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Workforce Trends

The revival of the labour movement in the United States?

Topics: - Workforce Trends
Jurisdiction: - United States

There is an interesting article in this week's The Economist (March 14-20, 2009) about the possible revival of the labour movement in the United States.

The article, entitled "In from the cold?", notes that current political/legal events in the US coupled with the change in attitudes and economic realties brought on by the recession, may provide an opportunity for unions to increase memberships and influence after decades of decline that have seen the percentage of the American workforce that is unionized shrink from 35% in the mid-1950s to about 8% today.

The positive developments on the political/legal front noted in the article include the following:  read more »

British Columbia's unemployment rate increases to 6.7 percent

Topics: - Workforce Trends
Jurisdiction: - Alberta - British Columbia - Ontario - Quebec

British Columbia's unemployment rate increased to 6.7 percent in February, according to the Statistics Canada "Labour Force Survey" that was released today. This is up from 6.1 percent in January 2009.

Nationally, the unemployment rate rose to 7.7 percent in February, up 0.5 percent from January. The largest decline in employment occurred in Ontario (-35,000), followed by Alberta (-24,000) and Quebec (-18,000).

A decrease of 43,000 in construction positions accounted for over half of the employment decline in February. The only industries with gains were manufacturing and agriculture.

This Canadian Press story today lists some of the specific layoffs that have been announced in Canada in 2009. Among them are Howe Sound Pulp and Paper's announcement earlier ths week that it will be lay off 101 unionized positions at its operations on the Sunshine Coast. The employees are members of Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 1119.

BC government introduces labour mobility bill in legislature

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Government introduced a labour mobility bill in the legislature today.

According to the explanatory note that accompanies it, Bill 9 - 2009 (the Labour Mobility Act):

...allows certified workers from other jurisdictions to practise
their occupations in British Columbia in accordance with Chapter Seven
of the Agreement on Internal Trade, and, in particular, provides that
British Columbia regulators must consider and apply Chapter Seven when
workers who are certified for an occupation in a signatory jurisdiction
apply to obtain British Columbia certification for that occupation. It
allows the Supreme Court to consider whether Chapter Seven has been
correctly applied and to make directions where that has not been the
case.
 read more »

BC Budget contains unemployment forecasts for 2009

Topics: - Workforce Trends
Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Government released its Budget and Fiscal Plan for 2009/10 - 2011/12 today. The following statistics and forecasts will be of interest to the labour and employment community:  read more »

Temporary foreign workers still needed for certain occupations

An article in today's Vancouver Sun reported that despite the downturn in the economy and rising unemployment, some sectors are still looking for temporary foreign workers to fill certain occupations. Two occupations mentioned by name in the article were community care workers in northern BC and Alberta, as well as room attendants.

Ontario Abolishes Mandatory Retirement and BC and Saskatchewan Appear to Follow Soon

Effective December 12, 2006, mandatory retirement will no longer be generally permissible in Ontario, (as a result of amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code). Employers will, however, still be allowed to enforce mandatory retirement polices if they can show that being younger than 65 (or another designated age) is a bona fide occupational requirement.

As reported in the media on December 2, 2006, Premier Campbell has announced that mandatory retirement in BC will also soon be abolished. Specifically, it is expected that the BC Human Rights Code will be amended in Spring 2007, with the result being that mandatory retirement policies will not be generally permissible in this province.

Similarly, on November 6, 2006 the Saskatchewan Government introduced Bill 9, which will amend the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, with the result that mandatory retirement policies will not be generally permissible in that province if Bill 9 is enacted. However, the amendments would not come into force for one year after Royal Assent.

Mandatory retirement is already not generally permissible in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, PEI, Yukon, the NWT and Nunavut.

"Managing Employment Across Borders - Employment Law Considerations"

Jurisdiction: - Ontario - United States

David Elenbaas at McMillan Binch Mendelsohn in Toronto, has written a paper entitled "Managing Employment Across Borders - Employment Law Considerations".

The paper was written for The Canadian Institute's 6th Annual Advanced Forum on Employment Law held on October 19, 2006. The paper was written with the assistance of Emily White, Student-at-Law.

Alberta and BC sign agreement to eliminate barriers to labour mobility between the two provinces

Jurisdiction: - Alberta - British Columbia

The BC government announced today that it has signed an agreement with Alberta that will eiminate barriers to labour mobility between the two provinces.

The agreement - the Alberta-British Columbia Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) - also eliminates barriers to trade and investment.

The news release states that TILMA will "enhance labour mobility by recognizing occupational certifications of workers in both provinces".

The agreement commences April 1, 2007 and will include a transition period to April 2009 before the agreement comes into full effect to give both governments time to bring their measures into conformity.