News briefs

CEOs commit to H&S • N.S. employers face minimum wage hike • Ontario targets H&S scofflaws • Marching to protest foreign workers • Ugly truth about beautiful people

CEOs commit to H&S

— Almost 70 Ontario CEOs signed the CEO Health and Safety Leadership Charter last month at the Industrial Accident and Prevention Association’s annual conference in Toronto. Based on the principle that effectively managing health, safety and wellness is essential for business success, the CEOs committed to: integrate health and safety into business strategies and performance measures, strive for continuous health and safety improvement, and share information to promote best practices. A copy of the charter is available online at

N.S. employers face minimum wage hike

— Nova Scotia employers could be looking at a 65-cent increase to the $6.50 minimum wage if the government accepts recommendations from the province’s minimum wage review committee. It is calling for an increase to $6.80 in October and another jump to $7.15 on April 1. Almost 22,000 employees in Nova Scotia — 5.6 per cent of the workforce — worked for minimum wage in 2004. The government intends to respond to the recommendations by May 28.

Ontario targets H&S scofflaws

— Ontario is giving 5,000 employers a “last chance” to improve safety records or else, says Labour Minister Chris Bentley. The workplaces chosen for help are those with marginally better health and safety records than firms with the highest injury rates. The ministry will help 5,000 workplaces improve health and safety performance; if the help doesn’t result in major improvement, these businesses will attract the heightened attention the ministry normally reserves for high-risk workplaces. Highest risk sites will be inspected four times a year, with a focus on workplace hazards.

Marching to protest foreign workers

— Dorothy Pacquette, a Fort McMurray pipefitter, completed a 13-day, 450-kilometre walk to Edmonton earlier this month to protest the hiring of foreign workers in the oil and gas sector, reports Fort McMurray Today. Alberta labour leaders and opposition parties say a program that allows companies to bring in foreign workers is taking jobs away from Canadians. “I’m doing this for all the unions across Canada, Aboriginal Canadians and for all of us. To not let (workers from) foreign countries come in here and take our jobs,” Pacquette said. Employer groups say they’re facing a shortage of qualified tradespeople in Alberta.

Ugly truth about beautiful people

St. Louis
— Apparently, it pays to be beautiful. A study by American economists found there is a “beauty premium” and a “plainness penalty” when it comes to income. The study found there was a penalty of nine per cent for people with “below average looks” and beauty premium of five per cent, even after controlling for variables such as education and experience, according to an article published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’s The Regional Economist.

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