News briefs

BMO outsources HR • Smaller firms more generous about volunteering • Sask. tries to reverse immigrant flow • EI granted in second-hand smoke case

BMO outsources HR

— BMO Financial Group signed a 10-year $75 million HR administration outsourcing agreement with Canada Exult Inc., last month. Exult will assume responsibility for managing administrative HR services such as payroll and benefits administration, HR call centre management, employee records and other technology-driven administrative functions. The agreement will affect about 250 personnel in Canada and the United States. Most are being offered comparable positions within Exult or in other BMO departments.

Smaller firms more generous about volunteering

— About one-half of all employed volunteers received support from their employers in 2000, according to Statistics Canada. More than 1.7 million employed volunteers — or about 48 per cent — received support in some form, up from 44 per cent in 1997. Smaller workplaces were more likely to provide support for staff. About 60 per cent of employer-supported volunteers in small workplaces reported approval for time off, compared with 53 per cent in workplaces with more than 500 employees.

Sask. tries to reverse immigrant flow

— Saskatchewan is working on a new immigration strategy to entice more immigrants to settle in the province and to lure Canadians from other jurisdictions. Between 1991 and 2001, Saskatchewan attracted just 11,365 foreign immigrants. And the province lost a total of 24,900 people between 1996 and 2001. To combat this, the government has launched its “Your Future is Here” campaign.

EI granted in second-hand smoke case

— A woman who quit her job at a casino because of second-hand smoke has been awarded Employment Insurance benefits. A federal Employment Insurance board of referees ruled the medical evidence supports the claim that second-hand smoke is a hazard. The case could be precedent-setting, but Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm told the CBC that he’s not worried because he believes there are lots of smokers willing to work at the casino.

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