Canadian HR Reporter

January 2018 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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PM40065782 RO9496 THE NATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT January 2018 www.hrreporter.com New tools for unions in Ontario Panel looks at potential impact of Fair Workplaces Act BY JOHN DUJAY EMPLOYEES looking to collec- tively bargain and form a union will have new tools on hand to ac- complish that goal with Ontario's recently enacted Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, according to a panel of experts. e act provides more teeth to unions when going into a work- place and attempting to create a bargaining unit, but some em- ployers might be feeling confused by the new procedures. " ey were told to take their hands off, now they are being asked to provide information, and yet they can't be involved in any kind of campaign against it," said Elizabeth Keenan, employer counsel at Mathews, Dinsdale and Clark in Toronto. "It's a bit dicey in terms of what employers might do with this kind of information." "They would appear at first blush to be extraordinarily sig- nificant changes whereby per- haps the right to have any say in the process has really been re- moved from the employer's hands," she said. "Previously, until you actu- ally applied for certifi cation, the union had no right to know any employee information. ey had no idea what the bargaining unit looked like, or who was in it," said evaki evaratnam, director of research and education at the On- tario Federation of Labour (OFL). "Now, you actually have em- ployee names, phone numbers and personal email addresses, provided that the union can dem- onstrate that they have 20 per cent of membership support." Dispersed bargaining units Diverse bargaining units may be forced to consolidate, according to new powers given to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB), and that may help certain industries with widely dispersed locations. But some employers of fran- chises, for example, might not RULE > pg. 17 DOES HR NEED AI? page 19 Financial stress rising What exactly should employers be doing to help? page 3 Working notice on medical leave Ontario employee entitled to pay in lieu of notice: Court page 5 Seeking self-regulation The latest on Canada's HR associations page 9 Technological capabilities will change profession for the better, say experts BY MARCEL VANDER WIER I t's offi cial: Robots and artifi cial intelligence (AI) have infi ltrated the ranks of human resources and will be mainstream within the function in fi ve years. at's the fi nding of a report by Ontario's Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), which concludes AI can help HR professionals reduce their administrative burden, recruit, reduce bias and im- prove employee engagement. " e future is here and employers have good rea- sons to embrace AI's increasing role in HR functions," said Scott Allinson, vice-president of public aff airs at HRPA in Toronto. "Utilizing AI is not about worker displacement, but a useful tool paired with human judgment to allow HR professionals to focus on stra- tegic planning." Fourteen per cent of Ontario HR practitioners are already using AI in their workplaces, while 48 per cent expect the technology to be integrated into their department within the next fi ve years, found a 500-member survey conducted for the study, A New Age of Opportunities: What Does Artifi cial Intelligence Mean for HR Professionals? HR is one of the few professions that will see mini- mum job displacement, said Allinson. "It's going to be at a minimum level because you still need that human intervention on the HR side," he said. " e good news on the HR side of it — from the data we've seen — (is) they're in the low-disruption area." e state of AI AI's beginnings stem from search algorithms and pat- tern recognition of the 1990s, according to Ziad Kobti, director and professor at the School of Computer Sci- ence at the University of Windsor in Ontario. Major investments in AI over the last two years have accelerated its development to the point where cognitive computing and natural language processing applications are second nature, he said. "Virtual assistants or chatbots are really the out- come of cognitive computing, and natural language processing is underneath the hood," said Kobti. " e applications are endless." Used properly, AI complements the skills of HR practitioners and the overall quality of employment services through avenues such as training recommen- dations or recruitment streamlining, he said. While HR has been a late adopter in this area, some large multinational organizations are already reaping the rewards of using AI within the HR function, said Allinson. "We're in the early stages of this, but the fact that we are seeing — especially in the high-tech sector Credit: maxuser (Shutterstock) Artificial intelligence will allow HR to reduce its administrative burden and focus on strategic planning, says a recent report. TECHNOLOGY > pg. 8 labour-reporter.com HOW WILL YOU APPROACH YOUR NEXT AGREEMENT ? Unions such as Unifor (headed by Jerry Dias, pictured here in Mexico City in November) could benefit from changes to Ontario's laws. Credit: Carlos Jasso (Reuters) New tools for New tools for Seeking self-regulation The latest on Canada's HR associations The inside story at Sears The senior vice-president of HR talks about the retailer's efforts to transition employees

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