November 23, 2009

November 23, 2009

Victory in Honduras for Labour Rights Activists

Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog features a guest blog by Kevin Thomas of the Toronto-based Maquila Solidarity Network. Kevin writes about a recent agreement between Russell Athletic and a union of recently laid off workers. According to the agreement Russell Athletic will be opening a new factory, re-hiring the workers, starting a joint union management training program on freedom of association, and committing to a neutral stance during future unionization attempts at its Honduran plants.

Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog: Guest Blog: Kevin Thomas on Historic Victory in Honduras for Labour Rights Activists, November 23, 2009

Chicago Tribune, November 18, 2009: Russell Athletic shifts course on Honduran workers after pressure from anti-sweatshop groups


Standard of Living is Down

According to an Economic Insight paper released by Dale Orr, “Canada’s standard of living fell by 4.3% from 2007 through 2009, comprised of a small decline in 2008 and a whopping 3.5% decline in 2009.” Orr forecasts a negative real GDP growth for this year.

Dale Orr Economic Insight, November 2009: The Impact of the Recession on Canadians’ Standard of Living (6 pages, PDF)

Globe and Mail, November 24, 2009: Living standards sink, report says: Canadian dollars: Study by Dale Orr Economic Insight shows standard of living down 4.3 per cent since 2007, by Julian Beltrame


The Peoples Response to the Economic Crisis

“A People's Response brings Canadians from all walks of life into the discussion about the current economic crisis and the future of our country. It's a way for busy but concerned people like you to make your voice heard and provide our governments with a better picture of the real effects of the recession on all of us. It’s also a way for us to ensure that our governments find solutions that work for everybody, every day. The People's Response is an initiative of the National Union of Public and General Employees and it's Component Unions.”

The People's Response website

The Next Economy: findings from the cross-Canada public sessions of Cut Me A Slice: a peoples response to the Economic Crisis, November 2009 (50 pages, PDF)


Strength in Services

Take a look at the Strength in Services website -- “Strength in Services is a Toronto-based partnership of the Martin Prosperity Institute, the City of Toronto, the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity, and the Intergovernmental Committee for Economic and Labour Force Development. “
“In November 2009, the Strength in Services partnership held a Summit where participants were challenged to think creatively about what can be done to foster a world class service culture and transform service jobs in Toronto, the region, and the Province of Ontario, with a diverse audience representing the service sector, public sector, private sector, and academia.”

Strength in Services Summit 2009

Selected Summit Presentations are available here 
Links to presentation currently available are posted below:

Getting to Work: Key Points, Issues and Demographics by Kevin Stolarick, Research Director, Martin Prosperity Institute (26 pages, PDF)

Training for the New Service Job by Barb Simmons, Director, Central Region, Employment Ontario, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (10 pages, PDF)

Hotel and Restaurants: Tapping into Employee Creativity Anna Chartres, Regional Director Human Resources, Fairmont Royal York (4 pages, PDF)


Job Stability in Manufacturing Hits Lowest Level in 27 Years

The November online issue of Perspectives on Labour and Income features a study titled “Job Stability and Unemployment Duration in Manufacturing.” According to the study, “in 2008, job stability in manufacturing was at its second-lowest level in 27 years, and stability rates between manufacturing and non-manufacturing have never differed so much. Manufacturing workers experienced significant drops in their stability rates regardless of tenure in the firm. The difference in unemployment duration between ex-workers in manufacturing and non-manufacturing has also never been so high.”

Highlights, November 23, 2009

Study, November 23, 2009 (10 pages, PDF)


Job Quality Lower for Recent Immigrants

Statistics Canada has released The 2008 Canadian Immigrant Labour Market: Analysis of Quality of Employment. According to the study key differences in indicators of quality of employment between immigrants and non-immigrants included lower wages for immigrant, but higher rates of involuntary part-time work, temporary employment and over-qualification. For immigrants who landed in Canada more than 10 years ago, the indicators of quality of employment more closely resembled those of the Canadian born.

This study is the fifth in The Immigrant Labour Force Analysis Series. The first two reports analyzed the 2006 labour market experiences of immigrants including analysis by province, sex, educational attainment and selected age groups. The third report updated many of these characteristics for 2007. The fourth report analyzed 2007 employment rates for immigrants based on where they obtained their highest postsecondary education.

Summary, November 23, 2009

Study, November 23, 2009 (41 pages, PDF)

Globe and Mail, November 24, 2009: Earnings gap a 'troubling' trend: Data show immigrants earn 9.6 per cent less than Canadian-born peers and the gap isn't closing over time, by Joe Friesen and Tavia Grant

Globe and Mail, November 23, 2009: Immigrants overqualified, earn less: A new study finds a bleak jobs picture for new Canadians, though the picture improves for those who have been here longer, By Tavia Grant


Women Leaving & Re-entering the Work Force

Catalyst has released a report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau which women leaving and re-entering the workforce. The paper notes that despite media reports that many women do not return to work following their maternity leave, the majority of women do return to work within the first year of having their child. The report also discusses statistics regarding stay-at-home mothers, noting that on average, these women are now younger, poorer, and less educated than other mothers.

