News briefs

Women academics on the rise • Stressful returns • NB Labour federation questions H&S board • CIBC expands child-care program • Ont. gov’t tackles RSI

Women academics on the rise

— Women are gaining ground, and office space, in the halls of academe. Statistics Canada reports the number of women full-time university teachers jumped by more than 50 per cent between 1990-91 and 2002-03, more than double the growth in women’s full-time employment in general. By contrast, the number of male full-time faculty declined by 14 per cent. Close to 11,000 women were full-time faculty members in the 2002-03 academic year, accounting for 30 per cent of all full-time academics — up from just 20 per cent a decade earlier.

Stressful returns

Quebec City
— Heart attack survivors who return to work within a year of an attack show more symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to research from Quebec’s Universite Laval. “The results of the study show that the psychologic health of post-(heart attack) workers remains significantly below levels observed in other workers,” wrote study author Chantal Brisson of Laval University, in the most recent issue of Psychosomatic Medicine. Slightly more than half of female and nearly a third of male heart attack survivors experienced psychologic distress upon returning to work. In the comparison group, less than a quarter of females and about a fifth of males had similar symptoms.

NB Labour federation questions H&S board

Moncton, N.B.
— The New Brunswick Federation of Labour is calling for an inquiry into the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission, claiming it is making decisions that favour employers at workers’ expense, according to a report in the Daily Gleaner. “The government supports pro-business recommendations and doesn’t support recommendations that favour employees,” said federation president Blair Doucet. Two WHSCC labour representatives on the board resigned in 2003 because the government refused to adopt two recommendations to protect people who refuse to work in unsafe conditions.

CIBC expands child-care program

— The CIBC is expanding its backup child care program to 14 cities across Canada following the success of its initial service launched in Toronto more than two years ago. Since launching its facility in Toronto in 2002, the CIBC Children’s Centre has reduced absenteeism by more than 6,800 days, representing nearly $1.4 million in productivity savings. This year the program will be expanded to include Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, Ajax, Ont., Mississauga, Ont., and Waterloo, Ont. In 2006 the bank plans to include Halifax, Montreal, London, Ont., Winnipeg and Edmonton.

Ont. gov’t tackles RSI

— Ontario is setting up an ergonomics advisory group as part of a plan to reduce workplace injuries by 20 per cent by 2008. “In 2003, there were over 40,000 musculoskeletal injuries to workers, largely due to overexertion or ergonomic problems. That’s over 40 per cent of all workplace lost-time injuries,” said Minister of Labour Chris Bentley. The panel will examine best practices and recommendations within seven months.

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