News briefs

HR Business knowledge still needs improving; More firms cutting pension benefits, regulator says; Immigrant minorities fare better than those born in Canada; Imposed contract challenged at ILO; B.C. sets aside $400 million for training and skills; Cutting red tape for human rights complaints
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|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/15/2006

HR Business knowledge still needs improving

Kingston, Ont. — Interviews with 17 Canadian CEOs conducted by the Industrial Relations Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., found most are satisfied with the overall performance of their HR departments. But they also expressed dissatisfaction with HR performance in a number of areas, including business knowledge, alignment of HR with strategy, communication, leadership and change management. Among the competencies CEOs feel HR needs to improve are leadership, communication and business knowledge. The survey was published in a discussion paper entitled

The CEOs Speak: What Makes an HR Star?

More firms cutting pension benefits, regulator says

Toronto — The federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, which regulates pension plans for 500,000 employees and retirees in federally regulated industries, reports that three-quarters of plans do not have enough assets to support benefits earned to date. It has also seen an increase in the number of companies asking approval to reduce pension benefits, with reductions in the range of 10 per cent.

Immigrant minorities fare better than those born in Canada

Ottawa — Visible minorities born in Canada face higher barriers to well-paying, secure jobs than recent immigrants, according to a Canadian Labour Congress study,

Racial Status and Employment Outcome

. Citing 2001 census data, the study said annual earnings for Canadian-born visible minorities lagged $3,000 behind earnings of immigrant visible minorities and $8,000 behind earnings for whites born in Canada. Unemployment rates were also higher for Canadian-born visible minorities than for other groups examined. The CLC says racial discrimination is behind this group’s poor employment outcomes, with one CLC official reportedly comparing this group with disaffected youth in France.

Imposed contract challenged at ILO

Quebec — Quebec’s public-sector workers, including the province’s Crown prosecutors, are filing complaints at the International Labour Organization in an attempt to overturn a collective agreement forced on them. Last December, the provincial Liberal government called Quebec’s National Assembly back for an emergency session and passed a bill imposing a seven-year contract on 500,000 public-sector workers. The bill allows for two-per-cent increases in the last four years of the contract, which expires in 2010.

B.C. sets aside $400 million for training and skills

Victoria — A labour shortage in the run-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics has prompted the British Columbia government to pledge $400 million to training and skills development. While unveiling her budget, B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor said the province will set aside $145 million to create 25,000 new post-secondary spaces by 2010 and $39 million to increase apprenticeship training. It will offer $90 million in tax credits to encourage employers in key industries such as mining and forestry to train workers. An endowment of $50 million will be set up to support research in science and engineering, and another $40 million will go toward a graduate program in digital media. B.C. led other provinces in employment growth last year and unemployment is at the lowest level in 30 years.

Cutting red tape for human rights complaints

TORONTO — The Ontario government has announced measures aimed at cutting down the backlog at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. A proposed model, which the government plans to introduce in the spring, would allow complainants to go directly to the tribunal. Currently, complaints have to be filed with the human rights commission, and its staff must investigate the claim before deciding whether the tribunal will hear it.

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