June 17, 2021

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The PWR: work&labour news&research will be on hiatus until September. Have a safe and enjoyable summer.


News and Events from the CIRHR

Spotlight On: MIR & MIRHR Alumni! Our June Spotlight features Scott Shaw (MIR 2000); Lisa Le Francois-Suarez (MIR 2001); Caitlin Gascon (MIRHR 2012); and Ray Lin (MIRHR 2012). Whether you are a current MIRHR, a member of our wonderful community of alumni, or simply curious about the program, we hope that, together, these spotlights will give you a taste of the many paths our graduates travel.

New Rotman Executive Program: People Analytics for HR: The online program, led by CIRHR Assistant Professor Greg Distelhorst, is designed to teach human resource professionals—including managers and directors from both the public and private sectors—how to understand, interpret, and apply data strategically. This partnership between CIRHR and Rotman’s Executive Programs is one of many opportunities for today’s HR, labour and management professionals to continue expanding their expertise with the CIRHR.
Click here for more information and to apply.

Conflict Resolution at Work: Hosted jointly by the University of Toronto's CIRHR and Lancaster House this two-day program features proven skills and strategies for managers and union representatives. Conflict resolution has long been identified as one of the key skills that union and employer representatives must possess to be successful in their roles. Drawing from extensive research and field testing, this program will provide training in the most effective skills and strategies for resolving workplace conflict. Emphasis will be on hands-on skills training and development of practical tools.
When: Monday, June 28 and Wednesday, June 30, 2021, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET
Click here to register. 
NEW: Special promotion for graduates of the CIRHR, SAVE $150.

Upcoming Events and Webinars

Young Workers Rights Hub: The Know Your Rights at Work webinar series is happening every Tuesday in June from 4:00-5:00 PM (ET). Young workers can face many challenges on the job. This series will boost young workers' awareness of your rights at work and how to exercise them. Lancaster House Summer Webinar Series: Lancaster House brings together the entire labour relations community and speakers represent a diversity of perspectives and include union and management lawyers, arbitrators, academics, and subject matter experts. These webinars provide an opportunity to join labour lawyers and subject matter experts discussing contentious, emerging, and perennially important issues in labour, employment, and human rights law. Topics include:

Call for Papers and Nominations

Call for Memories - An Oral History Project: The Toronto Workers' History Project (TWHP) is launching a new project to gather the memories of the old-timers in Toronto’s labour movement. So much of the history of the struggles of the city’s workers is available only in the stories that these women and men can tell. Who should be on the list to be interviewed? Anyone who made an important contribution to the struggles of working people in this city. They don’t have to have been president of their union. We want to cast the net widely. Send us names and contact information, with ages and health condition of these people, along with some information on what they contributed to labour’s cause. We’ll follow up and contact them.
Click here to access the interview nomination form.

Call for Papers: 51st Annual Conference of the International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI): This year’s IALHI conference is dedicated to the role of youth movements and youth activism in broader social movements in past and present. Papers may address key areas of youth mobilization and youth movements’ patterns of organization, but also consequences of youth movements’ specificities for archivists and researchers. Papers must be submitted by June 20, 2021. 
Click here for more information on submission requirements.

Call for Proposals: The Global Labour Research Centre (GLRC)The GLRC is pleased to announce the 2021 Graduate Student Symposium: Critical Conversations in Work and Labour. Building on the tradition of GLRC annual conferences, this online series is designed to promote the scholarship of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Our goal is to create a series reflective of the wide range of themes and methodological and theoretical approaches pertaining to the study of work and labour. Please note the Symposium is open internationally. Submissions are limited to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early-career independent researchers. The deadline for submissions is Saturday, July 31, 2021, 11:59 pm ET.
Click here for more information on submission requirements.

Upcoming Publications and Conferences

19th ILERA World Congress: The 19th ILERA World Congress, Making and Breaking Boundaries in Work and Employment Relations, hosted by Lund University will take place virtually from Monday, June 21 to Thursday, June 24, 2021
Registration is now open! Click here to register.

