Phased-retirement program for N.B. nurses
— In an effort to retain nurses whose pending retirements will add to shortages, New Brunswick has introduced a phased-retirement program. Starting in January 2004, eligible hospital nurses can halve their work hours and then access their pensions to supplement their income. The program will necessitate an increase of 0.1 per cent in the pension contribution rates for both the employer and employees.
Zero tolerance for sex with patients upheld
— An Ontario court has denied a challenge to a provincial law that removes the licence of health-care workers who have sex with their patients. A physician who lost his licence argued the policy was too broad and his Charter rights were being violated. The court said the policy is warranted to safeguard patients.
Many disabled workers can’t afford prescriptions
— A study by the Canadian Council on Social Development says 20 per cent of working-age men with a disability and 12 per cent of disabled women have trouble affording drugs that would enable them to perform and hold jobs. Researcher Gail Fawcett said government-funded pharmacare programs are needed to help people with disabilities who work in low-paying jobs with no benefits. Only 41 per cent of people with a disability are working.
It’s more competitive out there
— Competition among co-workers has risen during the last 10 years, most executives responding to a survey by staffing firm Accountemps reported. Forty-five per cent of 100 Canadian executives from large firms said the workplace is somewhat more competitive and 15 per cent said it is significantly more competitive. Eighteen per cent reported no change and 22 per cent said it’s less competitive.
Sharing management development tips
— Nova Scotia’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is giving the public online access to its business management and economic development library materials. The site www.gov.ns.ca/nsaf/
bmed/lib/ allows users to search for information on succession planning, operations and business management.
Health-care danger pay
— Registered Nurses Association of Ontario president Doris Grinspun said she’s disappointed the provincial government isn’t providing danger pay to nurses on the front lines of the SARS outbreak. Nurses are risking their health and that of their families, she said. Dozens have contracted SARS and hundreds have been quarantined.
— Workers lost the equivalent of 3.6 per cent of their work week last year due to personal illness or family responsibilities, according to Statistics Canada’s latest numbers on work absences. On average, each full-time worker missed nine days for personal reasons during the year, about 7.3 for illness or disability and 1.7 for personal or family demands. And women missed on average 2.5 days more than men. By sector, the most work days missed were by employees in health care or social insurance (13.4 days).
Ottawa’s exclusionary hiring questioned
— The federal government has been criticized for hiring practices that exclude white Canadians. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans posted a job opening for a regional director of communications for its Pacific regional headquarters, but the position was only open to people “who are members of visible minority groups.” The public service commission said the majority of job postings are open to all Canadians but hiring managers have the right to designate certain jobs for visible minorities.