85 Years of Lifelong Learning

Queen's IRC Staff Celebrating 85th Anniversary Year
News

Queen’s IRC celebrated our 85th anniversary on October 12, 2022, with an afternoon open house. Guests from the University and local community, as well as IRC participants, speakers, and staff celebrated at the Queen’s IRC office in Kingston.

Speeches from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, Dr. Barbara Crow, and Queen’s IRC Director of Professional Programs, Alison Darling, highlighted new programs and projects on the horizon for the Centre, and showcased our achievements.

The event also provided the opportunity to reflect on our history and review some of the documents from our past. In many ways, we see how far our training – and the world in general – has come since 1937. We started in a time when industrial relations conferences and training was for “business men”, with men leading the training as well. In 2022, we find that at least half, and often more, of our participants (and facilitators) are women.

Topics at the “Conference on Industrial Relations” on Sept 14-17, 1938, included subjects such as: “trends in employer-employee relations”, “a business man looks at industrial relations” and “work-sharing during a depression”. Collective bargaining was also a topic at this conference, and is still a big part of our Labour Relations Foundations program today.

In 1940, our industrial relations training evolved to cover topics of importance like “employee welfare in war time”, “training personnel for industrial occupations” and “labour supply in relation to the war-time needs of industry”.

While the specific needs of those working in labour relations and human resources has changed over the past 85 years, there are many themes that stay the same, such as “problems in group relations” (a topic from a 1940 course). We are still talking about relationships in many of our courses, like Managing Unionized Environments, Building Trust Using Emotional Intelligence, and Strategies for Workplace Conflicts.

In the programme for our short course in Industrial Relations, held on June 10-15, 1940, we can see similarities to our current Labour Relations Foundations program – a full week course, topics presented by a variety of industry experts, readings and small group discussions on each subject (which are then discussed with the full group), and opportunities to network with other professionals facing similar challenges.

From our roots of running annual industrial relations conferences and publishing printed research on industrial relations, to today, running dozens of training programs each year and publishing practitioner-focused articles online, we have been meeting the needs of working professionals for 85 years.

We look forward to continuing with this important work for the next 85 years!

Download our 1938 & 1940 Industrial Relations Programmes to see more!

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