News Briefs (August 13, 2001)

Toronto — Employees are lacking entrepreneurial spirit, according to an overwhelming majority of global business leaders recently surveyed. But while 70 per cent of leaders complain about the lack of entrepreneurship, half say it is possible for employees to have too much. Canadian executives seem more optimistic about entrepreneurial spirit. In a survey by consulting firm Accenture, which polled 880 executives in 22 countries, 95 per cent of Canadian executives surveyed said they felt their organizations actively encourage people to be creative and innovative (compared to 86 per cent globally), and 98 per cent think the leaders of their organizations are good at spotting opportunities (compared to 85 per cent globally).

Montreal — Canadian workers would rather pay more than have their employer-sponsored health plan scaled back, a study shows. Given the choice between paying more and scaling back coverage, 56 per cent said they would pay higher premiums, a study conducted by pharmaceutical company Aventis Pharma and Ipsos-Reid found. And while they may not be as satisfied as they once were, Canadians are for the most part happy with what their employers are offering, with 66 per cent of plan members saying their plans meet needs extremely or very well.

Toronto — Ontario’s welfare workers are overworked and pressured to skip lunches and breaks since the government introduced its workfare and welfare drug-testing programs, a study states. A report, by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, found workers are being intimidated and more than half of survey respondents are working at least 150 minutes of unpaid overtime a week. The survey of more than 480 welfare workers found 87 per cent have increased workloads and most are subjected to intimidation and abuse in the workplace. “Workers are frustrated because they are being told to deliver an untenable program. Welfare offices are going to lose experienced workers unless conditions improve,” said Helen Gavel, a front-line welfare worker.

Cambridge, Ont. — The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) lost its battle to organize Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada workers at a Cambridge, Ont. plant. The union had hoped to score a breakthrough in its quest to organize the Canadian operations of a Japanese auto manufacturer. Sensing defeat, the CAW asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board to withdraw the certification application, but the board allowed the vote to go ahead and sealed the ballots until a dispute about the size of the bargaining unit is settled. At issue is whether team leaders and students should be included.

Timmins, Ont. — Ontario announced measures to bring doctors to the great white north of the province, with a three-year $20 million investment into the Northern Physicians Retention Initiative. The project will give doctors a $7,000 incentive every year for three years, as well as other financial support. The project is in addition to a new medical school set to open in Sudbury.

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