The last long weekend of summer is upon us.
On Monday, Canadians from coast to coast will enjoy Labour Day, a last dash of sun (we hope) before the days quickly shorten and the leaves begin to transform.
Labour Day, of course, is much more than a statutory holiday; welcome time off at the turn of the season. It’s a day set aside to acknowledge the triumphs of worker’s rights and commemorate what has been achieved through the collective efforts of many generations of Canadians.
When it comes to food, drug and consumer-product safety, the storage and transportation of hazardous goods, and the control of pollutants that threaten human health and the environment, Canadians would almost universally agree that governments should regulate business to ensure that public health and safety always comes first. This is particularly true in the aftermath of preventable human tragedies such as that at Lac-Mégantic.
Detroit's recent bankruptcy filing led me to re-read a fine award-winning book by Thomas J. Sugrue, “The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit.” The basic argument of the book is that the crisis of that city – now a mainly black, overwhelmingly poor city, a fraction of its former size and a shadow of its former magnificence – is deeply rooted in persistent discrimination against blacks at the workplace and in housing.
I attended the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) as a representative of Canadian Doctors for Medicare last year. The meeting was not at all what I'd expected.
The CMA, as a professional association representing doctors, has often been seen — fairly or unfairly — as working primarily for the interests of the physicians it represents with patients and health equity appearing at times to be an afterthought. This impression was particularly prevalent during the presidencies of Brian Day (2007-8) and Robert Ouellet, (2008-9), both vocal advocates for privatization (and owners of private, for-profit health care facilities) who used their tenure to advocate for greater private payment for essential health services.
Today Sun News Network was refused mandatory carriage by the CRTC. That means that cable networks won't be forced to include Sun with every cable subscription; Sun claims mandatory carriage is essential to their survival.
Wondering what every Canadian cable subscriber might now miss out on? Check out this highlight reel of some of the best moments from Sun broadcasts.
Last year the Metcalf Foundation released a report on working poverty in Toronto. It found that 113,000 people were living in working poverty in the Toronto region in 2005, a 42% increase from 2000. The report's findings indicate that people living in working poverty most commonly work in sales and service occupations; work comparable hours and weeks as the rest of the working population; are over-represented by immigrants; and are only slightly less-educated than the rest of the working age population.
Daniel Tucker-Simmons recently completed his Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne & Yazbeck Human Rights/Social Justice Internship at the Broadbent Institute. Tucker-Simmons was compensated for his work.
Download the full version of this article (in .PDF format) here.
Legislated employment standards are a cornerstone of a strong, healthy society, as well as a robust, thriving economy. They ensure that everyone who works earns a minimum wage for their labour, and that nobody is subjected to inhumane working conditions or unduly harsh treatment at the hands of their employer. It is because of employment standards that workers in Canada have the right to rest periods during and between shifts, to maximum work hours each day and week, to extra pay for working on public holidays, and to a couple of weeks of paid vacation every year. In short, employment standards are there to shield workers – especially non-union workers – against the natural tendency of the labour market to gravitate towards overwork and underpay.
Employer groups such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business insist that their members need continued access to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program since Canada is experiencing an acute labour shortage, including a shortage of low-skilled workers.
That claim is highly dubious, and should be rejected by the federal government, which is now reviewing the program.
The Broadbent Institute is pleased to present the second in a series of blog posts by a range of Canadian academics and thought leaders critiquing the record of the Conservative government. Read the first post here.
Ideologues don’t like evidence. They know what the problem is and what to do about it.
Perhaps the most egregious example of this under Stephen Harper concerns the evidence about declining crime rates and the government’s insistence on the necessity of introducing harsher sentencing criteria as part of the much-derided Bill C-10 omnibus crime bill.
Upon being appointed Minister of the newly renamed “Employment and Social Development” (formerly HRSDC), Mr. Kenney tweeted his view on the Canadian labour market:
Coincidentally, perhaps, the most recent Statistics Canada numbers on job vacancies came out this morning. Compared to a year ago, there were 20,000 fewer job vacancies in Canada this April, and only 1.6% of all jobs were unfilled at the end of the month. Even in booming Alberta the ratio of unfilled jobs to total labour demand fell from 3.5% last April to 2.5% this April.