Brave New Work Conference 2021: The Messy Middle of the Future of Work: The world of work has changed on all fronts, but what about the middle? That part of work between the leap from education into the labour market and the exit from the labour market after years of contribution, both economically and professionally. The Messy Middle is where workers between their second jobs and their second last jobs might find themselves if they experience labour disruption caused by digitization, globalization, evolving business models or a pandemic. Public Policy Forum’s Brave New Work Conference 2021 will explore the urgent policy conversation on what to do next.
When: Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM ET
Where: Online via Zoom

Click here to register.

eBook of the Week

Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace, by David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Review Press, 2020. 261 p. ISBN 9781633698734 (ebook)

From the publisher: "[T]oo many gender-inclusion initiatives focus on how women themselves should respond, reinforcing the perception that these are 'women's issues' and that men—often the most influential stakeholders in an organization—don't need to be involved. Gender-in-the-workplace experts David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson counter this perception. In this important book, they show that men have a crucial role to play in promoting gender equality at work. ... Good Guys is the first practical, research-based guide for how to be a male ally to women in the workplace. Filled with firsthand accounts from both men and women, and tips for getting started, the book shows how men can partner with their female colleagues to advance women's leadership and equality by breaking ingrained gender stereotypes, overcoming unconscious biases, developing and supporting the talented women around them, and creating productive and respectful working relationships with women."

PWR: work&labour news&research

Labour Unions

Human Resource Management

Labour Policy & Legislation

Labour Economics

Health & Safety

Social Economy

The Future of Work

Labour Unions


Bargaining Tech: Shaping New Technologies to Improve Work, Not Devalue It

“The Centre for Future Work has published another major paper in its PowerShare project, dealing with the impact of new technology on the quantity and quality of work in Canada – and strategies for ensuring that new technology produces more benefits for workers.”

“The paper is entitled Bargaining Tech: Strategies for Shaping Technological Change to Benefit Workers, co-authored by Jim Stanford and Kathy Bennett. It provides an overview of the complex, contradictory ways that technological change is affecting jobs in Canada. It also discusses how technology could be better managed and implemented to achieve better, fairer, more inclusive high-tech outcomes.”

“Major findings include:

  • Fears that tech change will produce mass unemployment are not consistent with statistical evidence from Canada’s recent economic history. Instead, a bigger economic risk is that investments in innovation by Canadian businesses (both in tangible machinery and intangible research) have been too weak – weaker than at any time in the postwar era.
  • While fears of mass unemployment are misplaced, implementation of new technologies can certainly cause disruption and reallocation of work. And technology can also have negative effects on the quality of jobs: including speed-up of work, fragmentation of tasks, new health & safety risks, and the expansion of insecure employment (including gigs) through digital management tools.
  • For all these reasons, whether technology leads to better jobs or worse jobs is indeterminate: depending on whose interests prevail as new tech is unrolled. For that reason, giving workers more say in negotiating how technology unfolds is vital to enhancing the benefits and reducing the costs.
  • Canadian unions have been heavily engaged in negotiating technological change in their workplaces. There is no evidence unions are trying to “stop” technology. Instead, they are trying to shape and manage it: through measures like notice, adjustment supports, access to training and redeployment, limits on surveillance and digital discipline, provisions regarding work from home (which expanded under COVID), and more.
  • The authors’ survey of union bargaining strategies has identified one important shortcoming: the issue of reducing regular working hours has largely fallen off the union bargaining agenda. The authors urge unions to seek ways of revitalizing the campaign for shorter working hours as one key strategy for sharing the productivity gains of new technology, and avoiding unemployment.”

Centre for Future Work, June 15, 2021: Bargaining Tech: Shaping New Technologies to Improve Work, not Devalue It, by Jim Stanford and Kathy Bennett (175 pages, PDF)

Centre for Future Work, 2021: Who Will Shape the Future of Work?

