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Workforce Trends

Auditor General's report examines how Canada selects foreign workers under its immigration program

Canada's Auditor General issued its 2009 Fall Report today. Chapter 2 is entitled "Selecting Foreign Workers Under the Immigration Program" and is an audit of HRSDC's and Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC's) practices in this regard. The report, in its entirety, can be read here.

Business Council of BC releases paper that assesses BC's labour force projections to 2030

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

As part of its Outlook 2020 Project, the Business Council of BC has released a paper entitled "Where Will The Workers Come From? British Columbia Labour Force Projections to 2030". The authors conlude, somewhat surprisingly, as follows:

...the results of our analysis are encouraging in that quite moderate changes in behaviour (particpation rates) and in policy (immigration, temporary work visas, training programs and so on) can materially lift growth in the labour force. This suggests that labour shortages in the coming decade are apt to be far less pervasive than often feared. It is important to recognize, however, that the labour market will tighten irrespective of future changes, and that the macroeconomic projections reported in this paper say little about labour demand/supply conditions in specific industries or regions. With more people retiring, it is reasonable to anticipate greater hiring challenges in some sectors of the economy as well as for certain highly-skilled occupations in fields like health care and advanced technology (pg. ii).

Air Canada Pilots Association applies for judicial review of CHRT decision on mandatory retirement

The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) issued a news release today announcing that they have applied to the Federal Court for judicial review of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) decision in Vilven v. Air Canada, 2009 CHRT 24, which called into question the retirement age provision of the pilots' collective agreement with Air Canada.

Watson Wyatt survey: Canadian companies moving away from stock options for executive compensation

Global consulting firm Watson Wyatt's August 2009 survey of 53 Canadian companies reveals that 28 percent are changing their pay mix – mostly to put more emphasis on
bonuses and performance shares, with less focus on stock options.

Robert Levasseur, senior consultant of executive compensation at Watson Wyatt, states in the September 17, 2009 press release that:

“Stock options are certainly under pressure during a recession where
many organizations have seen their share price plunge by as much as 40
per cent. Many executives have been left with worthless underwater
options and current valuations call for very high option grants which
would be highly dilutive to un-accepting shareholders,” 

“The employee stock option plan will remain a staple in Canadian
executive pay plans because it is the only long term incentive vehicle
that offers a tax advantage to plan participants. However, as
organizations regroup, it is not surprising to see a shift towards
annual cash base incentives.”

Canadian companies concerned about overtime compensation

The Conference Board of Canada has issued a report - Working 9 to 9: Overtime Practices in Canadian Organizations - in which two-thirds of the 130 respondents said that staff and management had highlighted overtime compensation concerns in the past year.

The report comes on the heels of overtime lawsuits and/or settlements in the last 18
months involving five high profile companies (CIBC, Scotiabank, CNR, KMPG LLP, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP).

You can read this article in today's Toronto Star for more information about the report.

Industry Training Authority launches campaign to encourage apprentices to catch up on technical in-class training

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In an entry in mid-May entitled "Economic recovery and the looming shortage of workers", I set out some of the ominous labour force statistics surrounding the retirement of the baby boomers.

Before that I had posted an entry on the BC Government's decision to double the Training Tax Credit effective July 1, 2009 in order to encourage employers to take on apprentices.

Now, an article in this week's edition (May 30 - June 5, 2009) of the Employment Paper (available in boxes on many corners) ties these two developments together.  read more »

Economic recovery and the looming shortage of workers

The economic meltdown and the surging unemployment rate have muted, for the past several months, discussions about Canada's looming shortage of workers.

But with the "green shoots" of recovery starting to emerge - and the federal government's massive stimulus spending package soon to kick in - it may be time for employers to revisit Canada's workforce projections, and start examining the impact this will have on their future personnel needs.

The projections - set out in a story entitled "Oh Baby" in this month's edition of BC Business magazine - include the following:  read more »

An update on mandatory retirement

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Mandatory retirement was largely abolished in BC on January 1, 2008 when amendments to the BC Human Rights Code came into effect making it illegal to discriminate against employees who are age 65 or older.

The Business section of today's Vancouver Sun had a long article entitled "Life after death of mandatory retirement" that cites some interesting figures from BC Stats on this subject:

  • 10% of people age 65 or older in BC were still in the labour force (either working or looking for work) in February 2009;
  • in 2000, labour force participation for those aged 65 or older was only 5%; 
  • there was, however, no noticeable jump in labour force participation for these workers between December 2007 and January 2008, when the change came into effect. 

BC legislative session ends without labour mobility bill being passed

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In a post on March 11, 2009 I noted that the BC Government had introduced a labour mobility bill that would allow certified workers from other jurisdictions to practice their occupations in BC in accordance with Chapter Seven of the national Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT). The legislative session closed yesterday without the bill being passed and so, at least for now, this initiative is dead.  

The level of unionization in British Columbia

Topics: - Workforce Trends
Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In a post last week regarding the possible revival of the labour movement in the US, I noted that the level of unionization in that country had shrunk from 35% in the mid-1950s to about 8% today.

What is the currrent level of unionization in BC and across Canada? In the Business Council of British Columbia's most recent Industrial Relations Bulletin on this issue (September 23, 2008), it states that during the first half of 2008:  read more »