News briefs

CUPE opposes health-care strike ban; Ottawa police win staffing, diversity awards; Alberta offers online dispute resolution training; Mentors honoured; University keeps getting pricier; Shelter must pay $28,000 for wrongful dismissal

CUPE opposes health-care strike ban

Halifax — The president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has publicly decried Nova Scotia’s proposed legislation to ban strikes by health-care workers. The proposed legislation, the product of public consultations that started in June, would ban strikes and lockouts and settle bargaining impasses with binding mediation or binding arbitration. CUPE president Paul Moist and Danny Cavanaugh, president of CUPE Nova Scotia, wrote Premier Rodney McDonald stating they are “deeply disturbed” to hear the province is introducing legislation to prevent about 32,000 health and community care workers from striking. The bill, proposed by the minority Conservative government, has little chance of becoming law because both the NDP and Liberal party have said they’ll vote against it.

Ottawa police win staffing, diversity awards

— The Ottawa Police Service won two awards from the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), handed out in New Orleans, for its staffing initiative and commitment to increasing diversity in its ranks. The Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement recognized the Ottawa Police Service’s strategic staffing initiative, started in 2002, and the IACP Civil Rights Award recognized the service’s outreach recruitment project, which is helping create a diverse and non-discriminatory police force.

Alberta offers online dispute resolution training

— A new online resource will provide Alberta’s employees and employers with the tools and information they need to work out common workplace disagreements around overtime, time off for vacation and termination pay. The dispute resolution e-learning course is an interactive, web-based awareness program designed to provide Alberta employees and employers with an opportunity to learn more about minimum employment standards in the workplace. It is available online at

Mentors honoured

— The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) has honoured four professionals for their commitment to TRIEC’s mentoring program. The Mentoring Partnership program was launched in 2004 to increase the number of mentoring opportunities available to skilled immigrants in the Toronto area. As of September, the program had more than 47 corporate partners, 1,500 registered mentors and had matched more than 2,000 recent skilled immigrants with mentors, of which nearly 70 per cent found professional employment. This year’s winners are: Sue Cummings, TD Bank (mentor of the year); Ranil Mendis, City of Toronto (mentor of the year); Sergiy Fomenko, Patheon Inc., (mentee of the year); Wayne Gilbert, volunteer at Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre (special achievement award).

University keeps getting pricier

— While university tuition fees increased again this year, the increase was smaller than last year and less than the average increase over the past decade, according to Statistics Canada. Full-time tuition for Canadian students increased 2.8 per cent for the 2007/2008 academic year, compared to 3.2 per cent for the last academic year and an average increase of 4.3 per cent over the past 10 years. The average tuition this year is $4,524. In the 1988/1989 academic year, the average tuition was $1,185.

Shelter must pay $28,000 for wrongful dismissal

— The Ontario Superior Court has ordered Dr. Roz’s Healing Place, a Toronto shelter, to pay $28,000 for wrongfully terminating a woman for alleged racist attitudes. Justice Gloria Klowak found no evidence of racist conduct on the part of Karen Butler Lynch, who is white and had worked in the predominately black women’s shelter for more than six years before being fired on Sept. 1, 2006.

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