News Briefs: March 25, 2002

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|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/24/2002

UNION WANTS BACK PAY FOR FORMER EMPLOYEES

Halifax

— The Nova Scotia government is looking at giving provincial civil servants two years of back pay but the union wants the deal to include employees who have left public service. According to the union, there are as many as 300 former employees who left the government since the contract expired two years ago and they should also receive some portion of the raises being proposed but the government is balking at giving former employees retroactive raises. Retirees would be hardest hit by foregone raises since pensions are based on earnings during their last year of employment.

IMMIGRATION LAW IN FLUX

Ottawa

— Bowing to a wave of complaints from critics, Immigration Minister Denis Coderre announced the government would postpone controversial changes to immigration policy and will review some of the proposals that could, critics charge, effectively bar from the country much-needed skilled labour. Immigration laws are being significantly overhauled but new education requirements could keep skilled and blue-collar labour out of Canada. The government has given itself an extra six months to review the rules. Stay tuned to www.hrreporter.com for updates.

ONTARIO, QUEBEC IN LABOUR WAR

Toronto

— The government of Ontario announced last month that it will follow through with a promise to bar Quebec construction workers from jobs in Ontario after Quebec refused to make it easier for Ontario construction workers to work in Quebec. The move could affect as many as 5,000 Quebecers who work in Ontario. The tit-for-tat battle comes at a time when restrictions on labour mobility across provinces is often cited as a complicating factor in labour shortages. Toronto homebuilders recently had to bring in 500 workers from overseas to meet a need for skilled labour.

TOO MUCH RHETORIC?

Vancouver

— A B.C. teachers’ union leader landed in hot water recently after comparing school trustees and administrators to Nazis. In an e-mail to other local presidents, Kit Krieger blamed educational employers and principals for creating a crisis in public education and now, like some “SS and Gestapo officers,” they are trying to portray themselves as victims rather than perpetrators. B.C. teacher unions are upset that principal and trustee associations supported changes the government made to the teachers’ contract in the province.

NEW CORPORATE UNIVERSITY

Abbotsford, B.C.

— In an effort to improve the supply of skilled workers, Envision Credit Union has launched a new corporate university. And while there are an estimated 35 corporate universities in Canada now, Envision U is one of the first in Canada that will allow workers to receive post-secondary credit for on-the-job training. The credit union, the fourth largest in Canada, has partnered with Kwantlen University College and the University of Phoenix and earlier this month had more than 700 employees complete academic credit assessments. Employees will now be able to decide what field they want to work in, and then pursue the education to enter that field.

DRUNK BUS DRIVER PROMPTS HIRING REVIEW

Calgary

— Busing firm Southland Transportation is considering implementing drug and alcohol testing, as well as reviewing its hiring process, after a newly hired driver was allegedly found to be three times over the legal blood-alcohol content level while driving children home from a charter school. The driver told a local newspaper he had been convicted of drunk driving in the past. Three students on the bus are being credited with alerting police about the incident. The driver has been fired and is facing charges.

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