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Human Resource Management


The Myth, Mystery and the Misery of Annual Performance Reviews

“[There] is a flawed traditional performance management system built around major contradictions. There’s lack of clarity and transparency, not to mention an inherent feeling of defensiveness and resentment from the employees. Perhaps, the most critical shortcoming is that the process places an excessive focus on incentives, that is, raises and promotion. In Re-Engineering Performance Management, a survey for Gallup in 2019, lead researcher Ben Wigert and chief scientist Jim Harter found 71 per cent of employees thought the annual review process ‘unfair’ and 74 per cent said it was 'inaccurate.’”

“The sole purpose of the traditional evaluation system appeared to be standardization as opposed to individualization with many employers obsessively focusing on pre-determined matrixes. Also, managers used the reviews for a whole laundry list of things such as offering advice (on how to improve), setting raises, bonus or promotion; and in some cases, laying groundwork for future dismissal. … The fact that appraisals are an annual ritual in and of itself is a problem, according to Susan Heathfield, a human resources and management consultant. Employees need regular feedback and goal-setting, especially when they’re working in nimble environments. … Then there’s the issue with how managers conduct the appraisal sessions. Most use the allocated time to 'lecture’ subordinates about their shortcomings, Ms. Heathfield says.”

“There’s also now evidence to show the already fraught performance review will assume an even more ominous overtone because of remote working. … The authors said a decline in professional relationships at work affected the promotions. A year of remote working likely jeopardized some employees’ chance of an upgrade. Managers cited the absence of face-to-face catch-up as one of the reasons. In some instances, leaders found it increasingly difficult to evaluate individual performances when outcomes were tied to a team or collaborative work. The pandemic was also cited as a reason why companies put a 'freeze’ on wages and promotions.”

The Globe and Mail, June 13, 2021: “The myth, mystery and the misery of annual performance reviews,” by Radhika Panjawani

Gallup, 2019: Re-Engineering Performance Management

Harvard Business Review, February 23, 2021: “You’re Not Paid Based on Your Performance,” by Jake Rosenfeld

Harvard Business Review, June 1, 2021: “Don’t Let WFH Get in the Way of Your Next Promotion,” by Ben Laker, Will Godley, Yemisi Bolade-Ogunfodun, and Lebene Soga

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Labour Policy & Legislation


The Audacity of Consensus

“It names-without-naming the problem if we ‘go back to normal’, which means returning to the underlying economic framework we’ve been following since 1980: The Washington Consensus. That’s the playbook for late 20th century capitalist economic growth and it had a zero tolerance policy for veering away from the principles of lower taxation, freer and more global trade, fewer rules and regulations for business, and more privatization of public assets. In short, more market, less government. The only measure of success was making more money, not the impact on people’s lives.”

“The eight recommendations of the Cornwall Consensus basically reverse the thrusts of the Washington Consensus. You’ve probably already heard about the 15% corporate minimum tax idea. There’s also a growing focus on what we can do at home, for each other. That includes addressing cyber-security and privacy issues, improving health care strategies (population and public health for the win!), and puts global supply chains and trade on the table. But perhaps most strikingly, the Cornwall Consensus wraps with a focus on the people who do the work!”

“This recommendation is also breathtakingly clear that the goal is not just how to get more people into the labour market, but how they could thrive, not just in the G7, but in the supply chains that feed the G7 economies and citizens. Increasing access to decent work opportunities, enforcing labour standards that are on the books and improving those standards, empowering and protecting collective rights, and measuring success with metrics that go beyond GDP, trade, investment, profits and inflation: this is how we know if we are creating economic resilience, for individuals and for societies. Promoting economic growth, and tracking how much money got made, just isn’t enough anymore.”

Future of Workers, June 11, 2021: “The audacity of consensus,” by Armine Yalnizyan

YouTube, June 11, 2021: “The audacity of consensus,” by Atkinson Foundation, (2:02, Video)

G7, May 31, 2021: G7 Panel on Economic Resilience, (9 pages, PDF)

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Labour Economics


Youth and Indigenous People Collected CERB at Higher per Capita Rates: Statistics Canada

“Recently released data shows that 35.2 per cent of all Canadian workers who earned at least $5,000 in 2019 collected Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) payments between March 15 and Sept. 26, 2020. … That percentage climbed to 41.5 per cent among First Nations, 40.3 per cent among Inuit and 36.2 per cent among Metis, according to Statistics Canada. Non-Indigenous people received the federal benefit at a rate of 33.9 per cent.”

