 30, 2008; Ontario Ministry of Labour News, March 28, 2008

Public Sector Salary Disclosure, 2007: Under Ontario's Public Sector Disclosure Act passed in 1996, all governments employees, publicly funded agencies such as hospitals, educational institutions, municipalities, and Crown agencies must make the salaries of all those earning over $100,000 publicly available. The salaries for 2007 are now available on the Ontario Ministry of Finance website.

Links: Public Sector Salary Disclosure 2008 (Disclosure for 2007), Ontario Ministry of Financewebsite. “42,527 earn $100,000-plus: Report” by Robert Benzie, Toronto Star March 31, 2008 .

The Cost of Doing Business: KPMG has released their annual survey comparing business costs by geographic location. The study examines 17 industry operations in 10 countries, comparing the after-tax cost of startup and operations over a 10 year period. Mexico, Canada and United States were in the top three positions as the most cost effective places to do business.

Links: Competitive Alternatives: KPMG's Guide to International Business Location, 2008 edition, March 27, 2008 (6 pages, PDF); Loonie curbing Canada's cost advantage: Though it ranks as one of the best places to do business, Canada will have to work hard to keep its edge, KPMG study says, Simon Avery and Virginia Galt, Globe and Mail, March 28, 2008.

Auto Production and Sales in Emerging Economies: A report by the ScotiaBank Group estimates that the combined vehicle assembly capacity in the BRIC nations — Brazil, Russia, India and China — will surpass that of North America in 2008. According to the report 90% of all new auto assembly capacity put in place over the past five years has been outside of the mature auto markets of North America, Japan and Western Europe.

Links: Global Auto Report, ScotiaBank Group, March 27, 2008 (2 pages, PDF); Car builders abroad race past North America, by John Partridge, Globe and Mail, March 27, 2008; Car sales 'epicentre' shifts to new ground, Greg Keenan, Globe and Mail, March 28, 2008

The Relationship Between Trade and Employment: A Review of the Literature: A collaborative study between the World Trade Organization and the International Labour Office examines the relationship between trade and employment. The study, which draws on the existing academic literature, focuses on the connections between labour and social policies, and trade policies.

Link: Trade and Employment: Challenges for Policy Research, by Marion Jansen and Eddy Lee, a joint study of the International Labour Office and the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization, 2007 (115 pages, PDF).

Great Lakes Region Economic Revitalization: A study released by the Brookings Institute looks at the potential economic power of the Great Lakes region. The study makes recommendations on how U.S. and Canadian leaders can strengthen the bi-national economic relationship in the Great Lakes region and increase the competitiveness of both nations.

Links: The Vital Connection: Reclaiming Great Lakes Economic Leadership in the Bi-National US-Canadian Region, by John Austin, Elaine Dezenski, and Britany Affolter-Caine, (28 pages, PDF); Despite Flaherty, Ontario not alone, Toronto Star, Mar 27, 2008.

Increasing Canada's Prosperity: Ontario's Institute for Competitiveness on Prosperity has released its fifth report on how to increase Canada 's standard of living. The report finds that Canada's productivity lags that of the United States and examines a number of policy changes to close the gap: increase foreign investment, reform the tax system and increase investment in training and education.

Link: Setting our sights on Canada 's 2020 Prosperity Agenda , Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, April 2008 (the Institute's website allows you to link to a press release and the full 68-page report in PDF).

Date posted: 
Monday, March 31, 2008