May 05, 2008

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Card Certification Bill Voted Down: A private member's bill, which would have returned the right of card certification to workers in Ontario, lost the vote on second reading in the Ontario Legislature on May 1, 2008. Bill 65 was introduced by the NDP Leader, Howard Hampton, on April 23rd. Under card certification a union can be created without a ratification vote when more than 55 per cent of workers sign a union card. Card certification existed in Ontario from 1950 to 1995. It was removed by the Harris Conservative government in 1995.

Links: Bill 65, Labour Relations Amendment Act (Certification), 2008, Legislative Assembly of OntarioBill 65 An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act, 1995 with respect to certification of trade unions (5 pages, PDF); “Liberals defeat bid to facilitate forming unions: New Democrat bill would have returned right of card certification to workers in all sectors, by Robert Benzie, Toronto StarMay 2, 2008.

Supreme Court Decision on Return to Work After Firing: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in a 6-1 decision that Donald Evans, who worked for a Teamsters' union local, should have accepted his employers return to work offer after he was fired, as part of a 24 month severance period.

Links: “Take return-to-work offer or forfeit severance pay, Supreme Court rules,” by Kirk Makin, Globe and Mail, May 2, 2008; “Striking a Balance between Mitigating Damages and Protecting Employees in Evans v. Teamsters,” by Matthew Shogilev, The Court, May 5th, 2008; Evans v. Teamsters Local Union No. 31, 2008 SCC 20.

Revision of the National Occupational Classification: The National Occupational Classification (NOC) will be more than twenty years old by Census 2011. In preparation for the 2011 Census, Human Resources and Social Development Canada is asking for input from industry, occupational experts and user groups. Their input will help identify the classification system changes needed to accurately reflect Canadian occupations. The NOC has a counterpart, the NOC for Statistics (NOC-S), which is used by Statistics Canada. The updating of HRSDC's NOC and Statistics Canada's NOC-S is a joint initiative of both departments.  Please note the date for submissions to this consultation has been extended to May 30, 2008.

Link: Human Resources and Social Development website.

The Canadian Automotive Industry: A report by the Council for Automotive Human Resources outlines the current and future environment within the Canadian automotive industry. It describes the impacts of technology on human resource requirements, assesses the automotive labour market, looks at training requirements for workers, and identifies human resources policies and practices that would develop an innovative workforce. The recommendations made in the report will assist CAHR in identifying the major human resource obstacles facing the industry.

Links: Competing Without a Net: The Future of the Canadian Automotive Industry, Council for Automotive Human Resources, April 2008 (261 pages, PDF); Executive Summary (34 pages, PDF);News Release; “ Auto sector gets another bleak warning,” Greg Keenan, Globe and MailApril 30, 2008.

Economic Inequality in Canada Canada's inequality in wealth and income is growing at a rapid pace, according to a new study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The study looks at 25 years of income and wealth inequality in Canada and finds disturbing new trends.

Links: A Quarter Century of Economic Inequality in Canada: 1981-2006, by Lars Osberg, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, April 28, 2008 (46 pages, PDF); Press Release.

Why Inequality Matters: In a collection of papers released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, four economists write on income inequality in Canada. They warn that income inequality and persistent poverty could have serious and adverse effects. This report was written in December 2007 and released in April 2008.

Link: Why Inequality Matters in 1000 Words or Less, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, April 28, 2008 (36 pages, PDF)

2006 Census Releases on Earnings and Income: Statistics Canada has released a report on the earning and income of Canadians. The report tracks median income from 1980 to 2005. In addition, it examines sources of income and looks at how incomes have changed for families at the low, middle and high, of the income distribution over the past quarter century. For the first time, the census collected information on the after-tax income of Canadians, as after-tax income depicts in a better fashion what families have available to spend. Finally, the report examines low-income among recent immigrants, children and the senior population. Tables are also available via The Daily.

Links: Earnings and Incomes of Canadians over the Past Quarter Century, 2006 Census, Statistics Canada, May 1, 2008 (51 pages, PDF); 2006 Census: Earnings, income and shelter costsThe Daily,May 1, 2008; “The rich, the poor, and the chasm between,” by Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail, May 1, 2008 .

Labour Force Challenges for Alberta's Non-Profit and Voluntary Sectors: Non-profit organizations in Alberta have teamed up to find solutions for common labour force challenges. Over 60 nonprofit organizations joined together to identify ways to address issues brought on by the province's booming economy. Difficulties that are being faced by the sector include stressful working conditions, low job security and high turnover, lack of staff training opportunities, and an aging workforce at the senior and middle management levels.

Links: A Workforce Strategy for Alberta's Non-profit and Voluntary Sector, April 28, 2008 (20 pages,PDF); News Release.

The Skills Challenge in the United States A report released by the Council on Competitiveness urges policymakers and Americans to abandon the stereotypes of low-skill, low-wage jobs in the service economy. More than three-quarters of all jobs in the United States are in the service economy and are driving demand for more complex skills set, including: problem solving, communications, entrepreneurship, computational analysis, and collaboration. The report recommends supporting innovation in service industries and developing interdisciplinary skills.

Link: Thrive: The Skills Imperative, The Council on Competitiveness, April 30, 2008 (44 pages, PDF)

European Industrial Relations Links: EIROnline provides a list of websites, grouped by country, giving information on: the central trade union and employers' confederations and their national affiliates; other national employers' and union organizations; the ministry of labour/employment or similar agencies; institutions and centres with an impact on, or interest in, industrial relations. Information for approximately 30 countries is available.

Link: EIROnline: European Industrial Relations Links

Date posted: 
Monday, May 5, 2008