HRPAO, Ottawa team up
— The federal government is giving $840,000 to the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario to produce a new online instructional program to help non-HR professionals in small- and medium-sized businesses design and implement good HR management practices. Designed by HRPAO, the program will help users understand the importance of good HR practices, including work-life balance and employment legislation, as well as best practices in recruitment, selection, orientation, training and retention.
Wal-Mart closes unionized store
— Wal-Mart Canada announced it will close its Jonquiere, Que., location — one of only two North American outlets with union certification — because of “business reasons.” The company denies the closure, which comes after nine days of talks to reach a first contract, has anything to do with union-busting. A second Quebec store in Saint Hyacinthe was certified in January and is scheduled to start talks soon.
Temps paid 16% less than full-timers
— One-fifth of all new paid jobs created between 1997 and 2003 were temporary. And people in those temporary jobs are paid less than people doing the same work but in a permanent position, according to a new study from Statistics Canada, “Earnings of Temporary Versus Permanent Employees.” In 2003, temp workers earned 16 per cent less per hour than their permanent counterparts. Contract employees earned an average of eight per cent less than their permanent counterparts in 2003. Seasonal workers earned 28 per cent less than their permanent counterparts.
B.C. adds education funding
— British Columbia schools are getting another $150 million to put towards libraries, special needs and music and arts programs. The funding may placate education critics who have complained governments across Canada are unwisely chopping arts programs that develop balanced individuals. B.C.’s governing Liberals may have seen the light; then again it’s election time.
Cautious recruiters taking their time
— Fearful of bad hires, many organizations are taking more time to recruit, according to a study by human resources firm DBM. Unemployed Canadians found work in an average of 3.6 months in 2004, up from just 2.5 months in 2003. DBM predicts it’ll take even longer in 2005. “The need for soft skills is growing in significance and is resulting in more organizations turning to behavioural interviewing to ensure that new recruits will fit into their workplace culture,” said DBM consultant Terry Lende.
Unions stress cancer prevention
— The Canadian Labour Congress has launched an initiative to reduce work-related cancers. An information kit informs workers about cancer-causing materials on the job and a step-by-step plan to help workers build their own workplace campaign to reduce the risk of exposure to carcinogens. Most government campaigns focus on preventing people from dying of cancer rather than preventing them from getting it in the first place, says CLC executive vice-president Marie Clarke Walker.
Alta. upping min. wage
— Alberta has announced its intention to increase the minimum wage, from $5.90 an hour to $7. This increase of 18 per cent is the first time the minimum wage has been raised since 1998-1999.