October 12, 2009

October 12, 2009

Hotel Workers: Can They Aspire to Live the Canadian Dream?

The Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources and the Martin Prosperity Institute are sponsoring a Seminar Series on Service Class Work. The first in the series is, Hotel Workers: Can They Aspire to Live the Canadian Dream?Low-wage service class workers are to our economy what factory workers were to the manufacturing economy. Are these jobs destined to be dead-end, bad jobs for ever or are there ways to turn them into “good” jobs? This seminar series is devoted to research and field reports on improving the quality of these jobs. Speakers: Paul Clifford, President, UNITE-HERE Local 75 and Janet Dassinger, Training Coordinator, UNITE-HERE Local 75. Date: Wednesday October 21, 2009 from 11:30 am to 1:00 p.m. Place: Room Room 205 Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources 121 St. George Street.

Seminar announcement (1 page, PDF)


Summit on Transforming Service Jobs

Anil Verma, the CIRHR Interim Director, will be guest speaker at Strength in Services: A Summit on Transforming Service Jobs moderated by Steve Paikin, host of TVO's The Agenda, Monday November 16, 2009, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Toronto Reference Library,
Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, 2nd Floor 789 Yonge Street, Toronto Ontario, Canada.

Register at the Rotman events site: Events are listed by date. To register please scroll down to November 16th and select the event by marking the box on the right side and then press the Next button


Precarious Work the Norm, Not the Exception

The CAW has found that “a growing number of Canadians are finding work in jobs that are considered precarious and that provide less than a decent standard of living.” CAW President, Ken Lewenza notes that precarious work, which is characterized by temporary, contract or part-time job opportunities, usually offering below average wages, few benefits, if any, and little protection under labor laws, is becoming the norm in Canada. 
Having just celebrated the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW) on October 7, 2009, it is clear this concern for decent work is shared by labour union leaders around the world. WDDW is described as “a day devoted to highlighting the need for good jobs that enable individuals to meet their basic needs and that promote freedom, equity, security and human dignity,”

CAW Article, October 7, 2009

World Day for Decent Work (WDDW) website


Photos of Holland Marsh Farm Workers

Globe and Mail, October 10, 2009: Ontario's Marsh Muckers: The community of people - affectionately known as Marsh Muckers - who live and work amidst the black soil of Ontario's fertile valley known as The Holland Marsh”


Ontario Truck Driver Fined for Smoking in the Workplace

A truck driver was fined under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, while driving in Ontario. The Act prohibits smoking in enclosed workplaces including bars and restaurants. But the question arises whether the trucker was federally or provincially regulated as the legislation applies only to trucking companies doing business in Ontario, not to trucking companies that travel throughout Canada and the United States.

CBC News, October 8, 2009: Fine reveals smoking laws hazy for truckers


Nortel Pensioners Protest

Pensioners and former Nortel employees rallied at Queen's Park in Toronto for changes to the Canada’s and Ontario’s bankruptcy system. The rally focused on the issue of the loss of pensions, severance pay and benefits as Nortel goes into bankruptcy. In Quebec, the government is offering to help Nortel retirees who are facing a shortfall in their pension funding by giving management of the Nortel’s pension plan to the pension regulator, Régie des rentes du Québec.Canadian Business Online features a look at entrepreneurial ventures by laid off Nortel tech staff.

CAW website, October 8, 2009: Nortel Pensioners and Employees Demand Government Action,

Toronto Star, October 7, 2009: Nortel pensioners protest pay loss as 'corpse being cut up'

Globe and Mail, October 7, 2009: Quebec acts to aid retirees: Move would help 6,000 plan members

Canadian Business Online, September 28, 2009: Tech workers: Shrinking legacy -- Ottawa's tech workers are forced to reinvent themselves


Solutions for Canadian Pension Plan Reform

A report released recently by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives outlines some of the problems with Canada’s pension system, while also examining some of the options proposed to deal with them. Some solutions examined are suggested to be phased in over a longer period of time, while others can be implemented quickly to ease the current crisis. 
This is the first in a series of reports that are to be released by CCPA regarding pension reform.

Press Release, October 8, 2009

Report, October 2009 (9 pages, PDF)


Canada's Top 100 Employers : Why You Want to Work Here!

Canada's Top 100 Employers is a national competition determining which employers lead their industries in offering exceptional workplaces for their employees. Employers are evaluated using eight criteria: physical workplace; work atmosphere and social; health, financial and family benefits; vacation and time off; employee communications; performance management; training and skills development; and community involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.

Full list of winners, October 2009 - click on name for highlights of why the company was chosen – also click on the tabs at top for further information: Key Info -- Perks & Benefits -- New Grads -- Map. For full coverage check back on the website October 21, 2009 (in the meantime Maclean’s and the Globe and Mail have run feature stories.

Maclean’s .ca, October 1, 2009: “A Maclean's special report - Canada's top 100 employers. These are the employers who know what it takes to get the best and brightest workers in Canada. Want a job that goes out of its way to make you happy? You've come to the right place.”

