November 02, 2009

November 2, 2009

Employment Equity and Human Rights

In a report prepared by Mary Cornish, Fay Faraday and Jan Borowy, for this year’s Labour Law Conference, Equity in the Workplace: 25 years after the Abella Report, at the University of Western Ontario’s Law School, the authors discuss employment equity in Ontario. The report, titled Securing Employment Equity By Enforcing Human Rights Laws, outlines the achievements and developments in employment equity and human rights focusing on the Abella Report and Ontario’s equity obligations, policies, and role in the Human Rights Commission. Justice Rosalie Abella delivered the sixth Koskie Minsky University Lecture in Labour Law at the University of Western Ontario.

Report, October 2009 (32 pages, PDF)

Canadian Lawyer Magazine, November 2009: Abella on the legacy of her report on equality


Maternity and Parental Benefits for the Self-Employed

Proposed amendments to the Employment Insurance Act will allow the self employed to get benefits by contributing just the employee share of the premium to the Employment Insurance Program.

Bill C-56: Short Title: Employment Insurance Act, Benefits for Self-Employed Persons, House of Commons of Canada, Second Session, Fortieth Parliament, First reading November 3, 2009.


Temporary Foreign Workers Program Problems

The recession has made it difficult for foreigner workers to renew work permits with their employers or to get federal government approval to switch jobs. Rising domestic unemployment has meant that the government is no longer approving jobs for workers in the program. The Toronto Star has covered a number of stories of workers caught in Catch-22 situations. The Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, has just released a report that critiques the operation of the government’s Foreign Workers Program.

Toronto Star, November 1, 2009: How we're creating an illegal workforce Controversial federal program brings in foreigners for temporary jobs, but leaves them ripe for abuse also includes How the Temporary Foreign Worker Program works ,

Toronto Star, November 2, 2009: Star Investigation: A temporary worker's Catch-22Temporary permits leave foreigners open to exploitation

Canadian Press, November 3, 2009: Reforms to fast track skilled immigrants a bust so far: auditor general

2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada, November 3, 2009: Chapter 2—Selecting Foreign Workers Under the Immigration Program


Back-to-Work Legislation for British Columbia Paramedics

The Ambulance Service Collective Agreement Act -- Bill 21, has had its first reading. The Act calls for a “resumption of service” requiring that all employees return to work and that the employer not lock out employees. A three-per-cent wage increase will be imposed by the government on approximately 3,500 paramedics and dispatchers. The Bill will not take effect until it has passed third reading and received Royal Assent.

Bill 21, Ambulance Service Collective Agreement Act 2009, British Columbia Legislative Assembly 1st Session, 39th Parliament First reading

Globe and Mail, November 3, 2009: Government to end paramedics strike; Health Minister cites demands of flu pandemic in plan to impose new contract in seven-month-long...

CBC, November 2, 2009: Contract imposed on B.C. paramedics

Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia website (CUPE 873)


Ford Agreement Ratified

“CAW members working at Ford facilities in Oakville, Windsor, St. Thomas and Bramalea have voted in favour of a new agreement, ratifying the deal by 83 per cent. The deal is the second cost-cutting agreement reached between the CAW and Ford in 18 months and includes cuts to benefits, a reduction in vacation, break times and co-pays on health care, all of which were pattern items from the agreements with Chrysler and General Motors. During the negotiations Ford also announced it would be closing the St. Thomas assembly plant in 2011, eliminating 1,400 jobs.”

CAW Members at Ford Approve New Agreement November 1, 2009

C AW – Canada/Ford Canada Bargaining Report, October 2009: Securing the Future: Highlights of the Tentative Restructuring Agreement between CAW-Canada and Ford of Canada, Production, Skilled Trades and Salaried (6 pages, PDF)

Globe and Mail, October 31, 2009: CAW agrees to cuts in face of Ford threat to leave Canada, by Greg Keenan

Toronto Star, November 2, 2009: Ford concessions accepted in vote'No one should mistake workers' approval as satisfaction' with new union deal: CAW leader


Manufacturing Recovery

According to a recent survey by the U.S. Institute for Supply Management manufacturing activity is on the rise – expanding faster than it has in the last three years.

Globe and Mail, November 3, 2009: The Return of Manufacturing by Brian Milner

Manufacturing ISM Report on Business, October 2009


The Long Road to Canada’s Economic Recovery

A report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives titled, Canada’s Long Road to Economic Recovery, by Jim Stanford and David Macdonald, concludes that public investment is the key to Canada’s recovery. The paper also examines Ottawa’s stimulus initiatives.

Press Release, October 29 2009

Report, October 2009 (18 pages, PDF)


Big Drop in Job Quality

“Granted, a low-quality job is better than no job, but the headline employment numbers overstate the real health of the Canadian labour market,” Benjamin Tal

Using data from Statistics Canada the CIBC’s Employment Quality Index looks at part-time vs. full-time jobs, self employment vs. paid employment, and the compensation ranking of full-time paid employment in more than 100 industry groups. The recent index has found a dramatic drop in job quality over the last six months.

