NEWS BRIEFS (Nov. 20, 2000)

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

DOCTORS FLAUNT JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Fredericton — New Brunswick doctors, fed up with working conditions and remuneration, closed their offices for a day in October and headed to the provincial capital to take in a job fair. Headhunters from the United States, as well as other parts of Canada, were staffing booths and passing out pamphlets extolling the advantages of taking higher-paying, less-demanding posts outside the province. The New Brunswick Medical Society is in negotiations with the province for a new fee schedule.

WELLNESS WEEK

Toronto — A national Healthy Workplace Week will debut in Oct. 2001. With forecasts of depression, stress and anxiety becoming the leading cause of disability in the workplace over the next 20 years, and with absenteeism now costing Canadian companies $20-billion a year, firms will be encouraged to adopt comprehensive wellness programs to solve these problems. For more information visit www.healthandwork.com.

ANOTHER PENSION SURPLUS CHALLENGE

Toronto — Former Royal Trust employees are fighting the Royal Bank for a $150-million pension surplus. A surplus amount, determined through actuarial calculations above and beyond required payouts to members, is typically a result of investments performing better than expected. The group charges the bank with using the surplus to fund its contributions to the plan as an employer. In another case, former employees of Eaton’s won a claim potentially worth more than $30 million for discount purchases at Eaton’s stores, a benefit lost when the firm went into bankruptcy.

TEACHERS WANTED

Ottawa — School boards across the country are feeling the pinch of a national teacher shortage. A recent survey found more than 51 per cent of school boards are finding it increasingly difficult to attract qualified candidates. The problem is more severe in rural areas. The Canadian Teachers’ Federation, who conducted the study, is calling for an increase in the number of spaces available in teacher training institutions and an increased investment in public education resources. Retirement, an increase in the number of students with special needs, and fewer teacher graduates are cited as contributing to the shortage.

FORE! MORE LAWSUITS ON THE GREENS

New York — Employers who subsidize golf memberships or pay golf expenses for employees or clients may want to check their liability insurance since the number of lawsuits originating on the greens has increased sharply over the past five years. According to Buck Consultants, the number of golfer-to-golfer lawsuits has increased, in part due to the “grip it and rip it” technique leading to errant shots.

SLEEP-STARVED STAFF SHOULDN’T DRIVE

Sydney, Australia — A new study out of the University of New South Wales has concluded that being awake for 17 to 19 hours roughly equates to a blood alcohol level of .05. The study looked at the effects of fatigue on performance including cognitive and motor speed, accuracy, co-ordination and attention, and found reaction time was as much as 50 per cent worse among people affected by sleep deprivation than those affected by alcohol.

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