We started off our Owen Sound & Area autumn SIG schedule on September 27th with two very well attended events hosted by Georgian College as well as a tour of their new Marine Emergency Duty Training Centre.
Our first event was Building Skilled Talent Together, an Industry Input Session facilitated by Savanna Myers, Manager of Economic Development for County of Grey. This was the second of three outreach sessions aimed at developing a Case for a Dedicated Community Hub: Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Centre.
This session highlighted the fact that we need to do something…not just talk, it is imperative that we advance the conversation. What exactly IS the issue? We keep hearing about a skills gap, a disconnect between what employers need and what is being taught at schools. We keep hearing that industry has changed. We keep hearing that we need more jobs.
But, unemployment is at 3.4 % in Grey.
- 71.9% of those 15-24 are working
- 88.7% of those 25-44 are working
- 84.4% of those 45-54 are working
- 64.2% of those 55-64 are working
Between 2014 and 2017 the labour pool in Grey/Bruce/Huron dropped by 2%...a future decline of more than 4% is expected in the next 5 years.
We need to look at the older demographic, we need to improve their skills. For the younger and older workers, yes, they have a job, but we need to get them into a good job. In fact, we don’t need more jobs, we need more people!
Today, potential employees must go away for much of their training. It is a huge barrier, especially for those with families and the older demographic. (Hence no skills upgrading.) And, for those that do go away for training, do they come back?
To learn more about the findings of the Industry Input Sessions, please read the report: Case for a Dedicated Skills Centre.
Our second event was the 2017 Legal Update with Beth Traynor of Siskinds LLC presenting on four main topics:
1. Updating us on the proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act.
- Pay Equity
- Rights and entitlements regarding scheduling and work locations
- Consequences for “misclassifying” employees as independent contractors
- Increase of paid vacation to three weeks
- Paid emergency leave for all employees
- Extension of family medical leave
- Increased penalties for ESA non-compliance
- Potential change to Union Certification process
- Union access of employee lists and contact information
- Successor rights expanded to building services contracts
- Structure of Bargaining Units
2. Accommodation: Return to Work, especially around “Invisible ailments”
- This is “social engineering legislation” in an effort to de-stigmatize disabilities
- Independent Medical Examinations have good success for physical accommodation, but have not proved very useful for mental health accommodation
- Although it is usually the responsibility of the employee to request accommodation and provide a reasonable level of medical information to support the request, an employer cannot be “willfully blind”; it is an employer’s “duty to inquire”
- Most importantly, don’t make assumptions of what the employee needs
3. Controlled Substances in the Workplace (like marijuana)
- Treat it exactly the same as alcohol, or prescription drugs which could affect: focus, ability to do the work
- The policy should say: “…obligation to disclose anything that will affect work…”
- The real concern of the employer or the public is impairment, not simple use.
4. Social Media & Off Duty Conduct
- Be proactive in creating a policy on social media use by employees
- Enforce the policy uniformly
- Set out the consequences of non-compliance
- Educate and Train employees on the policy
Discussion around all topics was lively with a full house at each event.
You can find information on upcoming Strategic Interest Group events at https://www.emccanada.org/membersarea/owen-sound
Or on the calendar at https://www.emccanada.org/calendar
If you would like to register for any upcoming events you can reach me at 905-510-5648 or firstname.lastname@example.org