Archives for November 2013

Building the Blue Team: Using Conflict Management Concepts with Canadian Forces Personnel Overseas

“Running a war seems to consist of making plans and then ensuring that all those destined to carry them out don’t quarrel with each other instead of the enemy.”
– Field Marshal Alan Francis Brooke, 1st Viscount Alanbrooke. KG, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO and Bar, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, 1941 to 1946

“We could handle being shot at by the enemy…that was to be expected. What we don’t accept is how we were being treated within our own unit and so much in-fighting.”
– Canadian soldier, Afghanistan Post-mission Decompression Interview, 2007


This article will discuss how familiar private and public employment sector conflict management concepts, practices and training were applied and adapted by the Department of National Defence’s Conflict Management Program to prepare military units and individuals for the exigencies of overseas operations. In particular, it details the experience and level of success of implementing interest-based conflict management tools into teams deploying for overseas missions.

Meet the Blue Team and the Red Team

In war games, exercises and military operations, the contesting sides are often designated as the “Blue Team”, the friendly forces – our own and our Allies, and as the “Red Team”, the opposing forces or enemy.

The Blue Team does not derive its strength solely through the weight of numbers or through superior weapons and technology. The Team’s morale, cohesion and confidence in itself, each other member, and its leaders, are all key human dimensions factors which contribute to a decisive, and cost-effective, war-winning pre-condition: unquestioned mutual reliance or trust. When the Department of National Defence’s Conflict Management Program started, we believed that conflict management tools which supported the development and strengthening of trust within individuals and units comprising the Blue Team, would increase their level of mission success and reduce the human cost.

Download PDF: Building the Blue Team: Using Conflict Management Concepts with Canadian Forces Personnel Overseas

Queen’s IRC Announces Partnership with Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business

Queen’s University IRC is pleased to announce a collaborative partnership with the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business in Trinidad.  This agreement will allow us to bring existing programming to a different audience and to develop exciting learning opportunities with a new partner.

We have been working with the Cave Hill School of Business at the University of the West Indies in Barbados for a number of years, and we are excited to continue to expand our partnerships in the Caribbean.  Both Queen’s IRC and the Arthur Lok Jack GSB have the goals of creating a better working environment for labour relations and human resources practitioners. We have similar teaching styles, using adult learning principles such as engagement and experiential techniques.

The Arthur Lok Jack GSB was established in 1989 as a joint venture between the University of the West Indies and the private sector of Trinidad and Tobago to provide postgraduate education in business and management. It is recognized as the premier institution for the provision of business and management education, training and consultancy services in Trinidad and Tobago, and it extends its reach to the wider Caribbean region.

We welcome this collaboration and look forward to a mutually advantageous relationship as we support the continuing growth and development of business in the Caribbean.




Labour Relations in Canada: The Changing Landscape of Collective Bargaining after Ontario (A.G.) v. Fraser

Following the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in Ontario (A.G.) v. Fraser (Fraser), there has, predictably, been widespread speculation as to its eventual effect on the labour relations landscape in Canada.  A departure from other recent SCC case law, Fraser found that there was no constitutional guarantee for any specific form of labour relations or collective bargaining regime.  Even if the decision was significant in shaping Canada’s constitutional framework for collective bargaining, any tangible effect on labour policy has yet specifically to materialize. That said, there has certainly been a shift in the discourse concerning labour relations, labour policy, and the role of unions in Canada, and certain recent policy initiatives suggest that broader change may very well be coming.

This article highlights some of those initiatives, discusses how Fraser laid the groundwork for them, and considers what they could mean for the future of labour relations in Canada. In doing so, this article first traces the jurisprudential treatment of labour relations policy since the SCC decision in Health Services and Support – Facilities Subsector Bargaining Association v. British Columbia (BC Health) – the immediate constitutional precursor to Fraser. It then reviews a number of post-Fraser policy initiatives, the effect they have on the labour relations landscape, and their potential implications for the future.

Download PDF: Labour Relations in Canada: The Changing Landscape of Collective Bargaining after Ontario (A.G.) v. Fraser

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