News briefs (March 24, 2003)

New Brunwick targets former residents to fill jobs • HR intranet popularity grows • Smoke-free Ontario? • Losing strike rights • Addiction problems in manufacturing • We'll decide who gets EI, thanks
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/04/2003

New Brunswick targets former residents to fill jobs


— New Brunswick has launched a Web site to encourage skilled former residents to return, as well as connect current citizens with employers. The site,, includes job postings, cost-of-living comparisons and information on health services, education and recreation. The province is a leader in job creation and needs skilled workers to continue growth, said Premier Bernard Lord.

HR intranet popularity grows


— While more than two-thirds of Canadian employers are using a corporate intranet to communicate with employees, just 19 per cent are strongly satisfied with the results and 57 per cent somewhat satisfied, according to a survey of 303 companies conducted by Aon consulting. But the popularity of intranets continues to grow — one-half of those without an intranet say they will have one in the next 18 months. Providing current information was cited as the primary reason for getting an intranet and systems continue to evolve to offer more self-service options.

Smoke-free Ontario?


— The Ontario Medical Association says smoking should be banned in all workplaces and rather than waiting for local governments to do it, the province should enact legislation. “Ontario is a patchwork of regulations and various levels of protection, under which some members of the public and employees receive full protection from second-hand smoke while many others receive little or none,” the OMA stated.

Losing strike rights


— Alberta is expected to introduce legislation that will take the right to strike away from thousands of public health-care employees later this spring, according to a report in the Edmonton Journal. Under the Hospital Act, employees working in a hospital are deemed an essential service, so they can’t legally strike. Workers in settings such as clinics, home care and long-term care, who have had the right to strike, will now also be designated as an essential service.

Addiction problems in manufacturing


— Employees in the manufacturing sector are showing alcohol and drug addiction rates nearly twice the national norm, according to a study of employee assistance plan utilization rates by EAP provider Warren Shepell Consultants Corp. In 2002, 2.14 per cent of manufacturing employees turned to an EAP for assistance with alcohol problems, and 0.87 per cent turned to an EAP for assistance with drug addiction, compared to national norms of 1.33 per cent and 0.65 per cent respectively.

We'll decide who gets EI, thanks


— The federal government has rejected a recommendation from the International Monetary Fund to change Canada’s Employment Insurance program to encourage labour mobility, according to a report in the

Ottawa Citizen

. “The larger benefits paid in high-unemployment regions seemed likely to discourage labour mobility…and the use of EI premiums to fund training and other programs also boosted the overall level of payroll taxes and discouraged employment,” IMF officials stated.

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