November 16, 2009

November 16, 2009

A Canadian Perspective on the Employee Free Choice Act

Not to be missed! A special Issue of Just Labour: a Canadian Journal of Work and Society on the U.S. Free Choice Act goes live tomorrow, November 18th, 2009 on the Centre for Research on Work and Society (CRWS), York University, website.


Debating the Service Economy

On TVO’s The Agenda, Steve Paiken hosted a debate on the service industry in Ontario. The question is: What can we do to foster a world class service culture and transform service jobs in Toronto and the Province of Ontario?

Richard Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, professor of business and creativity at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, founder of the Creative Class Group and author of Who's Your City
Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Local 1 Canada and the Canadian International Vice-President.
Catherine Swift, chairwoman, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
David Miller, the mayor of the City of Toronto.

Podcast, November 13, 2009: The Debate: At Your Service

Report Summary: Ontario’s Opportunities in the Creative Age, Martin Prosperity Institute, February 2009.


Precarious Employment

An article titled, Supersized and Precarious: The Service Class in Canada, in the current issue of the Martin Prosperity Institute Insights,” highlights the precarious nature of service work in Canada. Precarious occupations are those with limited job security, few employment benefits, a lack of control over the labour process, and very low wages.” (from: Martin Prosperity Institute Insights). Also featured are three working papers on the subject of service workers– one by the CIRHR Director Anil Verma.

Martin Prosperity Insights, November 16, 2009

Verma, A. (2009). Low Wage Service Workers: A Profile. Martin Prosperity Institute. Working Paper Series: Ontario in the Creative Age Ref. 2009-WPONT-016


Recession Eroding Union Bargaining Power

An article in The Globe and Mail takes a look at declining wages in recent collective bargaining settlements citing examples of concession bargaining and wage freezes – 19.6% of Canadian employees were subject to a wage freeze in the third quarter -- as representative of a very tough bargaining climate. The source of the data is the Workplace Bulletin, issued twice monthly by the Labour Program, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Workplace Bulletin, November 16, 2009

Globe and Mail, November 17, 2009: Slump hits Pay Raises: Increases were weakest in two years, suggesting the recession is eroding bargaining clout, by Tavia Grant

Take a look at the Collective Bargaining Information and Analysis webpage for all of the products and services available from the Labour Program. These include: wage adjustments; upcoming key negotiations; recently ratified collective agreements; a link to Negotech, a database with access to the full text of collective agreements; settlement summaries; collective agreement expiries and reopeners; negotiated benefits and working conditions; innovative workplace practices; strikes and lockouts in Canada; Directory of Labour Organizations in Canada; union membership in Canada.


Social Media the New Recruiting Tool

An article featured in The Globe and Mail discusses how social media has changed the face of recruitment, creating a more cost-effective and quick way of finding talent. The article underlines potential savings that accompany social media as a recruiting tool, noting that the cost of a newspaper ad can cost around $5,000, while Facebook and Twitter are…free. Similarly, the Harvard Business School Blog has discussed the changing face of recruitment as well, stating that social media can tap potential opportunities.

Globe and Mail, November 11, 2009: Tweet-Tweet: Want ads singing up a new tune, by Tavia Grant

Harvard Business School, September 25, 2009: How Twitter and Crowdsourcing Are Reshaping Recruiting.


The Cost of Conflict at Work

A study titled, The Interpersonal Cost of Power: Gender, Job Authority, and Relational Conflict at Work, by University of Toronto Sociology professor Scott Schieman and PhD student Sarah Reid, has found that the positive aspects of being a manager – higher pay and more engaging work, has its negative side in that those in authority also experience higher levels of psychological distress, anger and poor health. The study examines the association between job authority and three core forms of relational conflict in the workplace.

Allacademic Research website: The Interpersonal Cost of Power: Gender, Job Authority, and Relational Conflict at Work, by Scott Schieman and Sarah Reid (21 pages, HTML)

University of Toronto Bulletin, October 19, 2009: Power at work has payoffs, but not for health, by April Kemick


Selling Out: Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market

Howard Woodhouse, University of Saskatchewan professor and author of the recently released, Selling Out: Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market, comments on the market model of education in a recent article from the Toronto Star.

Toronto Star, November 15, 2009: Corporatized universities devalue education, by Howard Woodhouse


Global Perspective on Workplace Wellness

Buck Consultants has released its third annual global wellness survey titled, Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies. According to the survey improving productivity by keeping employees healthy and working is emerging as the top business objective for employer-sponsored wellness programs around the world. The two exceptions are the United States, where reducing health care cost increases continues to be the top goal, and Asia, where the most important objective is improving workforce morale.
The survey analyzed responses from more than 1,100 organizations representing 10 million employees in 45 countries. Five special country reports are also available for $175 each including: Brazil, Canada, Singapore, South Africa, and United Kingdom.

