Queen's University IRC

Labour Relations Foundations

HR Reporter roundtable - Peter Edwards, Bill Murnighan, Elaine Newman and Anna Goldfinch

Young Workers and the Union Movement in Canada

Many young workers don't feel connected to the labour movement. They see it as a relic from previous generations, something that may have helped their parents but isn't helping them, and something that might even be preventing them from obtaining good jobs.  So what can unions do to win over young workers? This question was discussed at a recent roundtable discussion on the future of unions in the private sector hosted by the Canadian HR Reporter, and sponsored by Queen's IRC.

How can unions overcome their PR problem?

The Future of Unions in Canada’s Private Sector: How Can Unions Overcome their PR Problem?

Unions face many negative perceptions, such as the notion that union workers are lazy, under worked, have job security for life, and enjoy gold-plated benefits and pension packages that others can only dream about. In light of this, how can unions overcome their PR problem? This question was one of many that was put to a panel of labour relations practitioners and experts recently, at a roundtable discussion sponsored by Queen's IRC, and hosted by the Canadian HR Reporter.

The changing landscape of collective bargaining after Ontario (A.G.) v. Fraser

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

Six Levels of Workplace Health

The Six Levels of Workplace Health

The theory of "workplace health" can be best described by comparing a workplace to a human being. As humans, our health is often affected by the choices we make regarding diet, exercise, stress and generally the way we choose to live our lives. Poor diet, excessive stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise and destructive behaviours such as alcohol and drug abuse can often lead to poor health.

A legal review

Family Status Accommodations:

This paper canvasses the existing legislation in respect of “family status” accommodation obligations and provides an overview of a number of recent cases that shed some light on how “family status” accommodation situations are playing out in Canadian workplaces.

Handling Labour Relations Disasters

Handling Labour Relations Disasters

A female employee was involved in a romantic relationship with a male member of the team. He was married. She had enough. The romance ended. He was unable to accept the end of the relationship. He called her repeatedly, at home and at work. He openly harassed her. He distributed photos of her.  

Managing Mental Health in the Workplace

Managing Mental Health in the Workplace

Understanding and complying with the employer's legal duty to accommodate disabled employees is one of the biggest challenges facing labour relations professionals today. This is particularly so in the case of mental health issues. The statistics are telling. It has been reported that one in six Canadians will suffer from mental illness at one point in their lives and that one out of every four to five employees is affected by mental health issues every year.

School Administrators’ Perspectives on Labour Relations: Survey Results and Analysis

This report is based on a survey of school administrators in two regions of Ontario. It probes several areas, such as administrators' perspectives on the labour relations environment, the relationships between administrators and staff, the role of administrators in conflict management and dispute resolution, and the potential effectiveness of labour relations-focused professional development for school administrators and other education sector stakeholders.

Executive Summary

An Inquiry Into the State of Labour Relations in Canada: Executive Summary

In November 2011, the IRC launched a 37-question survey, "An Inquiry into the State of LR in Canada." The purpose of this survey was to describe the state of the labour relations (LR) profession in Canada, based on the perspectives of practitioners. This Executive Summary presents an overview of the aggregated survey data. This practitioner-focused research complements our 2011 exploration of the state of the human resources profession in Canada, and builds on the IRC’s 2009 labour relations survey.

Brendan Sweeney, Queen's IRC Post-Doctoral Fellow

Education Labour Relations In Ontario

The labour relations environment in Ontario's education sector is both fascinating and dynamic. The late 1970s and 1980s marked a period of relative stability. Conversely, the 1990s were marked by turnover in provincial government, legislatives changes, new policy initiatives, and labour disputes.

Holistic Surgery for the Infected Workplace

The Peer Circle: Holistic Surgery for the Infected Workplace

Jean passed the talking piece to Kimberly. You could see her shoulders straighten, a deep intake of breath, a glance around the circle of her assembled colleagues. She was steeling herself to say what was difficult but necessary. Kimberly explained that, for her, the constant putting down of customers and negativity around workplace conditions was unacceptable and made it difficult to enjoy and take pride in her work.

Getting Along With the Union

How can human resources professionals bargain and build meaningful relationships with the union during tough economic times? In her recent presentation at Queen’s IRC’s Labour Relations Foundations program, Ontario Nurses’ Association President Linda Haslam-Stroud provided sound advice for signing off on successful collective agreements. In the following excerpts from her talk, Linda shares her top …

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Accommodating Disability in the wake of Keays v. Honda Canada

Employers may be relieved now that the Supreme Court of Canada has reversed steep punitive damages in a high-profile wrongful dismissal case involving a disabled worker. But accommodating the needs of employees who have disabilities – in particular depression – is not getting any easier, says Queen’s IRC Facilitator Anthony Griffin. Griffin is counsel for …

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Whither Unionism: Current State and Future Prospects of Union Renewal in Canada

Trends and pattern of union membership and density as well as organizing activity are clear signs of stagnation and complacency in the labour movement. While some unions are doing better than others, the labour movement as a whole appears to be at standstill. It is also evident that there does not appear to be any …

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New Labour Law Rule: Think Global, Act Local

In a case that pitted B.C. health unions against contentious labour legislation, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last fall that collective bargaining is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The decision significantly changes the lives of many Canadian labour law practitioners and policy-makers, says Kevin Banks, assistant professor in Queen’s University Faculty …

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Automakers, Unions, and “Lobbying and Hammering”

Queen’s Industrial Relations Centre Director Carol Beatty sat down with CAW President Buzz Hargrove during his recent visit to campus and discussed developments in the automobile manufacturing sector and the role of his union in addressing major changes in the industry. You mentioned in your Don Wood Lecture here at Queen’s that negotiated agreements with …

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The Visible Minority Experience of Marginalization in the Canadian Labour Force – A Proposal to the Ontario Government to Reintroduce Employment Equity Legislation in Ontario

Visible minorities still face barriers that impede their success in the workforce. The most powerful force preventing them from entering the labour market and climbing the corporate ladder is systemic discrimination. This paper seeks to shed some light on the damaging effects of systemic discrimination through the eyes of visible minorities. It contends that the …

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The Effects of Human Resource Management and Union Member Status on Employees’ Intentions to Quit

This discussion paper reports on research that looked at whether the relationship between employee intention to quit and human resource management (HRM) changed based on union membership. The investigation first considered whether HRM reduced or increased an employee’s intention to quit. Next, the moderating effect of union membership on the relationship between HRM and quit …

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