Canadian HR Reporter

January 25, 2016

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 January 25, 2016 INSIDE CANNABIS WITH YOUR CABERNET? Unions say liquor and marijuana go together when it comes to retail, but some disagree Roundtable talk Is it time to get rid of performance rankings? page 10 HR leaders 5 executives talk about rewarding recognition page 15 Year in review A roundup of the top workplace stories in 2015 page 20 page 2 Buyers look over machinery at an auction in Nisku, Alta., in December where many sellers are oil companies reeling from record-low crude oil prices. The province's suicide rate is up, with potential links to mass layoffs. Credit: Topher Seguin (Reuters) The CANADIAN OUTPLACEMENT COMPANY Since 1981 Alberta sees spike in suicide rates How can employers support workers in tough labour market? BY LIZ BERNIER FACING a rocky economy and sweeping job cuts, Alberta has an- other serious problem on its hands: A marked spike in its suicide rate. e province has seen a 30 per cent increase in suicide rates over the first half of 2015, according to the chief medical examiner's of- fice, leading to speculation that mass layoffs and financial uncer- tainty may be part of the cause. Layoffs could certainly be a sig- nificant factor — but it's too early to say what's behind the increase, according to Mara Grunau, execu- tive director of the Centre for Sui- cide Prevention in Calgary. "In Alberta, the rates are high to start with. More Albertans die by suicide every year than they do in fatal car collisions. It's higher than Ontario, it's higher than most oth- er provinces," she said. "is is the first delta we've seen in a long time — that is a huge red flag. Is it due to the economic lay- offs? We don't know. It's just too soon to know. "We only have data till June, it's not broken down at all — we have lump sum numbers per month, but it's not broken down WORKERS > pg. 6 Ontario bans employer clawbacks on tips New law lauded by employers, employees alike BY SABRINA NANJI SERVICE industry workers in Ontario will no longer see their employers taking a cut of their tips after a new law was passed late last year. Bill 12, the Protecting Employ- ees' Tips Act, effectively prohibits employers from withholding em- ployees' tips or other gratuities for workers in the service industry, such as restaurant, spa and hotel employees. e legislation was first intro- duced more than five years ago by NDPer Michael Prue as Bill 49, and reintroduced in 2014 as a private members' bill by Toronto MPP Arthur Potts. It is slated to come into effect in mid-2016. e legislation will amend the province's Employment Stan- dards Act to prohibit owners from taking or withholding tips and gratuities from employees, with exceptions for sole propri- etors and partners of restaurants where they are involved in de- livery and service equivalent to employees. Ontario follows New Brunswick and Quebec, as well as New York, where similar laws are already in place. And the move was lauded by both sides of the equation. "I believe we came to an agree- ment on what was fair for both employers and employees," said Tony Elenis, president and CEO of the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA). Of particular concern was the bill not taking into account the nuances of many service settings. at includes tip sharing or pool- ing practices, such as giving a cut to back-of-house workers. Nor did it clarify whether an em- ployer could take a cut to cover the processing fees charged by credit card companies. e province's labour ministry will be responsi- ble for regulating exemptions for credit card fees, which is an addi- tional charge for processing. "From that end, we feel it is a fair bill because it sort of supports those that are in the service delivery and that's what it's meant for," said Elenis. "If there is no (tip-sharing) system in place, it does create con- flicts between personnel who work hard and are part of that service ex- perience, that guest experience." Oftentimes, a hostess, busboy or barback might not receive a commensurate share of the tip or gratuity, and that can lead to con- flict in the workplace and have an impact on an employee's morale. "is industry is extremely reg- ulated and we just don't want any more red tape. You know, this is just another policy, because there are so many, especially with the small margins that this industry is performing on," he said. And while there remains one complication with the law — in unionized environments, LACK > pg. 8 Anonymous comments lead to top workplaces Softchoice, Manulife among employers on Glassdoor list BY SARAH DOBSON ANNA FILIPOPOULOS pe- riodically checks in with www. to see what people are saying about her company. Se- nior vice-president of people and growth at Softchoice in Toronto, she knows the site is used by em- ployees to provide candid feed- back about their employers. "We have other vehicles too, like engagement surveys, but I think Glassdoor is different," she said. Not that Filipopoulos has much to worry about — Softchoice, an IT consulting company, is among the 25 Best Places to Work in Canada in 2016, according to Glassdoor's first ranking for Canada. "It's candid feedback, it's anony- mous feedback, it was unsolicited, so we're absolutely delighted that our employees took the time to provide their comments and their feedback, so I think that's why for us it's so fantastic," she said. "It's not us sitting there crafting a mes- sage, it's our people saying what- ever they're inspired to say, so we were just thrilled." e awards are based on the in- put of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their job, work environment and employer. e list includes employers with 1,000 or more employees. When an employee submits a review on the Glassdoor site, she is asked to give her opinion on some of the best reasons to work for their employer and any CULTURE > pg. 14

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