News briefs (September 11, 2000)

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|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/10/2001

COUCH POTATOES HURTING PRODUCTIVITY

Toronto — Federal Health Minister Allen Rock says out-of-shape employees add up to an annual $2-billion drain on the economy. Rock, speaking at fitness conference in Toronto last month, said employers have a direct stake in integrating active living into their workplaces. Increasing the fitness of Canadians will reduce the costs of absenteeism, workers’ compensation and disability claims, while increasing employee morale and productivity, he said.

BREASTFEEDING AT WORK

Halifax — Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Commission has introduced a new policy stating employers must accommodate, up to the point of undue hardship, women who need to breastfeed while at work. The commission acknowledged breastfeeding at work may not always be possible, and there will likely be some “give and take” on the issue.

CORPORATE SMOG ACTION PLAN

Ottawa — Encouraging telecommuting is one way employers can help reduce Canada’s smog problems, says federal Environment Minister David Anderson. Anderson said several federal departments will begin implementing a Corporate Smog Action Plan that includes: measures to reduce employee commutes (such as flex-time and telecommuting), converting federal fleets to natural gas and other alternative fuels and improving building design for energy efficiency. “The federal government has a duty to lead by example in making our own activities clean air friendly,” Anderson said, challenging managers and employees to use best practices at home and at the office.

B.C. NEEDS SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

Vancouver — A growing shortage of qualified administrators will seriously compromise public education in British Columbia, a team of researchers from the province’s universities predicts. If unaddressed, the shortage of principals and superintendents, combined with expected teacher shortages, will undermine the education system in the next 15 years, a study of school districts states. “The current nursing shortage is a vivid illustration of what could happen in education without adequate foresight and preparation,” the researchers warn.

NEW GRADS PLAN TO RETIRE YOUNG, RICH

Toronto — Call it a recruiter’s worst nightmare. A survey of 800 college and university interns working at Ernst & Young offices around the world found 52 per cent expect to be millionaires by the time they hit 50. And 50 per cent said that’s about the time they expect to retire. There’s also another five per cent who plan to be retired millionaires any day now.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EXPECTS HIRING SPREE

Ottawa — As baby boomers look towards retirement, the federal government will be hiring up to 12,000 people in the coming years, the Treasury Board forecasts. With the average age for bureaucrats at 45, retirements will see job opportunities with the public service more resemble the 1970s than the last decades of downsizing. The Ottawa region’s hot economy is also expected to lure away bureaucrats to higher-paying private-sector jobs. Treasury Board officials stated the government will be looking to hire a new type of workforce — one that is younger, more diverse and more professional, transforming the bureaucracy from an “old economy model” into one that values knowledge workers.

THE BRAIN DRAIN DEBATE

Ottawa — Canadian expatriates are gaining experience in the United States before returning north with skills that will benefit our economy, an Industry Canada research paper says. The study, which states the brain drain is relatively small as well as temporary, adds to the conflicting reports and opinions on the issue.

CONSULTANCY MOVES

Toronto — Watson Wyatt Canada has acquired KPMG’s National Compensation Strategy and Rewards Group. The move follows Watson Wyatt’s mid-summer purchase of KPMG’s Actuarial and Benefits Services.

GOLDEN HANDCUFFS ON STUDENTS

San Jose, Calif. — About 100 Canadian university students stand to benefit from Cisco Systems plan to reward intern and co-op students with 500 shares in the telecommunication giant, each worth about $65 US. Cisco intends to grow their workforce by 10,000 annually and hopes to attract scarce high-tech talent.

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