CIBC Canadian Employment Quality Index, November 2, 2009: Employment Stabilizing—Quality Falling by Benjamin Tal

Globe and Mail, November 3, 2009: Improving job outlook short on quality


Pension Reform

A Morneau Sobeco publication titled, Federal Pension Reform Proposals, summarizes and comments upon the impact of the federal government’s proposed changes to pensions in Canada. Ontario’s proposed changes will be introduced in November 2009 and will be based on the Arthurs Report of 2008 -- Final Report of the Commission: A Fine Balance - Safe Pensions - Affordable Plans - Fair Rules.

Special Communiqué, October 29, 2009

Toronto Star, November 1, 2009: Baby Steps on Pension Reform

Benefits Canada, October 30, 2009: Ontario to release phase one of pension reform in November October 29, 2009


The Guaranteed Income Debate

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has recently released a report on the highly debated and much criticized idea of guaranteed income in Canada. The report titled, Possibilities and Prospects: The Debate Over a Guaranteed Income looks at the historical background of guaranteed income proposals in Canada and reviews the arguments for and against this reform program. A number of social welfare measures that are often ignored by guaranteed income debates are also discussed in this report.

Report, October 2009 (38 pages, PDF)


Case Studies on Workplace Literacy

The Conference Board of Canada has released four Organizational Effectiveness and Learning case studies which look at the impact of workplace literacy and essential skills on workplace health and safety.

Building Skills for a Safe Workplace: Competency Management at Keyera Energy (7 pages, PDF)

Hatching a Plan for Safety: Literacy Skills Development at Lilydale Inc. (7 pages, PDF)

Omega 2000 Cribbing Inc.: Forming the Foundation of Safety (6 pages, PDF)

English-Language Training at Robinson Paperboard Packaging: Learning for Safety (5 pages, PDF)

These case studies are available free of charge to the University of Toronto community by creating a Conference Board of Canada e-Library account using your University of Toronto email address.


Literacy in the Workplace New Zealand

The In-house Literacy, Language and Numeracy Initiatives in New Zealand Workplaces was undertaken for the Department of Labour to investigate the level of literacy, language and numeracy in employer funded in-house training in workplaces in New Zealand.

Report, October 2009 (48 pages, PDF)


Discrimination and Low-wage Workers

An IZA discussion paper titled, Discrimination in a Low-Wage Labor Market: A Field Experiment, by Devah Pager, Princeton University and IZA ; Bruce Western, Harvard University; Bart Bonikowsk, Princeton University, has found that systematic forms of racial discrimination continue to shape employment opportunities for low-wage workers.

Discussion Paper No. 4469, October 2009 (51 pages, PDF) (Forthcoming in American Sociological Review, 2009, 74 (5)


Special Reports on Business Education in Canada & the USA

Globe and Mail on MBA Schools and New York Times on International Business Education

The Globe and Mail has released its annual report on Canadian business schools. Articles in the report look at the value of teamwork, getting a degree while still working and living in a different city, joint or dual degrees and working for not-for–profit organizations. The New York Times has also released a Special Report on International Education that looks at business education.

Globe and Mail, November 2, 2009: Report on MBA Schools (links to reports available)

New York Times, November 2, 2009: Special Report: International Education: M.B.A.’s Guide Socially Concerned Entrepreneurs

New York Times, November 3, 2009: Special Report: International education: Boom Times for International Schools Despite Global Downturn

New York Times, November 3, 2009: Special Report: International education: Giving Business Education a Global Twist

New York Times, November 3, 2009: Special Report: International education: Islamic Business Wins Academic Following

New York Times, November 3, 2009: Special Report: International Education: Close Link Between Engineering and Business Management


Book of the Week

Laying It on the Line: Driving a Hard Bargain in Challenging Times, by Buzz Hargrove. HarperCollins, 2009. 324 p. ISBN 978-1-55468-445-8

In Laying It on the Line, Hargrove explains the crisis from his side of the table, what it means for Canada and how the manufacturing sector can again become this country’s foremost economic driver. Along the way, he shares the behind-the-door dealings with GM, Ford, Air Canada and others, explaining the controversial agreements he reached over his decades as Canada’s chief labour leader. Laying It on the Line is a timely call to arms for industry, governments and indeed all Canadians.

About the Author:

Buzz Hargrove was the national president of the CAW from 1992 until his retirement in September 2008. Born and raised in Bath, New Brunswick, the former Windsor, Ontario, autoworker, along with UAW Canadian Director Bob White, helped found the CAW. A former VP of the executive committee of the Canadian Labour Congress, Hargrove has also written an autobiography entitled Labour of Love. Named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2008, Hargrove is a member of the NHLPA’s advisory board, a Distinguished visiting Professor at Ryerson University and the co-host of BNN’s Buzz Cuts. He lives outside of Toronto.


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Date posted: 
Monday, November 2, 2009