More moms at work in Quebec
Ottawa — Women with children under six are dropping out of the workforce in the Prairies, bringing their participation rate to 64.9 per cent in 2005, 10 percentage points below participation rates in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. According to Statistics Canada, the slowdown in workforce participation in the West accompanied the highest birth rates in the country, as well as the lowest share of children in daycare. In contrast, Quebec moved up from last place in 1992 to first in 2005, with participation rates climbing notably after the introduction of daycare at $5 per day in 1997.
Shutting the door on Sunday shopping
Halifax — Prompted by attempts by some national grocery chains to skirt a ban on Sunday shopping, the Nova Scotia government has introduced new rules to tighten exemptions. The ban supported by voters in a plebiscite, prohibits stores larger than 4,000 square feet from opening on Sundays. Last month, Loblaw’s Atlantic Superstore and Sobeys tried to qualify for the exemption by dividing stores into smaller businesses. The government’s new rule says only businesses opened before June 1 as subdivided units can take advantage of the exemption.
Quebec’s pension bill irks employers
Quebec — A bill tabled last month to amend pension funding rules was immediately criticized by the province’s chambers of commerce and the Conseil du Patronat, the province’s employers’ council. Aimed at improving the governance and the funding of defined benefit plans, Bill 30 would allow employers to use letters of credit to fulfil solvency funding obligations up to 15 per cent of the liabilities. It would also require “accelerated funding” if a plan’s solvency ratio drops below a certain threshold. Further, it would allow plan members to request the plan be guaranteed by an insurer. If passed, most of the changes would take effect 2010.
Campaign against mandatory retirement launched in B.C.
Vancouver — Within days of the launch of a campaign by British Columbia university professors to eliminate mandatory retirement, the University of Northern B.C. became the first university in the province to give its faculty the choice to decide when to retire. In B.C., human rights protection against age discrimination is limited to those between 18 and 65.
One in five works weekends
Hamilton — Nearly 20 per cent of Canadians work weekends, and most are female part-time and temporary workers. Weekend workers miss out on leisure and family time, and face increased risks of stress and physical and mental health problems, said Isik Zeytinoglu, professor of HR at DeGroote School of Business at Hamilton’s McMaster University in the report,
Decent Working Time: New Trends, New Issues
Major pay equity deals reached
Quebec — The provincial government has settled a pay equity deal affecting about 327,000 workers in the public sector, including teachers, nurses and nursing assistants. The deal, which will see women getting between six- and 11-per-cent equity raises, is expected to cost the government about $4 billion. The settlement was the second major pay equity deal last month. Putting an end to a 14-year dispute, Bell Canada has agreed to pay $104 million to about 5,000 current and former telephone operators, most of whom are women.
Charges in UFCW pension plan investigation
Toronto — The Financial Services Commission of Ontario has laid 15 charges against trustees of the biggest multi-employer union pension plan in the country, alleging they mismanaged $225 million in questionable investments. Among the people charged are senior officials of the Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan, a pension plan for members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) with $1.4 billion in assets. They include Wayne Hanlon and Michael Fraser, current and former presidents of the UFCW, Gord Cannady, former vice-president of HR at Canada Safeway, Alain Picard, vice-president of HR at Metro Richelieu, Lucy Paglione, vice-president of pensions and benefits at Loblaw and Tom Zakrzewski, vice-president of labour relations at Great Atlantic and Pacific Co. The charges are regulatory, not criminal, and carry a maximum fine of $100,000 each.