“The federal government agency partially attributed the higher rate of CERB collection among Indigenous people to their overrepresentation in jobs that offer relatively low annual compensation. … ‘Previous research has highlighted the disproportionate social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous people, including a greater impact on their ability to meet financial obligations or essential needs and a slower labour market recovery,’ Statistics Canada added in its June 6 report.”

“The bureau also noted that the country’s Indigenous population is also significantly younger than the non-Indigenous population which, 'given the greater percentage of CERB recipients among youth across Canada, also helps to explain the greater proportion of Indigenous workers who received CERB payments in 2020.’”

Nunavut News, June 8, 2021: “Youth and Indigenous people collected CERB at higher per capita rates: Statistics Canada,” by Derek Neary

Lamb, D. & Verma, A. (2021). Nonstandard Employment and Indigenous Earnings Inequality in Canada. Journal of Industrial Relations, 1-23. 

The Conference Board of Canada, May 20, 2021: “Technological Change in the North: How STEM Skills Can Help Indigenous Workers Adapt,” by Jane Cooper. Dataset (excel sheet download)

The Conference Board of Canada, June 11, 2020: "Incorporating Indigenous Cultures and Realities in STEM," by Jane Cooper, (26 pages, PDF)

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Greater Inclusion is a Win-Win Strategy for the Recovery

“There is one part of COVID-19’s impact, however, that is less visible but no less pernicious: widening inequality. Many Canadians have had to cut back on their hours of work since the pandemic hit, and many others lost their jobs altogether. But underneath the appearance that we are all in this together, the reality has been some types of workers have been affected much more adversely than others. Those hardest hit include younger workers, those earning lower incomes, those less securely employed, recent immigrants, workers who are racialized, Indigenous workers, and workers with disabilities.”

“The numbers from our recent survey are stark. Most high-income earners have seen no change to their earnings during the pandemic, while most low-income earners are bringing home even less than they were before. … Those working in sales and service jobs are five times more likely than professionals and executives to have lost their job without finding another one. In the case of Indigenous workers, they are 2 ½ times more likely than their non-Indigenous counterparts to have become unemployed. Recent immigrants, and immigrants who are racialized, are among those more likely to have seen a drop in earnings due to the pandemic.”

“Certainly, the lifting of restrictions and the re-opening of businesses will help everyone, rich and poor alike. But those hardest hit by the pandemic will not be jumping back in where they left off. They will be starting even further behind than they were before. The gaps between higher and lower earners, between those with more and less work experience, and between those more and less accepted in the workplace will have widened.”

First Policy Response, June 10, 2021: “Greater inclusion is a win-win strategy for the recovery,” by Pedro Barata, Wendy Cukier, and Andrew Parkin

Environics Institute, May 14, 2021: Widening Inequality: Effects of the Pandemic on Jobs and Income, (32 pages, PDF)

Statistics Canada, June 15, 2021: A statistical portrait of Canada’s diverse LGBTQ2+ communities, (3 pages, PDF)

Urban Institute, May 20, 2021: Inclusive Apprenticeship: A Summary of What We Know about Apprentices with Disabilities, by Daniel Kuehn, John Marotta, Bhavani Arabandi, Batia Katz (54 pages, PDF)

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There Is No Labour Shortage, Only Labour Exploitation

“It is true that currently millions of jobs are going unfilled. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics just-released statistics showing that there were 9.3 million job openings in April and that the percentage of layoffs decreased while resignations increased. Taking these statistics at face value, one could conclude this means there is a labour shortage. … But, as economist Heidi Shierholz explained in a New York Times op-ed, a labour shortage happens only if employers raise wages to match worker demands and subsequently still face a shortage of workers. Shierholz wrote, ‘When those measures [of raising wages] don’t result in a substantial increase in workers, that’s a labour shortage. Absent that dynamic, you can rest easy.’”

