News Briefs

Public service pension plan drops by 22.7 per cent; Sask. sets minimum age of work; N.B. doctors take wage-freeze battle to court; CIBC employee appeals overtime class-action ruling; Alberta grants reservists job protection; Czech and Mexican visitors need visas

Public service pension plan drops by 22.7 per cent

Ottawa — The public service pension plan lost $9.5 billion in the last fiscal year, according to a report from the Public Sector Pension Investment Board. The fund contains the pension plan contributions of the public service, the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and the Reserve Force pension plan. The fund saw a 22.7-per-cent decline in fiscal 2009, which ended March 31. Despite these losses, a total of $3.8 million in annual and deferred incentive bonuses was paid to the investment board’s top six executives, said James Infantino, a spokesperson for the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

Sask. sets minimum age of work

Regina — Young people in Saskatchewan must now be 16 years old if they want to work. However, if certain conditions and restrictions are met — such as parental consent and a maximum of 16 hours of work in a school week — some young people will be able to work as early as age 14. Prior to these changes, only five sectors had a minimum age of employment: hotels, restaurants, educational institutions, hospitals and nursing homes. The legislation continues to restrict the employment of young people: in casinos and in the sale, handling or service of alcohol; during school hours; and in certain high-risk occupations.

N.B. doctors take wage-freeze battle to court

Saint John, N.B. — Doctors in New Brunswick are taking their fight with the government over a two-year pay freeze to court. The New Brunswick Medical Society has filed court documents in Saint John asking the Court of Queen’s Bench to stop the provincial cabinet from proclaiming into law the wage-freeze bill given royal assent on June 19. The society claims the freeze violates the doctors’ rights to “natural justice and procedural fairness” and would cause them “irreparable harm.” The government imposed the wage freeze on all public servants as a way to battle a projected $740-million deficit.

CIBC employee appeals overtime class-action ruling

Toronto — A former teller at CIBC is appealing the Ontario Divisional Court’s refusal to certify a class-action suit against the bank for unpaid overtime. Dara Fresco launched the $600-million suit on behalf of thousands of current and former CIBC employees two years ago. But in her ruling, Justice Joan Lax said the overtime issues in dispute were individual in nature and not appropriate for a class-action suit. Fresco said unpaid overtime was a regular occurrence at the 12 branches where she worked during her career with CIBC and hundreds of CIBC employees across Canada have told her it is their experience as well. Once Fresco’s lawyers file the appeal, CIBC will have 60 days to respond.

Alberta grants reservists job protection

Edmonton — A new law granting job protection for Alberta reservists while on military duties took effect July 1. The unpaid leave applies to international deployments, along with certain domestic operations, such as natural disasters. Amendments to the Employment Standards Code also provide reservists with 20 days’ unpaid leave each calendar year for annual training. About 45 per cent of the 30,000 people in the military reserve have full- or part-time civilian jobs and about 40 per cent are students.

Czech and Mexican visitors need visas

Ottawa — Citizens of the Czech Republic and Mexico now need a visa to travel to Canada. The federal government said the visa requirement is an attempt to curtail the drastic increase in refugee claims from these two countries. To qualify for the temporary resident visa, an applicant must prove his visit is temporary, he will not overstay his approved time, has enough money to cover his stay in Canada, is in good health, does not have a criminal record and is not a security risk to Canadians.

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