Human Rights and Human Wrongs: Our Continuing Need to Teach
Elaine Newman, Arbitrator and Mediator, Queen's IRC Facilitator
Francine had been disciplined before. She had been suspended for 3 days, for an angry outburst that she had in the shipping department. But this time was worse. Francine was in the cafeteria, finishing her break. Three co-workers sat down at the same table, and within minutes she began yelling and swearing at them. One of them began talking to her, trying to quiet her down. She threw her cup of tea in his face, and then left the room.
Francine was terminated. The letter of termination cited the company anti-violence and harassment policies.
The most interesting piece of the story arose during mediation, when the grievor told the mediator that she didn't have a problem with anger - she had a problem with the Filipino employees who were working in the plant. "They are all so tight, always together, and they are taking all the jobs in the plant. None of my nephews, and none of my friends' kids are getting the new jobs..."
This is not just a problem with anger management. This is a problem with racism. Canadian workplaces are full of it.
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Getting Ahead of the Shift: Summit Inspires Thoughtful Conversations About the Changing World of Work
Cathy Sheldrick, Queen's IRC Marketing Assistant
With an impressive line-up of guest speakers and facilitators, the Queen's IRC Workplace in Motion Summit brought together over 100 leaders in HR, OD and LR from across the country to engage in conversations about the workplace of the future, and the trends that are driving new models for organizational planning.
The Summit, held on April 16 in Toronto, featured a number of themes, including:
- Talent: How do we engage, retain and motivate a new generation of workers?
- Transformation: How can organizations transform without trauma?
- Making the shift: What do organizations need to do to shift to new models?
- Managing overload: How do we keep up with evolving technology and trends?
What matters in today's workplace?
Summit Chair Brenda Barker Scott shared the characteristics of the new employee and introduced Courtney Jolliffe from Free the Children and James Prince from Me to We to talk about millennials at work. "Passion trumps choosing a location. We're following what we're passionate about," said Joliffe. Joliffe and Prince discussed what makes their jobs attractive, how they want to work, career expectations, and where in the world they want to work. They joked that, in true millennial fashion, they surveyed their teams to get input before their presentation - they prefer to work collaboratively and learn by interacting with their peer group.
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Mining the Past to Build a Better Future in Occupational Health and Safety
Vic Pakalnis, P. Eng., MBA. M. Eng., President and Chief Executive Officer, MIRARCO Mining Innovation, 2013
The Ontario mining industry in the mid-70's faced accident rates higher than any other industrial sector. In 1976, there were 19 fatalities, 12.5 lost time injuries (LTI's) per 100 workers. Wildcat strikes by miners in Elliot Lake and considerable political pressure on a minority government, led to the creation of the Royal Commission on Health and Safety of Workers in Mines. It was headed up by Dr. James Ham, an engineering professor from the University of Toronto. The report, known as The Ham Report, was tabled on June 30, 1976 and it changed the occupational health and safety system in the province of Ontario - and not just for the mining sector.
On October 1, 1979, the Occupational Health and Safety Act came into force. It applies to all workers in Ontario with the exception of workers under federal jurisdiction. By looking at the evolution of the mining industry, in terms of health and safety, we can see that this old and yet still strategically important industry, can teach us how to build a better future for occupational health and safety in Canada's workplaces.
The Internal Responsibility System
Dr. James Ham is arguably the father of occupational health and safety in Canada. He coined the concept of "Internal Responsibility System" (IRS). Although it is a term that was defined in the Ham Report, and it has been honed over time in practice. It can be defined as follows: The internal responsibility system is a safety management system that outlines clear roles and accountabilities for workplace parties with direct and contributory responsibility for health and safety. The following diagram shows the various workplace players and illustrates the concept.
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