“But corporate elites are loudly complaining that the sky is falling, not because of a real labour shortage, but because workers are less likely now to accept low-wage jobs. The US Chamber of Commerce insists that ’[t]he worker shortage is real,’ and that it has risen to the level of a 'national economic emergency’ that 'poses an imminent threat to our fragile recovery and America’s great resurgence.’ In the Chamber’s worldview, workers, not corporate employers who refuse to pay better, are the main obstacle to the US’s economic recovery.”

“Now, we are being told another story: that companies actually do need workers and won’t simply reduce jobs, close branches, or shut down and that the government, therefore, needs to stop competing with their ultra-low wages to save the economy. The claim that businesses would no longer be profitable if they are forced to increase wages is undermined by one multibillion-dollar fact: corporations are raking in record-high profits and doling them out to shareholders and executives. They can indeed afford to offer greater pay, and when they do, it turns out there is no labour shortage.”

Socialist Project, June 15, 2021: “There Is No Labour Shortage, Only Labour Exploitation,” by Sonali Kolhatkar

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 8, 2021: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The New York Times, June 6, 2021: “Republicans, Don’t Ignore the Evidence on 'Labor Shortages’,” by Heidi Shierholz

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, June 1, 2021: U.S. Chamber Launches Nationwide Initiative to Address National Worker Shortage Crisis and Help America’s Employers Fill Jobs

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, June 1, 2021: The America Works Report: Quantifying the Nation’s Workforce Crisis

Bill Fletcher Jr, September 14, 2020: Organized labor and the 'cold civil war,’ by Bill Fletcher Jr. & Jose Alejandro La Luz

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More than Half a Million Child Care Workers Would Benefit from a $15 Minimum Wage in 2025

“A new EPI report finds that a $15 federal minimum wage by 2025 would raise pay for more than two in five (43.5%) child care workers, or 560,000 workers. The vast majority (95.4%) of child care workers who would get a raise are women, and 36.2% are Black or Hispanic. Nearly half (48.5%) of Black child care workers would benefit from the Raise The Wage Act—which would establish a $15 minimum wage by 2025—a higher share than other race/ethnicity groups.”

“Among those child care workers who would get a raise, average annual pay for year-round workers would rise by $2,900 (in 2021 dollars). The year-round earnings of Black or Hispanic child care workers would increase by $3,200 and $3,100, respectively. The report also examines the share of child care workers by state who would receive higher pay from a $15 minimum wage. More than two out of every three child care workers would have higher take-home pay in Alabama (72.3%), Arkansas (69.1%), Iowa (72.8%), Kansas (76.3%), Kentucky (78.8%), Louisiana (72.0%), Mississippi (69.0%), Nebraska (68.9%), New Mexico (69.1%), Oklahoma (73.0%), Texas (70.0%), Utah (75.2%), and Wisconsin (67.1%).”

“‘Low wages for child care workers reinforce existing racial and gender inequality, since both Black child care workers and women are particularly likely to see their wages increase with a $15 minimum wage.’ says Julia Wolfe, co-author of the report and state economic analyst for EPI. 'Child care workers deserve to be paid a wage that better reflects the value of their work and allows them to care for their own families.’ Low wages for child care workers have for too long been treated as a 'solution’ to help make child care affordable. These services remain unaffordable for many low- and middle-income families, while low wages leave child care workers economically vulnerable and compromise the quality of care children receive.”

Economic Policy Institute, June 9, 2021: More than half a million child care workers would benefit from a $15 minimum wage by 2025 by Julia Wolfe and Ben Zipperer (10 pages, PDF)

Eurofound, June 10, 2021: Minimum wages in 2021: Annual review, by Christine Aumayr-Pintar and Carlos Vacas‑Soriano (74 pages, PDF)

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Health & Safety


Tackling Burnout: How to Deal with Stress and Safety in the Workplace

“In 2019, the World Health Organization identified a syndrome it labelled ‘burnout’ resulting from chronic workplace stress. Now people who report feeling depleted of energy or exhausted, mentally distanced from or cynical about their jobs and experiencing problems getting their work done can be diagnosed with a workplace injury. Burnout as the result of workplace stress carries significant implications for employers. Canadian occupational health and safety standards require employers to protect the physical and mental health of their workers. If people are meeting the criteria for burnout, organizations may be neglecting their legislated duty to ensure psychologically safe workplaces.”