Press release, November 16, 2009(4 pages, PDF): Wellness Survey: Businesses Look to Wellness Programs to Improve Productivity and Lower Absenteeism; Stress Cited as Top Health Risk Driving Wellness

Benefits Canada, November 16, 2009: Stress cited as top global health risk

Buck Consultants is hosting two complimentary Webcasts on the survey results on November 18, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time and November 19, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Click here to register.

Only the 2008 survey is currently available free online see below:
WORKING WELL: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies, October 2008 (47 pages, PDF)


Slow Growth the new ‘norm’ in Canada

A recent report issued by the Toronto-Dominion Bank has painted a sobering account of Canada’s future prospects. With a focus on information and communication technology as well as a number of other industries, the report references the Council of Canadian Academies’ report titled, Innovation and Business Strategy: Why Canada Falls Short, which notes that slow growth will become the “normal” for post-recession Canada.

Report, TD Bank, November 10, 2009. A New Normal: Canada’s Potential Growth during Recovery and beyond (25 pages, PDF)

Globe and Mail, November 12, 2009: Advancing, Slowly

Full Report, The Council of Canadian Academies, April 2009(268 pages, PDF)

Abridged Report, The Council of Canadian Academies, April 2009 (28 pages, PDF)


The Stock Market Effect on Pension Funding

“What does the Pension Satellite Account tell about Canada’s pension system?” by Philip Cross and Joe Wilkinson looks at the recent growth and size of pension funds in Canada. Governments, employers and individuals have changed their pension investment behaviour in response to recent events -- higher contribution limits, the lifting of restrictions on the foreign content, and the volatility of asset prices (notably the stock market). How pension assets fit into the overall balance sheet of households and how that has influenced household investment, saving and spending is also examined.

Feature Article, Canadian Economic Observer, November 12, 2009


Canada’s Employment Downturn

The second feature article in the November issue of the Canadian Economic Observer titled, " Canada’s employment downturn October 2008 to October 2009," by J.Gilmore and S. Larochelle-Côté , provides a detailed review of the impacts of the downturn on Canada’s labour market over the past twelve months, since the employment peak of October 2008, and contrasts it with previous downturns.

Feature Article, Canadian Economic Observer, November 12, 2009 (scroll down to title of article)


Will ‘Buy American’ trump ‘Buy Canadian’?

A briefing paper released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives states that negotiations between Ottawa and Washington with regard to Buy American laws may permanently bind Canadian provincial and municipal governments under the WTO. The paper, titled Buy American Sell-out also notes how this decision could present the Canadian government from preferring local goods or suppliers, discussing the effects this will have not only on consumers, but Canadian businesses as well.

Press Release, November 10, 2009

Briefing Paper, November 2009 (9 pages, PDF)


Employment Law Challenges for Global Employers

A Conference Announcement from Cornell: Challenging Issues, Challenging Times: The Employment Law Horizons Facing Global Employers in 2010, is Co-Sponsored by the Cornell ILR School & Ius Laboris, the Global Alliance of Leading Employment Law Practices. Date: Thursday, December 3, 2009 Time: 8:00am – 5:00 pm Location: The Cornell Club, New York City.

Labor and Employment Law Program website


Book of the Week

Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, by Richard Florida. Canadian ed. Toronto : Vintage Canada, 2009. 392 p. ISBN 9780307356970 Who’s Your City website

Globalization is not flattening the world; on the contrary, the world is spiky. Place is becoming more relevant to the global economy and our individual lives. The choice of where to live, therefore, is not an arbitrary one. It is arguably the most important decision we make, as important as choosing a spouse or a career. In fact, place exerts powerful influence over the jobs and careers we have access to, the people meet and our “mating markets” and our ability to lead happy and fulfilled lives.

Who’s Your City? provides the first ever-rankings of cities by life-stage, rating the best places for singles, young families and empty-nesters. And it grounds its new ideas and data to provide an essential guide for the more than 40 million Americans and over 4 million Canadians who move each year. The book shows readers how to choose where to live, and what those choices mean for their lives, happiness and communities.

About the Author:

Florida is Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute and Professor of Business and Creativity at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.


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Editor: Vicki Skelton
Designer: Nick Strupat

Copyright © 2008 Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto. All rights reserved.

Date posted: 
Monday, November 16, 2009