Globe and Mail, October 9, 2009: Top 100 Employers: Polish your resumes - here are Canada's best places to work, by Diane Jermyn

Articles from the Globe and Mail, October 9, 2009 on the Top 100 Employers:

Strategy: How to create the right culture -- HR experts give tips on improving your lot as an employer, by Diane Jermyn – featuring CIRHR Alumni Bernadette Lonergan, HR director for FUSE Marketing Group, recently named one of Canada's top 50 best small and medium employers

SaskTel (Regina): Employees make gains through volunteering -- Giving back becomes an integral part of the workplace, by Theresa Ebden

Next Level Games Inc.: Career satisfaction - and a life -- In a business known for its long hours and frat-house feel, one video-gaming firm has introduced 40-hour weeks, top-notch health plans and generous maternity leave. What in the name of Pac-Man is going on here?, by Mary Gooderham

Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd.: Dairy workers share the bounty -- When targets are met, employees deserve to get bonuses, CEO says, by Theresa Ebden

Golder Associates Ltd.: Workplace learning shortens the career ladder -- Employer offers in-house courses on everything from the company's corporate culture and health-and-safety tenets to accounting systems, by Mary Gooderham

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts: Travel, glitzy openings often just part of this job -- Hotelier sends employees to assist with openings at glamorous locations, by Theresa Ebden


Avatar Dress Code

“Avatars are creeping into business environments and will have far reaching implications for enterprises, from policy to dress code, behavior and computing platform requirements, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner predicts that by year-end 2013, 70 percent of enterprises will have behavior guidelines and dress codes established for all employees who have avatars associated with the enterprise inside a virtual environment.” (from Gartner press release)

Wall Street Journal Blog, October 9, 2009: Your Second Life Avatar Is Dressed Inappropriately -- Don’t show up to your company’s virtual meeting wearing a tail. And by all means, do not come dressed as a goblin, by Marisa Taylor

Press release, October 7, 2009: Gartner has identified six tactical guidelines that organizations can follow to make the best use of avatars in the business environment


Immigrant Children University Enrollment Higher than Non-immigrant Children

A recent Globe and Mail article discusses the current trend of immigrant children exceeding the rate of non-immigrant children attending Canadian university campuses. Using data collected from Statistics Canada’s Youth in Transition Survey, these findings offer insight into the importance of social factors when making decisions about education.

Globe and Mail, October 13, 2009: If you’re a new Canadian, ‘you go to university,’ by Elizabeth Church

Youth in Transition Survey, July 2009


Canada Falling Behind in Social Innovation Practices

The Canadian Policy Research Networks has released a report titled, Social Innovation in Canada: An Update. The report highlights social challenges that are considered urgent – such as climate change, sustainability, poverty, and globalization –while pointing to the importance of social innovation as a solution. Findings in this report note that Canada has fallen behind other countries, such as Australia and the UK, in recognizing the value of social innovation in addressing public policy issues and missing opportunities to encourage SI development. 
This report is an update of the study Social Innovation in Canada – How the non-profit sector serves Canadians…and how it can serve them better, released by CPRN five years ago.

Press Release, October 8, 2009

Report, September 2009 (68 pages, PDF)

Report, November 2004 (55 pages, PDF)


Shared Nobel Prize in Economics

“The Nobel judges, in their description of Mr. Williamson’s and Ms. Ostrom’s achievement, said that “economic science” should extend beyond market theory and into actual behavior, and the two award winners, in their empirical work, had achieved this. Summarizing their findings, the award announcement said: “Rules that are imposed from the outside or unilaterally dictated by powerful insiders have less legitimacy and are more likely to be violated. Likewise, monitoring and enforcement work better when conducted by insiders than by outsiders. These principles are in stark contrast to the common view that monitoring and sanctions are the responsibility of the state and should be conducted by public employees.”

New York Times, October 12, 2009: Two Americans Are Awarded Nobel in Economics


Book of the Week

The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business, by Nelson Lichtenstein. New York : Metropolitan Books, 2009. 311 p. ISBN 978-0-8050-7966-1

In this lively, probing investigation, historian Nelson Lichtenstein deepens and expands our knowledge of the merchandising giant. He shows that Wal-Mart’s rise was closely linked to the cultural and religious values of Bible Belt America as well as to the imperial politics, deregulatory economics, and laissez-faire globalization of Ronald Reagan and his heirs. He explains how the company’s success has transformed American politics, and he anticipates a day of reckoning, when challenges to the Wal-Mart way, at home and abroad, are likely to change the far-flung empire.

About the Author: Nelson Lichtenstein is one of the country’s leading experts on labor and politics and the editor of a much-cited collection of essays on Wal-Mart. A professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy, he is also the author of several highly regarded books on American history, including the award-winning Walter Reuther: The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit.


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

Date posted: 
Monday, October 12, 2009