News briefs (Oct. 7, 2002)

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

Government's image hurting recruitment

Ottawa

— The public service has an image problem and is facing a challenge in recruiting talent to its ranks, according to the Conference Board of Canada study. Sixty-four per cent of all responding federal, provincial and municipal government organizations report shortages. Almost eight in 10 predict they will continue to be understaffed in the next three to five years. The skill shortages are particularly acute in professional, technical and scientific positions. The average age of government employees is 43.5 years. If current retirement trends continue in the public service, 44 per cent of today’s employees will be in a position to retire by 2010.

Outsourcing pension management

Calgary

— Management of one of the country’s largest private pension funds is being outsourced. Canadian Pacific Railway announced last month that it wants “to focus on its core business activity of providing rail service” and therefore the management of equity and bond portfolios in its defined benefit pension fund will be taken over by external fund managers. Previously the assets were managed by a wholly owned subsidiary of CPR. The plan has assets of approximately $5.3 billion.

Variable pay in union shops

Ottawa

— Union workers should have part of their pay package tied to the performance of the company, Darren Entwhistle, CEO of Telus recently told a meeting of British Columbia business leaders. The telecommunications firm is in negotiations to hammer out a new contract for its 15,800 employees. “To use seniority as the sole basis for rewarding and promoting team members does a disservice to Telus, our employees and our customers.” Though it is still the exception rather than the rule, more than 30 per cent of unionized workplaces have variable pay plans, according to a study by the Conference Board of Canada,

Variable pay in unionized environments.

E-learning for people with disabilities

Edmonton

– The federal government has committed more than $1 million for the creation of an e-learning program for people with disabilities. The project, being developed by a consortium led by Edmonton’s Canadian Learning Television, will tailor existing educational material available over the Internet to meet the needs of people with disabilities. This includes larger type for people with vision problems and translating audio into written captions for students with hearing impairments. The project will work to create programs for schools and workplaces.

Equity call in telecommunications

Toronto

— Women are making progress but remain underrepresented, and underpaid, in the upper ranks of the communications sector, according to a survey by Canadian Women in Communications. Women make up about 46 per cent of the workforce, 43 per cent of middle management positions and only 19 per cent of executive jobs, up from 15 per cent in 1997. Men are 2.5 times as likely as women to make more than $100,000 a year and 1.75 times as likely to be making more than $85,000. The study examined the employment records of companies like BCE Inc., CanWest Global, Rogers and CHUM.

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