News briefs (June 4, 2001)

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|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LEGAL HOTBED

Toronto — With the technology industry expected to continue its soaring growth throughout the next decade, nearly half of lawyers in a recent survey said they believe intellectual property will be the hottest practice area in the next 10 years. In a poll of 100 lawyers among Canada’s largest firms, conducted by legal staffing firm The Affiliates, 48 per cent said intellectual property will be the hottest area. That’s triple the second most common opinion, held by 16 per cent of lawyers who answered corporate transactional law. Five per cent said employment law.

PRIVATE VS. PUBLIC EDUCATION IN ONT.

Toronto — Ontario’s new plan to give tax credits of $3,500 per child to parents who send offspring to private schools is a threat to public education, said Liz Sandals, president of the Ontario School Boards Association. The province is seeking more accountability from the public system in terms of hiring qualified teachers, administering curriculum and balancing budgets at the same time it is giving money to private schools accountable to no one, she said.

POLICE CHECKS ON CHURCH STAFF CALLED FOR IN U.K.

London — In response to cases of sexual abuse of children, a report commissioned by the U.K. Roman Catholic Church is recommending police checks for all prospective church employees and candidates for the priesthood. The report also states religious orders should create the position of child protection co-ordinator.

NUNAVUT CONSIDERS RIGHTS ACT

Iqaluit — Nunavut is drafting a human rights act and will hold consultations throughout the territory. Currently Nunavut and the Northwest Territories rely on federal legislation.

ALBERTA NEAR FULL EMPLOYMENT

Edmonton — If North America is in an economic downturn, you’ll have trouble finding any signs of it in booming Alberta. Statistics Canada reports 11,000 new jobs were created in April, unemployment is at 4.8 per cent and the future looks rosy. Economists fear the province is so close to full employment that labour shortages will become acute.

U.S. JOB SEEKERS FLUNKING READING, MATH

New York —- More than a third of Americans applying for jobs last year lacked the necessary work-related reading and math skills, according to an American Management Association survey. These basic skills include the ability to read instructions, write reports and do arithmetic at a level adequate to perform common workplace tasks. Of the 1,627 firms surveyed, 85 per cent said they do not hire applicants who lack these skills, while seven per cent said they do and offer remedial training. But the survey also found that fewer companies are testing for these skills. “Corporate America needs an educated, literate workforce, whether the economy is expanding or contracting,” said the AMA’s Ellen Bayer.

FORCED RETIREMENT QUESTIONED

Toronto, Vancouver — Ontario legislation regarding retirement at age 65 has come under fire from the head of the province’s human rights commission. “It’s discriminatory, just as discriminatory to require people at 35 to retire arbitrarily,” said chief commissioner Keith Norton, in handing down his annual report. While mandatory retirement is not enshrined in Ontario law, the wording of the Human Rights Code allows this discrimination and should be changed, he said. Mandatory retirement is usually written into collective agreements and corporate policies. In British Columbia, mandatory retirement at 65 recently caused Alan Tully, dean of arts at the University of British Columbia, to leave for an academic position in Texas.

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