News briefs

DB pensions should be saved: David Dodge; Unhappy workers report high levels of stress; Few small, medium firms investing in technology; Accommodate pot smoking, says policing professor; Alberta’s labour shortage takes a toll on consumers ...; ... And infrastructure may be the next victim; High salary expectations in Quebec; Ontario to host world’s H&S inspectors
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|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/01/2006

DB pensions should be saved: David Dodge

Ottawa — Defined benefit (DB) pension plans are “very important sources of savings” and Canada should have a framework that “is not biased against the establishment” of these plans, Bank of Canada governor David Dodge told a parliamentary committee on finance last month. Public policy should look at ways to level the playing field between defined contribution and DB plans, perhaps by looking at accounting standards.

Unhappy workers report high levels of stress

Ottawa — One in 12 Canadians are unhappy with their jobs and many are stressed, according to a Statistics Canada survey, based on 2002 data, released last month. Those most dissatisfied are evening- and night-shift workers and those at the bottom of the pay scale. Of men who earn less than $20,000 a year, 15 per cent are unhappy — more than three times the rate of men who make more than $60,000. The survey also found more than one million adults had had a major depressive episode in the year before the study. Of those, seven in 10 were employed at the time. Job strain and lack of co-workers or supervisor support were cited as reasons. Men in high-stress jobs were 2.5 times more likely than their counterparts in low-stress jobs to experience depression

Few small, medium firms investing in technology

Ottawa — Business leaders may say they believe information and communication technology improves productivity, but few are willing to invest in it, according to a survey by the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC). More than half of the 300 small and medium-sized businesses spend between one and four per cent of revenue on technology, and one in five businesses have no internal information and communication technology staff.

Accommodate pot smoking, says policing professor

Toronto — A York University professor prescribed to smoke marijuana for medical reasons said he should be able to smoke in his office, and until the university accommodates him, he’s refusing to step onto campus. The policing professor, Brian MacLean, wants the university to give him a ventilated room.

Alberta’s labour shortage takes a toll on consumers ...

Edmonton — Consumer advocacy groups are handling record numbers of consumer complaints, said the CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central and Northern Alberta. Complaints are up by about a third this year, said Chris Lawrence, citing the inability of businesses to have enough staff to keep up with the demand for services.

... And infrastructure may be the next victim

Edmonton — With the cost of labour still rising in Alberta, construction on new schools and roads should be halted, said outgoing Premier Ralph Klein. “Costs are escalating at 30 to 40 per cent, so my message is simply to delay,” he said, adding that the economy will cool off and contractors will be forced to lower their prices.

High salary expectations in Quebec

Montreal — Quebec workers are expecting salary increases of four per cent next year, according to a survey of 1,001 workers conducted by Quebec’s HR association, the Ordre des CRHA et des CRIA du Québec. However, employers are planning on increases averaging only 3.3. per cent for 2007, the highest level in Quebec in five years but still lower than the national average of 3.5 per cent.

Ontario to host world’s H&S inspectors

Toronto — Hundreds of health and safety inspectors from around the world will gather in Toronto next April when Ontario hosts the annual conference of the International Association of Labour Inspection, held in co-operation with the International Labour Organization.

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