News Briefs (April 8, 2002)

By
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/14/2002

FIRST NATIONS ANTI-LABOUR?

Regina

— The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) wants to create its own labour code that would apply in Native-owned organizations and other First Nation institutions. The Assembly of First Nations claims Native bands have a right to conduct labour relations without government interference. But the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour says the FSIN is only interested in keeping unions out of its workplaces. The FSIN claims non-First Nation unions create adversarial relationships with employers that contrast with their “conciliatory manner of dealing with issues.”

EMPLOYER JAILED FOR HEALTH & SAFETY VIOLATION

Toronto

— For the first time in Ontario a corporate officer will serve jail time for health and safety violations. The case involves an underage worker who suffered serious injuries while dismantling a carnival ride. The officer was sentenced to 45 days in prison and the corporation was fined $75,000. On three other occasions Ontario courts have handed down jail terms, but previous convictions were for supervisors rather than corporate officers. The case shows Ontario’s Ministry of Labour plans to get tough with employers, says employment law firm, Stringer Brisbin Humphrey.

BUILDING A BETTER CUBICLE

Ottawa

— Office cubicles are under scrutiny by the National Research Council (NRC). NRC is using a team of physicists, engineers, psychologists and architects to study office workspaces — measuring factors such as noise, air quality, drafts, lighting and temperature. Researchers have already visited more than 400 cubicles and interviewed occupants about the satisfaction of their workspaces. They have also created a mock office space to experiment with varied levels of lighting, temperature and noise. With this data, NRC will be looking for ways to modify and improve cubicles and will report findings next year.

PHOTOCOPY RAGE

Toronto

— With much attention given to road rage, there’s another type of rage emerging in the workplace — photocopy rage. It seems today’s high-tech photocopiers are causing more than one in 10 Canadians (12 per cent) to kick or hit the machines out of frustration, according to a new report released by Ipsos-Reid and Hewlett Packard. Another 30 per cent admitted coming close to abusing their office photocopier but managed to show some restraint. Women (48 per cent) are more likely than men (37 per cent) to say they have hit or thought of attacking the machine. Provincially, Alberta tops the list with the highest occurrence of photocopy rage at 17 per cent, Atlantic Canada follows closely behind with 15 per cent.

VALUING UNPAID WORK

Quebec City

— The Quebec provincial police have hit on an unusual recruiting strategy. La Sûreté du Québec is looking for someone to fill a civilian desk job, and applicants without the required high-school qualifications can substitute two years of unpaid work, including housework, for each year of missed schooling. Responses ranged from praise from non-profit groups that lobby for so-called invisible workers who take care of children or ailing parents, to accusations the government is trying to score political points. However, the government pointed out it has had a policy of recognizing unpaid work since the ’80s, but with few job competitions throughout the last decade the policy was mostly forgotten.

ALBERTA UPS HEALTH PREMIUMS 30 PER CENT

Edmonton

— Protest over health-care premiums by small businesses didn’t stop Alberta’s government from boosting premiums by 30 per cent in its late-March budget. That could cost families $240 more a year, but this tax will likely fall on the shoulders of many employers that pay these premiums for employees. For a more in-depth look, click on link below.

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