“Quick Take” Report, November 2009 (6 Pages, PDF)


Compensation Outlook

The Conference Board of Canada has released Compensation Outlook 2010: Matching Strategy to the New Economic Reality in the form of Conference e-Proceedings.

This Conference e-Proceeding presents the Conference Board’s annual economic forecast, the annual compensation survey and HR trends perspective, and innovative HR strategies to deal with the times, maintain competitiveness, and plan for future success. Priorities have changed over the last 12 months, as organizations re-examine all operations with an eye to increasing efficiency. Now more than ever, concise, current, independent, and practical compensation information is critical to developing an effective HR strategy.

This Conference e-Proceeding is available to the University of Toronto community by creating or opening your Conference Board of Canada e-Library account and using the search box to find the title you want.


Policy on Alcohol and Drug Testing

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has revised its Policy on Alcohol and Drug Testing. “Drug and alcohol testing is prima facie discriminatory under Canadian human rights law. Nevertheless, employers can justify discriminatory practices and rules if they are a bona fide occupational requirement (BFOR).” The document cites key case law decisions on alcohol and drug testing in the workplace.

CHRC, November 24, 2009: Canadian Human Rights Commission’s Policy on Alcohol and Drug Testing October 2009(17 pages, PDF)


New Ivey Business Journal Issue Available

The Ivey Business Journal has released their new issue focusing on volatility. The November/December discusses volatility as a phenomenon that is here to stay – and while it may bring high levels of uncertainty and instability into the workplace, it can surely be managed. This issue examines the practices and preparations that can reduce an organization’s exposure to volatility through the proper deployment of certain tactics and strategies. 
An article featured in the journal this month is John A. Caslione’s Chaotics: Leading, Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence, which discusses the need to implement a strategic framework within the workplace that manages vulnerability and opportunity, rather than a separate strategy for each.

For Caslione’s full article, click here.

Full November/December Issue


Generational War or Peace?

The Conference Board of Canada has released the publication CanCompete: Winning the “Generation Wars”—Making the Most of Generational Differences and Similarities in the Workplace. The paper examines how generational differences and similarities in the workplace may affect organizational performance, and provides employers with advice on maximizing the effectiveness of a multigenerational workforce. The report’s findings are based on a review of literature on generations in the workplace combined with the Conference Board’s 2009 National Survey on Generations in the Workplace which surveyed over 900 Canadian workers—including “Boomers” aged 45–64, “Gen Xers” aged 30–44, and “Gen Yers” aged 18–29.

Report, November 2009 (76 pages, PDF). This publication is available to the University of Toronto community by creating or opening your Conference Board of Canada e-Library account and using the search box to find the title you want.


Immigrant Friendly Business Practices

The Conference Board of Canada has released a publication titled, Can Compete: Immigrant-Friendly Businesses—Effective Practices for Attracting, Integrating, and Retaining Immigrants in Canadian Workplaces Report. The paper states that businesses can attract, integrate, and retain immigrant talent by expanding their recruitment methods, offering bridging and mentoring programs, providing language and communication skills training, and promoting cultural awareness in the workplace.

Report, November 2009 (62 pages, PDF). This publication is available to the University of Toronto community by creating or opening your Conference Board of Canada e-Library account and using the search box to find the title you want.


Shortages in Early Childhood Education and Care Addressed

A number of reports have been released from the Child Care Human Resources Sector Council’s Understanding and Addressing Workforce Shortages in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Project. The reports include:Estimates of Workforce ShortagesRecruitment and Retention Challenges and Strategies; Literature Review of Socioeconomic Effects and Net BenefitsLiterature Review of the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Labour Market:

Links to reports are available at: Understanding and Addressing Workforce Shortages in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC Project (2009)


Navigating Through the Recovery

The Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress reaffirmed that Ontario's economy is one of the world's most successful when compared to similar regions outside North America. Ontario's Gross Domestic Product per capita ranks sixth among a peer group of 14 prosperous international regions. But among a similar set of 16 North American jurisdictions Ontario continues to trail. This gap represents lost prosperity, which negatively affects Ontarians at all income levels.

Report, November 23, 2009 (76 pages, PDF)

Navigating through the recovery Annual Report 8 - November 2009 website


DVD of the Week

Manufactured Landscapes (DVD, 90 min.), directed by Jennifer Baichwal ; produced by Nick de Pencier, Daniel Iron, Jennifer Baichwal. Toronto : Mongrel Media, 2006.

For almost three decades, internationally renowned Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky has been creating large scale photographs of landscapes transformed by industry: quarries, scrap heaps, factories, recycling yards, dams.Manufactured Landscapes follows Burtynsky to China as he travels the country capturing the evidence and effects of China's massive industrial revolution. Rarely witnessed sites such as the Three Gorges Dam (50% larger than any other dam in the world), the interior of a factory which produces 20 million irons a year, and the breathtaking scale of Shanghai's urban renewal are subjects for his lens and our motion picture camera. .


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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 23, 2009