“The good news is something can be done. While it will require genuine organizational commitment, prevention and mitigation are key. But to get at the heart of the problem, we must first ask if employers are even tracking psychological safety in the workplace. Of those that do, most merely encourage staff to exercise more, meditate, sleep better and eat a more balanced diet. This is, quite simply, passing the buck onto an already depleted workforce and does nothing to address the core of the problem. The answer is not to recommend Band-Aid solutions, suggesting employees try even harder in their downtime to compensate for organizational neglect.”

“For meaningful change, organizations must first implement clear policies reflecting their commitment to workplace mental health and psychological safety, and appoint a wellness champion and leaders who model these values. The next step is identifying workplace hazards through employee engagement surveys, workplace risk assessments, incident investigations, exit interviews and disability claim data if available. Identifying controls to prevent psychological harm is also necessary.”

The Conversation, June 14, 2021: “Tackling burnout: How to deal with stress and safety in the workplace,” by Kristen Deuzeman

Harvard Business Review, August 24, 2017: “High-Performing Teams Need Psychological Safety. Here’s How to Create It,” by Laura Delizonna

Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological Safety and Learning Behavior in Work Teams. Administrative Science Quarterly 44(2), 350–383.

Maté, G. (2003). When the body says no : the cost of hidden stress (1st ed.). Toronto: A.A. Knopf Canada. (Available for curbside pickup to the U of T community here)

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), November 22, 2018: Mental Health - Recognizing Psychological Health and Safety Hazards

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10)-2014: Chapter XXI Factors influencing health status and contact with health services

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Social Economy


Canada’s Parental Leave Policy was Always Flawed

“The first parental work-leave protections in Canada were introduced in 1921 – an unpaid six weeks, in British Columbia, and for women specifically. Paid leave as we know it now wasn’t a national benefit until 1971, when the federal government expanded its employment insurance program to include 15 weeks for pregnant and newly postpartum mothers. … It took more than a decade and a six-week mail strike by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for the idea of paid parental leave to truly go mainstream, and another 20 years afterwards for the benefit to expand to a year. In 2017 the federal government extended it to 18 months, albeit the same amount of benefits are stretched to cover that additional time.”

“While Canada loves to compare our parental leave program to the United States, … we actually don’t measure up all that well globally. We rank 23rd among the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries in paid leave length, with places such as Japan, Sweden, South Korea and Portugal far outstripping us … Since Canada’s paid leave is distributed through Employment Insurance you have to qualify for EI to get it. Generally, middle-to-high income families tend to benefit from it the most, and therefore participate in it. This is because the program pays participants only up to 55 per cent of their earnings, which for many amounts to a monthly income well below the cost of living. Most people in freelance, contract and shift work also have a hard time qualifying for it, if they qualify for it at all.”

“Another approach [to improving parental leave] is to untether leave benefits from employment insurance. A new parent’s ability to participate in child care wouldn’t be tied to their wage history at all. …[T]reating parental leave benefits as an interruption to the ‘real’ work so-called deserving parents should otherwise be doing isn’t all that more evolved. Domestic work is a historically un- and underpaid form of labour unto itself, a socially and economically valuable service our society relies on.”

The Globe and Mail, June 11, 2021: “Canada’s parental leave policy was always flawed. COVID has emphasized the reasons why it needs to change,” by Chantal Braganza

Province of British Columbia, 1921: An Act to amend the Maternity Protection Act (1 page, PDF)

Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, n.d.: Social Justice Reform for the Benefit of Women in British Columbia (1 page, PDF)

Pulkingham, J. and van der Gaag, T. (2004). Maternity / Parental Leave Provisions in Canada: We’ve Come a Long Way, But There’s Further to Go. Canadian Women Studies 23 (3-4). (10 pages, PDF)

YouTube, November 5, 2018: “Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) - Maternity Leave Strike,” by Labour & Economy (30:58, video)

Statistics Canada Perspectives on Labour and Income, March 2003: “Benefiting from extended parental leave,” by Katherine Marshall

UNICEF, June 2019: Are the world’s richest countries family friendly? (22 pages, PDF)

OECD Family Database

PWR: work&labour news&research, March 15, 2017: “Parental Benefits in Canada: Which Way Forward?”

Grandahl, M., Stern, J., and Funkquist, EL. (2020). Longer shared parental leave is associated with longer duration of breastfeeding: a cross-sectional study among Swedish mothers and their partners. BMC Pediatr 20 (159). (10 pages, PDF)

McKay, L., Mathieu, S., & Doucet, A. (2016). Parental-leave rich and parental-leave poor: Inequality in Canadian labour market based leave policies. Journal of Industrial Relations 58(4), 543–562.

McKay, L., Mathieu, S., & Doucet, A. (2020). Reconceptualizing Parental Leave Benefits in COVID-19 Canada: From Employment Policy to Care and Social Protection Policy. Canadian Public Policy 46(3), S272-S286. (15 pages, PDF)

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The Future of Work


Improving the Linkages between University and Work

“COVID-19, the skills gap and automation have all conspired to change the work landscape in Canada and post-secondary institutions must respond to those changing needs. Add to that the fact that employers have been complaining for some time that new hires don’t have the skills the workplace demands, and you have a reason to re-evaluate the way universities operate. They tend to focus on content but employers are looking for cognitive and behavioural skills over content and disciplinary knowledge.”

“The data showing the mismatch between the perceptions of employers and academics about how higher education is preparing students for workplaces are startling. A survey conducted by the Institute of Competitiveness in Canada (2017) revealed that 70 percent of employers believed their employees’ critical-thinking and problem-solving skills were insufficient. A recent survey indicated that a substantially higher percentage of Americans believe an internship at Google would lead to better career success than a Harvard degree. Meanwhile, a McKinsey and Company study found that 70 percent of administrators they felt their graduates were prepared for the job market, but only 42 percent of employers and 45 percent of graduates agreed.”

“Increasingly, what one studies at university doesn’t predict the jobs one will occupy. In addition, students today will change jobs five to seven times, and the gig economy is growing, both of which reinforce the idea that an emphasis on skills makes sense. … Universities should also target the equity of access challenge. Students from low-income or families, Indigenous learners and those from other cultural or ethnic groups have lower post-secondary school enrolment. There’s a need for new programs to address the financial, social and cultural factors that lead these individuals to eschew more schooling.”

Public Policy Forum, June 3, 2021: Improving the Linkages between University and Work by Harvey P. Weingarten (30 pages, PDF)

Angrist, N., Djankov, S., Goldberg, P.K., and Patrinos, H.A. (2021). Measuring human capital using global learning data. Nature 592, p. 403–408. 

The World Bank Data Catalogue: Harmonized Learning Outcomes (HLO) Database, Measuring Human Capital Using Global Learning Data

Inside Higher Ed, April 6, 2021: “What Employers Want,” by Colleen Flaherty

Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU), April 6, 2021: 2021 Report on Employer Views of Higher Education (39 pages, PDF)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), March 23, 2021: Inequalities in education, skills, and incomes in the UK: The implications of the COVID-19 pandemic by Richard Blundel, Jonathan Cribb, Sandra McNally, Ross Warwick, and Xiaowei Xu (43 pages, PDF)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), March 26, 2021: The returns to undergraduate degrees by socio-economic group and ethnicity by Jack Britton, Lorraine Dearden and Ben Waltmann (72 pages, PDF)

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PWR: work&labour news&research, formerly the Weekly Work Report (2002 – 2006), the Perry Work Report (2006 – 2014) and the Perry Work Report: work&labour news&research (2014-2016), is a weekly e-publication of the CIRHR Library, University of Toronto.

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